The Rainbow Trout of Alaska are fish of legend. The Naknek River and streams of the surrounding Katmai National Park region offer some of the finest Rainbow Trout fishing in the world. Crystal Creek Lodge is on the Naknek River and very close to other famous rivers and streams of Katmai. Accordingly, many of Crystal Creek Lodges’ guests love the pursuit of Rainbow Trout and much of the time do so while walk-wade fly-fishing. Most rivers and streams fished are clear-flowing and gravel-bottomed, and are of a size easily wadeable.
Alaska Rainbow Trout are wild, beautiful fish, full of spotting, color and character. Fish over 20 inches are very common to the region and a fish over 30 inches will have a look at your fly at some point during your visit. The Alaska Rainbow is an animal that makes its living on the move, and are highly migratory as they travel through river systems and take advantage of available food sources. A life on the move makes the Alaska Rainbow a strong fish, one that leaps with abandon and tears line from reels. Big ones are hard to hold!
See Also: Pacific Salmon Fishing
Most food sources of the Alaska Rainbow Trout are salmon-based, and the flies we use imitate those foods. That means we use flies that imitate salmon eggs, salmon fry and salmon flesh and are wet flies. The seasonal influx of spawning salmon means an influx of protein for these fish, and they eat it with abandon during the short summer. Alaska Rainbow Trout will ignore a flurry of dry fly activity to feed on salmon eggs, simply because one salmon egg delivers the protein of 20 or more insects with less effort. The western Rocky Mountain States are the places to fish dry flies, yet Alaska is the place to catch monster Rainbow Trout. While we do see some excellent days of dry fly fishing during the early season before the salmon spawn, you as a guest should expect to fish wet flies for most if not all of the trip.
The Naknek River, the home water of the lodge, is one of the few rivers in the world holding wild Rainbow Trout exceeding 30 inches in length. While some weeks offer better opportunities than others, the possibility exists to catch the big Naknek fish any week of the season. Big fish need big food, and the Naknek River is a corridor of protein rich food sources such as salmon fry, salmon smolt, smelt, sculpins and lampreys. The Naknek is best fished with sinking lines and large, articulated leech patterns to entice the fish. We are a short boat ride away from the rapids, the best section of the Naknek. Sometimes the fishing is so good at the rapids guests ask to camp there, but why camp when such a nice lodge is close by?
For many anglers, fishing for Alaskan Rainbow Trout is a once in a lifetime experience. For me, this has become a 20 year obsession. The variety of habitat, size and beauty of the fish, and the overall experience of the Alaskan wilderness is exhilarating. From set to release, it is pure joy."