Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thanks from the Johnson's

Thank you!
As usual, a heart-felt thanks for all of you that made the 2013/14 season our best yet. I hope all of you had as much fun as we did! Judging by the terrific number of rebookings, I am guessing that most of our guests had a good trip.
Some highlights of the year were:
1)      One of the best sockeye fishing seasons we have seen, with limit catches being the rule for  most of the entire season.
2)      The biggest silver run on the Naknek in history. There didn’t seem to be a good reason for the huge jump in numbers, but it was a welcome surprise. We are hoping it was the start of a trend!
3)      An unusually high number of small to medium sized rainbows. There seems to be a couple of years of tremendous rainbow recruitment and survival on the Naknek River. As these huge year classes continue to grow and mature, they should guarantee great rainbow fishing for years to come.
4)      An outstanding group of guides! As I am sure you noticed, our staff just keeps getting better and better. The best news is that all of our guides from 2014 have expressed the desire to return for the 2015 season.
5)      The tongue and groove pine wallboards and new lighting changed the entire character of our dining room. I was very proud of the way it turned out.

1)      Catch and release regulations in Belize have resulted in a rapidly growing population of bonefish and permit. Especially exciting is an increase in the average size of the tailers on the bonefish flats. We are starting to see many more fish over 3 pounds and even a few in the 5 pound plus range.

2)      20 permit landed on a fly by James last winter. 20 years ago, I would have bet that this was an impossible feat. Now, with the advances in fly design, fly lines, rod performance and fluorocarbon tippets, the game has changed.

3)      The remodeling of our waterfront lodge in Belize surprised even us at how amazingly well it turned out. 2 new air conditioned master suites, a new deck, roof, dock, thatched roof palapa, entrance gate and mahogany garage doors changed the look and feel completely. Lots of new mahogany furniture, carvings and wall hangings. Our new flats boat was also a great addition.

Current 2014/15 Openings – Belize

December 9-16, 20-27, 27 – Jan 3
Jan 10-17, 17-24
March 7-14, 21-28
April 11-18, 18-25
Anytime from April 25 until June 1

Current 2015 Openings - Alaska
June 6-13                              Opening week-  special $2295 rate
June 13-20                             Smolt season – special $2295 rate
June 20-27                             Rainbows, sockeye and kings                 
July 4-11                                Peak of the sockeye and kings                                                                     
July 11-18                              Still excellent sockeye and kings
July 18-25                              Mixed bag of kings, sockeye

July 25 - August 1                  This is the last week for kings
August 1-8                             The start of the silver season
August 29-September 5th      Awesome silvers, rainbow and char
September 5th - 12th             Excellent for silvers, and rainbow
September 19-26                   Traditionally known as spey season
September 26 –Oct 3            Late season on the Naknek is famous for steelhead sized rainbows

If you would like to make a new reservation or already have reservations but have yet to finalize them with a deposit, please contact us by email ( or call us at 616-745-6066 (cell) or 231-745-6072 (Michigan land line).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

If you haven't seen the new Traveling Angler magazine (Volume 7, Issue 1, 2013) then you missed a great article about the trophy rainbow fishing on the Naknek River. There was a second article on page 50, written by editor Pat Hoglund, that highlights the top 5 rainbow fisheries in Bristol Bay.

#1) Naknek River - "Many consider the Naknek River to be the best rainbow river in Alaska, which makes it arguably the best rainbow trout river in North America....The best rainbow fishing is from mid-June to early July; September and early October."
A fat Naknek River rainbow fooled while crashing salmon smolt in the rapids

#2) Kvichak River - "Why it's #2 - It has a very healthy population of 25-plus rainbows...fewer 30 inchers than the Naknek"

#3) Brooks River - "The Brooks is arguably one of the best fly out trips in Bristol Bay." (Of course, we can get there by boat for a fraction of the price). "Why it's #3 - Pure ambience and prolific trout populations. Add in a world-class bear viewing and this is the quintessential Alaska fishery"
Guide Kyle with a nice bow from the lower Brooks River.

