Want to disconnect and spend time in nature hiking and fishing? Consider Becharof Lodge for memorable Alaska fishing adventures. Read on for how to plan your escape to Alaska.
In this fast-paced world of phone calls, emails, and social media, it takes a determined effort to step away from information overload. To escape, I headed to my cousin George and his friend Mark’s place in Alaska, Becharof Lodge. The Lodge, located 25 miles southeast of Egegik, Alaska, is the perfect place to savor uninterrupted conversation, spy on the local wildlife, fish for red sockeye and coho salmon, dine on tasty comfort food, and disconnect from the constant craziness of today’s lifestyle.
Getting to Becharof Lodge
Most people visiting Becharof Lodge fly into King Salmon, Alaska, on commercial flights, then transfer onto one of Trygg Air Alaska’s floatplanes. These planes land on the Egegik River, where guests are transported to the Lodge by boat. Everything brought to the Lodge arrives this way. However, my travels were not as straightforward. The weather in Alaska can be unpredictable, wreaking havoc on transportation.
When I arrived in King Salmon, my ride to Trygg Air was waiting for me. Craig, the pilot for that day, loaded me and my gear into the plane. Panoramic views spanned the horizon. The Alaskan tundra, a cold desert, receives very little yearly rainfall. Snow and ice cover the relatively treeless expanse in the winter, and wildflowers blanket the area in summer. The landscape is a mix of big and small lakes, alder bushes, green marsh, and waterways that snake throughout the countryside.
Craig estimated that our flight would take 23 minutes. However, he continually had to change course as the visibility worsened. The gray cloud cover made it difficult for him to see the recommended three-mile distance. After several attempts in different directions, he announced that we would not make it out to the Lodge that day, so we flew back to King Salmon for the night.
A Place to Lay Your Head on an Alaska Fishing Adventure
Around 2007, Becharof Lodge was established as a hunting and fishing camp. The founder constructed a kitchen and a cabin, and then each year, he shipped in tents for the fisherman. Mark Korpi and George Joy purchased the Lodge in 2018. In 2019, the duo began making improvements by constructing four new buildings suitable for guest housing. The new buildings were a vast improvement from tent living and featured flush toilets, hot showers, and comfortable mattresses. I enjoyed sitting by my window and looking over the Alaskan tundra and the Egegik River.
A Little Respite from Everyday Life
For the most part, there is no internet, television, or phone service at the Lodge, but inReach satellite phones with texting capabilities are available for emergencies. Without the outside distractions from “regular” life, Becharof Lodge boasts a relaxed vibe.
Visitors that catch their limits quickly each day—most guests—spend the remainder of the day reading, playing games, taking walks, conversing, or listening to some of George’s mesmerizing stories about fishing and hunting in the tundra. Dialogs at the Lodge regularly begin with “the one that got away” but quickly turn to more personal subjects about family, jobs, and favorite activities in life. A large percentage of guests return year after year.
Brown coastal bears, wolves, caribou, foxes, and moose are often spotted munching on local plants and grasses or running alongside the riverbank.
Food at Becharof Lodge
George’s sister, Goni, is the Lodge’s leading chef, but Mark often cooks breakfast so that Goni can take a break. I loved waking up in the morning, walking to the warm kitchen, and smelling hot coffee and sizzling bacon. After breakfast is over and cleaned up, Goni begins preparing lunch and dinner. Soups with freshly baked bread are the standard lunch, and the smell of baking cookies permeates the air for the remainder of the afternoon.
Dinners vary nightly, from pulled pork on homemade rolls with baked beans and potato salad to the weekly steak night and the delicious fried seafood dinner featuring calamari, shrimp, cod, coleslaw, and homemade tartar sauce.
Fishing or Catching at Becharof Lodge
Fishing in this area begins in mid-July and goes through the first week of September. The lodge guides and their assistants take guests to selected fishing holes several times daily. Service at the Lodge is key. Guests that want to fish can be as interactive as they wish. They can do everything themselves, or guides are available to bait hooks, give instructions when asked, unhook the fish, and then filet and freeze the catch for guests to take home.
Fishing in this river is genuinely about “catching.” On my trip, I reeled in eight fish in the first hour and kept the five largest coho salmon.
Take an Excursion While in Between Your Alaska Fishing Adventures
Although Becharof Lodge seems very far from everything, some incredible excursions are within floatplane reach. All tours are an extra expense, but you can arrange to fly into Egegik and other Alaskan towns, take boat trips to see various sights, arrange flyouts to see additional wildlife, or fish in other nearby rivers.
Another option is to take the exciting journey to Brooks Falls, one of the best places in the world, to photograph bears catching and eating fish in the waterfall. I traveled to this incredible place via floatplane with Mark and one of his daughters. Brooks Falls is about 30 minutes from the Lodge. It is a waterfall within Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. People come from all over the world to watch the salmon jump over the 6-foot falls and return to their spawning grounds in Brooks Lake, located above the falls. The views from the plane were spectacular.
Arriving at the Park
Once we arrived, we walked down the beach to the ranger station for an introductory talk about the park. The ranger spoke about the local bears, their habits, and how they differed from bears in most places. He reminded us that they were wild animals and very powerful. However, they were not typically very interested in humans. Food in the area is very plentiful, so the main concern is staying out of their way. He said, “You may encounter a bear on the trail. Do not run; move out of their path. The bears are on a mission to eat, so don’t get in their way.”
After the talk, we hiked a few miles to the falls. We saw a few bears fishing in the lake along the way, but the show took place at the falls.
We arrived at the lookout, a type of bridge constructed alongside the falls. There were probably 30 people already on the bridge taking photos, but there was still plenty of space for viewing.
Loads of Fish for All
From this position, you could see about 15 bears in the river, in the falls, and on top of the falls. It appeared that there were designated “fishing holes” for each bear. An old bear sat in shallow water on the far side of the falls. Apparently, this was his spot, according to one of the rangers.
A female bear sat atop the falls and assisted one of her cubs. She occasionally threw him fish, but when he wanted more, she would growl at him and eat the catch herself. There was a definite hierarchy at the falls.
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Alaska Fishing Adventures Offer a Trip to Remember
Although a trip to Becharof requires some planning and may seem complicated, a temporary escape from today’s cultural noise is worth the effort. Mark and George will facilitate most of the travel plans, the fishing is fantastic, and the food is something to look forward to from the beginning of each day to warm cookies in the afternoon and a tasty, comforting end to the day.