Katie and I had the opportunity to visit the Royal Coachman Lodge this past June for a full week of fishing and filming. Royal Coachman Lodge is located on the Nuyukuk River inside the Wood-Tikchik State Park - our nation's largest state park. They are an intimately sized Alaska lodge, hosting 10-12 guests per week. They operate a fly out fishing program with two De Havilland beavers, accessing fisheries as far as 200 miles away.
Brad Waitman at Igiugig Lodge graciously invited us to his lodge for a couple days of fishing and filming for our recent fly fishing film, Long Live the King. Located at the mouth of the Kvichak River and the outlet of Alaska's famous Lake Iliamna, sits his humble, family-run fishing lodge. The beach front location on the giant lake makes it feel you are on the ocean somewhere - maybe the Oregon Coast. Waves were licking the shore, and we really felt like we were out there - in the REAL Alaska. Brad runs a small operation, hosting just 4-6 guests per week. Brad is a pilot and a guide. So, he flies a Cessna 206 to many different fisheries in Bristol Bay and Katmai National Park, where he puts his 29+ years of Alaska guiding experience to work for you. The truth is, the guy is a fish hound. I mean he is fish nuts! One of those guys that has a sixth sense, and just knows how find fish, with every type of tackle and skill level. We asked Brad to try put us on King Salmon on fly rods on the very large Nushagak River, which does not naturally lend itself to fly fishing. Nevertheless, Brad was able to put us in the right spots at the right time for outstanding success. Nothing like having an ocean bright King Salmon tearing line off your reel at slack tide!
In addition to Brad's skills as a guide/pilot, he and his wife Brenda were incredibly generous hosts. The family atmosphere, good home-cooking, and comfortable accommodations made for a fantastic apres-fish experience. If you're looking for serious fishing, comfortable accommodations, with a first-class family owned lodge - consider Igiugig Lodge.
Homewater - Located on the Kvichak River, their operation is based on one of the most productive fisheries in Bristol Bay for both salmon and giant rainbows. When weather doesn't allow you to fly, it will not affect your day of fishing. It just might improve it.
Small Group Exclusivity - The lodge is available as exclusive with just 4 anglers.
Serious Anglers Take Note - If you're interested in fishing and fishing hard for a solid week, you've found the right place. If you want to swing for the world's hottest rainbows on the Kvichak with one of Alaska's most experienced guides, Igiugig Lodge.
Price - As a Bristol Bay operation offering fly outs, Igiugig Lodge's week rate sits at a modest $6,200. With special pricing available through us at Fly Out. Questions? Contact Us
A week on the Togiak River with Warren MacDonald, who fly fishes from his wheelchair, and with Nick Watson – disabled Army Ranger / founder of Veterans Expeditions, and Dick Watson, his father – a Vietnam Veteran.
From the trip log: "Some hours we passed through schools of salmon and Dolly Varden Char and other hours we fished through a pristine river devoid of fish but full of beauty. We travelled in all kinds of weather and that felt like we were earning our place among the wildlife on the landscape, as only those who live exposed out in the elements, can earn their passage. Some days we saw a powerboat from a fishing lodge or from Togiak Village, and they gazed at the wheelchair lashed on our raft and raised a hand of greeting.
I knew within seconds of meeting former Army Ranger Nick Watson that his outlook on life and his good attitude about challenges would help make our fly-fishing expedition a success. As he deplaned in Dillingham I reached out to shake his hand and was amazed at what he handed me! Oops I should have remembered that it was his right hand that had been re-shaped by 6 surgeries.
The partial hand that returned my handshake was strong and calloused and the human face above it smiled saying that he was pleased to meet me. His father, Dick Watson, reached out and crushed my hand saying that he'd fished for Striped Bass all his life in New England and was excited to learn to fly fish with his son for salmon and trout.
Down the hall rolled our third angler, Warren MacDonald on an all terrain wheelchair. Warren is a "double- below the knee- amputee". He had a big grin upon arrival and while we headed to the baggage claim I told him that I was surprised at how he'd deplaned so quickly. I couldn't mentally grasp how he'd descended Dillingham's old-fashioned aircraft stairs, which are like those used on DC 3's in the 1950's, as fast as the other passengers. He explained in a very understated manner that he appreciated the flight crew's offers of assistance to transfer him to an aisle wheel chair and help him down the stairs but that he'd maneuvered down the aisle and then the stairs using his arms, torso, and the stumps of legs. He said it takes him more time explaining to various airport agents how he could manage it by himself -than it takes just launching down the stairs.