Naknek Through the Season

Produced by Bear Trail Lodge

Nanci Morris-Lyon and Heath Lyon, owners/operators of Bear Trail Lodge on the Naknek River in Bristol Bay, know a thing or two about the Naknek, since they’ve been working out there since 1985. In this video, Nanci talks about run timing for salmon, including kings, sockeye, chums, silvers and pinks, plus timing for the best opportunities at rainbows and char. Heath talks about methods for fishing for the various species on the Naknek and the gear that you’ll need for each. 

The Naknek is a great place to pursue most of what Alaska has to offer, including all 5 species of Pacific salmon that return to North America, arguably the state’s largest rainbow trout, huge arctic char of similar proportions, and grayling. Depending on the time of year, you might tangle with several of these species during your trip. 

The fishing season on the Naknek opens on June 8th and tends to go until sometime in October depending on weather. If you’re thinking about going to the Naknek, you should first decide what you want to catch, as fishing for certain species is best during certain timeframes. Then plan/book your trip. Nanci and Heath are very familiar with the timing and particulars of each fishery and can answer any questions you might have.

We at Fish Alaska have sampled many of the Naknek’s fisheries, to include the smolt out-migration, bead-fishing rainbows, swinging fall rainbows, king flyfishing with both single-hand and two-hand rods, gear fishing kings, gear and flyfishing silvers, flyfishing sockeyes, flyfishing chums, gear and flyfishing pinks, and flyfishing grayling, to name a few.

There is something good to do at the Naknek from the time it opens until the weather is too unpredictable to fly. The Naknek is in the heart of the world-famous Bristol Bay area. Most lodges on the Naknek offer fly-outs to various locations nearby to catch salmon, trout, char, grayling, lake trout, pike and to view bears. This area is one of the coolest, best fishing destinations on the planet.