Alaska Float Fishing Trips

Alaska Rainbow Adventures







Alaska's Premier Multi-Day Wilderness Float Fishing Trips.



frequently asked questions


General questions
Alaska Float Fishing TripHello, My name is Paul Hansen and I am the owner of Alaska Rainbow Adventures. I started this venture back in 1993 and originally it was whimsically called Ice Water Adventures as the concept for these trips had evolved after a couple late fall fishing trips here in Alaska for steelhead where we were constantly knocking ice out of our guides and making comments about how the water seemed to be freezing around our feet.         

Well not long after the name "Alaska Rainbow Adventures" was adopted, a bit more appropriate as it focused more on our core interest of rainbow trout fishing in Alaska as well as offering trips for pacific salmon, but it also had a less 'chilling' effect on those who heard the name. 

As there are many articles and tidbits out there that refer to "Ice Water Adventures" be it in articles published in various Angling magazines or on the internet, you may even have read a few and wondered how to contact us, well now you know and we welcome you aboard our web site. 

It is helpful to remember ones roots and the various paths one has taken in getting where one is today.
Well for one the fishing is better on one of our Alaska float trips because we are on the rivers at the peak of the salmon runs or during times when availability is highest for native species like the rainbow trout for which our trips are famous. Of course other species such as dolly varden/arctic char, sheefish, pike and grayling may too be available.

Or it might be because many of our staff are Alaskan guides that actually reside and earn their living here and bring to the river that unique local knowledge of fishing Alaska you can only get as a resident of the 49th state.

On float trips you also have increased time on the water after all you couldn't be any closer to the fishing as we camp right on the river at the best available fishing holes. Think about it this way, you are out on the river catching fish having a great time and your guide says, reel em in time to head in for dinner or happy hour 'back at the lodge'... Well keep on fishing because with us you do not need to go anywhere, because you are 'already there', camped right on the river in one of our deluxe or intimate float fishing lodge camps where you are more then welcome to fish as much as you like and many of our guests join us for this reason alone!

We can put you on the best fishing holes, one after another all day long as you to present your hook to fish in the most effective way from one of our custom inflatable boats or while wading. We cover a lot of water on our trips much of it where jet boats and airplanes simply can not or never go.  Our guides will lead you through about six to ten miles of river a day, just the right balance of wade fishing from the bank as we stop at hole after hole and of drift fishing from the boats.

Our float trips also give you more opportunities for relaxing and seeing wildlife in their natural surroundings without being run off by the sound of an approaching outboard engine.

The experience shared by a group of people on an adventure through remote, breath taking wilderness is something that you will remember foreverand many of our guests return year after year renewing friendships formed on the river with their guides and other guests they met on an Alaska Rainbow Adventures float trip.
We offer our mutli-day wilderness float trips from early June through late September on into mid October in some cases.

When to Float Fish Alaska

In order to find out when 'you' should be here, we suggest that you give us a call and discuss your groups desires in an Alaska fishing trip. This way we can then go over the many factors that make up a successful Alaska experience and find you the right trip on the right river at the right time to fit your groups expectations. The call of course is free so pick up the phone and dial 1-877-235-2647 operators are standing by!
Ok maybe not an operator, more likely you will get Paul the owner and while he will field your calls at 3 am it might be best to wait until he gets that first cup of coffee in the morning or just leave a message on the machine and follow up with an email containing your name and phone number and he will return your call. For those of you on the east coast call just before or anytime after lunch as we are four hours earlier in the day up here in Alaska, We look forward to talking with you soon!

Many of Alaska Rainbow Adventure's trips are in the world famous fisheries of the Bristol bay region of Alaska, but there are other waters we take you too as well. 

Bristol Bay of course is home to the world's largest sockeye salmon run where millions return each year, and some of the greatest freshwater fly fishing to be found on the planet. We cut our teeth guiding waters such as the Alagnak, Togiak, as well as American and Moraine and Funnel Creeks. Farther out in Southwestern Alaska we offer some of the best floats in the world on rivers with famous names like the Arolik, Goodnews, Kanektok and Togiak rivers. North of these areas, you will find the Aniak, Kwethluk, the Koktuli, Stuyahok, and Chilikadrotna in the Kuskokwim and Nushagak river drainages  Closer to Anchorage we offer trips on Alaska's first Blue Ribbon Trout Stream the Talachulitna River and occasionally Lake Creek.

