Bouncing Back from 2020 - The 2021 Fishing Season in Review
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We touch base with a few Alaska lodge owners and guides around the start of each calendar year to see how the previous season went for them and the anglers they hosted. Looking back at the 2021 season was of extra interest because we weren't sure if Covid19 may have still been affecting travel or if the slower 2020 season affected the fishing this past year.
Fortunately, it seems like last year was strong for both the fishing and traffic which make for high hopes as everybody looks forward to another great Alaska fishing season.
The fishing? How was the fishing?
Well…you're here looking into good fishing, so we'll start there. For the most part, all the lodge owners and guides we spoke to felt that the fishing was relatively normal for Alaska (meaning great compared to other places). The only fish species that was referenced as being down was Chum Salmon - Rob from Aniak Air Guides was one of a few that commented on the chum but he did say that all the resident fish (Rainbow Trout, Arctic Char, Dolly Varden, and Arctic Grayling) were hitting strong and hard all season long.
A lot of anglers traveling to Alaska put King Salmon on their list of targets, it's one of the most popular species of course. Jason of Wilderness Place Lodge did mention that King Salmon populations have been lower state-wide for the past decade. Although, he also noted a gradual climb of numbers from river management like the ones they fish (their lodge is in the remote Susitna Valley). He credits the catch-and-release program with keeping the fishing pressure down while letting guests fish for King Salmon all day so they can maximize their Alaskan fishing experience. He did note that the last two weeks of the season were memorable because they saw some of the largest king salmon from that river in over a decade.
Another popular fish species is Rainbow Trout and Wayne from Alaska Trophy Adventures said the trout fishing in June was the best they ever saw. He's been fishing the Bristol Bay region for six years now and also mentioned the sockeye run was exceptional…a record-breaking year for the region.
So the fishing is good, but is travel smooth? Is there space for my fishing group?
Kodiak Island Resort in Larsen Bay had a change of ownership recently. Bob, the new owner, said they had some major remodeling to the lodge and didn't take any bookings until April 2021, but they did book full for July and August. The remodel is done and they are looking forward to a full season of helping guests get the fishing trip of a lifetime.
It's good they are ready because demand is up plus a lot of places gave the option to roll trips back a year. Alaska Trophy Adventures had over 100 cancellations in 2021 due to travel restrictions and rolled those trips into 2022, so they have a lot of space filled but not really with new guests. The Wilderness Place Lodge notes a really high demand and are already 80% booked for 2022 with some reservations already in place for 2023.
A lot of people are hungry to get out of their houses and cross off bucket list trips like Alaska. That's evident in the amount of new visitors to Alaska…George from The Denali Angler referenced that, noting how encouraging it was to work with a lot of first time fly fishers. He said how people were looking to get out and try something new and that lots of people will want to get out on the water again and put tough times behind them.
The takeaway…is to book as soon as you know that you are ready to travel because lodges and guides have roll over bookings plus the interest in travel is high (and the fishing is great).
Lodges and Guides from above
You'll see a lot of experienced Alaska fishing trips from guides and lodge owners in our articles and we appreciate the input from the following ones on this article.
- The Denali Angler – Fishing Guide targeting Arctic Graying in the Denali National Park Area
- Aniak Air Guides – Experience the adventure of a lifetime in the remote and scenic backcountry of the Yukon-Kuskokwim-Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska. Offers both Guided & Unguided Remote Float Fishing Trips.
- Kodiak Island Resort – Spectacular luxury in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness. Located on the quiet shore of Larsen Bay on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Kodiak Island Resort is the most luxurious wilderness fishing resort and lodge in Alaska.
- Alaska Trophy Adventures Lodge – Situated on the remote banks of the Wild and Scenic Alagnak River out of Bristol Bay Alaska Trophy Adventures Lodge is the perfect wilderness fishing retreat.
- Wilderness Place Lodge – Wilderness Place Lodge is an award-winning and top-reviewed remote lodge. We focus on people, flexibility and service first. We design each trip package to meet the unique needs of each group.
Popular Alaska Fishing Destinations
World-Class Saltwater Fishing & Sightseeing - The Cook Inlet & surrounding areas are remarkably beautiful and one of the most heavily visited areas for fishing and outdoor recreation.
The World Famous Kenai River - Fishing for King Salmon, Silver Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Trophy Rainbow Trout & more
A beautiful stretch of calm coastal waters in Southeast Alaska - Fantastic guided saltwater & freshwater fishing, self-guided fishing options, spectacular views, wildlife viewing & more with a wide range of towns & islands from which to base your trip.
Beautiful Views From the Shores of the Cook Inlet - Saltwater Fishing for Trophy King Salmon & Huge Halibut along with excellent freshwater fishing in Ninilchik River & Deep Creek as well.
Known as the "Little Brother of the Kenai River" - The Kasilof is a glacially fed river, approximately 17 miles long and the prime fishing targets are King, Sockeye & Silver Salmon as well as Steelhead.