My Job at Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge – by Seth Stuart fishing guide

Note from “Boss Lady” – I just got an email from Seth entitled “a little something I wrote”.   This time of the year, it’s not unusual for Anvik Lodge staff members to start thinking about why they’re so excited to get back to the lodge.  Cliff, Blair, Alyson and I all know what the feeling is and why this place is so special, but it’s really enlightening to hear from the crew members what their thoughts are.  That’s why I asked Seth for permission to post this “little something” he wrote on our blog.  Beyond creating an unforgettable experience for our guests, it’s nice to know that we inadvertently are doing it for the crew as well.

Seth Stuart – Author

Anvik River Lodge –  My Job

All my life I have battled trying to balance my desire to explore and my desire to make a living.  My mind constantly wandering into the wild – yet stuck in an office space or pro shop talking the game of golf.

Out for a cruise on the Anvik River – how could I not love this place??

Don’t get me wrong, every job I’ve had has inspired me to do my best or to take on more as an employee.  But when you find what you love as they say, well the time clock just disappears.  You are overwhelmed with a sense of balance.  It’s that zen moment that completes me and brings both worlds together.  Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge is a place dreams come true. A place that many people chosen to have their ashes laid once they are no longer on this earth.  Nothing can be more honoring than to know that there have been many great folks that have chosen this river to be their final resting place.  I am just honored to be able to take in what they obviously found to be their home.  That’s powerful stuff and speaks volumes about the affect this river and the experience has on people.

Doing what I love most, helping guests catch lots of fish on this magical remote Alaskan river.

Standing on the waters edge feeling the pressure of the river up against me and knowing that somebody has had the opportunity to fall in love with this place as much as I have, gives me so much drive as a guide.  Young, driven and focused I listen to the river and it teaches me new things each day.

But there is also something else that is great about this place I call paradise -a boss named Cliff Hickson.  What knowledge I don’t get from the countless hours spent studying river bends and rocky shoals I am sure to learn from this great man.  He has honestly been one of the most impacting people in my life and I was lucky enough a year ago to get the chance to meet him and become part of his guide crew.  Tall and stern but with a smile that pretty much gives away what wonders he has hidden as you travel up the long river ride that you take to get to his lodge and first start your guide training. Upon first meeting him I thought to myself “well whatever I thought I knew before if I was mistaken, I wont be now”.  He is confident and beyond belief and with every turn of the boat on our first drive up I suddenly knew I had found the right boss to have. Now in my mind I thought to myself it is time to work my ass off.  I was right not only can Cliff teach me everything from extensive building construction and all forms of wood work but he can teach me to be as happy as possible while doing so and this is the blessing Anvik is to me. To look around and see each and every guide absolutely loving what they do day in and day out – as I said the time clock stops existing and the determination to complete each task at hand is what drives you forward.  Not slacking on one step along the way and learning it right from a guy who has spent over 22 years in this remote region building a fishing lodge and over 40 years in bush Alaska – that is by far something beyond words.

Did I mention he has an amazing wife too? Cheryl Hickson my other boss- or as we know her “Boss Lady” – and wife to Cliff. A woman who is truly right by his side. Cheryl can teach life lessons while mixing and making many of meals from scratch with various ingredients.  That in itself tells you so much about a person.  Bare and minimal ingredients made into five star meals with lessons of life!

Without a doubt these two have found something special out here and have let it consume their lives.  But the balance is what is key and I believe they have that scale calibrated.  For they have raised an amazing family and have done it while running a lodge of this caliber.  Their son Blair has easily become one of my closest friends and mentors in life.  He is cunning and wise beyond his years. The knowledge he has been able to obtain from his father Cliff and his mother Cheryl shines through.  Also the knowledge taught without words from this great land and remote area with nothing but vast wilderness has been the hidden factor.   He has got his own kind of swagger too. That kind of person you just feel good to be around.  I think because you know he is true to the core and that is important.  Their daughter Alyson who possesses that kind, transparent love for life that you can just see in her eyes or maybe its in her smile too!  She’s passionate beyond belief for her family and this you can tell is a trait that they all possess.


The Hickson’s first family photo at Anvik River Lodge 1996

The Hickson family is now celebrating their 23rd season at the most remote lodge in Alaska

They’ve taught me how to pass this on and guide some of what I consider to be the greatest people I have ever met.  As Cliff & Cheryl always say “They come to Alaska’s most remote lodge as guests but they leave as family” and I am just blessed to call this my job.  For guiding on the Anvik River has become apart of me and will always push me forward!

Thanks for reading – Seth



Seth during his free time in his natural habitat

Categories: Alaska King Salmon Fishing, Alaska Sport Fishing, Arctic Char fishing, Chum Salmon Fishing, Grayling fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Remote Alaska Fishing, Uncategorized, Wilderness Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on My Job at Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge – by Seth Stuart fishing guide

Our Summer Jobs at Alaska’s Most Remote Lodge – by Shelby Drummonds

Shelby with her first Anvik River Grayling

I finished my first season at the Anvik River Lodge in September and quite honestly cannot wait to get back up there for the 2018 season.  I wanted to give you a little insight from a bit of a newcomer’s perspective of what it’s like to do what we do and what we love about it – 

For those of you who were able to join us this past season, you got to see a crew who works every day of the fishing season to keep the Anvik River Lodge running smoothly.  Our work-weeks aren’t structured around the 9-5, or a Monday-Friday type of scheduling.  At Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge we structure our work during the guest season on a day 1-5 basis – which continues all summer long.  There is no weekend, or day off in between; it just starts over again at day 1.  This is because our guests visit us for 5-night trip packages.  Our trip packages include a private airplane charter that brings our guests to and from the village of Anvik from Anchorage.  And as Boss-Lady always says, the charter flight needs to be full going both ways in order to be able to provide this service – it’s too expensive not to have it be.  Hence the “no days off” situation.  To be totally honest, most of us are never really sure what the actual day of the week it is.  We know what day of the guest’s trip it is usually only by what’s on the dinner menu.  For example – if its shore dinner rib-night then it’s day one, if it’s steak & king crab night, it’s day five.  One thing we know for sure – is when the guest season starts on this beautiful remote river – TIME FLIES!