Alaska Float Fishing Trips


Our Fishing Programs / Style Of Trips
We offer four different float trip programs on a wide variety waters across the state of Alaska, waters known by anglers from around the world for excellent fishing, be it for trophy rainbow trout or pacific salmon. These programs are our "Fisherman's Deluxe", "Standard" , "Intimate Rivers" & "Kanektok Style" float trips, and availability depends on the particular river you choose to float with us.

On some waters most service levels are available on others due to accessibility, logistics and a need to travel light only what we call our "intimate rivers" version is an option. Each of these packages offer a different level of service with the least expensive being what we have come to call our "intimate rivers" package utilizing smaller rafts, expedition style two man tents, and fewer other amenities then the two deluxe trips and should be considered as an 'roughing it' bare bones style trip, without seats in the rafts or cots in the tents and are comparable to what most other operators offer as standard Alaska float trip fare.

Our "Fisherman's Deluxe", "Standard", "Kanektok Style" are also what we call our "Alaska Lodge Style Float Trips" because the "accommodations" are like no other you will find on an Alaska float trip anywhere!

The Accommodations on these latter style float trips are in spacious, high quality tents made right here in Alaska. for Alaska conditions. Each of these tents is used to house two anglers in which you can stand in comfortably and come equipped with cots and chairs. This provides you ample space for your gear, as well as a comfortable retreat should the weather become inclement. Also on these trips are our custom built large gathering / dinning tent capable of holding the entire group for dining or as a gathering area. All guests are welcome to hang out in this common space for drinks, fly tying and socializing. Other comforts such as available hot showers*, toilet facilities and other little touches that make an Alaska Rainbow Adventures deluxe trip a cut above all others.

Where the trips differ, is that on the "Fisherman's Deluxe" trip there is a "two to one" guest to guide ratio with two anglers and their guide floating the river in custom built drifter rafts each equipped with custom frames that have casting stations front and rear allowing for an exceptional angling experience. "Fisherman's deluxe trips also feature an additional boat and camp hand that carries much of the camp gear and the majority of bags. Of course we still spend as much time as possible wading for fish. The additional guide/camp hand also assists in the setting up and taking down camp and assisting where necessary with guiding duties. The drifter rafts, being lightly loaded are able to access almost any run on the river much like a drift boat and are highly maneuverable as well.

Our Standard float trips offer the same camping amenities but no gear / bag boat or extra camp hand and a possiable two or three to one guest / guide ratio depending on overall group size and logistics for a particular trip. The standard and intimate style float trips require some participation and group effort. Your participation with unloading the rafts, moving camp gear and taking down sleep tents each morning is greatly appreciated. Each day anglers will be able to rotate guides enabling everyone to fish with each member of the staff if desired.

We offer a special level of service on the Kanektok river, This is an modified version of our "Fisherman's Deluxe" and "Standard" trips with all the features of an standard trip and the "two anglers per boat feature" of the fisherman's deluxe trips but no gear boat or extra guide/camp hand and guests assist the guides with camp setup and breakdown of tent and cots. These trips are limited to just eight guests total with four boats and four guides.
One of the things about floating with any type of raft that is loaded down with camping gear and anglers is that they do not allow you true access to all the available water that a smaller lightly loaded raft can get to. Therefore we now have available an option that provides for each two guests a guide with a custom built inflatable drifter raft. This is a specially built raft with casting stations front and rear, maneuverable enough to scoot across or back up some runs (perfect for mousing big bows on the Alagnak or tossing wogs at 'silvers' on the Goodnews!!) allowing great access to the best water. We can do this because the boats are first off specially built to do just this and are only lightly loaded with lunch, beverages and essential gear you need for the day.

Custom built dining tent Alaska fishing lodge on fall Alagnak river Alaska float tripThe majority of other gear will be carried to pre determined camp sites on one of our cargo boats and camp will be pre set* by a camp helper / guide before or upon your arrival and taken down each morning after you have packed for the day (On days we actually move locations). This differs from our regular or standard deluxe trips where you travel on board rafts with all your gear, the camp gear and your guide and you assist setting up and taking down camp and stop only in areas the loaded boat is able to access and safely stop. This "Fisherman's Deluxe" option does cost more as there is a lower guest to guide ratio 2 to 1, more boats, and additional camp help & flights, so expect to pay a premium per person for this service vs. our regular "Standard" float trips. On our Alagnak river float this seven day and six night trip puts you on more water and more fish then you would sitting on the gear raft and you also get our famous deluxe accommodations in our traveling Alaska tent lodge. No one but Alaska Rainbow Adventures offers you this exceptional level of service in an Alaska float trip, even most lodges can not touch us for the amount of pure fishing time on the water and the access these inflatable drift boats offer.

