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Anvik River Lodge: Truly Remote Alaska Fishing

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Posted by David S on

The Anvik River Lodge sits in the heart of the middle Yukon, about 450 miles northwest of Anchorage. The nearest town is the village of Anvik which is about a two-hour and fifteen minute, 75 mile boat ride up the Anvik River to the lodge. Relax & enjoy the scenery. The boats are enclosed so you don't have to worry if it's chilly or a little rainy. This initial ride up river really gives you a sense of how truly remote you are. There are few other signs of human inhabitants outside of a couple of rarely used trapper cabins and a fish & game run sonar tent camp (that I'm told runs for only about a month during the summer).

The ride is nice. However, it's the fishing here that draws people. There are five species of Pacific Salmon as well as Arctic Char, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling, Cisco White fish, and Northern Pike. This is the land of the midnight sun and with that you can fish as long as you want. The lodge offers a 1:2 guide to guest ratio and some of the finest food you will find anywhere.

How Remote is Remote?

This is the remote Alaska that we all read about. This is the only lodge you will find in this region of the state. It is just you, your companions, the staff...and the fish.

The boat ride from Anvik is quite relaxing and it makes for a good time to relax and take in your new surroundings. They provide you with sandwiches on homemade bread, cookies that are to die for and, of course, beer, sodas & water. Have the camera ready too because along the shore you may see bear, wolves, moose, and numerous species of birds.

When you turn the last bend in the river and spot the lodge and its grounds for the first time, it is everything and more than expected. Set on a five-acre parcel in the middle of nowhere, it's pretty impressive what the Hickson's and their staff have created. There's a huge garden, greenhouse, solar arrays for power, a back-up generator, satellite internet and a repeater/transmitter telephone system. The Lodge itself offers just five interior guest rooms and a private cabin so, even when full, it is not overcrowded. The Anvik is a crystal clear river and the fishing here is sublime. There are no crowded shores. The river is yours to enjoy.

Anvik River Lodge - Moose
Moose crossing the Anvik River

Why Should You Fish the Anvik River?

The Anvik River stretches and meanders over 140-miles before it empties into the Yukon River. It gets its start in the Nulato Hills and passes by the village of Anvik as it meets the Yukon. The Anvik River Lodge sits nestled amid a densely mixed hardwood and conifer forest located along the shores of the Anvik River; the lodge offers fishermen something unique.

Why is this important? The Anvik River is one of the most remote rivers in Alaska with a pristine status. What that means for the guests of the lodge is that the Anvik fish population is pretty much as it has been for thousands of years. The resident fish are content to wait for the all the Salmon species to arrive on the scene. The biggest fish in the river, and the only one to compete in size with the Chinook Salmon, is the Northern Pike. Some measuring up to four feet and better in length, these lean predators are powerful. Pure sport is what you get when you target Northern Pike.

Anvik River Lodge - Northern Pike
Northern Pike

Why the Anvik River Lodge?

Here in the Middle Yukon, the Anvik River is the life vein that runs across this part of Alaska. One of the best things that sets the Anvik River Lodge apart for many other fishing lodges is that the fish runs here are later in the summer. For example, King or Chinook Salmon run from late June through mid-August. The Anvik River caters to a small number of visitors. It is one of Alaska's most under-fished rivers and for guests of the lodge, that will mean a haven for fishing. So what do we mean when we say "a haven for fishing?" Let's start with five species of Pacific Salmon. They have Kings, Sockeye, Silvers, Two runs of Keta (chum) Salmon, and Pink Salmon on even years. They have a boat-load of really good sized Arctic Grayling, Dolly Varden, Arctic Char, Whitefish, and Northern Pike.

Fishing and Fun - it's what you came to Alaska to do. This river - This lodge - It just doesn't get any better.

Fishing with the Anvik River Lodge

The Yukon is the land of the midnight sun. As long as you can stay awake, you can fish. You can even fish right in front of the lodge if you'd like. The daily fishing is guided for nine hours a day; the lodge and the guides have years and years of experience fishing on the Anvik River. Most have been here over five years, some for over nine years, and if you are lucky enough to get Cliff to guide you, he has been here for 20 years. The river is a prime fly-fishing location, but spin casters are welcome too. The guides are all experienced and knowledgeable, and the fishing is great. All fishermen regardless of age or experience are welcomed. The Anvik River Lodge is a wonderful lodge for those who are veteran fishermen, and for those who are novice. The guides are always happy to teach a new fishermen how to fly-fish or spin-cast. They offer a patient and easy-to-understand way to fish. No matter your experience level, you will leave as a very satisfied angler.

