Alaska Nushagak River Salmon and Trout Fishing

Alaska Private Guide Service

Smokey Don Duncan,
Master Guide #136

Alaska Private Guide Service Salmon Fishing

Alaska Remote Nushagak River Fishing July 1- Oct 1

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The Nushagak River is located 300 miles west of Anchorage and north of Dillingham. You must fly from Anchorage to Dillingham or Koliganek since there are no roads. The Nushagak River has the largest King Salmon run in the world. Millions of Reds and tens of thousands of Silver Salmon, 28" Rainbow Trout and more await you on this trip. We specialize in remote riverside camps. You may Fly Fish or Spin Cast. Groups are welcome. The dates for my camp are limited. August 7-19. only. However, an associate has dates available all summer for his up river fly fishing only camp. His info is listed further below under "Western Alaska Fly Fishing".

Species Available. KING SALMON (July), RED SALMON (mid July-late Aug.); SILVER SALMON (mid Aug.-Sept.); Chum Salmon (July-Aug.) PINK SALMON (Aug); PLUS THE YEAR ROUND SPECIES: BIG RAINBOW TROUT up to 28”, DOLLY VARDEN, ARCTIC GRAYLING, ARCTIC CHAR and NORTHERN PIKE. We even have suckers and whitefish!

Nushagak River Trip Options

Option 1 - K1 Base Camp

I will meet you in Koliganek and we will go upriver 32 miles in the jet boat to the deluxe K1 base camp. We can stop and fish along the way. We can handle most any fishing style. The K1 Base Camp is located on the main Nushagak River at the start of the "braids" where the river splits into smaller channels that split into even smaller channels with numerous side sloughs. I use jet boats to move up/down the river increasing the actual fishing area. The mouth of the K2 Creek is just up river and is a staging place for the salmon headed up the K2 camp creek. Multiple channels close to camp provide unlimited fishing opportunities. With a river so full of so many different species; when you cast out, you never know what going to strike! You can drift fish productive stretches, fish from an anchored boat or get out and wade along the shore working the holes, structure and channel junctions. All of the migrating salmon will pass by my camp. The resident species (available all the time) include: rainbows, arctic grayling, dolly varden, arctic char and pike, will be located all up and down the river, particularly near spawning red salmon. The Nushagak River boasts the largest runs of king salmon in the world. A big one here is 50 pounds. Average is 25 lbs. The red salmon run may or may not be the largest in numbers, but who needs to count when the numbers are in the millions. Their shear numbers offset their reluctance to bite. The silvers are very plentiful and they are aggressive, chasing and taking most any proper presentation. The best silver fishing hole is with in site of camp. The Rainbows top out at about 28”. With most in the 16-24 inch range. F. G. says 28” rainbows “don’t exist” in this area and “if so, rarely”. I guess we catch a lot of rare rainbows! The best rainbow hole on the whole river is closer to camp than you would believe. The area around camp is a Trophy Rainbow Trout Management Area, so it is catch and release for rainbow trout. You know instantly when you hook one of these. If a rod tip made noise; it would sound like a machine gun! We find some of the big rainbows in places you would never think to fish for them. The Arctic grayling size vary since any size Grayling will strike wet and dry flies. The bigger ones will push 20 inches. The tall fin of the strong arctic grayling allows them to put up a terrific fight in swift water. They are plentiful and tear up dry flies and spinners. The dolly varden (dollies) are numerous and fight hard. You don’t catch many small dollies for some reason. Most are in the 14-24 inch range. The Silvers, Rainbows, Grayling, and Dollies actively take flies and spinners. The pike are not as plentiful or as big as one would think they would be in the fish rich area. But we have located several areas that produce pike up to about 40”. This area does not have as many arctic char as the K2 creek but we catch some in the 14-22” range. Chum salmon, or dog salmon, run on the even number years in huge numbers. They will strike and strike aggressively and fight surprisingly hard. They can be as aggressive as the silvers and as numerous as the reds. They are highly underrated and thThe boats are 18-20 foot flat bottom jet boats with seats and floor boards. The open boats are powered by jet drive outboards along with oars and electric trolling motors. We can reach the shallow back waters seldom fished. All boat related costs are included in the price.

