Category Archives: Destinations

Idaho 2015 Upland Bird Hunting Prospects Look Good


Another mild winter and timely rainstorms during spring and early summer provided good rearing conditions for young upland game birds, and hunters will likely see more birds this year than last.

“Reports across the state are up for a variety of species,” says Jeff Knetter, Idaho Fish and Game’s upland game and migratory bird coordinator.

Out of Fish and Game’s seven regions, nearly all found stable-to -improving populations of upland game birds compared with last year and the 10-year trend.

Fish and Game wildlife managers rely on a combination of anecdotal reports from the field and surveys known as “brood routes” where F&G personnel drive set routes and spot birds, then compare the numbers with what was seen in previous years.

It gives them a predictor of what hunters are likely to see when during the fall season.

Forest Grouse and dove seasons already opened statewide. California and bobwhite quail, sage grouse, chukar and gray partridge open Sept. 19. Sharptail grouse season opens Oct. 1, and pheasant season opens Oct. 10 and Oct. 17, depending on which area of the state. For all dates and rules, check Fish and Game’s upland rules booklet for hunting rules, or go to and look for “Upland Game” under the “Hunting” tab.

Weather is a primary factor in upland bird populations from year to year, and although Idaho is in a drought, timely rainstorms after hatches provide plant growth and also spark insect populations that feed the young birds.

A full report on the upland game bird seasons throughout the seven Fish and Game regions can be found under the “Features” section on Fish and Game’s website.

Here are some highlights from the regions:

Panhandle: Grouse are abundant this year.  We predict excellent grouse hunting this fall.  Pheasants, gray partridge and quail are restricted to the southern portion of the region.  Populations of those species appear stable to slightly increasing relative to previous years.  The dry spring and summer resulted in extensive wild fires this summer and fall.  Hunters are encouraged to check for closures on public as well as corporate timber land before hunting.  Access is very limited in some areas.

Clearwater: The 115 pheasants observed in 2015 represent a 423 percent increase from the 22 birds tallied in 2014 and is 147 percent above the previous 10-year average of 47 birds. There are only six years out of the past 25 where more birds were tallied on regional routes. However, the 115 birds observed in 2015 still represents just 58 percent of the historical high count of 199 counted in 2005.

Chukar productivity and populations have appeared to be trending upward in recent years. Observations and reports from field staff and the public appear to indicate very good chukar nesting success and chick survival. The number of gray partridge observed this year was much higher than last years’ total, and above the long-term average.

Southwest: Quail production appears to be good to excellent, with reports of good quail numbers across the Treasure Valley and west-central areas. Quail hunting should be good in areas with deciduous shrubs and berries near perennial water sources. Dove production appears to be very good with many young birds observed along established routes. Reports from field indicated excellent ruffed grouse production. Chukar populations along the Bruneau and East Fork of the Owyhee rivers are up and should provide good hunting. Populations of chukar at Arrowrock and Brownlee reservoirs, and along the South Fork of the Payette River, are up slightly. Gray partridge numbers have been excellent during the past three years and should continue to be good.

Magic Valley: Generally, bird numbers are up this year compared with the 2014 season and may provide the best hunting in many years. During the past several years, quail hunting has been very good and it appears to be another bumper crop this year. Hunters should expect to find area with abundant quail along the Snake River and its tributaries west of Twin Falls. Early reports from around the region suggest hunters should find more chukar and gray partridge this year than last, and hunters should find good forest grouse populations in the northern portions of the Magic Valley.

Southeast: Lek surveys for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse have remained relatively stable over the last 10 years. If conditions are dry, hunters should expect early movement of grouse into the mountain shrub communities and to areas where green forbs can still be found. Other upland game bird populations are stable. Fish and Game has large Access Yes! properties leased in the region, and hunters can find maps at by clicking on the green Access Yes! logo at the bottom of the page.