#4) Alagnak River - "Why it's number 4 - The population of rainbows in the Alagnak is extremely high, but the Alagnak lacks the number of true trophy rainbows.

#5) Moraine Creek - "Why it's number 5 - Remoteness, bear factor, and the number of aggressive rainbows places Moraine Creek at the top of any trout fisherman's bucket list."

A typical August rainbow on the Moraine, one of our favorite August fly-out destinations.

As hard core trophy rainbow addicts, it is somewhat shocking to us that some of the best rainbow fishing in North America occurs during weeks that very few fishermen travel to Alaska. The Traveling Angler Magazine accurately sites June and September as the best rainbow fishing in Bristol Bay, yet those are the least busy months of the summer!

From the time that the rainbow season opens on June 8th until the salmon show up in big numbers in late June offers some of the best streamer and dry fly fishing of the season. Rainbows of every size are hungry after a long winter and are just coming out of their spawning time in late April and May. These fish haven't been touched in almost 9 months and the rivers of Alaska are comparably empty of fishermen.

Our standard June package is available for the weeks of June 8 - 15 and June 15-22 for the special price of $1995. This package would include:
1 day at #3 (Brooks River) chasing the prolific rainbows with a 5wt and a floating line, using a combination of dry flies, nymphs and streamers.
1 day at Idavain Creek dry fly fishing for grayling and rainbows.
4 days fishing the #1 rated Naknek River

September is arguably the best rainbow fishing of the year. The sockeye salmon are finishing their spawn. the rivers are full of eggs and flesh, and everything is out feasting on the bounty. The rainbows are fat and strong from a summer of all you can eat egg buffets, but are frantically feeding to put on the last bit of fat to survive the long winter.

A September package would look much like the June package, although we might substitute a trip to the beautiful Margot Creek for char for the day at Idavain Creek. Also $1995.

If you don't have 7 days to spare for a fishing trip, we are offering a limited number of 3 day packages available this summer for $995. Pick any 3 days between June 8-22, July 20- August 3, September 14 - 28.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

We still have openings for both the early and late trophy rainbow season. Opening day is June 8, and the season typically starts out with a bang!

New for 2013:
3 day fishing packages in June and September starting at $795 per person.

Email me at for the details.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Current openings and specials update

Bookings are looking great for 2013. We are getting pretty full for July and August, but we do still have a few openings for you to grab. We also have a few rare partial weeks that are listed below.


June 8-15                Opening week special for - $1995.
June 15-22              Our spey/switch rod school week - $1995 
July 13-20               Sockeye, Kings, rainbow and char - $2495
July 20-27               Sockeye, Kings, rainbow and char - $2495
July 27-August 3    Sockeye, Kings, rainbow and char - $2495                  
August 24-30          5 day special opening for $1795
September 7-14      Peak Fall Rainbow season - $2495
September 14-21     Trophy rainbow streamer season $2495
September 21-28     Closing week on the Naknek for trophy rainbows - $1995

All of the trips listed are for a fully guided week at our riverfront camp on the Naknek, including a private waterfront cabin, all meals, a guide and boat for each fishing day and at least one trip to Brooks Falls and the amazing Brooks River.

Call Jim at 616-745-6066 or email him at

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2013 Update

Our Current Special Deals

Early Bird Special: $200 Off

Book a reservation for our Alaska camp before January 1st, 2013 and lock in the 2012 Rates. As most of you already know, our rates are already a bargain for an Alaskan guided fishing trip, but as an incentive to lock in your schedule early, we are giving our guests a chance to save an additional $200 savings. Only $1000 will lock in your spot.

Opening Week Special: $500 Off

Opening day on the Naknek is June 8th. Fish with us from June 8th - June 15th and save $500 off of our normal standard package. That means that you can book our standard fully guided package for only $1995 (Or $1795 if you book before Jan. 1, 2013). Opening week offers an opportunity for some great rainbow, grayling and pike fishing, including some of the best streamer and dry fly fishing fishing of the year.

