Recommendations for Nushagak
I'm finally at a point in my life that I can almost afford a trip the Nushagak. I'm looking for a few recommendations for lodges/guides. I am looking for something that has electricity because I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine. I'd prefer to have a bed, but an air mattress on the floor would do. I also would like a guide because I'm not really knowledgeable about the fishing techniques in that area. I've searched the internet and some places seem really nice, but would like some recommendations from people that have actually been and had a good experience. This is kind of a trip of a lifetime for me and I want to get the most out of the amount I can spend. Which brings me to my price point - I really can't afford more than about $3500. If you have any good recommendations, please chime in or send me an email/PM. Thanks for the help...
I haven't spent time at the outfitters on the Nushagak, but I've spent 7 years fishing the place as a DLG resident. The vast majority of folks directly on the river are tent or yurt or weatherport camps (comfy but tents) and do have generators but I can't say that they would have an electricity source through the night. I recall how quiet it got at ten pm when they shut all of them down....it was nice. However, there are several lodges that fly in there daily that have excellent facilities, Mission Lodge is on the grid in nearby Aleknagik and is as nice as they get for amenities. But there are likely several others that could accomodate your situation.
There aren't that many camps in reality, so I would suggest you email several or all of them, describe your situation and ask if they can accommodate you, or know of someone who can. They aren't that cutthroat, and if they know someone who can help you, they will direct you to them.
Enjoy your trip, fishing the Nushagak is a unique experience, can be lots of fish (have broken 20 per rod per day several times in my personal boat), hard to break 40 pounds but in a week you should see a couple at 30 and definitely plenty in the mid to low twenties. My favorite time to go is the last few days of June and early July. Early run has been spotty last several years, but once July rolls around you can be there for the bigger and nore consistent fishing. The earliest part of the run (June 15 through June 25 or so) has historically put out the biggest single days but as said can be spotty. From my studies of run count versus fishing success. A 1500 fish count will get you on some fish, a 3000 fish count will be a good and average day, and once there's more than 5000 going through the sonar, you can't tell the difference between 5k and 15k. And early July has lots of 3-5 k days.
I am a new member of this site, I actually just found it and this is the first post I saw. Seems very coincidental because I happen to own/operate a sportfishing camp on the lower Nush.
I sent biglou a PM, as I am not trying to advertise on this site.
In general for all - all the Camps (both permitted by Choggiung and private) operating on the lower Nush are quality. We all offer something a little different, such as length of trip, preferred fishing techniques, specific location on the river, size of camp, type/size of boat, guided or self guided, etc.
The fishery is incredible. Even last year, with many rivers in Alaska facing severely depressed king runs, the Nushagak had a strong return, nearly double the run size of 2011 (the sonar counter also ran for 2 extra weeks so the numbers are not exactly comparable). Either way, we experienced a very good fishery and the forecast is for improved numbers in 2013.
The number of operators is quite limited (around 30 on the lower river), since you indicated this is a once in a lifetime experience, the best advice I can give is to determine if you are interested in a fly-out lodge or a river based camp (fly out of course is more expensive), determine if you want to fly fish or gear fish as your primary method (I'd recommend gear), contact all the operators (fly in or river based) and ask questions like Camp size, number of people/boat, size and type of boat, experience of guides, what is provided (gear, tackle, fish processing, meals, bedding, guided or non-guided, number of hours of fishing time). After asking the the questions and receiving the answers, you should have an idea of weather you felt like that operator will provide you with your "Once in a lifetime Experience". I have operated in Alaska for 19 years, worked for other lodges and the Nush is one of the best fishing vacation values in Alaska (remote, lots of fish, and comfortable camps)
Let me warn you ahead. Once you have experienced our fishery it may not be "Once in a..." but the "First in your......" You won't be disappointed.
I can be reached by PM/email and would be happy to provide additional information if interested
why not the local guy?
Just got a e-mail from a friend guess who and said he sent you a pm,i kinda quit posting on here for i am a guide and always get pounded for being so.you stated medical problems and need power for your sleep disorder,well my wife and i live here year round and provided power to all our tent/cabins 24/7.i am writing now from portage creek were we provide power for the faa weather cam year round.we do dyi and anyone with a little local insight such as my wife and i that have lived here for 51 yrs can set you up for less then you stated as a your max as to what you can spend.t his is an easy river to fish,i am currently at the board of fish meetiing trying to keep bait fishing on the nush and see no one else that is replying to your request at at this meeting, and that is because we are the only ones that live here,you want a true Alaskan trip and back up for medical we are the ones you want at a reasoniable price.Chris Carr-Portage Creek Store and lodge-(907)842-7191