Upper Snake: There have been reports of good-sized gray partridge broods across the region. Areas that hold pheasants in the Upper Snake have reported early broods and many good-sized broods. Sharp-tailed grouse populations have remained stable over the last five years. The best hunting can be found in Conservation Reserve Program fields that have green alfalfa and/or other forbs.

Salmon: Sage grouse lek counts were up across the Salmon Region, particularly in the Antelope Flat area southwest of Challis. Dusky grouse production this year appears above average and hunting will be very good. Most chukar habitat in the region is marginal due to wide variation in weather conditions.  However, favorable weather last winter and spring/summer should provide very good chukar hunting this fall.



Statewide pheasant stocking: Fish and Game will stock the same number of pheasants as last year on its wildlife management areas. The department stocks pheasants at nine wildlife management areas in the Southwest, Magic Valley, Southeast and Upper Snake regions. Stocking will begin before the youth hunts each WMA and will continue throughout the season. For details on the stocking program see page 15 in the upland birds hunting rules booklet, or go to Fish and Game’s website and look for pheasants under the “Upland Birds” heading on the “Hunting” page.

Elk Safaris West Offering $2,500 Cow Elk Special

Elk Safaris West in Southeast Idaho is offering a cow elk special this fall.

A limited number of these guided one-day hunts will be available for $2,500 on a first-come, first-served basis.



Located west of Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons, hunting is on a private ranch east of Ashton.

No tags or licenses are required, saving hunters money, according to Elk Safaris West.

The outfit also offers trophy bull elk hunts.

For more information on the cow hunts, call Dillon at (208) 313-3634 or see

Idaho’s Kootenai River Provides Cool Waters, Trout Opportunity


Many streams and rivers in the Panhandle are experiencing record low flows and warm water temperatures this summer. The result is tough conditions for fish and for anglers.

There are some angling opportunities worth considering that are not as impacted by the summertime water conditions. One such opportunity can be found on the Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry.



The Kootenai River is regulated by Libby Dam in Montana, and, as a result, receives reliable flows of cold water throughout the summer months. The cold water released from the dam provides good summer habitat for cold water fish species such as rainbow and cutthroat trout. Both are found in the Kootenai River.

According to Greg Hoffman, Fisheries Biologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stationed at Libby Dam, “Given the summertime water conditions and necessary dam operations, we are selectively releasing 50°F water from Libby Dam, which is the minimum temperature allowed for release this time of year.

By the time this water reaches Bonners Ferry, it has typically warmed to 55-58°F, which is great for both trout and trout anglers. In addition, releases from the dam are currently around 9,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), which also bodes well for both fish and anglers. River flows through the end of August will be between 7,000-9000 cfs and then drop to 6,000 cfs at the beginning of September, so the favorable water conditions should be sustained through late-summer and into early fall.”

According to a 2014 survey, there are approximately 275 trout/mile in the Idaho portion of the Kootenai River upstream from Bonners Ferry. Anglers are catching around 0.67 trout/hour according to a creel survey from 2011.

Although these numbers are lower than what is seen in other large rivers in Idaho, there are still plenty of fish to be caught by anglers wishing to pursue them. Trout in the Kootenai River are biting quite well, thanks to the cool and consistent flows provided by Libby Dam.

Rex Hoisington, owner and operator of River Rafting by Rex, stated “Trout fishing in the Kootenai River has been phenomenal, especially for this time of the year. It has slowed down a bit in the heat of summer, but the cold water from Libby Dam certainly appears to help.”

According to reports Rex has heard from anglers this summer, “Rainbow and cutthroat trout in the 16-20 inch range are much more commonly caught in the river than they used to be, and anglers are happy about that.”

Similarly, Tim Linehan, owner and operator of Linehan Outfitting Company in Montana, indicated that, “Trout fishing in the Kootenai River (in Montana, and up to the Idaho border) has been good this summer. It is not uncommon for seasoned anglers to each land 12-15 fish on a trip, and they are quite pleased with that.”

