Aniakchak River (Fishing)
Duration: 8 Days
Best weather: Late June through early July is best weather month for hiking, birding and wildflowers. It’s a most excellent scenic float trip.
End of July-through August.
Ouzel has been running this river for 35 years.
Aniakchak is a remote wilderness adventure without parallel in Alaska. The salmon fishing can be excellent, but what draws you to this expedition is the adventure. The hiking is superb. The trip begins with an hour and a half flight from King Salmon, down the Alaska Peninsula where we land on Surprise Lake which is inside of a giant shield volcano.
Flying through the gates is quite a trip! Generally we camp for two nights inside the caldera so you can explore the unique surroundings.
You fly by several of Alaska’s biggest lakes, Iliamna, Naknek, and Becharof, past rugged glacier covered mountains, a few active volcanos, and over the eastern side of Alaska’s biggest commercial salmon fishing area, Bristol Bay. Excitement builds as your pilot banks into the Aniakchak crater by flying through a gap in the caldera wall called “the gates”.
Upon exiting the float plane that lands on Surprise Lake and stepping out onto the crater floor, you feel like a space traveler landing on a distant planet. The rugged volcanic world extending for 6 miles is enclosed by steep rock walls where nature is still trying to add a touch of green to the barren landscape. The river running out to the ocean beckons, but for the first couple days you have the opportunity to explore the sculptural topography left by the volcanic eruption of 1932.
The emerald green lake with rusty orange warm springs provides an ideal environment for foxes and caribou. The lack of vegetation makes hiking easy and enjoyable. Those who want more adventure, you can hike to the top of the crater wall and enjoy views of the Bering Sea, Pacific Ocean and one of the most spectacular panoramas imaginable.
We usually spend 2 nights in the caldera. That give us the first and second day to explore the caldera.
Day 3 we start the float section of the expedition. The river portion starts with a row across the lake and then off you go, down white water pouring out through “the gates.” The rapids which can be very difficult, class 3 or 4 at least. This is a once in a lifetime experience! If you are a true adventure addict and enjoy getting off the beaten path to do some fishing or just out to enjoy wild nature with no one else around then the is the adventure for you. After all, how many places can you land on a lake inside a active volcano? Hike a couple of days then float down the side of a volcano on one of the most remote rivers in the world?
Along the way on day 3 we stop for lunch, take group photos, with the stunning back drop of “the gates” and caldera, and high five your guide and other group members, for the fun experience down the rapids.
The river continues through lush mountain sides, step canyons, walls with gushing waterfalls and great fishing holes. Along the way the river meanders through some of the most isolated landscapes in Alaska. In 1980 Aniakchak River received status as a Wild and Scenic River. The trip ends in true expedition style by, rowing out into the open Pacific Ocean, and then landing on a stunning beach straight out of magazine.
The Aniakchak, supports moose, caribou, bears, wolves, foxes, and all of the sea run species of fish available in Alaska. Chum Salmon arrive first in late June bringing the bears that stay around all summer for Arctic Char, King, Sockeye, Pink, and finally Silver Salmon. The Rainbow population was nearly devastated in 1932 when there was an eruption event. The Rainbow trout are coming back now.