K1 base camp can handle 4 clients. Most weeks we only have 2-4 clients. Far from any combat fishing, usually you will see no one else. K1 is my main river base camp with the most amenities. The freezer and smoker are only at the K1 camp. The smoker can handle 6-8 salmon at a time. Our recipe produces the best smoked fish you ever had. They will keep a considerable time with out refrigeration. We will filet and freeze some fish for you to take home. To take home more fish, you should catch them the last day and have them chilled at camp then frozen and shipped from Anchorage.

K1 Base Camp Accommodations

This is not your normal tent camp. It takes 4 men about 5 days just to set up. You will be pleasantly surprised. The sleeping tents are 10 foot x 12 foot and 12 foot x 12 foot and over 7 feet tall. They are steel frame tents (200-300 pounds each) covered with rubberized and vinyl coated fabrics. They are sturdy, wind and waterproof and designed to keep you comfortable in all types of Alaskan weather. The tents sit on plywood frame floors with a full stand up, walk in, heavy duty zippered door. The door and window have separate ventilation screens. Inside the tent is a rear shelf across the back of the tent. There is plenty of room for your gear. You sleep on the most comfortable cot made, a rollo-cot, made in Spokane WA. It has a 3 inch foam and air pad on top. A wood stove and firewood is located just inside the tent near the door. The tents are equipped with 120 Volt lights and a wall receptacle for charging batteries, etc... a seldom used lantern hangs from the back. There is a 12 foot x 32 foot cook tent and dining hall sometimes called the liars den. It is fully equipped with a freezer, cooler, full size stove and oven and stocked with good food, snacks and drinks. We also have a fish smoker that can handle 6-8 fish at a time. All food is provided and meals are prepared for you by our experienced chef who can add the extra touch just the way you like it. Fried, boiled, baked and smoked fresh fish are menu favorites along with fried chicken and pork chops and home made soups and stews. The morning starts with a big breakfast. For example, ham or bacon, eggs, french toast or pancakes, toast, hash browns, fruit, coffee and tang. You won't go hungry and if you do it is likely that you won't quit fishing long enough to eat. Most days, we can return to camp for lunch and a rest if desired. And most important....! Each camp has an enclosed hot water shower and enclosed privy close to your tent for comfort and privacy. In the center of the camp is a covered fire pit. What would a camp be with out a fire pit to gather round and swap lies, I mean recount the days events. We have a lighted path to the steps leading to the boats although during the summer you would seldom need it since sunrise is 6 am and sunset about 11 pm. We are in communication with Sat phones and VHF radios to other camps or the village. -- top

Don’t forget the added bonus of the wildlife viewing? Moose, bears, eagles, otters, beaver, owls, waterfowl, etc? See our Alaska Photography page -- top

PRICES INCLUDE: Camp, guide, food, jet boat, fuel, fish processing, boat transport from Koliganek to camp and back. We can rent you any gear you need. Prices does not include: Flight from Anchorage to Koliganek about $610 round trip, hotel stay in Anchorage or shipping fish home.

Option 1 - K1 Base Camp Trip Prices

K1 Camp Trip
Fishing Days Guides / Anglers Price Per Person
5-1/2 1 / 1 $4,150
5-1/2 1 / 2 $2,900
5-1/2 1 / 3 $2,700
5-1/2 1 / 4+ $2,450

Limits and Special Regulations K1 and the K2 Creek

This area is a Trophy Rainbow Trout Management Area and is single hook only and no bait is allowed. Rainbow Trout are catch and release in front of camp and King Salmon can not be targeted or kept. But, we can take a boat ride down river 30 minutes from K1 to Harris Creek where you can keep Rainbow Trout and King Salmon and you can use treble hooks with bait. Limits for fish include: King Salmon (Below Harris Creek) 2/day with one over 28", 4/year. The limits everywhere : Other salmon, including, Red, Silver, Pink (humpies) and Chum Salmon combined Limit of 5/day; Rainbow Trout (Below Harris Creek) 2/day with 1 over 20"; Arctic Char and Dolly Varden 3/day, Arctic Grayling 2/ day and Northern Pike 5/day

