Fly Fishing the Copper River in SW Alaska
Copper River Lodge
Fly-outs are Included
The Copper River is a 20-mile-long river near Lake Iliamna in SW Alaska. There is only one permit to operate on the native-owned land, and Copper River Lodge shares this permit with one other lodge. The permit allows the Lodge to leave jet boats on the upper Copper and access water that only a few lucky anglers can fish. Book early, as openings are limited.
• Fly Fishing Only - Barbless Hooks.
• Copper River Lodge has operated here for nearly 40 years.
• The Lodge hosts six anglers per week.
• Copper River Lodge was converted to a fly-out lodge in 2023, a tremendous success.
• The Lodge has a floatplane, a lake boat, 3 rafts, and 4 jet boats... fishing options are endless.
Copper River Fishing
The Copper is a classic fly-fishing-only Alaska trout stream. Easily waded and crossed. The River is packed with long, dry fly glides, deep winding pools studded with boulders, fast riffles, and deep undercut banks just begging for a mouse fly. The Copper River runs through a scenic valley lined with cottonwood, spruce, and birch. The trees provide shelter from the relentless north wind.
The Copper was the first river in Alaska designated as a "fly fishing, catch-and-release only, trophy rainbow river."
Fly-Outs Included for 2024: The Lodge now has their own floatplane and will be able to fly up to four anglers per day to different sections of the home river or different fisheries in the Lake Iliamna/Katmai region. This program enables anglers to see a variety of water while still getting to fish the Copper River on the non-fly-out days. Each angler should plan on three to four fly-out days per week, weather permitting.
The Lodge also has a lake boat to access other tributaries of Lake Iliamna, particularly the Gibraltar River, which can be an exceptional fishery. They can only make this trip on days that are not very windy as the lake can get very big swells.
Caring for the fish you catch during your week is a critical component of the fishing program. All fishing on the Copper and other area fisheries is catch-and-release using barbless hooks.
The Fishing Program:
Season: June through early October. In June and July, the Copper has some of Alaska's best dry fly fishing. Sockeye salmon fishing is red hot in July before tapering off in early August.
Boats: 16 ft. tunnel boats with 40 HP jet units to run the river and get to the next fishing hole. You'll rarely, if ever, fish from the boat. The Lodge also has a lake boat to access other tributaries that flow into Lake Iliamna.
Guides: You will fish with different guides during the week. The guides have fished around the world, and this is their career. Two anglers per guide. They can help the beginner learn how to cast or show the experienced fly angler how to reach a tricky undercut bank.
Equipment: Flies are included in the package. No equipment is provided. Fly outfit rentals are $75 per week per person, with a $50 breakage fee. Wader rental for $125 per week. You'll need to reserve equipment 90 days in advance. Always bring a backup rod because broken rods are much more common than you think.
Fishing License: Your Alaska fishing license is not included in the package, $45.00 for a 7-day license.
Sample Fishing Day:
7:00 am - A hearty breakfast with coffee available early.
8:00 am - You'll leave for fishing.
Midday - You'll enjoy a packed lunch on the river.
6:00 pm - Time to head back to the Lodge.
8:00 pm - Enjoy a family-style dinner and a gourmet dessert. Enjoy a sauna in the evening.
Fly Fishing for Trophy Rainbows
The Sockeye Run Begins in July
Beginners to Advanced
This is a great trip for novice and seasoned anglers.
About The Lodge
The Lodge has four guest cabins. Each cabin has a deck overlooking the river. The Lodge has 110 diesel-generated electricity. The Lodge caters to six anglers per week. The small group size ensures personal service and a relaxing atmosphere.
Four Guest Cabins
Each cabin has a queen and twin-size bed, heat, and a private bathroom with a shower and toilet. Guest rooms are cleaned daily. (Laundry service is not available for guests.)
Communications: There is wireless internet and a telephone that you are welcome to use for limited amounts of time. It is the Lodge's only phone line, so it cannot be used for long periods. There is no cell phone service or television at the lodge.
Meals: The Lodge prides itself on the quality and freshness of its cuisine. Freshly baked bread, rolls, or pastries are served with each meal. Fresh fruit and vegetables are always available. Dinner menus vary and include entrees such as pork tenderloin, New York steak, roast duck, and fresh-caught salmon. Dinners are served family-style and followed by a gourmet dessert. With advance notice, the Lodge can accommodate special dietary needs.
Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages are not sold at the Lodge. If you would like to place an order to enjoy at the Lodge when you arrive, Fishing with Larry will help you arrange it.
Copper River Lodge
Getting to Copper River Lodge:
From Anchorage to the Lodge involves a charter flight, a floatplane flight, and a jet boat ride.
Saturday: The Lodge recommends staying in Anchorage for one night and getting a hotel with an airport shuttle. The hotel night is not included. A list of hotels is included in our confirmation packet.
Sunday: You should be in Anchorage no later than 1:30 p.m. You'll take a taxi or Uber to Merrill Field Airport, and at 4:00 p.m., you'll take a 90-minute flight to Iliamna. Upon arrival, you'll be met by the floatplane pilot for a 15-minute flight in a Cessna 185 to the Copper River. Have rain gear ready. The guides will transfer you by boat to the Lodge, a five-minute ride. You'll unpack, take in an orientation, and have dinner.
Saturday - Departure Day: You'll get in about six hours of fishing and depart the Lodge at 5:00 p.m. by floatplane. You'll be in Iliamna for the 6:00 p.m. flight to Anchorage. Please give yourself two hours between your arrival and departure from Anchorage. It is best not to book a flight to the Lower 48 until after 9:00 p.m. that evening.
6-nights and 6-days guided fishing
$9,250.00 per person
The Lodge does not offer non-angler rates.
*If inflation is over 5% at final invoicing, expect a modest rate increase to help the Lodge absorb the cost.
Copper River Wildlife Viewing
The Package Includes:
• Floatplane flights between Iliamna and the Lodge
• 6-nights lodging at Copper River Lodge
• All meals at the Lodge
• 6-days guided fishing
• Wi-Fi at the Lodge
• 3 to 4 Fly-outs per week, weather permitting
• Flies, leaders, and tippets
• Taxes for the Lodge package.
The Package Does Not Include:• Airfare to Anchorage, and return
• Hotels, meals, and ground transfers in Anchorage
• Roundtrip charter flight between Anchorage and Iliamna
• Alcoholic beverages
• 7-day fishing license, $45.00 p.p.
• Fly outfit rental, $75.00 p.p. per week
• Wader rentals, $125.00 p.p. per week
• Laundry service is not available.
• Gratuities for guides and staff
• Global Rescue or other medical/safety evacuation insurance
• Travel insurance
• Hotel rooms or food expenses incurred due to weather delays
• Anything not mentioned under inclusions.