The crew starts working about mid-May and works for the entirety of the fishing season (mid June-late September), basically non-stop, to keep up with the new, and returning, guests that we get to greet every 5-day cycle. A typical day working at the lodge can start well before breakfast, and go all the way until the fire burns out in the late evening, and the guests are ready for bed. This schedule can add up for someone.  If you can imagine working your job every day for up to 5 months – it can get a bit exhausting on the mind and body.  Here is a little bit more about what keeps us going strong in the most remote lodge in Alaska, hope you enjoy.

What a great group of co-workers. Anvik Lodge crew 2017!!



You are looking at a crew with just a couple weeks left of the 2017 season.  If you look closely at each crew-member in the photo, you will see a smile that is just as genuine as the smiles we had on our faces from the very start. For the duration of the fishing season, this staff works closely with each other on everything we do.  We’re constantly sharing information on each individual guest to maximize their experience with us.  In doing so, we are able to share ideas, goals, recipes, and stories of what this river has seen in it’s rich history.

Guests often comment on the chemistry that is particularly strong with our crew.  It really is the glue that holds this staff together.  We have routines, traditions and fun events every day that we look forward to with each other and our guests.  These things keep us fueled and excited for each and every day we face.  The relationships that we’ve built here at the lodge are a direct reflection of how well we’re supported by Cliff and Cheryl, our wilderness experts, pseudo mom & dad and the owners of the Anvik River Lodge.  They have worked tirelessly to construct a spectacular destination for all to enjoy, and we lean on their vast knowledge and expertise each day.  Their love and enthusiasm for what they have created is contagious, and powers the crew to keep going daily.


Anvik River Lodge guides with their new Kiwi pals

So what happens when the fishing season is over in September? Well, after the season ended, the ARL crew had some well-deserved down time for the first time in a long time. Civilization has a lot to offer this crew back from the wilderness; high speed internet, cable, sporting events, humans, level ground & pavement to walk on, central heat and air, fast food, and vehicles that go over 30 MPH.  The most popular thing to do when back in civilization is to let someone else finally prepare your food, and even take care of the dishes afterwards! WOW! That’s a big one for the crew… you forget how nice that is just to casually go out to eat somewhere.

The off-season leaves a lot of time to travel and see places, like maybe even drive across the country to move to Alaska!  Even with all these things to offer, it does not take long before we start missing the life we have out at the lodge. Whether it is traveling, fishing, hunting, working, working out, or binge watching the newest series on Netflix, we all find ways to keep ourselves busy during winter until it’s time to go back out to our favorite place to be – Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge.  We come to work in the most remote part of Alaska, meet strangers that soon become family, and have a dream job working in the most amazing place. That is what keeps us going.

We are ready, and eager to share this piece of paradise with each one of you. We are looking forward to sharing our lifestyle and memories with all of you in 2018!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned…..

Categories: Alaska King Salmon Fishing, Alaska Sport Fishing, Arctic Char fishing, Chum Salmon Fishing, Grayling fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Remote Alaska Fishing, Uncategorized, Wilderness Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Our Summer Jobs at Alaska’s Most Remote Lodge – by Shelby Drummonds

Growing up at Alaska’s Most Remote Lodge – by Blair Hickson

Our first family photo at Anvik River Lodge 1996

Strange things are done in the midnight sun where the men moil for gold. The arctic trails have their secret tails that would make your blood run cold” –Robert Service “The Cremation of Sam Magee”


In the English language there are over 170,000 words. The hardest word to try and define in my opinion is “normal”. When you’re raised at the most remote fishing lodge in Alaska your definition of “normal” deviates a bit from what most people would call “normal”.

Bears breaking into your home, sinking a new well at 9:00 at night while the sun is still blazing in the sky, catching 100 salmon in a day and visiting with people from all over the world could all occur on the same day and to myself & my sister that was well…….“normal”.


My sister Alyson happy with her Anvik River salmon that she caught.

My family started running Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge in the very late 1900’s. At the time we were living in the bush Alaska community of Bethel. Within a couple of years of acquiring the lodge my folks decided to up root for the winter months and go to my father’s home state of Florida. It was more out of necessity than choice. In the mid 90’s the internet was marginal at best in bush Alaska and hadn’t taken off as strong as it had in other areas of the country.  This along with the lack of conventional advertising resources and the major expense of traveling to sport shows and such made it incredibly difficult to market our new business from there.

As a young kid, eight years old at the time, the transition from a rural Alaskan community where -70 degree wind chills and 18 hours of darkness was not uncommon in the winter, Florida was most definitely different. Basically Alyson and I felt like square pegs trying to fit into a round hole. My stories about my wilderness adventures or of our dog fighting grizzly bears or the necessity to often fly in small bush planes as a youngster would often be discarded as tall tales and few people would actually believe me, unless there were pictures.