If the hot and dry summer conditions have produced slow fishing in some of your favorite fishing spots, consider an outing on the Kootenai River. If you decide to fish the Kootenai River, here are a few tips that should help. Most of the trout reside in the portion of the river upstream from Bonners Ferry. Although there is limited public access to this stretch of river, there are great opportunities for half-, full-, and multi-day float trips. For half- to full-day float trips, consider launching at Leonia, Montana (a new primitive access site funded by IDFG and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks). Be aware the Idaho border is a short distance below the put-in. Unless you have a Montana fishing license, enjoy the scenery and start fishing after floating under the Leonia bridge. A good place to take out is the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho’s Twin Rivers Canyon Resort. This float drifts you through some truly serene and wild country containing fantastic trout habitat and takes anywhere from 6-8 hours at the current flow conditions.

For multi-day trips, consider the same launch point, but take out at the public launch located approximately one mile downstream of the Highway 95 bridge in Bonners Ferry. Along the way, there are multiple islands managed by the Bureau of Land Management which are all available for overnight camping and may have existing, primitive campgrounds available for use.

As for fishing tactics and tackle that are tried and true on the Kootenai River, here are a few tips from successful anglers: “Anglers that are targeting trout are most successful when fly fishing as opposed to fishing with spinners,” according to Rex Boisington. “Fly fishing has been the most successful tactic. Surprisingly, afternoons and evenings have been more productive than mornings. Nymphing in fast water has been particularly productive; whereas, fishing dry flies in long, slick, glassy runs has not been as productive. The fish are there, but early in the day it’s just too bright and sunny,” according to Tim Linehan.

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a new angler to the Kootenai River, consider spending time enjoying this North Idaho fishery. Please remember that the Idaho portion of the Kootenai River is subject to a special harvest rule of two trout per day, no rainbow or cutthroat trout under 16 inches; all other regional rules apply.

For more information or additional questions, please feel free to contact T.J. Ross (Senior Fishery Research Biologist) or Andy Dux (Regional Fishery Manager) at 208.769.1414.

How To Fish For Salmon Off Oregon’s North Coast

June marks the kickoff of what may be a red-hot season between Newport and Ilwaco, Wash.

By Andy Schneider, Northwest Sportsman contributor

“Red sky at night, sailors’ delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.”

This rhyming lore has been around for at least a couple millennia, serving seafarers in port and on the open ocean when they needed something that passed for a forecast. And while we may discount it in today’s modern world – what with all of our high-tech satellite imagery, anchored weather buoys, Doppler radar and suites of computer forecasting ensembles – there still is some truth to the saying.

I’m no meteorologist, but the nut is that it has to do with areas of high pressure being partly cloudy or cloud free, and in those clearer conditions, dust and other aerosols in the upper atmosphere scatter longer wavelengths (red light) more efficiently. A sailor watching a red sunset from the dock or their ship can infer that there is high pressure to the west, and since weather moves from west to east, the mariner can assume that high pressure will be moving towards them, providing some decent sailing – or in our case, fishing!

These days, local weathermen don’t seem to mention red skies very often in their forecasting, so it’s still up to anglers to verify that colorful evenings really will correlate with good ocean conditions. But next time you look out over a beautiful golden-red sunset, just keep in mind that there might be some good ocean conditions out there for you to pursue a not-so-elusive quarry: salmon.

While many outdoor enthusiasts flock to high mountain lakes for camping and trout fishing or shady tributaries looking for summer steelhead as soon as our Northwest weather turns nice, they are missing out on just as enjoyable conditions along small coastal towns, places where anglers and campers are welcomed with festivals, parades and all different sorts of different fests. What better time to bring family and friends down to the coast to enjoy good weather, fun activities and amazing fishing?

The sunsets can be pretty nice too.

In Oregon, ocean Chinook has been open since mid-March, and hatchery coho season begins June 13 from Washington’s Leadbetter Point to Oregon’s Cape Falcon and June 27 from Falcon to the Oregon-California border. With big fall forecasts expected to return to the Columbia and California rivers, salmon anglers should have plenty of time, opportunities and fish to pursue this summer.