Option 2 - K1 Base Camp Outfitted / Unguided

Outfitted and Unguided at the K1 Base camp. With Jet boat We provide the camp, most of the food, (you bring some perishable), jet boat, and fuel. We pick you up in Koliganek and take you back to Koliganek. $2300/ week/angler. 2 anglers minimum and 4 maximum. . -- top

Float Trip; Do It Yourself

You bring all your own camp gear, food and raft. We will pick you up in Koliganek and take you about 55 miles up river by jet boat (about 3 hours) to the mouth of the King Salmon River. You will float and fish about 27 miles back to my camp. Then return to Koliganek by jet boat. Or you can float all the way back to Koliganek and knock off 1/3 of the price listed below. -- top

Float Trip Prices

Unguided Drop Off Float Trip
Fishing Days
Anglers Price Per Person
5 - 7 2 $1,700
5 - 7 3 - 4 $1,500

Western Alaska Fly Fishing

This is Dave Egdorf's fishing operation on the Nushagak River. He specializes in rainbow trout and fly fishing. I have been operating mostly as a hunting guide on this river for over 20 years and Dave is the only one who has been there longer than me. You can reach him or his wife Kim by calling 406.665.3489 OR following this link to their web page

Licenses and Stamps

Fishing License Prices

Fishing Days Price
3 $35
7 $55
14 $80
Annual $145

King Salmon Stamps

Days Price
1 $10
3 $20
7 $30
14 $80
Annual $100

APGS will sell you the license and stamp.

Please call for quotes on customized needs or stays. -- top



Book your flight to travel to Anchorage. A fair price from the East Coast is $6-700 and less from the West Coast. The cheaper flights into Anchorage usually arrive later in the day so most people will need to spend the night in Anchorage. So book your flight to arrive the day before you fly from Anchorage to Koliganek. You will arrange and pay for your round trip flight from Merrill Airfield in Anchorage to Koliganek with De'nina Air, currently $610. De'nina typically has a morning and afternoon flight. West Coasters can usually make the afternoon flight and get to camp in one day if they take an early flight from home. We will return you to Koliganek for the trip back, arriving in Anchorage in time for your flight home. You should schedule a late afternoon or evening flight out of Anchorage to home. Anchorage has lots of red eye flights putting you home early the next day. So you do not need to stay in Anchorage overnight on your return. PLEASE NOTE: There is an alternative way to get to Koliganek. You would fly with Alaska Airlines and or Penn Air to Dillingham ($440 R.T.) and then arrange a flight from Dillingham to Koliganek ($220 R.T.) However; be aware that Penn Air has a solid reputation of leaving passengers' bags in Anchorage a high percentage of times. We have chosen to go with De'nina Air for a reason. If we have to make an extra trip back to Koliganek to pick up your lost or delayed baggage because you flew with Penn Air through Dillingham, there will be an extra charge of $500/ trip.

DO NOT LET THE AIRLINES SCARE YOU OR SCREW YOU WITH HIGH FARE QUOTES!!! Of course the fare will be determined by where you fly from, the east coast or west coast or from somewhere in between. Most major airlines fly to Anchorage and almost all code share with Alaska Airlines which has the most flights into and out of Anchorage. Alaska Airlines now has several flights originating from the east coast and one non-stop flight from Chicago to Anchorage. Northwest has a non stop from Minneapolis and Delta has one from Salt Lake City to Anchorage. Continental has some non-stop flights. Other than those non-stop routes; most people will travel through Seattle which is served by all airlines. Many airlines will route you to Alaska Airlines in Seattle. Getting to Anchorage from anywhere USA should cost somewhere around $300-$700. What to do with your baggage? Since airlines have become more restrictive in what you can take on a plane, instituting high baggage fees, pilfering your luggage, and loosing it; I highly recommend considering mailing it all ahead to Koliganek. Pack it at home, use the luggage fees for postage and travel stress free and travel light. -- top

Gear List

You should bring your own reels, line, flies, etc... and your personal gear. Generally expect warm weather but as Sept. approaches it might lightly frost at night. Bring a pair of shirts, one heavy and one light along with a couple pairs of pants with extra underwear, a light rain suit, camp shoes and rubber boots, chest or hip waders. You can also mail ahead all your gear to Koliganek and we will have it in camp. You can bring your own booze. -- top

Suggested Fly Fishing Gear List

The main areas near camp that we fish are single hook, no bait. To retain Rainbows or King Salmon we must go 35 minutes down river where multiple hooks and bait are legal. Scents are considered bait. We can/will supply the rods.