During the summers though life was pretty great. We worked – a lot. If I was strong enough to haul firewood I would have to do it. Just because we were small didn’t mean we got a free pass. Everyone worked, and I mean everyone. Rather than have a day at the park we would sometimes go out on the river and have a BBQ.

Having fun on the Anvik River with Dad.

Our “Fourth of July” celebrations were always something to look forward to.  You see, we usually had paying guests at the lodge by then, so in order to have the time and energy to have some fun and create some memories just for us kids, my folks would schedule our “Fourth of July” celebration sometime before the 25th of June which was usually our opening day for the busy summer guest season.  Heck, we didn’t know any different and it was a blast.  Along with games such as ring toss, balloon popping and relay races that were set up we’d put on our own mini-parade.  This parade would consist of Alyson and I getting dressed up in homemade costumes, ranging from Jimmy Buffet to Darth Vader for me and Little Mermaid to Superstar for Aly.  We would use the garden carts for our “parade floats” and my dad and some of the guides would push our “floats” around the yard paths as we’d throw candy to the crowd, and by crowd I mean about 15 people.  Many years several of our friends from Bethel would fly to the lodge in their float planes and join us for the festivities – we thought this was all very “normal”.

My first grizzly bear at age 13.

As you can imagine as I got older, shop class for home-school was about as real as it got. Definitely unconventional. Of course there were lots of times when I was young that I definitely wanted to do anything other than weed the garden again, or fillet another salmon, or haul in more firewood or any of the other million daily chores that were necessary. But now I look back and appreciate and love what we do more and more.

Me honing my skills as a long bow hunter at about 16 years old.

Another family picture at Anvik River Lodge circa 2001

At the time I never knew what it exactly was my parents were teaching me with all the skills and tasks we had to accomplish and develop. But now I think I get it. I learned things that I simply would never have had an opportunity to do if it were not for my parents and the lodge.

Growing up at the Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge was pretty awesome all-in-all. As the youngest person here for most of the time it was like having 7 big brothers and sisters as the crew. Most of these fine young people would take the time to indulge me in my childhood stories of slaying dragons and odd facts I had read in one of a hundred books I must’ve read.  You see, we didn’t have any Playstation or Nintendo.  No satellite television, and what internet connection we did have was reserved for the business and not entertainment.

This was great but I never realized it until I got older. It caused my sister and I to make our own fun with what ever was available for entertainment.  My “toys” of choice were usually a cardboard box, roll of duct tape, a piece of pvc pipe and some string.  These things along with my imagination provided me with hours upon hours of entertainment.  And when you’ve got time to read without the distraction of T.V. or other screens, one can develop a profound love of having that special time.  Although, again, I didn’t realize how special that was at the time – just “normal”.

We always made our own fun and usually our own toys.

I will be the first to admit though that my lack of exposure to technology has made my learning curve on the whole computer thing a little steep, but those stories are best left for on the river.

Me at age 6 with my first grayling caught by hand

Another major benefit I was able to partake in during the transition from adolescence into adulthood (I cringe at that word) was the wisdom that so many guests have handed down to me over the years. Not only was I able to have engaging and stimulating conversations about everything from politics, business, and even cooking. I was also able to learn the lessons of lives much longer than mine. Simple things like how not to get in trouble and screw up your life to how you treat people. I feel to a point I was able to keep my nose clean avoid too many mistakes in life because of those little fireside chats over the years with the countless people who have impacted my life without ever knowing it. In today’s world it seems as if we are inundated with all of the bad things going on and what all the bad people are up to. We forget how many people are truly special and incredible out there. I get to see that everyday and in that I’m incredibly lucky.

Years later on one of many moose hunts on the Anvik River.



So from the time I was walking around the lodge in my onesie pajamas to now when I’m walking around inside the same walls in my waders getting ready to do a job I’d watched some of my heroes do for all those years I would say that its been an incredible life and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Thank you for reading my story.

Our family is now celebrating our 23rd season at the most remote lodge in Alaska. We’ve come a long way!


Categories: Alaska King Salmon Fishing, Alaska Sport Fishing, Arctic Char fishing, Chum Salmon Fishing, Grayling fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Remote Alaska Fishing, Uncategorized, Wilderness Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

That’s a Wrap!

Our last look at the 2017 season sky from our very favorite place on earth gave us an incredible aurora borealis show – what a fabulous send off!

Awesome Aurora Borealis show on our last night at the Anvik River Lodge this season

You can call them Auroras or Northern Lights, either way they’re spectacular

Yes, summer 2017 has ended and we’ve put the Anvik River Lodge to bed for the winter.  Or as Cliff likes to describe it – the lodge is now entering a period of about eight months of suspended animation.  As we get settled back in Anchorage we reflect fondly on the past season.  And from our prospective it was absolutely the BEST SEASON EVER!  We were blessed with great fishing, great weather for the most part, fantastic guests, outstanding crew, no bear break-ins, no natural disasters hit us, no major breakage or malfunction of equipment and best of all  – everyone was healthy and safe with no injuries.  Being in remote Alaska all of these positive events are appreciated  so much more, we believe, than in other areas of the state that are far more easily accessible in the event of a problem.

What a great crew we had for our 2017 season – hard working and a ton of fun!

