Crystal Creek Lodge, AK

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Lodge in King Salmon, Alaska.

Crystal Creek Lodge, AK

Overview

Operated by same owner/manager since 1988, associated with Orvis since 1991 and twice awarded Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge of the Year, Crystal Creek Lodge offers guests a unique combination of field and stream diversity, the highest guide, staff and aircraft to guest ratios available in Alaska and inspired lodging and hospitality. The surrounding Bristol Bay Region and Alaska Peninsula inarguably offer the most diverse and productive freshwater fishing opportunities on earth. Compare offerings and decide for yourself if Crystal Creek Lodge offers the most comprehensive guided fishing and lodging package available in Alaska, if not anywhere.

Date Range

June 10 through October 5.

What is Provided to Customer

Included: Advertised days guided fishing /hunting activities. Advertised nights double-occupancy accommodations. Daily housekeeping and midweek laundry services. Three meals per day. Transfers between the King Salmon Airport and the Lodge. Use of chest waders, fly rods & reels, King Salmon rods & reels; spinning rods & reels and all flies, lures and tackle. Preparation of all harvested fish & game and an airline-approved non-insulated shipping container. All local taxes. All privileges advertised within the Crystal Creek Lodge brochure or web site.

Not Included: Airfare between your home and King Salmon, staff gratuities, liquor, fishing and hunting licenses and massage therapy services.

Region/Terrain Where You Fish

The Lodge is located on the Naknek River, near King Salmon, Alaska. The Naknek River itself offers an incredible diversity of fishing, including five species of salmon runs and trophy rainbow trout that exceed 30 inches. Yet at the heart of the field experience is a carefully considered and conducted guiding fishing program utilizing float and wheel equipped DeHavilland Beaver aircraft. Each week in the season offers unique opportunities and guests will be given a reasonable expectation of events at the time of booking. Upon arrival guests are invited for discussion with the head guide regarding choices then are treated to a wide diversity of fish species and fishing waters within an 80 mile flight radius of the lodge. Possibilities include walk-wading a small stream to sight-cast for trout one day then the next fishing a river near tidewater to catch ocean-bright salmon.

Typical Weather by Season

Days are long, 20+ hours of light in June receding to 12+ hours of light at the end of September. June temperatures range between 40 and 70, September temperatures range between 30 and 55. The Alaska Peninsula is influenced by maritime weather thus rain can occur at any time of the season. A week can be completely sunny or completely rainy, but as a rule one can expect precipitation at some point during at least three days during a week stay.

Itinerary

Sample of Typical Itinerary

Each evening at the lodge a daily schedule is created by Head Guide and Operations Manager Alex Oberholtzer, which takes into consideration current fishing, water, wildlife availability and weather conditions as well as any guest requests. The schedule is posted after dinner, when our guides meet with each guest for a briefing on the next day’s activities and to discuss equipment needs.

Breakfast is served beginning at 6:00 am, with departures from the lodge by aircraft or watercraft beginning at 7:00 am from the dock. Schedules are flexible, but most guests return between 4:30-5:30pm. Dinner is served at 6:30 pm.

Weekly Schedule
A sample fishing itinerary for a guest visiting for a full week might be as follows:

Sunday of arrival: Arrive at either 3:00 pm or 6:00 pm, transfer from airport to lodge, be shown your room, meet with head guide, Alex, get equipped with waders and tackle, meet with guide, have dinner.

You also have the option to arrive early in the morning on the Sunday of arrival and have a guided fishing day on the Naknek River. Extra costs apply. See the Rates page for details.

Day 1: Fly to a small stream in Katmai National Park to walk and wade fish for trout and char.

Day 2: Fly to a small stream in Katmai Preserve to raft a river and fish for trout and char.

Day 3: Fish the Naknek River for salmon or trout.

Day 4: Fly to a river near tidal water to fish for salmon arriving on the tides.

Day 5: Fly to a to small stream in Becharof National Wildlife Refuge to walk and wade fish for char and grayling.

Day 6: Repeat a favorite day or embark upon a new adventure elsewhere.

Sunday of departure: Depart lodge at 8:00 am after breakfast to meet 9:20 flight to Anchorage.

Customization of your Alaska trip is of the utmost importance to us, and there are many ways to customize your trip. Some guests like to fish the entire week, or fish for a specific type of fish or technique of fishing, some like to mix hunting or other activities with fishing.

Activities

On-site Activities

Guided fishing from the lodge, massage therapy, kayaking the local Naknek River.