The Pacific is a mighty big piece of water, and it can be very daunting to try and find a fish that can be migrating across thousands of square miles. But the ocean gives us some pretty big hints on where to start to look for our prey.

The first clue the Pacific provides are rip lines, changes in current, temperature, color, upwelling, depth or salinity of the ocean. A rip can be identified by a line of unsettled water, boils or eddies often filled with seaweed, grass and perhaps some tsunami debris. When these different conditions collide, they concentrate plankton and baitfish, and where there’s bait, there will be salmon.

Clue number two is birds. Birds feed on small baitfish, and where there’s bait – yep, you guessed it. Murres and puffins are usually the first on the scene, and they feed on the same anchovies, herring, candlefish and saury that coho and Chinook do. Feeding birds can be seen from a long way away, and when they are actively diving and foraging, it’s worth pulling up your gear and making a run to the feeding frenzy that is happening just below the surface.

Clue number three is temperature. Unlike our first two clues, it’s impossible to read from looking at the ocean, but fortunately there are satellites that take daily reading of nearshore waters. Terrafin, Rip Charts and NOAA all offer images of our coastal waters where you can locate salmon-friendly water temps. The fish tend to hang in waters from 52 to 54 degrees, which can be as close as the surf line to as far as 15 miles offshore. It pays to know how far you are going to have to run to start to pursue salmon.

Clue number four is daylight and visibility. While the Pacific doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with daylight, most salmon anglers know that the first-light bite is the best of the day. This holds especially true for ocean salmon, as the schools like to run shallow for the first few hours of the day before moving deeper as the sun rises. If there is a lot of water visibility, expect fish to move deeper quicker, and when vis is poor, expect fish to linger longer on the surface.

And finally, this is more of a tip than a clue, but one tool that tends to be underutilized regardless of what port you are fishing out of is the good ol’ GPS waypoint. While this is a no-brainer for bottomfish and halibut, it tends to be overlooked for ocean salmon. As vast and ever-changing as the Pacific is, specific locations can offer surprisingly consistent fishing year after year. Whether it’s a bottom contour that creates a small upwelling or a nearshore reef that traps baitfish in a whirlpool a half mile away, waypoints where you caught fish in years past will usually be productive for many more to come.

Fishing Oregon Coast Map

Every navigable port on the Oregon Coast offers good salmon fishing, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife catch data shows, so it’s really up to you to decide which you want to pursue your quarry out of. Most anglers pick ports closest to home, while some stay with those that they grew up fishing, and still others choose the one getting the most attention on the Internet. Each port has its own salty flavor that some anglers may love or dislike, but once you start calling one your home port, it’s time to learn the nuances of the bar, fishy reefs, common weather patterns, currents and where the fish can be found year after year.

Yaquina Bay is usually right in the middle of the action. Since early March Chinook have been pulling in close to the Central Coast on their journey to southern rivers like the Sacramento and Klamath. And through summer, more and more salmon will start their migration towards the Columbia and other northern tributaries.

Chinook anglers tend to target Stonewall Banks, a 12-mile run almost due west from the tips of the bay’s jetties. This 13-mile-long reef parallels the coast and is one of Oregon’s largest. Seal Rock, to the south of the bay, is another popular destination for king anglers.

Those after coho head northwest. The waters 2 to 3 miles due west of the famed Yaquina Head lighthouse are usually where silver slayers have the most success.


Depoe Bay is one of the most consistent producers of Chinook and coho all season long, and many times long runs aren’t needed to find schools of feeding salmon. Most anglers start in waters 30 to 40 fathoms deep directly north of Government Point.

There is no major structure like reefs out of Depoe Bay to hold salmon, but rips are usually plentiful and easy to find. If you have to travel more than 5 miles to locate signs of salmon, you probably have run too far out of Depoe.