Many folks are curious to know what it takes to close down such a remote facility at the end of a busy fishing season.  As you can imagine, it’s no simple task and we certainly couldn’t do it without our outstanding staff members and some close and dear friends pitching in to help with all that needs to be done.  It can be cold and rainy and even snowing by the time we get some of the final chores accomplished.  From inventorying just about everything on-site, to draining all of the water lines it’s a busy time and we’re as usual up against what ever mother nature decides to toss our way.  Some seasons we’re super lucky and have weather akin to an Indian Summer, but more often than not, it’s in the teens or below at night and not a whole lot warmer during the day – or its constantly raining with wind howling with no relief in site.  We all know that even the smallest task can take much longer to accomplish when you’re up against the elements.  Our yearly goal is to get out before the river starts freezing – and we normally accomplish this goal, sometimes by the skin of our teeth – which is a story for another day.

Much like the saying “What goes up, must come down” – our fall season at the most remote lodge in Alaska’s saying is “What gets brought out, must be put away”.  And mind you, after working 7 days a week for about 17 hours a day for 4 months – just the mere thought of having to tackle this chore can be daunting to say the least.  Yes, we are a hardy bunch out here in the bush – it’s not an option to not be.

The guys with one of our favorite guests horsing around by the river

How do we store everything for the winter? Lets start with the left over groceries – which we try not to have very much of by the end of the season – but it doesn’t always work out that well.  Anything perishable such as the garden produce that had to be harvested from nearly frozen ground or groceries in the fridge either gets eaten in a hurry or given to our friends in Anvik.  Some years its a pretty funny site to see so many residents driving around the village on their four-wheelers with heads of cabbage, bunches of kale or whatever other type of veggies we had a late crop off, sitting between the handlebars or strapped to the back.  Its a sure sign that Cliff has been in town and we’re winding things up.  As far as canned or jarred goods, many things that’ll go bad or break if frozen get buried in 55 gallon drums, deep enough to keep from freezing – a method we discovered after many years of trial and error.

Egypt Mountain peaking through the beautiful fall colors of the Anvik

The docks & boats of course have to be pulled out of the water and secured on land before the ice pans start developing on the Anvik.  Our trusty little tractor has made this project soooooo much easier than back-in-the-day before we acquired it.  When the water is high, things go much smoother than when we’ve got low water levels.  No matter what the circumstances are I just hold my breath until everything is out of the water safely without damage.

The fixed solar panels have to be removed and stored so as not to be damaged by the snow loads that we can get over the winter.  The rotating solar array must be disabled from tracking and tilted at just the right angle so as to not get overburdened with the snow load.  At the same time, the angle needs to be enough that the larger animals that make our yard their winter thoroughfare can’t damage it by reaching it to climb on, gnaw on or puncture with their massive racks.

All the linens, rugs, towels and such have to be cleaned and packaged up and stored where no varmints will get at them (hopefully).  And yes, we’ve arrived at the lodge in the springtime to find that we didn’t do as good of a job as we should have and our pretty comforters and flannel sheets have been used for winter nesting grounds for anything from voles to martens.

The dry goods are especially important to secure for obvious reasons.  We’re lucky to have an airtight walk-in freezer & cooler unit which also happen to be scent-tight for the most part. They’re usually perfect for protecting dry & boxed items from getting gnawed into – at least by small animals.  Bears? not-so-much – they can get into anything they want.  The fact that it’s airtight, scent-tight or not – just doesn’t matter.

Some of the staff cutting loose on Grand slam night.

Blowing out all of the sewer & water lines, anti-freezing the toilets, washers etc., is another task that must be done thoroughly or we’re in trouble in the spring.  Not doing a thorough job with this will cause either a bunch of broken water lines or dug up septic lines from curious and in-discriminating bears.  Food is food, no matter what form its in.

A final check of all of the guest rooms, storage areas and out buildings along with our living quarters is one of the most important tasks of all.  It’s funny how you don’t see something until it’s been frozen and exploded all over the place, or it’s been shredded to bits.  Or in the case of the giant Costco size black licorice that some weasels that found   they apparently devoured the whole thing, including the plastic container!  Without going into too much detail, I’ll just suffice to say that their digestive systems were not happy with the richness of that much black licorice in one sitting – YIKES! the things we find when returning in the spring.  The good part is, we do live and we do learn and don’t normally make the same mistake again.

When the final cleaning and putting away is complete then it’s time to board-up and booby-trap – a project that takes a good long day or two at least.  The boarding up is done over the windows & doors of every building and the booby-traps……well, I guess I shouldn’t say too much about those but it can certainly be a surprise to a bear or other animal, whether it has two or four legs if they happen to fall victim to any of them.

One of the last bonfires and circle of wisdom for the fishing season

Once the final switch on the control panel has been turned off and the last doorway secured it’s time to hop in the boat and head downriver for the last time of the year.  With mixed emotions we start our journey back to “the land of stuff”.  We’re so proud to be a part of so many great adventures that our guests experience over the summer.  And we look forward to a little rest time and the ability to enjoy going out to a restaurant, watching the latest movies, getting a hair cut, walking across the room to turn up the thermostat if we’re cold, getting mail delivered to our doorstep on a daily basis and all of the little things that can so easily be taken for granted.  But we know after about 6 weeks in “the land of stuff” we’ll be pining for the magic of the Anvik River and can’t wait to get back here!



Categories: Alaska King Salmon Fishing, Alaska Sport Fishing, Arctic Char fishing, Chum Salmon Fishing, Grayling fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Remote Alaska Fishing, Uncategorized, Wilderness Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on That’s a Wrap!

Late August update

Fly-fishing amongst the beautiful fall colors of the Remote Alaska’s Anvik River

Where has the time gone this summer?  We can’t believe that we’ve only got a couple more weeks of fishing left, then it’ll be a wrap for the 2017 season!

