Intricate Bay Lodge: World-Class Alaska Fly Fishing

Google Map of Intricate Bay Lodge
Intricate Bay Lodge is nestled in the prime location on Bristol Bay.

Intricate Bay Lodge sits along the shores of Lake Iliamna in the Bristol Bay Water Shed. There are many fishing lodges scattered throughout Alaska. Few, if any, sit in such a pivotal location. Though the lodge sits on the shores of the lake, it is located in Copper Bay. The location is at the heart of Alaska's most prominent rainbow trout fishery and offers guests a nearly endless opportunity to fish for trophy rainbows. 

The Intricate Bay Lodge: A Home to Fishermen

The lodge is completely rebuilt and upgraded following a structural fire that razed the lodge in 2014. The rebuild process produced a masterpiece of architecture that focuses on guest comfort and guest experience. Expect your stay to be equal to or exceed the amenities at a world-class hotel. Intricate Bay Lodge is not a fish camp though the focus in on fishing. This is a place where couples, families, and groups of friends can experience trophy fishing and a vacation of a lifetime. An 80-percent return rate for guests speaks volumes about the service and the experience of guests of the Intricate Bay Lodge. 

Beautiful new lodge built in 2014 situated on the shores of Lake Iliamna
Beautiful new lodge built in 2014 situated on the shores of Lake Iliamna

The Daily Routine:

One of the important things to point out is that the guide to guest ratio is 2:1. The idea is not to roust everyone out of bed at 0600, feed them, and then usher them off to a river so that they can fish. The idea is that guests choose when to start their day. Each guest sets their pace because this is about fulfilling each guest's expectation for service. 

The staff and guides know that there are so many fishing opportunities in this area, that hitting the water before the sun rises is not necessary. Fishermen experience a rich day of fishing and landing trophy sized fish every day. 

That may seem as though it is an exaggeration, but the reality is that this is an area with an amazing stock of trophy rainbow trout. All of the rivers fished by Intricate Bay Lodge are catch and release for trout. That means that the local population of wild trout is huge, literally. 

As such the morning routine starts between 0600 and 0800 or later as needed. It is the aroma of coffee and breakfast that greets you. Chef Kevin is amazing, and the food he prepares for you is equally amazing. As someone who loves food as much as fishing, Intricate Bay Lodge is really the best of two worlds. Expect world-class food and even a warm lunch served streamside. 

Before dinner guests enjoy hors d'oeuvres and beverages at the lodge. Expect quality wine and entrees that are well balanced and full of flavor. The meals themselves are pieces of art and feature perfectly prepared ribs, lamb, roasts, and seafood such as fresh salmon, halibut, and Alaskan shrimp. Chef Kevin has a passion for creating food that guests adore. Once the homemade desserts hit the table, his talents may overshadow even the fishing. 

Example of one of the many incredible meals you will enjoy during your stay at Intricate Bay Lodge
Example of one of the many incredible meals you will enjoy during your stay at Intricate Bay Lodge

Fishing For Trophy Rainbow Trout in Alaska:

The Bristol Bay area, where the Intricate Lodge is located is a haven for trophy trout. The nearby rivers are the home waters of many species of fish including wild 18-pound, trophy trout. The Copper River is divided into three sections; the top, middle, and lower. Each section is vastly different from the others and these crystal clear waters offer one of the primary fisheries for massive, monstrous rainbow trout. This is a smaller and shallow river that offers fishermen amazing access to prime fishing locations. The shallow waters make it easy and safe to wade out to the best spots from which to cast your fly. While the entire river is known for its population of trophy rainbows, there are other amazing fish for which to vie. Sockeye salmon and Dolly Varden char are just a few reasons to hit the Copper River. The sockeye invade by the millions in July. The Dolly Varden show up in August.

Another amazing creek is Moraine Creek, which offers outstanding fishing in a quiet, peaceful paradise. Sometimes it is good just to take a moment and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. That is something that Moraine Creek offers. In early August and September, Moraine Creek quietly becomes one of the best local rivers for those who love fishing for rainbow trout. 

After the sockeye salmon have completed their spawning cycle, the rainbows continue to forage for poorly buried salmon roe. A lot of fishermen come to Alaska each summer because of the salmon fishing. Salmon is an outstanding sports fish that is also great to eat. Many of those fishermen leave Alaska with a new found love for rainbow trout. Alaska, like much of the lower 48, has a variety of trout. Cutthroat, Lake, and other trout species are fun to catch, but none of these compare to the large, wild, rainbow trout that call the rivers of the Bristol Bay Water Shed home. 