Tillamook and Nehalem Bays both get healthy runs of Chinook and coho, and some of those fish can be found starting to stage in nearshore waters in early summer. But more than likely, coho you catch here are on their way north to the Columbia. The waters 20 to 30 fathoms deep directly west of Twin Rocks seems to be the most productive year after year.

The author’s son Ayden poses with a boat load of kings and coho put into the sled north of the mouth of the Columbia River last year. (ANDY SCHNEIDER)

The author’s son Ayden poses with a boat load of kings and coho put into the sled north of the mouth of the Columbia River last year. (ANDY SCHNEIDER)

If coho are scattered or being elusive, head north to the waters off of Manzanita and look for the plentiful rips and schools of baits.

Hammond/Ilwaco is one of the most popular destinations for targeting staging Chinook and coho, and for good reason. Over a million fish will be entering the Columbia River in the months to come, and many may already be feeding just off the mouth. The shallow waters directly in front of the condos on Long Beach have been producing amazing results the last five years, and don’t expect that to change this year. Coho and Chinook are caught in waters mostly shallower than 10 fathoms.

With productivity come crowds. Charter skippers and kayakers troll here, and the fishing can become quite busy and challenging to navigate. Good alternatives include around the CR Buoy and south to Seaside.

Ocean salmon is one of Oregon’s most enjoyable fisheries. Look for favorable weather and ocean conditions and make a long weekend trip with the family to one of the numerous campgrounds along the coast. Chances are that if you’re looking west at sunset and there’s a red tinge to the sky, your inner sailor will be grinning in delight. NS

Dockside Charters, Oregon’s Premier Fishing Charter Service

Go deep sea fishing with Oregon’s premier fishing charter – Dockside Charters in Depoe Bay.

Dockside Charters’ fleet features clean, comfortable fishing boats for your deep sea adventures.


Fishing on the Oregon Coast offers a great deal of variety. Dockside Charters trips are available year-round, with seasonal opportunities for lingcod and rockfish (bottomfishing), halibut, salmon and albacore tuna fishing.


We also offer Dungeness crabbing options with some deep sea fishing trips.

For more information on the types of fishing trips that are available, check our fishing season info page. For in-depth fishing information, check our Daily Fishing Report.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so look at the results of our fishing trips in the gallery.

And for Oregon Coast weather reports, visit

Located in Depoe Bay, on Highway 101 between Lincoln City and Newport, and with easy access to the fleet’s boats, Dockside Charters is a veteran-owned business that also offers daily (weather permitting) whale watching and sightseeing cruises.

Gift certificates are available for all services, and apparel can be purchased too.

Dockside’s office hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more, write to PO Box 552, Depoe Bay, OR 97341; call (541) 765-2545 or (800) 733-8915; or check out


Nootka Island Lodge Offering New Guided/Self-guided Fishing Packages

Nootka Island Lodge, located in the bountiful bay on the west side of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, has announced a new set of guided/self-guided fishing packages for this season.


Here are the details from the lodge’s website:

4 People – 1 Self-Guided & 1 Guided Boat
$1129.00 per person
6 People – 2 Self-Guided & 1 Guided Boat $1129.00 per person
8 People – 2 Self-Guided & 2 Guided Boats $1129.00 per person
How it works? This package is for the fishermen who want to do it themselves. Your group can share the fishing between the guided and self guided boats. Our guides will dial you in to the areas hottest fishing locations, so if this is your first time to our lodge our new program will bring you up to speed on exactly where to fish right away and provide you with the proper fishing gear and what techniques work to catch fish. Remember you will be dividing your fishing time with our guides and time on your own, so you can make the determination on how to split up the combinations yourself. Just let us know at the start of each day what you would like to do and we will see that it gets done.

Many of our clients want to bait their own hooks, run the downriggers catch and net their own fish by themselves. This package also makes the trip more affordable for the budget minded guests. You also have the option to upgrade to a Deluxe package for an extra $250 PP, which enters you in our 2015 season Big Fish free trip derby, all the other Deluxe upgrade benefits, including vac packing your fish and enters you in our free trip drawings.