As is typical for this time of the year, the temperatures are dropping, the colors are starting to change from the rich lush greens of summer to the vibrant golds, reds & oranges of fall on the Anvik.  The fish runs are switching from the big ole’ king salmon to the acrobatic & always plentiful silver (co-ho) salmon.

Fall colors of the Anvik River

Since our last post we were blessed with some more rain which we needed.  There was actually some pretty significant weather events during late July that muddied our usually gin clear waters for a few days.  And as is usual after a good down-pour the waters cleared again in a short time.  As we’ve always known, when your in business with mother nature, you never know what each season will bring to this remote wonderland.  For the majority of the time this summer has been a dream.  Great fishing, great weather and very few mosquitoes here on the Anvik River.

Our guests have been coming back to camp after a day on the river with smiles on their faces, worn out arms and lots of stories to share.  We had a couple of guests from New Zealand who joined us for ten days on the Anvik and I’m sure they’re still telling stories.  They were able to catch plenty of fish, enjoy the hiking opportunities, shoot trap like experts, drift the river looking for bear and other wildlife and of course just really enjoy the great camaraderie that folks find here.  Some night around the campfire we laughed until we were almost in tears with these guys.

Then there was the “Raven Clan” that visited early August.  This is a family that really enjoyed their time here and knew how to make everyday fun.  Whether it was wrestling the guides on the gravel bar during lunch, corn-hole competitions after dinner or just soaking the splendor of the Anvik in while drifting the river – it is always so wonderful to see our guests have such a good time.  It really is much more than a fishing trip when you join us for an adventure.

Nice catch – Anvik River northern pike!

ANVIK RIVER FISHING REPORT: – The fall chum salmon numbers through the Pilot Station sonar are well above average this season with over 1.7M being counted thus far.  The Anvik is home to the largest summer chum spawning run, but we only get a small percentage of the fall chum salmon.  What these fish lack in numbers they certainly make up for in size.  The fall chum salmon have a much larger girth than the summer chum salmon and a quite a bit bigger over all.  It’s not unusual to catch a 10 to 12 pounder.  Our cohos are starting to show up in their usual big numbers.  They started showing up as expected mid-August, but didn’t really kick in until this past week.  The run numbers look to be of average amounts for this date.  That being said, they’re here now and are beautiful vivacious fish that are a blast to hook into!


This is one happy looking gal with a beautiful Anvik River Fall Chum Salmon

UPDATE: – Here’s a big shout out to Tim from Wisconsin  and Coleman from Michigan.  Each of these guys achieved the feat of getting their grand-slam and century club in one day!  That’s a lot of fishing and a ton of catching!  Great job Tim & Coleman!

Since our last post our Grand-Slam Club numbers have increased by 8 women & 13 men.  This brings our 2017 season total to 70 Grand-Slam Club members and 5 Century Club members – Congratulations to everyone!

Tight lines!

Categories: Alaska King Salmon Fishing, Alaska Sport Fishing, Arctic Char fishing, Chum Salmon Fishing, Grayling fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Remote Alaska Fishing, Uncategorized, Wilderness Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Late August update

Another great couple of weeks on the Anvik River

Beautiful day on the Anvik River in the wilds of Western Alaska

We’ve had a number of return guests so far this year including Lou from New York who made what we think is about his 20th trip to this remote paradise we call the Anvik River Lodge.  One of our favorite sayings here is “You’ll come as a guest and return as family” and that is so true.  So many of our return guests say they feel like they’re coming home once they step on the dock here at the lodge.

Anvik River chum salmon are so plentiful and ton of fun to catch – great job Michael. Is that chum salmon trying to eat your cousin Luke?

The Anvik River Lodge is a great place to come with your family or with a corporate group as several of our guests have discovered.  We’ve had some wonderful families up here so far this season.  Many mom’s and dad’s that are joined by their teenage children, several father/son or grandfather/father/grandson combinations.  We just said goodbye to a 15 person corporate group that was a mixture of novice fishermen to much more serious hard core fishermen.  Everyone enjoyed themselves and they’re already planning their return trips.

There’s plenty to keep folks of all ages happy – even beyond the fishing.  Several horse shoe & corn-hole competitions have been held in the evenings after dinner.  The always fun “Third Night Trivia Night” continues to be a favorite.  Our authentic steam lodge and the nightly bonfires that we refer to as “the circle of wisdom” are a hit as well.  This season we just set up a trap shooting range and many of our guests have had a great time with this add-on.

A little cousin competition between Luke & Michael – nice Anvik River sockeye salmon Luke!


WEATHER–  The Anvik River drainage has definitely been dryer than usual this summer – be we finally have been getting rain off and on this past 5 days or so.  Yesterday we had quite a downpour, but for the most part just partial rain and high clouds during the day and showers at night.  Enough to raise the water level a bit and lower the water temperature, but not enough to dampen anyone’s spirits when it comes to enjoy themselves.

This sow grizzly and her cub wandering the shores of the Anvik River gathering chum salmon for their dinner.



