A Fishing Destination Filled with Adventure and Intrigue
Alaska! Just saying the word brings back memories to those of us who have been there, and intrigue to those who have not. Photos and videos of past adventures do little to satisfy the yearning to return to one of God’s greatest achievements. It is home to some of the best salmon and rainbow trout fishing in the world.
Where to Go in Alaska
If you are contemplating a fishing destination trip, consider an Alaskan vacation. Choosing the place to spend your hard-earned dollars can be mind-boggling. There are thousands of choices, and many will have just what you are looking for– but how do you know? The owner or marketing person can promise you the world, but until you talk to someone who has been there, you are taking a chance. I went to Alaska last June, and here is a summary of what I had the tremendous fortune of experiencing.
An Offer You Can’t Refuse
I spent 10 seasons guiding on the remote rivers and streams in Southwest Alaska and have slept on the tundra, in boats, tents, camps, and million-dollar lodges. So when a great client and dear friend, Dr. Stephen Shapiro, whom I have guided here at home for over 20 years and in Southwest Alaska three times in the ‘90s, told me, “You are going back to Alaska as our guest, not our guide, and we want you to set it all up.” How could I say no?
Booking a Lodge
There would be four of us– Steve, Gary, Chuck and I. I began to call numerous lodges and camps to get prices and find a place that only took small groups of eight or less. We wanted something quiet and personable with good fishing that we didn’t have to fly out to each day. (Remember, fly-out lodges are wonderful, but if that is their only program and the weather is too bad to fly, you don’t fish).
We decided against a tent camp mainly because we are getting older and wanted to be pampered. We wanted daily showers, without having to travel outside to a shower house. We wanted clean, warm beds and good food. We needed a nice porch or deck to enjoy our wine, scotch and cigars in the evening, and of course, we were looking for a good number of wild-leopard spotted rainbows. We ultimately picked the Iliamna area for our fishing destination trip, as it was only an hour from Anchorage, yet very remote.
Rainbow Point Lodge on Lake Iliamna
It only took about five calls and a voice answered the phone that knew me. Mark Higgins, now co-owner of Rainbow Point Lodge, is originally from Hamden, Connecticut and had done some guiding on the Salmon River. We had previously met at the Portly Angler Lodge many, many years ago. Mark was also guiding in Alaska, where he met Brad Hughes from Casper, Wyoming, who was the chef at the lodge that he worked out of. They hooked up, decided to do their own thing, and the rest is fishing destination history.
After a few minutes on the phone with Mark, his enthusiasm and description of their lodge and fishing program won me over and it was a done deal. We were heading to Rainbow Point Lodge on Lake Iliamna for a week of catching rainbows on dry flies.
Traveling to the Lodge
In order not to bore you with travel details I will tell you that it is simple to get to this fishing destination. Fly to Anchorage, spend the night, fly 50 minutes to Iliamna the next morning and you are immediately picked up. Then it’s just a short hop over the lake to the lodge and you are there!
The lodge has all the amenities that you would expect in a fine hotel. We had spacious bedrooms with wall-to-wall carpet, daily maid service, and private baths with plenty of hot water. Dining takes on a whole new meaning as Chef “Slam” created appetizers, entrees and desserts that rival any 5-star restaurant!
I have to tell you a little about Slam. Michael “Slam” Benavidez is from Santa Fé, New Mexico, and is a renowned saucier chef. His creations and passion for food will boggle your mind! The taste, presentation, and variety– including desserts to die for– will be enough to make you want to come back.
The fishing program was just what we wanted– no “0 dark thirty” starts, no crowded rivers, no long plane rides to get to the water, and plenty of fish willing to suck in our flies on our Alaskan fishing destination trip!
Our guides Mike Goeser and Michael Reynolds were young enthusiastic guides who were willing to help us as needed as we explored and enjoyed out fishing destination. Their true love for the bush and respect for the fishery was evident throughout the week. We had the best weather of the summer with temperatures in the ‘60s, and we only had a few showers the entire week. The small jet boats that they use to access the shallow runs were perfect for keeping us in the best water with little wading between spots.
Alaskan Adventure Awaits
I could go on forever about this fishing destination scenery, wildlife, food and more, but you can see that when you get there. The fishery on the Copper and Gibraltar Rivers (their home waters) are thriving. The fish are there just waiting for you and your fly. If you are considering an Alaskan adventure, then you owe it to yourself to contact Mark Higgins, Brad Hughes or me.
Although I am blessed to fish for a living everyday, this was the only true fishing vacation that I have ever taken. I am not sure how it could have been any better. Perhaps a box full of fresh sockeye to bring home, but that is next year! I want to thank all of the staff at Rainbow Point Lodge for making my trip a dream come true.
Original Article By Captain Troy A. Creasy
About The Author
Captain Troy Creasy is the owner of High Adventure Charters on Lake Ontario and the Salmon River. He has fished extensively in New York and Alaska.