The Opening Week of the 2018 Season in Bristol Bay, Alaska has just finished! And what a week it has been at ATA Lodge! Great Clients! Great Staff! Great Food! And Great Fishing!
June 8th saw the Alagnak Wild River open for the first time this year to fishing. And our guide staff and guests were ready to see what this season had in store. We'd been waiting since September to get back up here and on the water. The trout fishing has been improving year on year and this year was no exception! In fact we have had the best opening week ever with lots of fish to hand in excess of 20 inches up to 28 inches!
Our trout are among to healthiest and most beautiful trout anywhere in the world. Everyday this week we caught an amazing number of fish and the average size was close to 20 inches! Black and Olive leach and sculpin patterns did the trick. Many trout were caught on mouse patterns as these aggressive predators would strike with abandon. These savage top water takes made fishing exciting to say the least.
The Alagnak River is a Wild and Scenic River, with stunning scenery and makes for an incredible back drop for the fantastic fishing we offer our guests. With lots of snow this winter and a steady even melt off, water levels have been ideal and trout and grayling could be found in almost every pocket and seam we fished. In fact there were days where we took fish a each spot we stopped to fish!
After long days on the water, we would come back to the lodge to some of the best cooking in the Alaskan bush! Sue and Tyler have done a remarkable job of keeping everyone fat and happy with delicious meals and decadent deserts each day. It will be hard to keep any weight off this year with the standard of meals that are being served!
We have been up here for a month, making preparations and working hard to get everything ready for this day to come, when we would be welcoming our guests back to share this amazing resource with them during their stay at ATA Lodge.
It is a Herculean task logistically to get all our supplies and equipment up here to ensure that we have everything we need to run our operation over the next 3 months or so. Everything has to be shipped up from the lower 48 or from Anchorage by barges and then loaded on to our boat for the run across the bay and up the river! And it is not just food, but fuel, equipment, and this year a new generator as well!
It is good to welcome back seasoned staff that make up the core of our team here but this year we are glad to have some new faces joining our crew and I'm already convinced we have an amazing team in place to take care of all our guests in what is shaping up to be a busy season!
This is just some of our team that came up early to help open camp, and others are joining us soon as we are about to have a full lodge every week from July through mid September! I'm really excited about the team we have as everyone has already made important contributions this season, bringing new skills and talents to the mix. With such a great setting, top class team in place, the quality of experience that each guest will receive should surpass everyone's expectations. Add to that the superb fishing we are already experiencing and what's not to get excited about!
June is best know for our trout fishing as the salmon don't start to arrive until the very end of the month. And by any standard the trout fishing this year is as good as it has ever been. Not just the number of fish being caught, but their condition, size and sheer beauty! We have a strain of wild native trout often referred to as Leopard Rainbow Trout because of their many spots. The vivid cheek plates and crimson streak make them among the prettiest fish on the planet! Add to that, their aggressive nature, spectacular leaps and hard fighting strength, and that makes for satisfied and happy clients!
Everyone got into the act this week and had a great time! So much so, all of our clients this week have vowed to come back, with one return customer actually deciding to stay on for an unplanned second week of fishing this week!
Doug mentioned that he had never had such good fishing and because he couldn't get enough of it this week, he just had to stay on for a second week and is already planning even another next trip back up here next year again!
Steve has been up every year we've been here, sometimes twice himself. In fact, he has fished for over 20 years all across Alaska. This year he is already signed up to come back during our "trophy trout " season in September after these already good sized trout will be even bigger after gorging on all the salmon eggs that will be in the system later in the year after over 4 million salmon of 5 different species come back to spawn in the very river they were born in a few years ago!
It has to be said, that this may well be the best river in Alaska for trout fishing of this caliber. And to top it off, we have had the most amazing weather so far this June with beautiful sunny, warm days which allow us to really appreciate the good fortune we have had to be here at this time of year!
Bill and Nicole who have also been coming to Alaska for many years, are also making plans to come back next year as they feel that the quality of experience and fishing they have had here, both a couple years ago and this past week, is well worth another visit next season!
I have to say that having such great clients is something we are really thankful for. It almost seems like they have become not only great friends, but extended members of the family! It feels like a reunion each time they come back!
Even Sue and I got to go out fishing and enjoy this beautiful river for a day together. This is what it is all about. Great times with great friends making memories we will all cherish for many years to come. Sharing stories around the dinner table of what happened on the river that day, while sharing a glass of wine over an amazing meal gives us all something to look forward to each evening.
And there are lots of stories to tell as each new day gave each guest the opportunity to share photos and "bragging rights" from their day on the river. I knew it was going to be a great week, when a 12:01 on the morning of the 8th, I looked out of my window to see this stunning sunset in the Land of the Midnight Sun. It was so beautiful I walked down the river and grabbed my fly rod and decided to take my first cast of the year as the season had just begun.
And what do you think happened on the first cast of the first minute of the first day of the season.....yep, that's right....I caught my first trout of the year! True Story! I thought to myself, well, it can't get any better than this! Since that moment, things have continued to go so well, I'd have to say that it was by far the best opening week of any previous season until now!
If you'd like to find out more about ATA Lodge, visit our website at www.atalodge.com or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and lets start planning your big adventure to Alaska! Hope to hear from you soon!