Please remember that this package is for experienced fishermen and experienced small craft boat operators with previous knowledge and expertise in both fishing and boat handling operation.

Book this amazing fishing package which is designed for group sizes of either 4, 6 or 8 anglers. This package includes 1 to 2 fully-guided boats and 1 to 2 self-guided boats for all 3 days. Each boat will host 2 anglers per boat each day, this means you have the option to rotate your group as you see fit, so everyone gets a chance at a guided fishing day while also enjoying the savings of self-guided pricing. We have priced this combination package to be more favorably priced than purchasing the packages separately.

Our self-guided boats are stable 15 1/2′ Sorenson boats with 50HP Yamaha four-stoke motors. Your trip includes all Fishing Gear, Cleaning and Boxing your catch, lodging, all meals, fishing (salmon fishing, halibut fishing, bottom fishing), boat, fuel, VHF, GPS sounder, all fishing tackle, foul weather wear, fishing bait and supplies.  Rates in US Dollars

For more details, see, call (604) 960-0461, email or write to PO Box 230, Gold River, BC, Canada, VOP 1G0.



Sunset Oceanfront Lodging, The Place To Stay When Visiting Scenic Bandon, Ore.

Sunset Motel, established by Herbert and Clara Brown with their son and daughter-in-law, Vern and Mabel Brown, has remained an independent, family-run business for four generations. The motel has grown from a modest pair of duplexes to a 70-unit complex.

Sunset History 1948

It all started with the Great Bandon Fire of 1936 which destroyed most of the town, including both Brown residences. After the fire, the Browns relocated to a parcel they acquired on the bluff above
Bandon Beach that boasted a spectacular view of the legendary Face Rock and several other sea stacks. Herbert Brown and his 1938 son Vern were experienced contractors who helped rebuild the town before erecting two small duplexes side by side on their new property. Herbert and Clara lived in one unit, Vern and Mabel lived in another, and the other two units were rented.

Sunset history 1938

After World War II, Vern connected the two buildings with a row of rooms, forming a U-shape with six apartments and eight rooms. The original incentive for building the U-shaped complex was to provide housing for teachers for the Bandon School District. As a member of the PTA, Mabel was aware of a need for affordable housing for teachers and convinced Vern to help out by building the additional rooms. So for the first years, the Browns rented rooms to teachers from September to June and then to travelers during the summer. After the teacher shortage resolved in the 1950’s, the rooms were renovated and became year round tourist accommodations.

Sunset History aerial 1

On April 14, 1960, a fire of unknown origin claimed two-thirds of the structure. For a while, only two apartments and four sleeping rooms remained. Undaunted, Vern Brown rebuilt and enlarged the motel to honor his wife’s memory, creating 12 more tourist accommodations (18 total with one apartment for his family). Vern believed in expanding the motel to allow better access to what he believed was the greatest view of the Pacific Ocean.

Sunset Motel_10 30 13_0038

To meet the rising demand of tourists who had discovered Bandon, Vern began construction on the Original Oceanfront, creating six more units with the help of his son-in-law, Harold “Butch” Longland, between 1969 and 1971.

In the mid-1980s, Vern’s daughter Judy and her husband Carl Densmore took over operations. Later that decade they constructed the Vern H. Brown Addition honoring Vern himself. Each of the 21 units in this three-story building west of the bluff has a private balcony with a spectacular ocean view.


In addition to the motel, they began managing rentals for several owners of small beachfront cottages. In the early 1990s, Judy and Carl sold an adjacent lot to the Iverson family, who built Lord Bennett’s Restaurant and Lounge.


Vern’s grandsons, Bryan and Jeffrey Longland, grew up helping their grandfather at the beach resort. After finishing college, they returned with their families to help manage the business and design the Ocean View Studios.

OOF Exterior

The motel’s name was changed to “Sunset Oceanfront Lodging” to acknowledge its beachfront location and the wide variety of tourist accommodations in this four block long complex.