Our Fisherman's Deluxe Alaska Fishing Package for the serious fisher - We require a minimum of four passengers and we can handle groups of up to eight anglers on this style of trip.  - This trip Is available on our Alagnak and Goodnews River float Trips, call for details.

*Occasionally for safety and for taking advantage of exceptional fishing the gear raft will stay in proximity of the drifter rafts so camp may be set up at locations of opportunity. When those are determined the camp helper will still set up camp it will just not be pre-set up before your arrival.
We call them our "Alaska Lodge Style Float Trips" Because the accommodations are like no other you will find on an Alaska float trip anywhere. Accommodations on our Alaska river float trips are in spacious, high quality tents made right here in Alaska*. Each of these tents is used to house two anglers. This provides you ample space for your gear, as well as a comfortable retreat should the weather become inclement. We also provide comfortable cots a welcome luxury after a day of fishing, just toss on "your pad and bag" and enjoy a good nights sleep. We also feature a custom built dining tent that is capable of holding the entire group for dining or as a gathering area. This tent is also extremely weather resistant, made in Alaska for Alaska's extreme fall conditions and can be heated should you be joining us on one of our late season trips. 
Our "Standard" trips feature state of the art rafts from the some of the largest producers of whitewater craft in America are utilized to get you safely down the river in comfort. Each raft is equipped with a custom rowing frame, floor, and for angler comfort, and high back seats.

Our standard float trips offer most of the same camping amenities as out Fisherman's deluxe trips but no gear / bag boat or extra camp hand and a two or three to one guest / guide ratio depending on overall group size.

The standard style float trips require some participation and group effort. Your participation with unloading the rafts, moving camp gear putting up and taking down sleep tents is greatly appreciated. Each day anglers can rotate guides enabling everyone to fish with each member of the staff if desired.
Camping Float Fishing Trip In AlaskaOur Intimate rivers program encompasses a couple of ideals. Travel to smaller streams that offer a more intimate overall experience, and doing so with less gear then on our full blown standard or deluxe trips. On some waters this style of trip is actually necessary due to the river not having direct access by lake or just because of the size of the stream is such that the larger rafts used on our deluxe trips is not practical.

These trips allow you to get up close and personal with trophy salmon, trout, char and other species on smaller streams and are as always, provided with the same personal service and attention to detail that has long been a hallmark of an Alaska Rainbow Adventures Alaska fly fishing float trip.

This level of service is our least expensive option,  utilizing smaller rafts, expedition style tents, and fewer amenities then the  deluxe or standard trips and should be considered as an 'roughing it' bare bones style trip and is comparable to what most other operators offer as standard Alaska float trip fare.

We offer intimate rivers trips on  the Kanektok River, North and middle fork of the Goodnews, American Creek the Talachulitna, Lake Creek, Stuyahok, Koktuli and Kwethluk rivers as well as to explore new waters which are often trips suggested by previous guests during conversations around the campfire.

Remember these trips are usually unscheduled custom trips, some on smaller less traveled streams, we usually need at least four guests to get one of these on the schedule, so if you are traveling alone or have just two anglers in your group and can be flexible we often can combine groups to put a trip together. 

Minimum of four passengers but on some trips we can handle large groups of up to twelve anglers traveling together.
We offer a special level of service on the Kanektok river,  this is a modified version of our "Fisherman's Deluxe & Fisherman's Standard Trips" where you get all the features of an fisherman's standard trip but also with the two anglers per boat one front and one rear feature of the fisherman's deluxe package.

Questions? Call us for more information. These trips are limited to just eight guests total with four boats and four guides / no gear boat or extra camp hand.

Your wake-up call every morning is about 7:00 am with hot coffee and breakfast soon follows.

After eating you have time to go back to your tent to pack up your personal gear, fold up your, cot, sleeping pad and tent and take your gear down to the rafts unless it is a no travel day then you just go fishing!

We start floating around 9:00 am spending the morning floating and stopping to fish until lunchtime which we have stream side.

After lunch, we continue floating and fishing until we reach our evening campsite, usually arriving about 5:30 pm sometimes a bit later depending on who we had to drag out of that last hot run on the river.

