Our Top Three Rivers
The ATA Lodge is located on the Alagnak River leading from the Katmai National Forest into Bristol Bay. This iconic section of its waters known as the Upper Braids.
Six miles upstream from the Lodge is where two rivers (Kukaklek and Nonvianuk) join to form the Alagnak. Because of our prime location and fleet of jet boats, we are able to access all of this watershed and draw upon its many resources.
Alagnak River (A-lag-nak)
This prestigious river is located within Katmai National Park, with its headwaters in the surrounding mountains and draining into Bristol Bay. It is also known as the Branch River, for its seemingly endless braided river channels. Wading and fishing are made easy on the many small natural islands and gravel bars, which the river flow creates. The Alagnak has world-famous runs of all five species of Pacific salmon, and is home to a host of resident fish, such as leopard rainbow trout, arctic char and grayling, lake trout and pike. Crystal clear water allows for perfect stalking conditions, whilst slow runs and fast riffles are commonplace, with pools well suited to holding pods of staging salmon, often 35+ lbs., when targeting the kings. With hatches occurring throughout the season, it is not rare to see a resident trout or grayling rise. The Alagnak was designated a Wild & Scenic River in 1980 and is protected under the 1968 National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Kukaklek River (Ku-ka-click)
Flowing out of Kukaklek Lake the river runs 19-miles through mostly fast flowing technical water until it reaches the confluence and joins with the Nonvianuk river to form the Alagnak. The Kukaklek is well known for its short section of narrow, class 3 rapids contained by steep canyon walls. What is less known is that a section of this rapids creates a small waterfall with an easily accessible, natural overlook which is perfect for viewing feeding bears in the height of the salmon run. When fishing this unique river, we spend most our time either in the lower 5 miles or the upper 6 miles which are ideal for targeting Rainbow Trout. The upper section near the mouth of the lake is particularly good trout fishing, in particular as the salmon start to spawn.
Nonvianuk River (Non-vi-on-uk)
The Nonvianuk River runs 11-miles from its mouth at Nonvianuk Lake to where it meets the Kukaklek River to form the Alagnak. The Nonvianuk river is mostly class 2 technical water, with many bolder gardens and shallow sections. Surrounded by rolling hills of tundra, there is a very “open feel” to the Nonvianuk River and it is a beautiful place to fish or spend a day wildlife viewing. The upper 4 miles of this river is the most productive and much like the Kukaklek it holds an abundance of trout. The outlet of Nonvianuk Lake is a very popular fly-out location for many lodges in Bristol Bay, but for us it is just a scenic boat ride away. Early in the season a huge number of salmon smolt migrate out of the lake and through the river system and during that time become the primary target of ravenous Lake Trout and Rainbows.