Rainbow Bend, all the way.
Tom is an awesome guy, a great host, and knows the river very well for all species. His brother Don and their main guide AJ are also great fellas. I have been basing out of Rainbow Bend for the last 4 years for my trout trip, and I plan on doing that same trip for many years to come.
Not to bash, but the other place you mentioned seems to have an unsavory rep on the Naknek, and a nickname to go with it.
Charlie Summerville has a good outfit/lodge on the Alagnak as well. Not sure about the Ptarmigan, but I've seen his guys doing Cast & Blast trips for Silvers & Waterfowl, and the smiles seemed genuine.
“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
"Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."
+ 1 for Tom and his brother! Nicest guys on the river IMO! Everything from their boats to the guy that flys the float plane are worth the money in its self. Be very careful if you go with the other people you mentioned…………they have a history and rep. Not to mention the guy who owns that place had a son working for him this past summer who got himself and some clients lost. Bottom line if I was going to spend that kind of money I would do it in a heart beat if I was going to Rainbow Bend. If you want more info PM me and I will tell you all you want to know, I work out there in the summers.
Thanks PM sent.
For those of you that have been to Rainbow Bend, how did you handle the food?
I don't have experience with Rainbow Lodge
I have stayed at Naknek River Camp for 3 late fall trips over the last 4 years and have nothing but good things to say about Jim and his family. One nice thing is he has 2 boats used to cross the lake over to Brooks Camp and other rivers on the far side of the lake. This opens up fishing experiences that could otherwise only be had through paying for fly-outs.
There is access to ice in King Salmon, and I'm pretty sure the cooler we use every year (once we get there) is Tom's. The Cabins have 2 burner (or 2 ringcoil) cooktops, minifridges, microwaves, and coffepots, and there is a big-ass grill on the front deck of the southside cabins.
We freeze all of our meats before we depart, and we try to pre-make as much of each meal as we can so "heat n' mix" is possible - no one wants to fish all day then slave over a stove.
For a few pointers, here is my buddy Kurt's take on packing for DIY trips -