After the rafts have been unloaded, we all help set up camp which generally takes about 30 minutes unless you have chosen one of our fisherman deluxe trips where camp will be set prior to your arrival.

Your next decision is whether to sit back and just relax or continue fishing the camp waters.

Supper is usually ready about 7:00 pm after which you can wade fish the camp waters or hang out in the gathering tent.

* Later in the season (September) we get a later start to our day due to changes in the amount of available daylight. br>
Fishing Information
The Ethical Angler By John Lyman ~ The Ethical Angler:

• Respects other anglers' rights
• Respects the rights of others who use the resource
• Respects the rights of property owners
• Keeps only fish s/he wants
• Releases unwanted fish unharmed
• Never litters or pollutes
• Knows and follows boating and fishing regulations
• Seeks new knowledge and skills
• Shares his/her knowledge with others.

Summer in Alaska brings fish and fishermen. And fisherwomen. And fisher kids. In droves and hoards. The other extreme for Alaska fishing may seem to be an unapproachable dream to some: the solitude of a reach of stream all to yourself, the sense of being completely alone on water. Whether you are in a crowd or alone, your actions reflect more than just the need to follow the law: your actions depend upon your sense of angling ethics. Angling ethics are a gift we give to ourselves. What we do when confronted with choices while fishing reflect and reinforce our image of who we are. By following the law, we can assure that we won’t be ticketed, but our ethics and our behavior helps define who we are. These ethics determine how we treat other anglers, the respect we show to private property, our honesty in our relationships with others, and whether or not we pick up litter, work for the environment, and help other would-be anglers appreciate our sport. As sport anglers, we often question ourselves and our actions. This is part of learning who we are. Do I ask a landowner for permission to fish, or do I sneak in? Do I enjoy watching another angler fish a hole and wait for my turn, or do I crowd in? Do I leave my trash behind, or do I bring a bag to clean up others thrash and leave my fishing site better than I found it? How we answer these and other questions reflects our relationship with other people and how we view our role in the world around us. Establishing a strong personal sport fishing ethic helps us grow as individuals. And one of the most difficult places to remain ethical for many is when fishing in a crowd. There are simple rules to follow when fishing in a crowd. These rules go beyond the law, make for a more pleasant experience for you as well as other anglers, and might be called crowd ethics.
Adapted from an old DNR poster, these are the ten commandments of fishing a crowded spot:
1. All persons who fish these waters are equal
2. Give each other space to fish.
3. Do not steal the spot of an angler busy landing a fish.
4. Use tackle heavy enough to control your fish quickly.
5. Land your fish quickly so that other anglers can get their gear back in the water.
6. When someone near you hooks a fish keep your tackle out of the way: stop fishing.
7. Fish in the same manner as nearby anglers.
8. Do not litter: pack out what you pack in, and more.
9. Do not intentionally snag fish. Release those that are snagged quickly.
10. Be courteous to fellow anglers.

In short, angling ethics have a lot to do with the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done to you.
John Lyman is an aquatic education coordinator with the sport fish division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

» Summer temperatures increase stress on fish and make quick and careful catch and release critical to their survival.
» Taking time to revive your fish by gently moving it back and forth underwater until it swims from your hands will increase its survival chances.
» Leaving a fish in the water gives it oxygen for quicker recovery and also supports the fish’s weight, reducing stress on its internal organs and spine.
» Holding a wet cloth or wearing a wet glove helps grip the fish and reduces injury from movement

» Use gear and line strong enough to bring fish in quickly.
» Use flies. Fish caught on flies are more likely to survive than fish caught with bait.
» Go barbless. Barbless hooks allow for a quicker release and decrease injury to fish. When tying flies, either buy barbless hooks or compress the barb on the hook with pliers before you tie.

» Land fish quickly before they are played out.
» Use a knotless or rubber mesh net. Nets minimize damage and handling time.
» Avoid fishing for cold water species (ie. trout) when water temperatures near 70 degrees. Fish are stressed in high temperatures and are less likely to survive when released.

» If possible, remove the hook quickly and gently while keeping your fish in the water.
» Use a hemostat to back the hook out of its entrance hole.
» If your fish is hooked deeply, cut the line near the hook.

» Minimize the time your fish is out of water. br>» Wet your hands when handling your fish.
» Measure and photograph the fish with it in the water.
» Never toss a fish back. Gently support the fish facing into the current until it swims from your hands.

» If the fish does not swim out of your hands, you may need to revive it.
» Move the fish gently back and forth underwater until it swims free.
» From a boat, revive a fish by leaving it underwater in the landing net with the opening facing into current until the fish swims free.

