Goodnews River Lodge - SE Alaska
Remote Alaska Fishing
Fly or Spin Fishing
The Goodnews River, a three-branch wilderness river system, runs along the Togiak National Wilderness Reserve before emptying into the Bering Sea in southwest Alaska. Goodnews River Lodge is the only fishing lodge on the river.
"That's what Goodnews River Lodge is to me... that little tiny village in the middle of nowhere where everyone is insane about fishing." - Mike Gorton - owner
The Goodnews River has excellent runs of all five species of Pacific salmon, sea-run dolly varden, resident leopard rainbows, and Arctic grayling. The Lodge is a fixed camp right on the river just above tidewater and is not a fly-out camp. The Lodge has access to over 490 miles of the river, feeder creeks, braids, sloughs, and tidewater fishing. Angling is restricted to artificial flies and lures.
Species: The season kicks off in late June with the arrival of king salmon, teamed with rainbow trout and grayling fishing. In early July, thousands of chums and sockeyes move into the river. Sea-run dolly varden arrive in mid-July, and some of the season's largest dollies up to 30" are caught during this time. In even-numbered years (2024 and 2026), thousands of pink salmon flood the river. In 2024 and 2026, aim for a Grand Slam, when an angler lands all five species of Pacific Salmon in one day. The Lodge is best known for its silver salmon season. Silvers begin showing up in mid-July until the camp closes in mid-September.
Lodge Season: The Goodnews season begins in late June and runs through mid-September.
Jet Boats: Sea Arks, Lowes, and Roughnecks with Yamaha motors up to 115 HP.
Guides: Mike, the Lodge owner since 1996, is onsite all season. All guides have had prior experience on the Goodnews River. Each guide has his own favorite fishing methods, and sections of the River, which is why you'll fish with a different guide each day. Two anglers per guide and jet boat.
Equipment: All flies, lures, and terminal tackle are included. In addition, the Lodge has a supply of loaner gear, including rods, reels, waders, and wading boots, at no cost should you need them. Two-handed spey rods are not available. If you would like to reserve rods or waders, please let us know, and the Lodge will reserve them for you. Guide-tied flies are included in the package. (The guides tie them in the off-season.) If you would like a list of productive patterns, please let us know. Lures are also provided. Please remember that the River is restricted to artificial flies and lures (For rainbows, barbless are preferred as they are resident fish) and single hook only. No treble hooks.
Fishing License: Your fishing license and king salmon stamp, if applicable, are not included in the package.
Fish Care: Strict catch-and-release on all trout and grayling. If you want to take salmon home, they will vacuum seal up to 25 pounds of your catch and pack it in airline-approved waxed boxes for your trip home.
Typical Fishing Day:
5:30 a.m. Generators are turned on for the day.
6:30 a.m. Hot coffee and tea are available.
7:00 a.m. Hot breakfast, eggs to order. Afterward, you'll make your lunch at the sandwich bar.
8:15 a.m. The boats depart for a full day of fishing.
5:30 p.m. Boats return to the dock.
6:00 p.m. Enjoy appetizers at the Lodge.
7:00 p.m. Dinnertime.
After dinner, discuss fishing options with your guide for the next day, then enjoy a game of ping-pong or get in more fishing in front of camp.
10:30 p.m. The Generator is turned off, allowing for a peaceful night’s rest.
Silver Salmon Run
Silvers enter the river by the last week of July and keep pouring in until after the camp closes in early September. Averaging 10-15 pounds, chrome-bright, and fresh from the Bering Sea, these silvers aggressively take a fly or spinner. They are the ultimate fly-rod fish, especially targeting them with a popper on the surface. Fifty+ fish days are the norm in August, chucking streamers.
You'll fish for silvers in the tidewater portion of the river. You'll also follow them up all three branches of the River as far as 25 miles from the mouth. You can find hundreds of them resting in every break from the main river current and pushing their way into the numerous sloughs and creeks upriver.
Dolly Varden, too!
In mid-July, as thousands of king, chum, and sockeye salmon that have entered the river start their spawning rituals, the Goodnews gets a world-class run of sea-run Dolly Varden. These chrome-bright fish follow the salmon upriver and lining up beside the rainbows to feast on eggs. You can actually sight fish to both the rainbows and dollies as they stack up behind the spawners.
Leopard Rainbows and More...
Goodnews Leopard Rainbow are beautiful, healthy fish averaging 18-22″ with many larger fish up to 30″ landed each season. They are available all season long. Streamers work well, and when the water is warm enough, skate a Mouse fly across the surface for explosive strikes.
Once the spawn begins, the Bead Egg is hard to beat. All rainbows are catch-and-release, so pinch those barbs and minimize their time out of the water. The Lodge never fishes the same stretch of the river two days in a row, allowing the fish to rest between trips.
The Winged Grayling
The Goodnews has a large population of these old-timers. Grayling can live to be over 30 years old in Alaska. The Lodge targets them with a 3 to 5wt rod and a floating line, small streamers, skated mice, and when the sun pops out, Elk Hair Caddis can be deadly.
Special Weeks at the Lodge
KID'S WEEK – July 19-26, 2023: The Lodge loves to welcome future anglers. For the week of July 19-26, each full-paying adult can bring along a kid under 16 for only $3,500.00, including the charter flight/Anchorage to Goodnews. Kids can learn to fish, tie flies, and more.
Cast-and-Blast - Duck Hunting and Silver Salmon
The CAST AND BLAST is offered for two weeks. Aug 30 - Sept 6, 2023, and September 6-13, 2023. Limited to six guests per week. Hunt for ducks early or late, then fish for silvers and rainbows for the day. The Cast-and-Blast is an additional $1,000.00 p.p. per week.
Elevated, cabin-style tents with carpeted wood floors, extra long beds with flannel sheets and thick comforters, and a bath area with a shower, a sink, and a toilet. The cabins have thermostat-controlled propane heat and electric and gas lighting. Two guests per cabin. One tent can accommodate three guests. The bathhouse has six complete bathrooms.
Communications: Due to the remote location, there is no cell service available at the Lodge. There is a phone for you to call home, and satellite internet is available. The internet will seem slow, but it is usually sufficient for email communications. Please no uploading of photos or videos, no downloading of movies, etc., and no VoIP calls (Skype, FaceTime, Viber), as it will crash the system for all.
Dining Room with Fly Tying Desk
Meals: At 7:00 a.m., hot breakfasts with pancakes or french toast, bacon, sausage, fresh baked muffins and bread, hash browns, quiches, hot and cold cereals, fruits, and of course, eggs to order. After breakfast, you'll make your sandwich or wrap at the lunch bar and grab sodas and cookies. The guides bring along hot coffee and tea, plus drinking water. Hot soup is always available at the lodge--and looked forward to on rainy days. If you want a shore lunch, let your guide know the night before, and he will arrange it. Appetizers in the evening, and then dinner at 7:00 p.m. Entrees include prime rib, halibut, bbq, and fresh fish is always on the menu. Delicious nightly desserts.
Appetizers, Sometimes include Caviar.
After dinner each evening, you'll have some free time on your hands. In the Recreation Hall, play Foosball or Ping Pong, tie flies, or tell tall tales of the one that got away. Or, if you still have the strength, wrestle with more fish right out in front of the Lodge before bed.