Fishing Bear Camp, Alaska - The Fish and How to Fish for Them

Conner Johns | Fishing Bear Camp, Alaska March 04, 2024

Conner Johns, raised in the Wood Tikchik Park, has grown into the role of head guide and manager at Fishing Bear, his family’s camp.

With decades of Alaskan bush experience and a passion for angling, he leads guests through unforgettable outdoor adventures. While his father remains involved, Conner's leadership ensures guests enjoy the best of the wilderness while fostering a deep appreciation for conservation.

Words by Conner Johns

After a week of angling at Fishing Bear there is a connection, understanding and appreciation of the diverse and scenic fishery. An Alaskan paradise, sustained by pristine waters, sheltered by jagged peaks, and energized by monumental salmon runs. The fish species that inhabit this region are unique in their habits, and certainly unique while on the opposite end of a fly rod. Over the last three decades we have borne witness to minute and substantial changes in the many fish species of the region. Flourishing, adapting, pioneering, and always providing smiles. As anglers we seek through action and science to understand the targets of our pursuits. There is no better way to learn than experience.

Arctic Char

The Bristol Bay watershed (Fishing Bear location) is home to some of the largest Arctic Char in Alaska! Their lifespan is known to be up to 20 years and a maximum recorded age of whopping 40. A sink tip and a blue/black, or pink/white streamer pattern is a welcome menu selection for Arctic Char. We refer to them as Bulldogs, keeping their heads down and providing a strong tug heading to deeper waters.

Arctic Grayling

The largest Grayling caught on record in Alaska was 24 inches and weighed just over five pounds. Although this number has not been topped at Fishing Bear Lodge, frequently fish in the 18–21-inch size category are landed. Grayling have been documented migrating 100 miles on a seasonal basis for spawning and feeding purposes. With an impressive lifespan of 32 years Grayling have a very slow growth rate. A 12-inch Grayling may be six - seven years old, hence our dedication to proper catch and release practices. Casting 3wt. or 4wt. coupled with a Black Gnat, Parachute Adams, or a Goddard Caddis a sure way to enjoy a small Alaskan stream.

Northern Pike

One of the fastest freshwater fish, in short bursts Pike have been documented reaching speeds of 25 mph. Pike also exhibit the unique ability to swim backwards, taunting anglers as they back away from a fly after a quick approach. Pike are known to consume voles, ducklings, other pike, red squirrels, and documented by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game an eagle chick was once found in the stomach of a large female. Their aggressive nature and their short bursts of intense speed lend to brilliant top water takes. Depending on the lighting a brighter dark colored top water fly is sure to produce results. Fishing Bear Lodge guide favorites are green, yellow, white and black/red.

Rainbow Trout

Alaskan waters are home to some of the greatest stocks of wild rainbow trout populations on earth. Rivers within the Bristol Bay region are known to have some of the highest populations of Rainbows per mile. Under the right conditions their lifespan can reach 11 years and rainbows of this age have been documented spawning. Trout have a elliptically shape eye. Allowing them to have excellent vision at close range to the ahead and excellent vision at a distance to their side. Some studies find their vision is best at approximately three inches. Rainbows specifically are known to have better low light vision than their brook and cutthroat relatives. And for the technical fisherman, a group of Rainbow trout is referred to as a hover. During the cool summer evenings there is nothing better than presenting a well-placed dry fly to a feeding rainbow.

Sockeye Salmon

The lifeblood of coastal Alaska. Each season the sockeye brings life and copious amounts of protein to the inland river and lake systems. Sockeye Salmon on average has a four-year lifespan. These salmon depending on environmental conditions will spend one - two years in freshwater and two - three years in saltwater, feeding primarily on zooplankton. In recent years, Lake Beverly the Fishing Bear Lodge’s home water, was the rearing ground for almost 15% of the worlds Sockeye Salmon.

Available dates:

  • July 1 - 7: 4 spots
  • July 15 - 21: 2 spots
  • July 22 - 28: 6 spots
  • August 12 - 18: 2 spots
  • August 26 - September 1: 3 spots


Fishing Bear Camp, Alaska

Enjoy trout, salmon, char, pike, and grayling fisheries well suited to anglers of all skill levels

Let's Get You Ready to Travel to Fishing Bear Camp

Our Alaska Destination Manager is David Kalinowski