FISHING REPORT – The bite is certainly on at Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge this summer.  With close to half a million summer & fall chum salmon so far and more coming up the river every day and a better than average Yukon king salmon run and an increase sockeye salmon population anglers have been having a blast so far this season.  We’re just finishing up the week with our 6th group of guests and there are smiles on everyone’s faces.  Beside the salmon fishing which is always a blast, the resident grayling are really nice sized this year. There have been some dandy sized pike caught recently too.  The arctic char & dollies are busy chowing down on salmon eggs from the spawning chum salmon and are a little tougher to catch this past week or so.  The ones that have taken the fly or spoon are beautiful as they start showing off their fall spawning colors.  I always say they look like they’re ready for date night with their pink & red polka-dot “dresses” and flaming red & orange “lipstick”.

Good times on the Anvik River catching king salmon.

GRAND-SLAM & CENTURY CLUB – Since our last blog post we’ve added 22 men & 5 women to the Anvik River Lodge Grand Slam Club roles and 2 more men a grandfather/grandson team added to the Anvik River Lodge Century Club – word on the street has it that they each got their 100 fish before lunch that day!  Making our total for the 2017 season 3 Century Club inductees and 49 Grand Slam Club members.  Keep up the good work folks.

Until next week stay tuned and tight lines!

A beautiful Anvik River Northern Pike to count toward Bob’s Century Club total.

Anvik River Lodge’s newest Century Club inductee. 100 fish in one day!  Congratulations Bill.

Xavier with another Anvik River Chum Salmon to go toward his 100 fish day earning him a Century Club hat.

Categories: Alaska King Salmon Fishing, Alaska Sport Fishing, Arctic Char fishing, Chum Salmon Fishing, Grayling fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Remote Alaska Fishing, Uncategorized, Wilderness Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Another great couple of weeks on the Anvik River

We’re off to a great start

My apologies –

I wrote this blog over 10 days ago and didn’t post right away because I was waiting for some pictures to go with it.  In the meantime, my computer went all haywire.  Finally got that fixed – no easy task being so remote.  Here’s the recap of our first couple of groups – ENJOY!

Our 2017 season is off to a fantastic start this summer. We’ve had two groups of guests join us so far and they just can’t get enough of the fantastic fishing, food and fun.

WEATHER: The first week’s weather at the Anvik River Lodge was a little rainy for a few of the days. We didn’t mind though because the water levels were a little lower than normal for this time of the year. And a little rain didn’t hamper the angler’s spirits or the fishing opportunities. This past group of guests were blessed with better weather for sure with temps in the mid 60’s to low 70’s. Even had to use sunscreen a day or two.

Jeff looking happy with this beautiful Anvik River chum salmon caught on the fly.

FISHING: As of today the State of Alaska Fish and Game sonar shows 250K + summer chum salmon have passed by their counter on the Anvik River. The king salmon and sockeye salmon are showing up and there’s been a few caught this past week. The arctic char & arctic grayling continue to be abundant and really good sized. The pike fishing has been pretty good, whenever there’s a weather change, they are affected for a day or two as usual. They always look like dinosaur fish to me.

GRAND SLAMS & CENTURY CLUB REPORT: An Anvik River Lodge grand slam consists of catching one or two salmon species, a pike, a char & a grayling all in one day. This is a great way to explore the diverse fishery available in the remote wilderness. For the 2017 season we’ve inducted 6 women & 15 men anglers & 1 ten year old angler (Luke) who incidentally got his all on the same lure I believe.  Another fantastic feat was performed by Tom who is 84 years old and legally blind – he got one of his grand-slams all on the fly.  He also caught an Anvik River Lodge grayling on his 97 year old bamboo rod that has been passed down in his family for a few generations and has been used all over the world in various waters. This was its first time to Alaska – very cool.

84 year old Tom showing off his fine Anvik River Lodge Chum salmon!

An Anvik River Lodge Century Club is when you catch 100 fish in one day – we don’t have very many members of this club that we started about three years ago. But we’ve got one more from our first group of guests this season. A big congratulations goes out to Bill Simpson of Soldotna, Alaska for catching over 100 fish in one day! Great Job!

Until next time everyone – we’ll keep a line in the Anvik River with your name on it!

Anvik River Lodge’s newest Century Club inductee. 100 fish in one day!

Categories: Alaska Sport Fishing, Arctic Char fishing, Chum Salmon Fishing, Grayling fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Remote Alaska Fishing, Uncategorized, Wilderness Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It’s time for the crew to play!!

It’s T-minus 7 days until the first day of our 23rd season with Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge. And since our pre-season preparations or the beloved “hell month” has gone so smoothly this year many of us have had an opportunity to get out and do some pleasure fishing ourselves.  The first salmon run is just beginning and as you can see from the pictures we’ve caught tons of outstanding char and dolly varden, big beautiful grayling, northern pike, white fish, chum salmon and even a shee fish.    So far the fish counts are really great and the weather has been better than expected too.

The Arctic Char/Dolly Varden fishing is out of the world this time of the year. Blair’s catch is a great example!

Even boss man Cliff gets to go fishing once in a while.

Staff members Shelby & Tug get out for some fishing fun on the shores of the Anvik River.

JD & fiancee Chef Megan break away for a little fun in the sun. Megan caught her first northern pike on the fly – well done!

Awesome Anvik River Dolly Varden

While there were some forest fires close to the village of Anvik, we weren’t in any danger being 75 miles up-river. Had some smoke around for a few days, but the rains kicked in and cleared everything right up making a hike up the peak we refer to as “Egypt” a great adventure for some of the crew.

New guide Nick Jr. hiking up Egypt in full gear, in search of yet another fishing hole – perhaps some of the guys were pulling a joke on him?

The garden and green house are going gang busters and the crew is right on schedule with cleaning and repairs.  And as you can see, out here in remote Alaska, we have to entertain ourselves after a long hard day of work.