Rods and Line. Match the line to the rod. A 5-7 weight rod is normally sufficient for everything except for King Salmon where an 8-9 weight rod is recommended with a 7 weight as a minimum. For Silver and Red Salmon 5-8 weight. For Grayling, Char, Dolly 3-5 weight. For feisty Rainbows on the large side a 5-7 weight rod.

Fly Choices. For the Salmon you want to use mainly streamers.

Our best picks are the:

  • Popsicle or Alaska Bou with mylar in purple or pink in sizes 2-4.
  • Moe Egg Sucking Leach in solid colors of black & purple in sizes 2-4.
  • Flesh Pattern Streamers with a mixture of brown and white.
  • For the resident species like Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling and Arctic Char.

  • Sliding salmon eggs of standard size in florescent colors of orange, pink, yellow and green on the line with # 6 -8-10 size hooks.
  • Moe Egg Sucking Leach in solid colors of black & purple in sizes 2-4 bring lots of them
  • Polar Shrimp or similar pattern.
  • Black Gnats and parachute gnats (with white wings) Mosquito, caddis, Adams, light brown May Fly patterns. I like fishing these dry for surface strikes. Mostly sizes 12-16 and 18-20 for gnats.
  • Bruce Tyson who has fished both K1 and K2 had these recommendations.

  • Silvers - Egg sucking leech (purple/black), popsicles, pink streamers.
  • Rainbows - Flesh flies and eggs are all you need. I personally use a bead tied above a #8 salmon hook.
  • Char/dollies - Polar shrimp is the best for char. Egg sucking leeches also good. Dollies will hit whatever you're using for silvers, generally.
  • Grayling - of course, you'll catch grayling on anything you're throwing, but if you want to fish for grayling exclusively, I'd go with dry flies - mosquito, adams, caddis, black gnat - mostly 12-16. Could go 18-20 on the gnat.
  • Recommend bringing plenty of GOOD tippet material - 0-4x and also leaders 7.5 to 9 feet in length, 0 - 3X. Preferably, flourocarbon.
  • Also, I agree with Wayne. 90% of the fishing you do, floating line is sufficient, but you don't go to Alaska without bringing a sinking or sink-tip line, intermediate to fast sinking. I use the strike indicator/split shot technique for all species except for silvers, where the standard streamer fishing technique is most effective (no strike indicator). Fish slightly up and across, dead drift, swing, and strip back).

    Master Fishing Guide, Wayne Gregory, recommends heavier tippet material. He says: "The fish aren't line shy, so it makes sense to go heavier and save flies and the time it takes to tie on new line and a fly. I use 10-20 LB test of flourocarbon and catch just as many fish with out worrying about snags and big fish in strong current snapping my line." He adds that; "You definitely do not want sinking line at K2 because the water is too shallow in many places." At K1, "I recommend the floating line with a intermediate to fast sinking tippet and or split shot with a strike indicator mainly to keep the fly at the proper depth close to but not on the bottom. The new flourocarbon lines are so thin and strong you can tie higher pound leaders directly to the fly."

    Other gear would be hip boots or chest wader (recommended), nail clippers, hemostats, camera with lots of film and new and or replacement batteries, sunscreen lotion and polarized sunglasses. -- top

    See our References for anglers who will talk to you about their experience!

    Smokey Don Duncan, Owner, Master Guide #136 and P.H.
    299 Alvin St. Fairbanks AK 99712
    Landline: 907-457-8318     Verizon Cell: 435-890-8328

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