Late Rainbow Season, (otherwise known as Spey Season): $500 Off

Join us for the last week of September (September 21-28) for some fantastic trophy rainbow fishing. Alaska is a much quieter place in late September - most people have headed south, including many of the other lodges - leaving us with a bunch of big rainbows desperately trying to put on those last few ounces of fat to survive the long winter. This special package includes 1 day at the world famous Brooks River and it's trophy rainbow fishing. We will have guides experienced in fishing both spey and switch rods to help you master these interesting and effective techniques.

Belize (Jan 26 - April 1, 2013)

Just a reminder that we are hosting trips to Ambergris Caye in Belize again this winter. We have arranged local fly fishing, reef and snorkling guides to take our clients to some of the best flats, bays and reefs that Belize had to offer. Belize is well known for its' awesome permit numbers, but what makes it special is the tremendous variety of activities available. Whether your goal is the coveted grand slam (bonefish, permit and tarpon) or just a relaxing week in amazingly great weather, Ambergris Caye is hard to beat. The non-fisherman can choose from a visit to the second largest barrier reef in the world, a catamaran sailing adventure to a neighboring island, a golf cart exploration of the many shops and beachfront bars, a trip to one of the many Mayan ruins or just an afternoon reading a good book in the sun. The trip is $1600 per person for a guided fishing week or $2600 per couple for a combination trip.

We still have the following openings: Feb 2-9 (4 spots), Feb 23-March 2 (4 spots), March 2-9 (4 spots), March 16 - 23 (2 spots).
Call me for more details.

Call us at 616-745-6066 for more information or to reserve your 2013 vacation.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New opening

We just had a couple of cabins in peak silver season open up. This is for the week of August 13-20, 2011.

If anyone is looking for a trip to Alaska next August, give me a quick call at 616-745-6066.


Thursday, November 4, 2010


We are back in Michigan now and trying to get caught back up on our paperwork, etc. I plan to put together a new updated website in the next few weeks, so if you have any suggestions for improvements, drop us an email.

Here are a few of the important news items for 2011:
Raft Trips: We hosted a couple of raft trips last summer on the American and everyone had a great time, so we have decided to officially add overnight rafting trips to our menu of available options. The price for a 6 day wilderness raft trip will be $2495, all inclusive, from King Salmon airport.

Our rates for a standard Saturday to Saturday trip in 2011 will be $2195.

We still have openings for 2011 in the following weeks:
June 11-18, 18-25
July 9-16
September 3-10, 10-17, 24- October 1st

We have a couple of weeks available in Feb. for our trip to Ambergris Caye in Belize. The cost is $900 for a single or $1500 for a couple. If you are interested in the details, call me on my cell at 616-745-6066

James will be guiding steelhead fishermen on the Lake Erie tribs in November with Greg Senyo and the boys down at Steelhead Alley Outfitters in Ohio and Pennsylvania. If you would like to book a trip with him, give Greg a call at 419-466-9382 or email him at .

James has a new StealthCraft driftboat now, and plans to guide full time in the spring for steelhead as well. Email us if you would like a trip in March or April in northern Michigan.

We are trying to firm up our reservations for 2011. If you have reserved a spot in Alaska for next summer, but haven't sent a deposit to us yet, now is the time to contact us and get it taken care of. As I am sure you already know, most Alaskan fishing lodges require the entire amount to be paid in advance of the trip. For 2011, we are planning to continue our past policy of asking for a $1,000 deposit up front to hold a spot, with the balance due at the end of the trip. Of course, if you would like to pay for the complete trip ahead of time, we will gladly accept payment in full at any time. As in the past, the deposit can be paid by Visa, Mastercard or by check, mailed to our winter address in Michigan. Make the check out to Naknek River Camp and mail to:
Jim Johnson
10554 South M-37
Baldwin, Mi. 49304 

Feel free to call me on my cell anytime. 616-745-6066

Jim Johnson