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Reader Ted Schmidt recently wrapped up a trip to the Kanektok River in Alaska fishing for trout, Arctic char, and Dolly Varden, as well as coho and chinook salmon. Thoroughly impressed with the operation, Wild River Guides (Dillingham, AK), Schmidt had the opportunity to fish for an abundance of species, and had only high marks for their outfit.

In a river system well known for its king salmon runs—with reports and pictures of gargantuan kings consistently flooding the media and fishing world—Schmidt had to experience the phenomenon for himself, and what better place than the Kanektok. He booked his trip directly with the outfitter, whose name and operation are likely new to readers of this newsletter, and reported that the food, lodging, and guiding were excellent. We definitely hope others will report on this outfitter in the future so that we can gain a better understanding of the quality of fishing to be expected from Wild River Guides.

On their website, Wild River Guides claims that they have three specialties:

First is guiding fly fishers, their friends, and families on remote fly-in Alaskan rivers seldom fished by fishing lodges or other guides. Second is providing very comfortable raft travel and camps in truly extraordinary wilderness settings. Third, Mark is a retired Alaska natural resource manager with four decades as a naturalist in wildest Alaska. Your experiences with wildlife, geology, birding, and photography are going to be dramatically enhanced traveling with Mark and his guides.

Schmidt said that during his time on the Kanektok, he “caught more char (Dolly Varden) than a man has a right to catch,” and that he “hooked up every other cast on the surface.” Aside from char, Schmidt was also able to get into some pretty productive runs of silvers and kings, claiming, “The fishing got better each day, with the Silver and Chinook fishing off the charts the last three days. Big, dime-bright, fresh silvers!” The river was not the only place with a hotbed of fish activity, as Schmidt noted that they had fresh delicious fish served every night with dinner as well.

As to the day-to-day techniques and approaches, Schmidt noted that there was a mix of wade and float fishing involved in his fishing schedule, and that even the owner of the lodge, Mark Rutherford, was a part of the knowledgeable guiding staff. As far as tackle goes, he says that they used a mixture of rod weights and sizes, with 6- to 9-weight rods being the norm. They also used a mixture of floating and sink-tip lines, depending on the technique and the species they were fishing for at the time. The weather was typical for the region in late July, with off-and-on rain and cold mornings and evenings. This trip comes highly recommended by Schmidt, who priced the adventure at around $5,500. He ended his report by simply remarking, “Great guides. Beautiful, wild river.”


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