The best time to visit Alaska depends on many things, but September is always considered a wonderful time of the season. The truth is, this time of year has some special things going for it. Whether it’s for solid fishing, uncrowded adventuring or amazing sightseeing, you’ll leave blown away. Many of our guests have unforgettable visits to Alaska in the late summer month of September, for many reasons.
Autumn comes on fast and in dramatic fashion in the Southwest Alaska. Flying from the lodge in September is spectacular as you fly past many turquoise-colored lakes that are often surrounded by snow-clad mountain peaks. Most of the cottonwoods, birches and willows that line the riverbanks have turned bright gold. It’s a unique transition period as the tundra begins to turn into a magical tapestry of brilliant colors – a variety of bright reds and deep rust colors mixed with glowing yellows, greens, oranges… sometimes purple and blue in the form of berries. Don’t forget your camera, it’s landscape photography made easy!
The cool crisp mornings that lead into warmer afternoons signal that fall is in the air. This means that the Alaska brown bears will be active and feeding on salmon as they fatten up for the winter. September is often an optimal time for bear viewers and photographers who want to capture images of bears fishing for salmon and exhibiting the most impressive physical appearance, amid the dramatic seasonal colors. Nearby Katmai National Park has been a bear sanctuary for decades, and as result the bears are accustomed to and not threatened by a human presence. A day of bear viewing is a memorable experience and is often the highlight of a vacation at Crystal Creek Lodge.
As you might know, Bristol Bay rivers have the largest Pacific salmon runs on earth and nearly every section of moving water is filled with spawning salmon. As the late summer progresses the spawn begins to taper off and many dead salmon fill the rivers. The wild Alaska rainbow trout have been targeting the salmon eggs that fill the river during the spawn and as September rolls in, they now start to key in on the flesh of the rotting salmon. Drifting or swinging large articulated bunny streamers that imitate flesh or swimming baitfish, excite the largest of the rainbows. The abundance of food allows the rainbows to grow big. The Naknek River, home water of the lodge, grows trout upwards of 30 inches and September is a great month to target them.
The hard-fighting arctic char also inhabit our waters in prolific numbers and they produce some of the most dramatic spawning colors during September. They develop bright orange and red sides, black gill covers, vivid orange to red spots, and bright orange and black fins with a bright-white leading edge. We have several fishing locations where the bigger fish move in this time of year and it’s a great time to complete one of the defining experiences of fishing in Alaska. Add a day of char fishing to your rainbow trout and salmon fishing – you’ll be glad you did.
Although the first silver salmon show up in August, by early September the run is in full swing. Most anglers consider silvers to be their favorite salmon species to catch. They can grow up to 15+ lbs but most average 7-9 lbs. They are aggressive to the lure or fly and their acrobatic fighting style makes them ideal for spectacular fishing. Please see the Yantarni Salmon Camp page to learn about our private salmon camp on the Alaska Peninsula and some of the best Silver Salmon fishing in the world. It’s a special place in Alaska and a visit there is not easily forgotten.
Almost two-thirds of national parkland in the United States, which is more than 41 million acres, is located in the 49th state. We have an extensive adventure itinerary that includes national park and national monument visits. At Crystal Creek Loge, you can design an Alaska adventure itinerary based from the lodge to trek across the sky of Southwest Alaska. See a region that is wild, dramatic and incredibly diverse. View the pacific Walrus of Bristol Bay where you can see hundreds or thousands of wild walrus bobbing in the surf and hauled up on the beach. You’ll be hundreds of miles from the thousands of tourists mobbing the popular cruise ship ports or highway-accessible regions of the State. If you’re seeking some adventure away from the crowds, you can find that September is the month. The best part is you might be the only visitor of the day to some of the more exotic places we visit. Also, Alaska is home to 35 different species of mosquitoes and if you prefer less pesky buzzing, then this is your month.
September in Southwest Alaska has variety and action too. The earliest waterfowl season in the United States opens in Alaska on September 1. The ponds and estuaries of the Alaska Peninsula comprise the first staging area for migratory waterfowl entering the Pacific Flyway. Waterfowl pursued are duck species of American Widgeon, Northern Pintail, Green Wing Teal, Mallard, Greater Scaup (Bluebill), and Gadwall as well as species of geese including Cackling Canada Goose and Pacific Brant. Birds in Alaska have yet to be hunted in early September and are not decoy shy. Limits are generous and duck hunting in Alaska is a always a memorable experience.
We invite you to experience the wonders of Southwest Alaska with Crystal Creek Lodge. Our season starts in early June and runs through the summer and ends in late September or early October. Come find yourself in the heart of the untamed wilderness of Southwest Alaska and discover the very best with Crystal Creek Lodge.