Alaska – Hoodoo Lodge
Located on the southwestern Aleutian Peninsula, between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea, Hoodoo Lodge sits right on the lower Nelson river (a.k.a. Sapsuk or “Hoodoo” river). It is of perfect size for fly anglers and ranks among the very best rivers in Alaska to fish for Pacific salmon. After my initial trip there (guiding and assisting a group of European anglers), Planet Fly Fishing is now representing Hoodoo Lodge exclusively for the French market.
The lodge, the only operation of its kind on the river, is particularly famous of catering to King salmon (Chinook, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Silver salmon anglers (Coho, O. kisutch). Both species run the river in very large numbers and distribute over its entire reaches above the lodge. About two dozen of very pretty pools allow for great fly fishing, at medium distances and the clear waters of the Hoodoo, fed by a lake, allow anglers to sight fish for salmon. Most pools can be fished this way be means of one-handed rods but Spey rod aficionados can go at it with their preferred two-handed setup, Spey or switch casting.
Access to the fishing spots is via powerful jet boats. Let’s say it again: it represents what many believe to be the best King salmon fly fishing available. Angling quality is phenomenal and catches of 15 to 25 big fish in a day is often the norm. The largest fish can weigh in excess of 50 lbs with an average weight between 15 to 40 lbs. Chum, Pink, and Sockeye salmon are also available during the King salmon run so catching 4 different species of salmon on fly tackle in a single day is a possibility here, in the same pools on the very same flies.
Hoodoo Lodge also has an exclusive access to a smaller river called North Creek, reachable via DeHavilland Beaver bush plane flown by the lodge owner, Rod Schuh. A hardware camp on-site allows spending the night in good comfort, fishing two days in a row. Just imagine getting up in the morning and having the privilege to fish the very first pool of the river from the river mouth and the Bering Sea. It so happens that hooked fish often decide to run back at full speed into the ocean: it is great sport and a memorable souvenir.
North Creek also has a run of Chum and Silver Salmon as well as a good population of Dolly Varden Char. They are great fun on light tackle. Peak time for King salmon fishing is about mid-June (with “chrome” fish fresh from the ocean).
Hoodoo River is also a bonanza for Silver/Coho salmon anglers as returning fish reach a peak of some 80000 fish per season, starting to run upriver in early August. The run usually lasts until late September. These fine fish, not unlike Atlantic salmon, are all silvery when they enter the river and are great fun to catch on fly and light tackle. They are particularly susceptible to surface patterns so dragging or waking a floating fly along the surface in front of their noses will elicit explosive strikes. Their fight is equally spectacular as aerial displays are common. Average weight is between 8 and 12 lbs.
To top it off, Hoodoo lodge also has the fishing rights to the Sandy River, one of the very best steelhead rivers in that part of Alaska. These fabulous and beautiful fish run the river in great numbers in early autumn. Their average size is high, about 32 inches, with specimen that can exceed 40 inches. We offer a special steelhead package in October, when anglers were reported to catch up to and exceeding 10 fish per day, quite exceptional for this mythical fish.
A few words about the lodge: “outstanding comfort in the middle of nowhere” sum it up perfectly!! Service is at a very high professional level and includes everything, excellent cuisine and spacious, comfortable rooms. The dining room of Hoodoo Lodge will offer you a mind-blowing view over endless tundra landscapes, snow-covered mountains, active volcanoes and the river practically at your feet. You can literally see the salmon swim towards their spawning grounds while sipping your drink.
In partnership with Planet Fly Fishing, I will organize exclusive trips to the Hoodoo Lodge for groups of 4 to 6 anglers.