If you're an angler, you know that fishing in Alaska is a phenomenal experience. But this fly-in fishing lodge—tucked away on a river northwest of Anchorage—ups the ante: Not only does it offer excellent access to nearly any fish you came to Alaska for, but it also offers an eco-travel experience that comes with a high level of service, a variety of non-fishing activities and the mellow freedom to create an Alaskan experience that suits your own taste.
An Idyllic Location—and a Lot of Fish
Wilderness Place Lodge sits on the banks of Lake Creek—a clear-water, freestone Alaska river that runs south of Denali National Park, and which gets strong runs of all five species of Alaska salmon. The river also boasts a healthy native population of rainbow trout and arctic grayling. Wilderness Place Lodge was established in 1986 by Ed and Judy Sharpe, and long-term guides Jason Rockvam and Cory Wendt purchased the lodge in 2001, and have since established a loyal core customer base. The friendly lodge staff of 18 offers more than just a great fishing experience: they pride themselves on being a little different from larger, corporate fishing lodges. The lodge focuses on offering a flexible and up-close-and-personal approach, offering the highest quality and service of fly-in Alaska fishing lodges.
For starters, the fishing here is primarily wade-fishing the expansive gravel bars of lower Lake Creek’s many meandering river channels. As the lodge is located right on the river, your close proximity to the best fishing spots maximizes your time fishing during your stay. Your personal guides are eager to assist and offer instruction with both spin and fly fishing: They offer a very flexible daily fishing schedule and adapt to meet the individual expectations of their guests.
Plus, it's hard to compete with the lodge’s incredible staffer-to-guest ratio—1:1. Indeed, with room for just 16 guests at the lodge, and with 18 staffers at the ready, you won’t be lacking for any guidance, if you want it, for your fishing, or for any creature comforts you want at the lodge itself.
Private Cabins, All Your Gear—and Hearty Dinners
Indeed, the lodge offers a rustic but plush home base. The timber-rich main lodge is made of natural Alaska pine and Sitka spruce, with lots of large, outside decks with river and forest views. It makes a comfortable spot to relax at the end of day, sipping a beer or glass of wine, or trying your hand at tying one of many effective Alaska fly patterns. If you want to mix and mingle with other guests, that’s great, but if you'd rather stay on your own, that’s fine and easy to do, too. Cabins, meanwhile, come with all-important private bathrooms with showers, electricity and a great night’s sleep, by way of beds equipped with memory-foam mattresses.
You can eat your meals at the main lodge, where the hearty dinners includes plenty of fresh seafood—from salmon to Alaskan halibut and crab-stuffed chicken breast—as well as prime rib, rack of lamb and pasta. You can get your breakfast or lunch at the lodge, too, or have those meals instead on the water—like egg-cheese-and-sausage bagel sandwiches for breakfast, with locally roasted Alaska coffee, or subs, chips and sodas for lunch. Fireside shore lunches can also be arranged with your guide for a day or two during your stay.
And being an all-inclusive package, all the meals (including beer and wine) and other details are covered: the trips include round-trip scenic float plane flight from Anchorage, your cabin, and all of the gear for spin or fly fishing, including rods, reels, tackle, flies, waders and more.
Just looking for a day trip? That is an option too! Wilderness Place Lodge will schedule a float plane flight out of Anchorage for you. Arrive at the lodge at 8:30am and enjoy a day full of remote fishing. All equipment is provided, as well as lunch on the river.
Thinking Outside the Tackle Box
That said, not everyone who comes wants to fish all the time—or perhaps even any of the time. While many fly-in lodges only do strictly weeklong stays (or maybe 5-day minimum stays), Wilderness Place is more flexible. Maybe that means you still come for a whole week and do nothing but fish—but you can also come to fish for just two days.
The folks at Wilderness Place Lodge are happy to help you create a trip that suits you. They have their own float trip company, too, so you can take a six-night float-fishing-package that covers 60 miles of the Lake Creek River. Following the wilderness fishing float, you can choose to spend one or more nights at the lodge.
A lot of visitors also build combination packages: a couple days of fishing, a fly-out remote cabin with kayaking, photography tours or a day for flightseeing (with acclaimed operator Rust's). There are many add-on adventures that may be of interest to the adventure-traveler looking for a great fishing experience, high quality lodging and a good mix of south central Alaska’s best wilderness pursuits. Let them know what you’re looking for and they’ll happily suggest the best adventure itinerary!
The result is that Wilderness Place gets a lot of repeat guests from all over the world, and the lodge even tends not to advertise anymore—good word of mouth has done the trick. But first-time guests can quickly become repeat guests when they realize that their ideal Alaska fishing trip and wilderness eco-adventure includes the freedom to plan and play as they please in this gorgeous remote setting.