» Have both camera and photographer ready to take the picture before the fish is handled.
» Wet your hands before holding fish.
» Hold your fish horizontally and support its weight with both hands; one under the belly and one around the base of the tail.
» Photograph the fish in the water if possible.
» If you take the fish out of water, hold your breath, when you have to breathe it is time to put your fish back.
»Both fly and spin equipment are appropriate for the rivers we float, either method can be very successful. We welcome non-fly fishing anglers on our trips and offer basic fly fishing instruction to those interested in learning more.

»Fly Fishing Rods ~ For King Salmon, a 9 to 12 wt rod can be used, however the rod you choose should have plenty of backbone to aid in the landing of these 20 to 60 pound fish. The preferred rod among our guests is a 9 to 9 ½ foot 10 wt rod that is capable of casting heavy wind resistant flies.
Sink tip lines such as a Tenny T-400, SA wet tip V or fast sinking shooting heads are excellent for getting your flies down fast to the bottom of the rivers where most king catching is done. You should also include an appropriate floating line as well for shallow water situations.
A well constructed, dependable reel with a smooth drag system is a must. The reel should hold at least 200 yards of 30 pound backing.

»For Chums, Coho, sockeye salmon and big rainbows a 7 to 9 wt rod 9 ½ ft long with the most popular choice being an 9 foot 8 weight rod. Reels should hold at least 150 yards of 20 pound backing with floating and sinking tip lines to match the rod you choose.

»For Pink salmon, arctic char, grayling and other rainbow the popular choice is a five weight rod 8 to 9 foot with 100 yards of backing but a four or 6 weight will work well also

»Fly Reels ~ There are two schools of thought when it comes to fly reels for use in Alaska, with or without a drag. Which system you choose depends on how you perceive the fishing experience.
The type of reel you choose however is a personal one, we however strongly suggest that the reel you bring be of sturdy construction as it is going to get a workout. A spare spool is also advisable. If you have to bring just one reel it should at least be able to hold 150 yards of 20 pound backing and have an exposed rim so you can palm the spool as that fish of a lifetime leads you down river

»Flies ~ You can make your selection of flies for your Alaska trip as simple or complex as you like. There are hundreds of so called "Alaska" fly patterns to choose from some of which actually resemble something a trout might actually eat. Many however are gaudy creations that fish in Alaska will take at some time or another. This in no way means that your favorite box of flies will not work in Alaska. Bring it along, you may discover that experimental fly from last winter's session at the tying bench is just the ticket for an incredible day's fishing.

There is a lot of great information about flies to use in the different regions of Alaska and at different times for the various speices at the Alaska Fly Fishing Goods Web site "Click Here" to visit that site in a new window They also have great fly selections perfect for your trip to Alaska!

»Spin or Casting Rods and Reels ~ If spin or bait casting outfits are your forte' a medium weight outfit such as that used for steelhead is appropriate. An example of what could be an all around outfit is a medium action rod that can handle 10 to 15 pound line and lure weights from 3/8 to 3/4 ounce with Blue Fox pixies, we are partial to the chrome and red or pink variety, Mepps spinners and T Spoons being favorites and available from Cabela's, Bass pro or similar shops.
For kings however you will need to up size a bit using a heavy action rod that can handle at least 20 pound line. Some anglers prefer 30 pound line for these tackle busters. An ultra light combo that can handle small spinners is also a great idea to have along for grayling, dollies and smaller char and rainbows.
We do strongly discourage any use of treble hooks, and request that you replace these with barbless single hooks one or two sizes larger. This is not only for the well being of the fish, but is required on some of the waters we float. This practice also assures more solid hookups and more fish safely landed.
We recommend that you bring at least two rods and reels along with extra spools and line, if something should happen you will have spares.

»What if I do not have all the gear? ~ We can rent you gear rods and reel be it spinning of flr fly fishing if you need us to, please let us know and reserve this well in advance as we are limited in the quantity and number of rods and reels we have available for this purpose. We do usually have a limited number of spares on every trip should you have an issue with your equipment.

Note: As we are not an fixed operation such as a lodge, and as we have operations all over Bristol Bay and South Western Alaska we can not have on hand many of the items that one might find available included or as extras at a fixed operation, such as waders, sleeping bags & pads, tackle, or a substantial selection of extra available flies and lures, it is for this reason we ask that you supply those items.