Vern Brown Exterior 4-20-07

In 2000, the 18-unit Ocean View Studios opened. The two-story addition included spacious rooms with fireplaces, private patios or balconies, along with a spacious new lobby and indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. In 2002, Bryan and Jeffrey Longland, the fourth generation, took over operation of the motel.


Guests now enjoy free Wi-Fi in their rooms, a light continental breakfast, and beach access via three stairways on the property.

Sunset Motel_10 30 13_0038

But most of all, they enjoy the same stunning view of sea stacks carved by wind and waves, rising from a broad sandy beach that first inspired Vern Brown to share his home with travelers.

or coast 2013 344


New York’s Salmon River Offers ‘A Place For Every Fishing Taste’


When it comes to world-class fisheries, you’d be hard pressed to find one that isn’t chopped up into special-interest sections. Oswego County’s Salmon River is a pioneer in this process, offering a place for every fishing taste.

Its most famous section is at its headwaters a short distance from the Lower Reservoir’s dam. Restricted to fly-fishing, catch-and-release only, this mystique is more than purist anglers can resist.



But there’s more to the place than just image. The main river runs just above and below the mouth of Beaverdam Brook, the recipient of the Salmon River hatchery’s tailrace and off-limits to angling. Hence, the special area’s two sections allow angling as close to the hatchery as is legally permitted.

Split into upper and lower stretches, these special areas run less than a mile combined. But their close proximity to the dam draws and holds the river’s greatest number of Lake Ontario’s migrating salmonids: brown trout, king and coho salmon in the fall, and steelhead year-round.  Indeed, autumn sees so many salmon milling around above the Altmar bridge, anglers joke they raise the water level a couple feet or more.

Some make it into the relative safety of Beaverdam Brook, climb the ladder and enter the hatchery. Those that remain in the river are fair game for fly-fishermen, considered the gentlest, most patient segment of the fishing fraternity.

Self-professed purists, fly-fishers use lures made of feathers, tinsel, maybe a little yarn for body, all held together on a single hook by thread. Unlike lures in your average tackle box, these delicate creations are practically weightless, requiring long rods and heavy lines to propel them to the target. Anglers need lots of room to whip the line through the air, slowly playing it out, generating enough force to go the distance. The technique requires good timing and coordination; and when done properly, looks like a dance where man, physical forces and the fly are in perfect motion.

The tackle is of the most elementary design, modern improvements notwithstanding. What’s more, the heavy main line doesn’t help with fighting the fish. You see, it’s too thick to thread through the fly’s eye, and makes too much noise when it hits the water. So a monofilament leader at least 8 feet long, averaging 10-pound-test, is used as a remedy. What you gain in stealth, you lose in strength, however. When hooked, a large salmon or trout does everything in the book to break free, including hiding behind boulders, diving into root balls, undercut banks and sunken timber, even going over waterfalls. It’s enough to make the leader feel about as useful as sewing thread.

Fly-fishing’s poetic moves and unique challenges have hooked the imaginations of the uninitiated, convincing them it’s highly specialized and difficult to master. Anglers ranging from bank fishermen to deep water trollers admire its choreography. So when fly-fishers asked for a special section–complete with environmentally-friendly stairs down a steep cliff and improved banks for solid footing–everyone went along.

Altmar marks the start of the special zone. The lower area runs from the County Route 52 bridge upstream for 0.25 mile to the marker just below the mouth of Beaverdam Brook. The upper section runs from a marked boundary above the hatchery upstream for 0.6 mile to the marked boundary at the lower reservoir’s tailrace.

The special sections have their own seasons, too, apparently to allow salmonids, primarily steelhead and brown trout to spawn naturally without harassment. The lower section is open from September 15 through May 15; and the upper section is open from April 1 to November 30.

For Oswego County fishing conditions and visitor information, go to, or call 1-800-248-4FUN.