Off-site Activities

Most of our activities are conducted off-property and within an 80 mile radius of the lodge accessed by aircraft. Upon arrival, you will be offered a variety of guided activities from which to choose for your days afield. All are carefully designed and are comprehensive and entertaining. These activities include:

  • Fly Fishing for all species of fish
  • Trolling or spin casting for salmon
  • Wildlife viewing for bear, caribou, walrus, marine mammals and birds
  • Hikes in nearby Katmai National Park, and the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge
  • Beachcombing hikes on nearby seashores
  • Kayaking on the Naknek River in the Katmai National Park section
  • Wingshooting for ptarmigan or ducks

Lodging

Lodging, Meals, and Accommodations

The quality standard of Alaskan fishing and hunting lodge accommodations.

The main lodge is a beautiful 7,500 sq. ft. building made of massive scribed logs and river rock and overlooking the Naknek River. It is impeccably built, completely modern, warm, quaint and tastefully decorated.

Lodge capacity is 14 guests: ten guests within 5 main lodge guests rooms and four guests in two private cabins. Private groups of up to 18 can be accommodated by prior request.

Amenities include a mud room with lockers and wader dryers, laundry service, a bar and game room, and two separate relaxation/reading areas. There is a massage therapy room and a screened, outdoor hot tub. We do not have television by choice.

About the Guest Rooms
Five guest rooms are within the main lodge, all have private baths. Four rooms have either two full-size beds or one queen and one full, and one room has a king sized bed.

Two private cabins are also available. The cabins are made of massive logs and river rock to match the lodge. Within each cabin are two bedroom suites, each with a queen bed and private bath. Each cabin has a loft with two twin beds and a third bathroom. Each cabin has an indoor sitting area and a covered outdoor porch overlooking the Naknek River. The cabins are 75 feet from the main lodge and are connected by a boardwalk. The riverside hot tub is only 35 feet away. The cabins can be reserved at extra cost by gentlemen desiring private bedrooms or by families.

Dining and Food Service
A chefs' kitchen is adjacent to a dining room that overlooks the river. The kitchen is open to guests and you are welcome to watch our chefs and converse with them as they prepare your meals and serve the table.

Our food philosophy is simple and generous: we gather the highest quality ingredients available, then prepare and serve delicious meals. We feel the flavors of quality ingredients carry the meal better than heavy sauces.

Foods from the land and of the seas surrounding Alaska are featured whenever possible. We buy fresh garden vegetables, herbs and potatoes from Alaska farms, as well as fresh Alaskan salmon, halibut, Black Cod, King and Dungeness Crab, Kachemak Bay oysters, Spot Shrimp and scallops. We also love land meats and feature beef, chicken and pork prepared in a variety of fashions and served alongside the seafood. Being at the apex of the Pacific Rim, we will feature Asian and West Coast culinary influences more often than those of continental Europe.

Our salmon is fresh yet if you would like dine on salmon you caught or wild duck or ptarmigan you harvested, our kitchen staff will create a memorable meal or hors d’oeuvres on request.

Beer, Wine, and Liquor
Crystal Creek Lodge has a licensed bar stocked with a wide variety of domestic and imported beers and spirits. We have two delicious varieties of Alaskan microbrew beers on tap.

We also appreciate wine and have a wine cellar. Featured is an extensive list of fine wines from around the world to complement the dinner menu.

Species

Species You Fish for by Season


Alaska Rainbow Trout
Alaska rainbow trout are wild, beautiful fish, full of spotting, color and character. Fish over 20 inches are very common to the region and can be expected to be caught daily, and several fish over 30 inches will have a look at your fly at some point during your visit. The Alaska rainbow is an animal that makes its living on the move, and are highly migratory as they travel through river systems and take advantage of available food sources. A life on the move makes the Alaska rainbow a strong fish, one that leaps with abandon and tears line from reels. Big ones are hard to hold!

Arctic Char Fishing
The chars are common to arctic and sub-arctic waters, and thrive in the Bristol Bay region. They are aggressive, strong and beautiful fish that populate streams in prolific numbers. It is common for anglers to catch dozens of char in the 18 - 28 inch range during a day of fishing.

Dry-fly fishing for Dolly Varden char is excellent during the first half of the season and they can be caught alongside some large grayling (up to 20 inches) in several streams near the lodge.