You will get a five star experience with the Anvik River Lodge. Everyone here is very professional but, at the same time, make you feel like family. Your every need seems to be anticipated ahead of time and attended too. From the time you get on the private charter flight in Anchorage to head to Anvik ,the lodge takes care of everything. The boats have a ton of top-shelf gear including flies, lures, rods, and reels. Two guests per one guide is the typical ratio. No need to bring lots of gear, it is all supplied. And in case you don't feel spoiled enough by your guides while you're on the river - your laundry is even taken care of daily while you're out fishing.

Anvik River Lodge - Shore Lunch
Enjoying today's catch on a shore lunch

Planning Your Trip

Regardless of where you go in Alaska, planning a fishing trip begins with the identifying the type of fish you want to target. That is true because the fish runs occur differently in different areas and rivers. As such, the fishing run schedule for Anvik River Lodge is as follows:

  • King Salmon - Early/Mid July - mid-August 8-40 pounds sometimes larger
  • First Run Keta Salmon - Late June - Late July -6-7 pounds
  • Fall Run Keta Salmon - Late July - Early September - 7-10 pounds
  • Silver Salmon - mid-August - Late September -7-10 pounds
  • Sockeye Salmon - mid-July - Late August -7-10 pounds
  • Dolly Varden - Year Round 5-30 inches sometimes larger
  • Northern Pike - Year Round - 5-25 pounds
  • Arctic Grayling - Year Round - to 23 inches
  • Whitefish - Year Round

That is a long list of fish and another reason the Anvik River Lodge is special. People come for the outstanding salmon fishing and then something happens. They discover that the Anvik River is not just about salmon fishing; there are a lot of fish in the river. You spend your day limiting out on Kings, Silvers, Keta or Sockeye's and, suddenly, they can all wait. The Dolly Varden and Arctic Grayling are fighters and they are large. These are the fish that put the word "sport" into sport fishing, as many people catch in excess of 100 fish in a day.

An experience like this is what many fishermen dream of and it is very likely that here you will experience such a day. The Anvik River is a clear water river and there are plenty of opportunities to site fish, so be sure to pack your "Polaroid" sunglasses so you can see the fish in the water. It is an incredible fishery.

About the Anvik Lodge

The lodge is home and offers guests over 4,000 square feet of living space. There are five interior guest rooms that all have private bathrooms and on-demand hot water showers. There is one single guest cabin adjacent to the main lodge. The capacity of the property is 14 guests. The main lodge is made from spruce log construction and has the great rustic feel you'd expect in a remote lodge in Alaska. There are plenty of comforts here too. Expect plush sitting areas with sofas, a big wood burning stove, well-stocked bar, and large picture windows that let you enjoy views of the river while you enjoy and lots of good conversation. Meals at the lodge (which are outstanding) are served family-style at a huge dining table that was built on-site from local spruce. Hosts Cliff & Cheryl have run the lodge for over 20 years and join guests for dinner each night. They are always happy to share tales of their lives in the wilderness.

Anvik River Lodge - Guest Cabin and Accommodations
Guest Cabin & Accommodations

The grounds are exquisite with a huge garden and there are flowers everywhere. This is an outstanding lodge for hardcore fishermen, novices, families, or anyone just wanting to experience the great outdoors. The guides here are incredible and they take the time to make sure everyone is enjoying their days fishing.

Amenities include an authentic wood-fired steam lodge, internet access, daily laundry service, 24-hour electricity, completely silent provided by its 16000 watt solar system, complimentary bar, and a logo shop.

Your day at the lodge starts with a hearty breakfast with favorites like Eggs Benedict or French Toast from homemade bread. Another standard (and favorite) is eggs to order, hash browns, bacon, and fruit. It is good food and will power you through the day.

If you have special dietary needs that won't be a problem. You'll receive a guest questionnaire well before your trip. Just let them know if you've got any dietary restrictions or special requests and the kitchen staff will be most accommodating.

Fishing begins when you are ready to fish. The coffee is always ready by 6:30 am, and breakfast follows by 08:00 am. The fishing boats depart the dock 9:00 am, or whenever you're ready. That said, there is no reason to race to the river to fight for a prime spot. You will fish each day in a new assigned area, with a different guide. The entire river is a prime spot and you share it with just the 14 guests from the lodge. There is even a hiking opportunity if you'd like to hike to a fabulous pointed hill top with a 360 degree vista. Guests return back to the lodge at generally at 6:00 pm (or earlier if you'd like) and dinner is served about 7:15 pm.

Overall, expect a professional, comfortable, genuinely hospitable and well-run lodge. There is plenty to do here to keep you occupied. Between the yard games, bonfires or more fishing from the docks in front of the lodge, there is something for everyone. The crew here makes this a wonderful place to enjoy an amazing vacation of fishing and nature.

If you are interested in fishing with the Anvik River Lodge, don't hesitate; book early. This place books up fast, especially for stays during the peak salmon runs. For the most up to date packages & cost visit the fishing packages page on their website.

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