Blair & Jr. mimicking the Blues Brothers for a little Karaoke entertainment for us all

Seth out for a cruise on the Anvik River – what a beautiful day!!

The flower baskets are ready to hang around the beautiful Anvik River Lodge

We’ve had some bear sightings and a few National Geographic type moments. Just yesterday we were out for a drift and saw a brand new baby moose calf standing on the bank of the river. It’s mother was up on the high shore above the calf and she of course beckoned her baby to get back up with her as we got closer. As we were watching the calf moose awkwardly climbing up the cut bank to mamma a mature bald eagle swooped by with a big grayling in its talons. It was quite majestic if I do say so myself.

Here’s some great shots of the kitchen and housekeeping staff of the Anvik River Lodge showing their other talent – FISHING!

We hope you enjoyed these photos of some of our hard working crew having a little fun!  Yours in the Wilderness, Cliff, Cheryl & the whole Anvik Lodge Gang


Chef Megan and an awesome Anvik River Shee Fish – what a catch!

Shelby not only makes a fantastic salad, she one mean pike fisherman. This was one of her first Anvik River Northern Pike

Look at that smile – this is one proud gal, Sundi Scott with her first Anvik River Grayling caught on the fly.

Categories: Alaska Sport Fishing, Arctic Char fishing, Chum Salmon Fishing, Grayling fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Remote Alaska Fishing, Uncategorized, Wilderness Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on It’s time for the crew to play!!

Gettin’ Ready to Rock the 2017 Season!

As the expediting process comes to an end, the excitement of leaving the busy city life to the paradise known as Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge intensifies. The entire crew is itching to return to a place where the work is hard and endless, but life becomes more simple and enjoyable.

The initial drive up river is peaceful and gorgeous.  The abundant wildlife – cow moose and their calves, bears and wolfs are making their way to the river’s edge to greet us – of course then run away when they see us!  The sounds of spring are echoing through the air. However, mother-nature is our business partner and we never know what “gifts” she has left for us during our time away. As we draw closer to the lodge the questions begin to flood our minds. What unexpected surprises will we face since our early March visit? What did the snow loads do to the roofs? Which buildings will need to be fixed? Did a bear ransack the lodge again? How much erosion has occurred when the ice went out? Will we be able to the water running from the wellhead? Is the generator and solar system ready for another year? Will Blair become the Viking he’s always wanted to be? The questions are endless as is the work to prepare for the season opener. A part of the season that we affectionately call “hell month”.

Cliff & Jay work on new Anvik River Lodge ramp


Hell month is quite a statement, but the endless hours of work and lashings is where it gets its name. All the spring clean-up and improvements take a lot of time and energy especially when you operate the most remote lodge in Alaska. This time of the year is sure to bring torrential downpours – which is needed to help the ground thaw, but it makes for a muddy mess everywhere on the property.  We got lucky this season and the rains didn’t start until our second week here, so we were able to get tons of things done without sinking to our knees in mud.  And equally lucky this year there was no bear ransacking, no collapsed roofs and no surprises. We finally get a year where we can get straight to work on the general maintenance, lodge improvements and of course our luscious garden and grounds. Sounds easy enough right? Fixing all the things the harsh environment left its mark on. From the yard to the tower, it seems everything needs attention. The ice makers need new valves, the loading ramp needs to be rebuilt, the docks need replacement, the main lodge roof needs some repairs and the sauna roof needs total replacement – these are just a few examples. It is a never ending list that seems to always come down to the wire before the season opener. Adding to the fun is the fact that we can’t just run to the store to pick up what we need.  Although Amazon Prime has become a very useful tool indeed.

Anvik River Lodge’s greenhouse with beautiful garden starts ready to plant

Getting the Anvik River Lodge garden ready for planting

We’ve got an awesome mill on-sight for making dimensional lumber.  But so many times we find ourselves brainstorming on how creatively fix the unexpected.  Our fearless leader Cliff is a genius at making chicken soup out of chicken poop and has taught us all well over the years.

The beloved saw mill – one of our favorite tools at the Anvik River Lodge

Guide Tug – preparing for battle with a handful of bolts for the new docks

Now please don’t take any of this as complaining of any sort – quite the contrary.  Getting through these challenges and “surprises” that pop up every spring are what make all of us so proud to be a part of the most remote lodge in Alaska and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  As hell month continues the excitement for the season builds and we can’t wait to for our guest to arrive. Some come as strangers but all who leave here become a part of the Anvik River Lodge family. We can’t wait for the 2017 season to begin so we can see everyone enjoy the fruits of our labors!

Yours in the Wilderness – J.D. and the Anvik Lodge Gang

Categories: Alaska Sport Fishing, Arctic Char fishing, Chum Salmon Fishing, Grayling fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Remote Alaska Fishing, Uncategorized, Wilderness Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gettin’ Ready to Rock the 2017 Season!


