Diary of a First-Time Flyfisher: Part IV

In First-Hand Accounts by Bear Trail Lodge

Day 4: Fishing for Silvers on the Naknek

Our final day at the lodge was a half-day, so we were scheduled to fish on the Naknek right in front of Bear Trail Lodge to make the most of our time. Our guide, Wesley, loaded our gear onto one of the jon boats at the Bear Trail Lodge dock, and we set off.

We were using spin fishing rods instead of fly rods. This is the type of fishing I was most familiar with, but I still got my line tangled occasionally. Wesley, like Woody, was very patient with me and even picked off the vegetation I kept reeling in. We tried several spots with no luck — maybe a few nibbles. Little did I know, I was about to be in for the ride of my life.

Catch of the Day

I put out a cast just like any other, but the force I felt on the end of the line was more powerful than I’d ever felt before. Wesley grabbed the net and instructed me to keep my rod tip up. I had to use my forearm and side-body as leverage to stay stable as the fish twirled me around the boat. My coworker and Wesley had to duck under the line as the fish encircled the boat. The fish had bursts of explosive energy, seemingly undoing any reeling I accomplished during his respites. Finally, after an intense battle of strength and patience, my tenacious opponent succumbed to the net. Wesley tossed the silver salmon into the hatch, and we continued fishing. However, that was our only catch of the day.

When it came time to turn in from fishing on the Naknek, we docked the boat and headed back to our cabin to pack up. While we were packing, Wesley filleted my catch and packaged it up for me to take home in insulated foil wrapping.

Goodbye Bear Trail Lodge

After saying goodbye to people in the main lodge, we loaded into a pickup truck with one of the dockhands to go to the airport. Skagit, one of the lodge’s resident dogs, wanted to come along for the ride. At this point, I was really missing my pup back home, so I welcomed the cuddles.

If fly fishing in Alaska isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or someone who simply enjoys adventure and the outdoors, what you’ll experience on the Last Frontier is nothing short of astounding. From the landscape to the wildlife, there’s beauty around every turn. I hope my tale of fly fishing for the first time in one of the top fishing destinations in the world inspires you to want the same experience for yourself. The 2021 fishing season is wrapping up, but I encourage you to reserve your spot at the lodge for 2022. I’d say it’s a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, but I hope to be back again next year.