The Cedars Lodge Offers The Best Of Southeast Alaska

Located on Ketchikan’s historic waterfront, The Cedars Lodge offers the best that Southeast Alaska has to offer: luxury accommodations, seasoned guides, top-of-the-line processing equipment to ensure the highest quality for your catch, and exceptional customer service.

Carter and Jess

The Cedars Lodge seeks out Ketchikan’s finest independent guides and puts them to work for you! Saltwater trips routinely target multiple salmon species, halibut and bottom fish each day.

Cedars promo

Our freshwater fishing excursions will take you to remote local lakes and rivers, some of which are only fished a few times each year, providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Ryder fly fishing cropped

Combination guided saltwater fishing and guided freshwater flyouts are also available for the ultimate Alaskan fishing vacation.


Choose from deluxe waterfront suites, a mountain view studio with in-room Jacuzzi tub or one of our elegantly appointed standard rooms. All rooms have cable television, telephone, large private bathrooms and plenty of sitting space.

Cedars Lodge

One trip to The Cedars Lodge and we’re sure you’ll be anxious to come back and visit us again!

For more information, see

Sweet Deals On Two Most ‘Overlooked’ Weeks At Katmai Lodge

Fly fishing season is upon us. Presently we are very busy loading up supplies and making sure Katmai Lodge is ready to open in June. We are very excited to begin this season with you.


Katmai Lodge would like to offer you a ONE-TIME SPECIAL PRICE of $5,000 for a SEVEN-NIGHT STAY on two of the most overlooked weeks of the year.

This week was last year’s BEST for king and sockeye fishing as well as great trout and grayling. With the mild winter and early spring, the Alagnak River should be in prime shape for another early arrival of kings en masse.



Coupled with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game wanting to get sockeye escapement into the river, this is the most consistent week for non-stop numbers. It’s also a perfect time for trout and grayling on mice and other dry flies.

Always wanted to learn to fly fish? Catch that king salmon on the fly? This week of transition is the time 90 percent of our king run is already here and the chum salmon run is at its peak. With the onset of the pink salmon run and shots at silvers, the river will be boiling with fish (only sockeye are unavailable at this time) – and it is all here waiting for you, all at a time without pressure on the river though not for a lack of great fishing!



Katmai Lodge offers personalized fishing adventures for groups of all sizes and experience levels. Accessed through its private airstrip with its own amphibious equipped de Havilland Turbine Otter, the main lodge rests atop a bluff overlooking the Alagnak River, offering hundreds of miles of fishing in Alaska’s only designated Trophy Fishing Area.



Already one of the great fishing ecosystems in Alaska, fishing on the Alagnak continues to improve. The pristine river is uniquely home to all five Pacific salmon species along with native stream fish such as rainbow trout, Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden/char, with four or five salmon species spawning within 2 miles below and 45 miles above the lodge.



The region is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, which provides amazing photo opportunities.

An experienced guide staff personalizes each guest experience, making use of the lodge’s 40 boats to explore the full range of the Alagnak. Our river-based lodge is only 10 minutes away from tidewater. Its diverse fleet of both jet and prop boats allows for both sea-fresh salmon and rainbow trout fishing, while the lodge’s floatplane enables easy access to Katmai National Park for viewing the renowned Brooks Falls brown bears and for fishing the area’s many blue-ribbon trout streams.

When off the water, anglers are encouraged to enjoy the unrivaled amenities of Katmai Lodge, which boasts more square footage per guest than any other lodge in Alaska. World-class chefs prepare hearty breakfasts and gourmet dinners in the central dining room.



The main lodge includes a fully stocked fly-tying area complete with expert instruction, central gathering place, a clothing and gift shop as well as Internet access. Adjacent guest cabins welcome anglers to rest and relax, offering the privacy of individual common areas.

The high season for Alaskan salmon fishing at Katmai Lodge runs from late June through September, with trout season opening June 8th. For reservations or to inquire about group packages, anglers should visit the newly launched website at or call 1 (800) 330-0326 for more information.