More than a decade ago – long before the current reality TV craze we were chatting with our friends Audrey Bradshaw & Larry Csonka about maybe doing a show that might be called “So You Think You Want to Own a Fishing Lodge?”.  The idea was going to be for the show to let folks know what it really takes to make a remote wilderness lodge such as Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge happen.  One of the processes that would be high-lighted is the pre-season preparations of shipping and expediting supplies for the season.  Here’s a glimpse of this process from Blair’s point of view……………

Few things are sweeter than the taste of a cold beverage on the river. Out in the normal world most would drink it without considering what it took to get it there. On average every beer or soda you drink at the Anvik River Lodge is moved by us about a dozen times. It’s another task that we here on the Anvik river take part in every spring before coming up to the lodge. The loved and hated expediting season…

The Purchasing: I must admit that every year during this process I feel a little bad for the cashiers at Costco & Sam’s Club.  I feel bad for being the herd of people with fourteen, filled to the brim, flat-bed shopping carts in the checkout line. But like I try to tell people in line, “These groceries aren’t going to buy themselves”. Its what it takes to make a trip out to the Anvik River Lodge possible. You can never truly appreciate something until you’ve had to physically touch it and move it up to a dozen times. As we stand in the store and we’re staring a particular item – a thought always pops in our heads “Do we need it so bad that we want to move it 12 times?” – from the shelf to the cart – to the conveyor belt – back to the cart – to the truck – from the truck to the garage – into the packing box – to the crate – from the crate to the boat (up the river it goes to the lodge) – from the boat to the storage shelf at the lodge – from the shelf to the cooler – and finally to your hand.  Sometimes we can cut out a couple of steps and only have to handle things 9 times though.

When you’re at Alaska’s Anvik River Lodge keep in mind that everything here was brought by us. The little things like trash bags to band-aids we have to think about months in advance before we actually use them. There’s a lot to be said for experience and we’re going on our 22nd season of this process.  We create a master list of every possible thing we may need over the next five months and head to the stores to get it.

The Packing & Shipping: The devil is in the details with this process. We are always trying to make everything as efficient as possible. For instance, if we choose to ship certain items on the barge as opposed to bypass mail our packaging techniques and systems are different. I’ll address the barge shipment first before bypass mail just so everyone knows what we are talking about.

We try to send as much as possible on the barge, it’s a little slower than our bypass shipments but it is a bit less expensive. And on the barge we can ship non-mailable items such as boats, roofing materials, tractors, recumbent bikes, alcohol etc. Most items we ship on the barge are packed in crates that we build ourselves. The crates are made of either ¾” or ½” plywood cut to either 4’ or left at their original length. We do this so we can disassemble all the 2/4s and plywood, collect up the screws, and use it all on building projects at the lodge. That way we are making the most efficient use of every pound we ship out to Anvik. Even the pallets we have to scavenge, (which is getting much harder thanks to the DIY pallet project fad) we haul up to the lodge for projects.

After we build a crate we tight pack it with groceries and supplies. And I mean tight pack. We’ll send anywhere from five to fourteen of these crates out each season depending on projects at the lodge for the year. Prior to shipping we silicon the seams, wrap them in plastic to keep the contents from getting wet and band them shut. We learned about all of this the hard way in the early years.

Once we have all of our crates built and loaded we deliver them to Carlisle trucking where they in turn haul them north of Anchorage about 400 miles to Nenana.  In Nenana they’re loaded onto Ruby Marine’s barge and are shipped down the Yukon to the village of Anvik.  This leg of the trip usually take about a week to 10 days depending upon river and weather conditions.

As we anticipate the arrival of the barge in Anvik we get as many things done as possible.  Most projects hinge on the arrival of the barge freight.  For instance, any building or repair projects that need to be done can be started but rarely finished until the barge gets in with the bulk of the building materials.  Once our barge freight gets to Anvik we disassemble the shipping crates and haul the contents up river in two 23ft. Wooldridge boats.  This is a minimum of 6 hours round-trip travel time plus another couple of hours for the time it takes to unpack and repack the supplies onto our boats – making sure the weight and balance are good and we’re maximizing the payload on each boat.  The barge will usually arrive in Anvik sometime within the first 10 days of June, which gives us two to three weeks before we open for the season.  A few years ago the ice conditions were so thick that the Yukon wasn’t navigable until well into June.  The barge got to Anvik on June 22nd – three days before opening day that year – talk about hustling, you have no idea.

One of the other forms of shipment we use is a system called Bypass mail. Bypass mail is unique to Alaska. The federal government understands that getting everyday items out to bush Alaska is very expensive. When you’re paying $10 a gallon for milk, if you can even find milk, it can be almost too expensive to live. The Post office will ship grocery items to approved companies (stores, lodges, and other businesses) at priority speed but at parcel post prices. In our case we have to pack boxes that are not more than seventy pounds, stack them on pallets, and shrink wrap them. We then have to use a very large scale to weigh the pallets, submit our total weight to the post office, and wait for an air carrier to approve the shipment and receive it. After we drop it off at the air carrier they have 72 hours to get it to Anvik where we will receive it on the other end and begin the process of hauling it 75 miles upriver to the lodge. Most items in this particular group include produce, meats, as well as other perishables.

Transporting the Staff & Dogs:  The final method we use to get items to the lodge is on our private charter flight through ACE – the same company that transports our guests to Anvik from Anchorage. The crew, the dogs and most fragile and super important items such as our office files, computers etc. and some garden starts go on this flight.  We also include items that we donate for Anvik’s annual “Clean-Up, Green-Up” day and picnic.  Once the snow melts the whole community comes together to clean up debris and garbage that’s been covered up by snow and ice over the winter. It is another awesome tradition that Alaskan communities have. This day signifies that summer is upon us and is everyone celebrates with hard work, games, prizes and good food. It’s our chance to be able to give back to this great community and so fun seeing the pride everyone shows in making Anvik beautiful this time of the year.




Categories: Alaska Sport Fishing, Arctic Char fishing, Chum Salmon Fishing, Grayling fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Remote Alaska Fishing, Uncategorized, Wilderness Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment