Proudly Sharing Another Great Review!

//Proudly Sharing Another Great Review!

Proudly Sharing Another Great Review!

As we are almost halfway through the fishing season, it’s a good time to make an update on how’s everything going here at Intricate Bay Lodge. We are proud to share an awesome review we got from our guest Marsh Faber, who stayed with us in the end of June. Dear Marsh, thank you for sharing the story on your trip and your awesome photos!

Julie's Flies

“I’m home, in Loveland, Colorado; it’s 100 degrees.  I fan myself with memories of our week at Intricate Bay Lodge on Lake Iliamna, fly fishing with my kids Derrek and Julie.  Amazing.

The Frontier nonstop from Denver to Anchorage was uneventful: my definition of perfect.  We stayed overnight at Comfort Suites (nice) in Anchorage and left early for the welcoming folks at the Iliamna Air terminal. 

[Note to travelers:  We didn’t rent a car, but if you do be aware most of the Rental Return places at Alaska International don’t offer a shuttle to the Iliamna Air terminal, about 1.5 miles away.] [youtube] Iliamna Air we imagined ourselves to be corporate executives as we boarded the sleek Pilatus P-12.  The air was misty and blustery (hey, it’s Alaska) but the plane quickly took us to 20,000 feet, well above the weather to watch Mt. Redoubt muscle its way through clouds below.  Forty minutes elapsed, followed by a bumpy (hey, it’s Alaska) descent into Iliamna and a perfect landing.

Mount Redout

Joe, the Intricate Bay Lodge pilot, met us at the airport and carefully put our bags into a van that he then drove to the float plane.  We were soon off to the lodge, just a few minutes by air.

Chilly air was tempered almost immediately by plush carpets, a burning fireplace and delicious hot food served by our gourmet chef.  Now THIS is what I call a fishing trip!  We were given an hour or so to get settled, then swiftly spirited into two river sleds bound for the mouth of the Copper, one of the world’s premier fly fishing rivers. My jet boat was a couple of minutes behind the lead boat, and by the time I landed and began assembling my fly rod, my son Derrek had already hooked a fish.  I tell you the kid has no respect.  Minutes later Julie hooked into a big rainbow.  “Hey, it’s my turn!” I shouted, to little avail.

Derrek's Trout

FINALLY (ok, it took at least ten minutes), I hooked into one.  Then another.  And another. And another.  “Go Grandpa” was the cry from the guide.  I hooked one more and was feeling pretty good about myself until Derrek waded across the river and located a honey hole and, with his magic fly (he’s a fisheries scientist in Oregon) began farming one rainbow after another.  He looked like an ad for the Seattle Fish Market.  The only difference is the fish were all alive and we left them that way.

Taking off the Fog Lake

The day was spent, and we were bushed.  A multi-course feast greeted us at the lodge (can you spell carrot soufflé?) and we all disintegrated euphorically into cozy beds.

We awoke to the smell of made-from-scratch homemade biscuits, and to adventure.  We were going to fly to Fog Lake and float the middle section of the Copper.  Now this is where it gets a little different.  All the land there belongs to the Native Corporation, therefore none of the lodges is allowed to anchor or touch the shoreline or bottom of Fog Lake.  But it hasn’t stopped our heroes at Intricate Bay Lodge and it certainly made for more fun on our part, if not a little more work for the guides.  The “lake dance” goes like this:  pilot Joe takes off with two guides and two deflated rafts, lands on the lake and the guides inflate the rafts while sitting on the pontoons of the plane.  Good fun, especially for us; we’re still eating breakfast.

Then he flies back for us and sets us down on Fog Lake without touching the precious shoreline.  We hop directly from the plane into the waiting rafts and are rowed to the Copper.  The whole thing is a hoot.  Even an old grandpa like me had a great time doing it!

The Fog Lake

Of course, the best part was catching all those leopard bows in the middle section above where we fished the first day.  Turns out there are plenty of trout to go around.

Catch legions of fish.  Back to the lodge.  Stuff ourselves.  Crash.  Up at the crack of nine.  Stuff ourselves.

Now it’s the Gibraltar.  The lodge has a great lake boat; it’s a welded aluminum war horse capable of smoothing out waves, towing a jet boat and transporting several salivating fishermen 30 miles to a place where even larger fish ply the waters;  The Gibraltar River.

We tried several holes and caught a few fish (OK, a lot of fish, but by now my expectations are totally out of whack).  The guide dropped me off at what turned out to be a honey hole.  I caught five large leopard bows before Julie arrived.  I said, “Julie.  Look at that one.  He’s got to be seven pounds.  Take my spot and get him.”  Unfortunately, she did.  Kids—whaddayagonnado?  To this day, she’s still smiling.

Julie's Trout

Catch legions of fish.  Back to the lodge.  Stuff ourselves.  Crash.  Up at the crack of nine.  Stuff ourselves.

Now it’s the Gibraltar again.  Only this time it’s by air, and we are allowed to use the shoreline of the lake. The weather has cleared; it’s a bluebird day by anybody’s measure.  We float the top and catch a few; then nothing until the lower stretch.  It seems the rainbows don’t populate the river until the salmon come in, and we were too early for that.  In any event, Derrek and Julie spotted their own honey hole this time and caught 14 apiece out of that hole.  Any other place I’ve been this would just be a fish story.

Catch legions of fish.  Back to the lodge.  Stuff ourselves.  Crash.  Up at the crack of nine.  Stuff ourselves.

The piece de resistance:  the upper Copper.  We landed on Lower Copper Lake and I tried to squeeze the beauty of the place into my small camera lens.  Couldn’t do it justice.

We kept our fly rods in tubes for the initial part of the float, since we’d have to portage two “water features”.  The first was passable by raft, but we graciously let the guides take the boats down alone while we walked around.  “Passable” doesn’t mean it’s not scary.

The portage on the Copper

The second was a true waterfall, just over 30 feet straight down.  The guides carried all the heavy stuff while we took our rods.  Once again, we didn’t object.

Copper River Waterfall

Then there we were; the most beautiful trout-infested turquoise pool I’ve ever seen.  Julie and Derrek were slamming them on leeches and I was having success skittering a caddis across the water.  The big advantage of going in June is that, since the salmon aren’t in the ‘bows will take dry flies, and that’s where I shine.  Oh, the fun we had.

Julie and Brian

We fished our brains out and I think my shoulder fell off during the fourth day so I had to cast left-handed, but it was an amazing experience, due in no small part to Brian the owner, ever-smiling Joe the terrific pilot, patient and knowledgeable guides Kevin, Kent and Steve and of course Jim, Jeff, Matt and Maria and finally Davis, the gourmet chef who now owes me for my new gym membership.

What a trip!

Marsh Faber

Loveland, CO”




2016-12-14T19:58:49+00:00July 23rd, 2013|
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