Pacific Salmon
Five Species of Pacific salmon run the local rivers by the millions and they are thus available in prolific numbers. One or two species of salmon are available in peak configuration during any week of the season (see Yantarni Salmon Camp for September salmon fishing). Some weeks in July offer four or all five species of salmon to be caught. King Salmon fishing for fish up to 40 lbs. is done by troll or drift fishing on the Nushagak or Naknek Rivers.

One of the best King Salmon holes on the Naknek River is right off of our dock. Chum, Sockeye, Pink and Silver Salmon are caught by spin or fly fishing on the Naknek River or while wading one of several rivers within 75 miles flying radius of the lodge. Some of Alaska's finest wild salmon rivers are within easy reach of the lodge and we have developed an exceptional guided salmon fishing program to help you catch them.

These five salmon are available on fishing trips throughout the season:

Sockeye Salmon average 6 - 8 pounds with larger fish to 11-plus pounds. Sockeye are the most numerous of the salmon, with numbers in some rivers running in the millions. Sockeye salmon are best caught on a fly and pound-for-found are the hardest fighting of the salmon and their firm, red meat is the finest for eating.

Chum Salmon average 7 - 9 pounds, with larger fish to 15-plus pounds. Chums are taken on spinning or casting tackle. These hard-fighting fish migrate and hold in large groups. Chum salmon are easily caught while wading shallow water, and can make for very fast action on medium-weight fishing tackle. Chums are an extremely underrated sport fish. They fight pound for pound like a silver. Please see the Yantarni Salmon Camp page to learn about our affiliated salmon camp on the Alaska Peninsula and some of the best small stream coastal chum salmon fishing in the world.

King salmon are the largest of the Pacific salmon, averaging 15 - 30 pounds, with larger fish up to 50-plus pounds. Kings are fished most effectively with spinning or casting tackle, fishing either the Nushagak or Naknek Rivers. The Nushagak is only 35 miles west of the lodge, and the Nushagak run of Kings is the largest wild King run in the world, with an annual average of 100,000 fish in that river alone.

Pink salmon average 3 - 5 pounds with larger fish to 6-plus pounds. Due to a two-year life cycle, their most prolific runs occur on even-numbered years. Pink salmon are aggressive strikers that can be caught on light spinning or fly-fishing tackle in large numbers. It's not unusual to catch 50-100 five-pound fish for a day's effort.

Silver salmon average 7 - 9 pounds with larger fish to 15-plus pounds. They run in shallow water, hold in large groups and readily take the proper fly or lure.

Gear

What Should Customers Bring?

A detailed pre-trip information document regarding travel and packing is provided for all guests upon making a reservation and beforehand upon request. It is also available by request.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


Travel to King Salmon, Alaska:
Crystal Creek Lodge is located on the Naknek River 5 miles East of King Salmon and 285 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska.

The Lodge is on the western edge of Katmai National Park, which is famous for freshwater fishing, wildlife and incredible scenery. The Naknek River is famed as one of Alaska’s finest trophy rainbow trout rivers.

When traveling to Crystal Creek Lodge you must secure commercial airfare from your home to King Salmon, Alaska (AKN). The details of booking flights in and out of King Salmon will be provided when you make a reservation. There are no roads or ferries to King Salmon.

Some guests, mainly those living in the western United States, may be able to travel from their city of origin to King Salmon in one day. However, the majority of our guests need a Saturday overnight stay in Anchorage. A list of suggested hotels and restaurants will be provided when you make a reservation.

King Salmon Airport is a former U.S. Air Force Base with an 8500 ft. paved runway and a small terminal to serve the local community of 443 residents. King Salmon is served by Alaska Airlines and Peninsula Airways. There is ample parking for private aircraft.

We will meet you at the King Salmon Airport and provide transportation to the Lodge in our passenger vans. The drive from the airport to the lodge takes approximately 20 minutes.

Reviews

Overall: 5.0/5 starsShow Rating Distribution 5.0 / 5 based on 110 reviews

5 stars 5-star:
108
4 stars 4-star:
2
3 stars 3-star:
0
2 stars 2-star:
0
1 star 1-star:
0

110 of 110 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Great Alaskan experience - 7/24/2014
    By:

    Accommodations and equipment, including aircraft are exceptional and well maintained. Daily flights to various fishing locations add flexibility to adjust to changing conditions.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Alaska at its best - 7/22/2014
    By: from Fort Collins, CO, USA

