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“Should have been here sooner!!”
Review of Naknek River Camp

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Naknek River Camp
Reviewed 12 August 2015 via mobile

One of the guides/ family friend Chad Bryson has been after a group of us to come out and fish in Alaska with him for years. He recently went to work for the Johnson's at the Naknek River Camp. When he told us about the trip we couldn't believe we could do everything for the price. Next thing I know we are booked and heading to river camp. The cabins were great. Our group of 7 had plenty of room for our gear and were not crowded. We all stayed in Brown Bear Aka bat Cabin with a fabulous view of the river and snow capped mountains off in the distance. We had wonderful hot breakfast every morning, sack lunches and then dinner was always a treat with a four star meal prepared fresh by Phyllis and the kitchen crew. Our cabin was restocked with a water thermos daily and ice was available when needed. If you forgot something at home or ran out of anything Jim would send out for what ever you needed. You could not ask for a better group of people to spend a week out in the bush with. Comfy beds, bath house with hot showers, four food and a price you can't beat anywhere. Looking forward to going back.

Stayed: August 2015, travelled with friends
1  Thank Brandon C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5 - 9 of 14 reviews

Reviewed 22 May 2015

My wife and I are repeat visitors at the Johnson Family’s Naknek River Camp. We have fished out of the camp for the last five years and some of those years we made two trips, one early season trip for the Sockeye run and another late season trip for big Rainbows. We are both experienced anglers and for the price of a week at the Camp we can have an excellent Alaskan fishing experience. We can pay more for different amenities but we won’t get a better fishing experience. The reason for our success is the location of the Camp and the guides. The Camp is located in the famous Katmai National Park and on the big Naknek River at the outlet from Naknek Lake. At this prime location we have the opportunity to catch a variety of cold water game fish; from the elegant grayling, in migrating sockeye and silver salmon, to the big resident trophy rainbows that gather in pods in front of the Camp to ambush the salmon smolt moving down the river.
The Camp guides are the very best to be had, most are seasoned professionals that have their own guide services and clients in the lower states but return each season to guide at the River Camp for the Johnson’s. Some will also bring a group of their own clients to fish it the Camp. Many like son James Johnson, a phenomenal fly fisherman and international fishing guide, are also Coast Guard certified Captains. The guides use a variety of boats at the Camp and all are safe, serviceable and will be matched to the water and type of fishing that you want to do. The guides have GPS systems and satellite phones and can pilot the big Catamaran safely across Naknek Lake in all kinds of weather to fish streams like the incomparable Brooks where we swing streamers and mouse patterns for the beautiful leopard spotted rainbows. When fishing Brooks we always stop at the viewing platform to watch the brown bears fishing around the falls, hoping to see a mom and with tiny spring cubs trailing behind. Owner Jim Johnson monitors the weather, water conditions and the status of the salmon migrations and will match us with the guide, boat and location that give us the very best opportunity to catch trophy fish. Flexibility is the norm at River Camp; we can fly out on one of the bush taxi to one of the small picture perfect streams like Contact Creek and wade fish for the improbably large resident char or cross Naknek Lake and fish Morgot Creek for feisty rainbows, or my favorite, trying to land one of the huge bright red and aggressive spawning sockeye before they take me downstream or into the nearest wood pile.
Generally I am a center pin fisherman and like to drift big leach and flesh fly patterns for the huge resident rainbows staged in the deep water in front of the Camp. Be advised there be monsters here and on any given day you can hook, land or lose a 30 + inch rainbow. My other favorite location is the rapids. The rapids are simply put a fish factory. On the upper end around King Island we drift painted beads to pods of big king salmon that spawn in the deep side channels. You have to bring you’re A game and best gear if you’re planning on fighting these heavy weights down through the rapids. We have fought 40 + inch Kings on 9 wt rods for an hour before they came to the net and it is amazing to see these guides expertly maneuver the jet boats through this fast shallow water as you fight these big fish.
When the Pink Salmon are in the lower Rapids we take our 6 and 7 wt rods and drift beads and wooly buggers to these little power houses. Don’t discount these little sluggers because after landing a half dozen we are ready for a break to rest our aching arms and tired wrist.
Be prepared for surprises and heart breaks when fishing the Rapids because there are plenty of Jacks, big Sliver Salmon and Rainbows hanging out in the pockets and deeper channels. Down here that little subtle take may be, just a FISH On, Whoo Hoo, or a screaming reel with the fish of your dreams taking you deep into the backing.
The River Camp is the quintessential Alaskan sports fishing operation. The cabins are rustic but clean, dry and warm, and all have electrical power. Some have bathrooms and showers and all are located close to the central facilities. Every year the Johnsons have made significant additions to the Camp, be it a new menu item, new larger cabins with private bath, fly shop, or a new boardwalk between the cabins and central bath house, always some improvement. Phyllis takes care of housekeeping runs the Kitchen and Dining Room, son Hunter is the Grill Master and grills delicious fresh salmon fillets using his special seasonings. Hearty meals are served family style and great lunches are packed daily for each boat. If you are deemed a special guest, daughter Tanna and the kitchen staff will put a smiley face on your lunch sandwich and captivate you with a set of songs on Thursday night.