Trophy Rainbow caught on Moraine Creek
Trophy Rainbow caught on Moraine Creek - Photo by Iryna Harry

The Fishing Experience

The lodge provides everything you need to enjoy a week of battling trophy trout and salmon. They offer guest the use of echo rods paired with a variety of mid-range reels, such as those manufactured by Sage, Hardy, and Grey. Guests are welcome to bring their own gear. 

Quite a few fishermen bring their own flies. If you do, be sure to include some of the local patterns. Large dry flies work the best because you are not spending all day reeling in small fish. Good patterns include egg sucking leech, stonefly nymphs, dry mouse patterns, and fry or minnow patterns work well. A local favorite is the Dolly Lamas fly pattern. Rainbow trout and salmon both like bright colored flies. Those range from bright pink to chartreuse. Popsicle patterns can also work well. 

Guests of the lodge have three primary fishing packages from which to choose. 

  • There is a land package keeps guests within the local area where salmon and trout fishing is sublime. 
  • For those who want to experience a variety of fishing locations the lodge offers a fly out package that includes five days of fly outs and two days of local fishing. 
  • For those who want the best of both worlds the lodge offers a combo package that offers three days of fly outs and three days of local fishing. 
  • Guests can purchase additional fly outs regardless of their package. 

Fly-outs are awesome adventures because they put your right where the fish are, especially if guests have a specific species of fish they wish to target. A good example might be King Salmon beginning June 8th, or Dolly Varden in August and September. To help assure that guests have the time of their lives, Intricate Bay Lodge added a Dehavill and Beaver floatplane to their already awesome fleet of planes. At Intricate Bay Lodge, the guests decide their adventures and the lodge just makes sure it happens. 

The fishing experience is heightened by the quality of the guides. Intricate Bay Lodge has a team of experienced and dedicated guides. These seasoned veterans not only know the local rivers well, but also they know the fish. That is an important factor when it comes to meeting the expectations of guests. All levels of fishermen are welcome. Each of the guides has the ability and willingness to work with brand new fishermen. Veteran fly fishermen too, can learn a thing or two from the guides. Many have been guiding fishermen for years. The lodge even boasts the skills of Brian Hammer, who teaches fly fishing and fly tying on the college level during the off season. You could not ask for a better group of guides. 

For those of you who are brand new to fly fishing, the lodge offers casting lessons when you arrive. Once you master the technique, you are free to catch trout off of the pier for practice. The only fishing gear that guests need to bring is a fishing license, and if you are fishing for Kings, you will need a king salmon stamp. The lodge has a wonderful, commercial grade processing plant for fish. All salmon are fileted; vacuum packaged, frozen and packed in airplane approved Styrofoam coolers. The process ensures you can take home some of the wonderful salmon that you catch. 

Fly Fishing on Moraine Creek with some friends
Fly Fishing on Moraine Creek with some friends - Photo by Iryna Harry

The Bottom Line

Intricate Bay Lodge is a smaller lodge. It focuses on providing personal attention through customized itineraries. The result is guests that leave happy with their experience both in terms of fishing and in terms of their vacation. The location of the lodge, between the Copper and Gibralter Rivers, allows the lodge to provide a wide array of fishing opportunities for all levels of fishermen. The newly built lodge features beautiful views, comfortable rooms, and well-stocked common areas, all within the famous Bristol Bay Water Shed. Expect the trip of your lifetime and don't be surprised if you return often for  new adventures. Many guests continue their journey with Intricate Bay Lodge year after year. 

Beautiful view of Intricate Bay Lodge on Lake Iliamna in the evening
Beautiful view of Intricate Bay Lodge on Lake Iliamna in the evening - Photo by Iryna Harry

Intricate Bay Lodge Contact Information

Intricate Bay lodge Website: http://intricatebaylodge.com
Phone: 1-412-527-9346

2015 Rates

Night / Days Fishing Cost Per Person
7 Day Fishing Package (No fly outs) $3,500
7 Day Fishing Package (3 days of fly out fishing) $5,500
7 Day Fly-Out Fishing Package (5 days of fly out fishing) $7,500
7 Day Float Fishing Trip $3,200

Visit http://intricatebaylodge.com/rates/ for the most up to date pricing information and to inquire about booking your Alaska fishing vacation with Intricate Bay lodge email brian@intricatebaylodge.com.

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