Our Fly Fishing Program

Guide Service

We are a professional guide service and believe that we have a very important role to play in preserving this fishery for fishermen of the future.  During your week, you will fish with different guides.  If you have any questions about fishing techniques or etiquette, please do not hesitate to ask.  We are happy to help.

Our guides have fished around the world and make this their career.  We have a 2:1 guest to guide ratio.  They can help the beginner learn how to cast or show the experienced fly fishermen how to reach a tricky undercut bank.  They will give you as much or as little assistance as you desire.

The Fishing Schedule

The Copper River Lodge has a distinct advantage of being a small operation located right on the river.  This allows us to cater to both the serious and the more laid back fisherman.  Joe Hyde,  our on-site manager, will customize a fishing schedule with guests when they arrive at the Copper River Lodge.  Fishing schedules will vary depending on the time of year, fly out availability, weather, and guest preferences.  Here is the general schedule: 

Our daily fishing schedule runs from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  If you get tired or cold, we can take you in early.  Each day begins around 7:00 a.m. with a hearty breakfast (if you are an early riser coffee is set out beforehand).  The fishing day begins at 8:00 a.m.  The guides will pack a picnic lunch, which usually is eaten on the river.  We use 16’ tunnel boats with 40 hp jet units to run the river.  We rarely, if ever, fish from the boat.  The Copper River is perfect for wade fishing.  We use the boat only as a means to get to the next fishing hole.  You can stay out and fish until 6:00 p.m. at which point the boats have to be back at the lodge.  We have a generous dinner served family style followed by a gourmet dessert around 8:00 p.m.  We also have a sauna that our guests enjoy after a hard day of fishing. 

The Fishing Program

We have included fly outs in our lodge package for 2023.  With the addition of our floatplane, we will be able to fly up to 4 anglers per day to different sections of our home river and/or different fisheries in the Lake Iliamna/Katmai region.  This program enables anglers to see a variety of different water while still getting to fish the Copper River on the non-fly out days.  Each angler should plan on 3-4 fly out days per week (weather permitting). 

We also have a lake boat to access other tributaries of Lake Iliamna.  We use this boat especially to fish the Gibraltar River, which can be an exceptional fishery.  Please note we can only do this trip on days that are not very windy as the lake can get very big swells.

Caring for the fish you catch during your week is a critical component of our fishing program.  All fishing for rainbow trout on the Copper River and other area fisheries is catch and release using barbless hooks.

Equipment & Clothing

Fishing equipment and clothing vary greatly from week to week.  In June, July, and early August, you will use a 5 or 6 weight fly rod for the trout. 

In July, the salmon start to show up and will fight well all the way into early August.   An 8 weight is the ideal set up for these strong fighting fish.  In August, September, and early October, we suggest a 6 or 7 weight rod.  We generally use floating lines, but occasionally in the fall a streamer down deep can be effective.  We suggest that anglers coming in the fall bring a sinking tip line.  If you enjoy fishing with sink tip lines you can catch fish on streamers all season.

Always bring a back up rod because broken rods are much more common than you would think.  The lodge also has backup fly rods available for guest use.

In general, June and July average temperatures are in the 60’s to mid-70’s.  Temperatures in the fall are quite a bit cooler and average in the 50’s.  Later in September and October, the temperatures can drop into the 30’s and 40’s.  Keep in mind that Alaska has unpredictable weather so it is always good to come prepared.  Please visit our Packing List to see a complete list of equipment and clothing to pack for your trip. 

Rod/Wader Rentals:

With luggage restrictions becoming more of an issue with the airlines, we now offer rentals for our clients.  A week’s wader rental is $125.  Rod rental is $75 for the week with a $50 breakage fee if you happen to break our rod during your stay.  Please call us to reserve the rentals at least 90 days before your arrival.

Fishing licenses can be purchased online at Alaska Department of Fish and Game - be sure to purchase the one week license for the dates of your trip.  In regards to packing flies, they are included in the package.  Please feel free to bring some of your own patterns.  We have a lodge policy of using barbless hooks to help protect the fish.