Jim and Phyllis are experienced hosts and outfitters and will do their very best to ensure we always have that great Alaskan fishing experience. Please note that Alaska is not just another state, it is another country. Up there the scale and grandeur of your surroundings is breath taking where you will experience big weather, big water and big fish and animals. We have caught 30 inch + Rainbows and seen bear, moose, caribou, fox, wolf, eagle and ptarmigan from Camp or along the river. I strongly suggest that before traveling to King Salmon Alaska and the River Camp you do a little reading and research on local weather, angling for salmon and other resident fish in order to level your expectations and be prepared to take advantage of this unique fishing opportunity. If you are looking for spa level amenities or the latest in fusion restaurant dining, I suggest checking the small inns or B & Bs in the San Francisco Bay area for that kind of experience. The Naknek River Camp is a place where serious anglers can catch that trophy of a life time or budget minded first timers can have a great Alaskan fishing adventure. Bring good fishing gear and clothes, a good attitude and prepare to meet some wonderful people and have an awesome Alaskan fishing experience.

Room Tip: All cabins great views of the Naknek and distant mountains.
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  • Stayed: September 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank amt3866_2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2014

I stayed at Naknek River Camp in July of 2014 and had a fantastic time. The cabins are rustic but clean and ours had a full bathroom with shower. The camp runs on generators so there are lights and outlets to charge camera batteries or use your computer in your cabin. Each cabin has heat for the chilly evenings. There is also a separate shower cabin and it is very clean as well. The view from the front porch of the cabins is very beautiful and we saw bears across the river multiple times during our stay. This is a family run camp and they make you feel very welcome. Meals are served in the main cabin and the food is home cooked and very good. There was a nice variety of foods served during our stay.

The fishing guides are all personable and very patient if you are just learning. Despite never having tried my hand at fly fishing, they helped me learn to cast and catch a few sockeye salmon. Due to their location near the mouth of Naknek Lake, they are one of the few locations that can get you to Brooks Falls, Margot Creek and Idavain Creek by boat. We were there primarily for bear viewing so we went across the Lake each day. Not having to pay for a float plane made staying there an even better deal for us.

They do not have internet and cell phones won't work but there is a phone in the main cabin to make calls to home. If you need things from the local store such as extra drinks or snacks, they make a run into town each day and will pick up what you need. This is not a fancy place but has everything you need to make your stay an incredible one. I can't wait to go back there again.

Room Tip: If there are 4 in your group ask for one of the two bedroom cabins with a shower.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
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5  Thank lrcalliope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2014 via mobile

Great rustic fishing camp. Wearing your waders to dinner is not only welcome but expected so you can take advantage of the great after dinner fishing. Real value for the fisherman. Family friendly owners who live the Alaskan life with their wonderful kids. They go out of their way to make you feel part of the family and to make sure you catch fish.

  • Stayed: June 2014
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Thank Rainbow F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2014

Best money you could possibly spend fishing. Great bargain for comfortable cabins, hot water showers and bathrooms, pretty good food and great fishing.

All of the guides were great people and the place ran and felt like a family. Very comfortable people willing to help you out however they can. Our guides were also excellent fisherman who never failed to deliver a great day of salmon and monster rainbows. My arm hurts from catching so many fish. I plan to come back more than once and will recommend it to anyone.

It was also nice not to have things too structured. We let them know what we wanted to do and they made it happen. Nothing was set in stone.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank libertyordeath83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Naknek River Camp

Address: Box 32 Lake Camp, King Salmon, AK 99613
Region: United States > Alaska > King Salmon
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 16 Speciality Lodging in King Salmon
Number of rooms: 10

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