Alaska Rainbow Adventures
South West Alaska
The Kwethluk is not a river for novices, not because it is a very remote and hard to access River. Not because it has portions that are physically demanding, or because it requires skilled handling of the oars in a fast paced, ever changing series of wood laden braids and ever changing channels, or that it demands a sharp eye to locate sufficient campsites over long stretches, not even because that in over 100 miles of river you are completely on your own.
Is not for novices, due to all of the above. But the reward is so very worth it.
Beginning at the portage from Boundary Lake, in the Kilbuck Mountains, the Kwethluk meanders as a narrow, winding river that more resembles a creek for the first few days of the float trip. From the first days campsite at the put-in, fishing for Leopard Rainbows and Arctic Grayling is fast and furious, and only gets better as the days progress.
The myriad side channels and beaver lodges and dams provide for excellent structure in which these fish thrive. Nymphs, dries, and streamers all produce fish with equal success, and allow for a great variety of opportunities. Attention is required, because with all that wood in the water and along the banks, catching the prolific "Wood Trout" can become a frustratingly regular occurrence.
As the float trip progresses along the bases of soaring peaks with apt names like Elbow, Three Step, and Breast Mountain, the Kwethluk begins to deepen and broaden out into a more typical Western Alaska River. Channel selections are fast and frequent as our guides try to keep the raft on the fish and out of the sweepers and strainers. Along this stretch the size class of the Rainbows notably increases, and we begin encountering (depending on the timing of the trip) salmon.
Evenings are spent camping along the long gravel islands and sandbars, with stunning views and spectacular fishing. Wildlife sightings are common, with Caribou, Moose, Bears, Lynx, Pine Marten and Wolverines being seen with varying regularity, from the beginning to the last day of the trip.
Once the trip leaves the proximity of the Kilbucks it enters into a wide valley and slows significantly and deepens notably. If the timing of the trip is such that Coho Salmon are in river, now is when they begin to really arrive in large numbers, and only increase in volume as the trip begins approaching it s final few days.
Rainbow action only increases with the presence of salmon, be it the acrobatic Coho, the underrated and feisty Chum, the lowly Humpy, the knuckle-busting Sockeye, or the arm taxing Chinook, once we start seeing salmon, the Rainbows and Dolly Varden are right there with them.
The Kwethluk is a long float, and for very good reasons. You simply don't rush through over 100 miles of Spectacular Alaskan Fishing. If ever a River required time to stop and take it all in, the Kwethluk is that River.
As the trip winds down and the last night's camp is made, and rafts broken down in anticipation of the following mornings extraction, the fishing remains red hot. But even as we load up the last morning, the trip is not yet quite complete. The approximately 2 hour ride inside the cabin of a jet boat, through oxbow turns, as we make our way down the Kwethluk to the mighty Kuskokwim River, and on into Bethel is not to be overlooked for the thrill and experience that it is.
The Kwethluk, she isn't for novices, that's why we guide you in safety and style. Because once you've experienced this river, all the others will pale in comparison.