    From the moment our group arrived, CCL was there to take care of us and ensure that everyone was comfortable and had the most incredible experience possible in Bristol Bay. CCL's staff and guides were exceptionally welcoming and helpful, going out of their way to accommodate our group and our needs. It was an unforgettable time. We will be back!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Simply the best! - 7/21/2014
    By: from San Francisco, CA, USA

    The lodge was immaculate. The food was so good I thought I was at a four star restaurant. The guides were professional as well as very attentive. If you are a first time fisherman or a veteran this lodge is the place for you. Regards, Curt H San Francisco, CA

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Great Time!! - 7/20/2014
    By: from North Baltimore, OH, USA

    Everyone at Crystal Creek seem to be dedicated to seeing that everyone has a memorable experience a great time. The food and lodging were outstanding.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Luxury in the Wilderness! - 7/19/2014
    By: from Moab, UT

    My four days at Crystal Creek Lodge were absolute perfection - a combination of stellar host and extraordinary staff that made me feel like family -- to the fantastic tours, unparalleled scenery and luxury of the best in food, drink and conversation. I've traveled the world, and this was one of my top 5 adventures/experiences. Thank you!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Great Week & Fellowship - 7/18/2014
    By: from Centerville, OH, USA

    The experience at Crystal Creek Lodge continues to be one of best experiences that I am fortunate enough each year. The staff is most knowedgable,friendly and service oriented. Dan, Alex, Heather and Josh create and promote a memorable experience. The food and its presentation is outstanding. I look forward to the continued opportunity to visit this unique and unmatched lodge and its staff in the future.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    2014 - 7/15/2014
    By: from Brookville, OH 45309, USA

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Five Star Fishing Experience! - 7/10/2014
    By: from Eugene, OR

    This was my husband and I's third trip to Crystal Creek Lodge together and it won't be our last. We have gone each time with another couple that are very good friends. From the moment you arrive, the staff at CCL go out of their way to make you feel welcome and attend to your every wish. The lodge is spectacular and the accommodations are spacious and comfortable, with high end beds and furnishings. From each gourmet meal prepared by the chef, to the guides and fishing experience, CCL is first class all the way. The professionalism and knowledge of the guides is second to none and the equipment, boats, planes and gear are all top notch. It is evident that the staff/guides/pilots take great pride in their work and in ensuring each guest has the experience of a lifetime. I can tell you, we sure have had an exceptional experience each time we have been to CCL. Just when you think they can't improve (or have nothing to improve), they do! Dan, Lynnette, Alex, Heather and all of the staff and guides are AMAZING!! We highly recommend CCL to anyone wanting to go to Alaska for a 5-star fishing and dining/lodging experience!!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Must Do! - 7/10/2014
    By: from Montara, CA, USA

    Been to AK many times and my stay at Crystal Creek Lodge was by far the best experience. The staff are extremely nice and attentive, the food is awesome, the lodge is spectacular and very comfortable, the guides are very experienced, knowledgeable of all the surrounding fishing options & adaptable to all skill levels. Most importantly, they are passionate about finding the fish to make the trip worth the while. We caught Kings in the morning, Sockeye mid-day and BIG Rainbows on the fly in the afternoon. They have the whole deal going on here...truly a memorable experience!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Crystal Creek July 1-6, 2014 - 7/8/2014
    By: from Lincoln, MA

    I have never had a more enjoyable vacation than fishing at Crystal Creek Lodge in King Salmon, AK! From the host, Dan Michels to the chef, Brian, to all the help and guides (Duane, Aaron, Hayden and Connor) and especially our pilot, John Mock, it felt like I was part of a larger family. Every thing was perfect! Fishing was top notch. There were good fishing stories, great friendships amongst everyone. I wasn't a guest at a lodge, I was another member of a large family. It was a wonderful introduction for me to Alaska. I think I got spoiled with 5 perfect days of sunshine and 70+ degrees. The chef, Brian, is a truly inspirational cook who served up meals with ingredients that you would not think go well together. But everything was cooked in the tradition of a 5 star hotel. Fresh baked bread with a maple, bacon jelly. A dessert that consisted of a poptart on a small bed of pop rocks for the fourth of July with some other creations. King Crab legs that were about 18" long. It was unbelievable. The guides were incredibly patient and knowledgeable. The barkeepers were more than willing to talk to all the guests. It is truly an experience that I will never forget!

Crystal Creek Lodge
Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Lodge
Dan Michels, Heather or Alex Oberholtzer
1 Big Creek Road
King Salmon, AK 99613
N 58 38.812'
W 156 34.641'
907-357-3153

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