Trout, Rainbow Trout, Grayling, Sockeye Salmon
Destination Type
Fishing Style
Dry Fly, Jet Boat, Wading
June - October
Fishing Days
Why We Go
  • Experience one of Alaska's most beautiful and renowned catch and release trophy trout streams, the Copper River.
  • Enjoy one of the state's most exceptional values with kind, experienced, hands-on Alaskan owners.
  • Target rainbow trout with a wide range of seasonally appropriate techniques and fish directly from the lodge by jetboats.
  • Diversify your experience with optional add-on trips including fly-outs or day-floats to other regional waters.
  • Enjoy an intimate rustic, no-frills lodge where the pace is set by guests and the focus is on fishing.

The Copper River flows east from high mountain lakes to its terminus in Intricate Bay on the south shore of the fabled Lake Iliamna.  It's here, at the river's final bend, that two longtime Alaskan friends Steve and Sean decided to build their dream getaway. Once they started building, friends and family followed, and the hospitable, home-grown roots of Copper on the Fly were born. 
20 years later, their lodge now hosts up to six guests per week who they treat like the family and friends that got them started. The Copper is special among Bristol Bay's trout rivers. Not only is it considered the region's most beautiful system with handsome forests and rock outcroppings, but it is also one of the state's finest early-season dry fly rivers. It has handsome heavily spotted resident rainbows, a huge return of sockeye salmon, and some special late-season migratory rainbows that could easily be mistaken for a sea-bright steelhead. At its core, this is an operation that will enable anglers to experience one of the state's most special systems at a fraction of the price that most others paid to set foot in it, and at the same time be taken care of by great folks who have made the river their home away from home for two decades.   

Fishing Program

The Copper is Alaska's first Trophy Trout Management stream and continues its catch and release legacy for its prized rainbow trout. Each morning after a hearty breakfast two guests will join their guide for a day of jetboat fishing the home waters. Being located on the river, guests will be able to access the river irrespective of weather conditions. June and July weeks provide opportunities to fish dry flies and streamers and for those willing, a skated mouse is always an exciting option. August is the height of the sockeye salmon spawn and their eggs become the prime food source through mid-September. The last couple of weeks of the season can once again bring good streamer fishing. Along with jet boat access to the lower Copper, guests can add fly-outs to the upper Copper where a day float can be done down to camp. These raft trips offer great scenery and access to waters that cannot be reached by jetboat. If a fly-out to another Katmai Park River is of interest, the lodge can also coordinate these for an additional cost. 


Copper on the Fly is a modest hand-built family-operated fly-in lodge catering to a maximum of six guests per week. The main lodge where meals are taken is relaxed and comfortable with satellite internet. The two guest cabins have propane lights and heat. The large cabin sleeps up to six with two full size beds and two sets of twin size bunk beds. The smaller cabin has two single beds. Full bedding, chairs, table, and floor rugs round out the rustic but comfortable cabins. There are multiple outhouses around the property and the shower house has one hearty stall, a dressing area, and an endless supply of on-demand hot water.

Each day begins with a hearty warm breakfast and lunch is served riverside by the guides. Dinners often feature grilled meat, poultry, or fish. Fresh salads and homemade bread complement each night's entrée along with a variety of side dishes and desserts.


Day 1: Arrive Anchorage and overnight.

Day 2: Fly to Iliamna and connect to chartered floatplane flight from Iliamna to the lodge. Upon arrival at Copper on the Fly, guests will move into their waterfront cabin and then head out for a half-day of guided fishing.

Days 3-6: Four full days of guided fishing.

Day 7: Guests will have a half-day of fishing on their last day. After lunch guests will have time to finish packing their gear. Guests will depart the lodge in the late afternoon for the charter flight to Iliamna and beyond. Guests can book a red-eye flight out of Anchorage (after 9PM) or overnight.

Rates & Details

2024 Rate: Per person based on double occupancy

6 night/5 day package: $4,900

Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, guided fishing, charter flight between Iliamna and the lodge, fly fishing rods, reels, flies, leaders, tippets, etc.

Not Included: Round trip airfare to Iliamna, accommodations and meals in Anchorage, alcohol, staff, and guide gratuities, fishing license

Species: Rainbow trout, graying, sockeye salmon

Season: Late June to early October

Capacity: 6 anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? Copper on the Fly is a great destination for anglers looking to fish a quality river in a remote and scenic area and at the same time not break the bank.

Where is the lodge? The lodge is located at the terminus of the Copper River which enters Intricate Bay along the south shore of Lake Iliamna. The nearest community would be Kokhanok, just to the south.

How do I get there? Guests will fly into Anchorage, AK and likely overnight. On the next morning guests will fly to the community of Iliamna. We recommend Iliamna Air Taxi for this flight. Upon arrival in Iliamna, you will transfer to the included float plane flight to a bay near the lodge. There you will transfer to an open jetboat for a short ride to the lodge. Make sure you have a jacket handy for this ride.

When should I go? The fishing starts off in mid-June with trout being the focus. Streamers and mice can be fished on a tight line while traditional dry fly and nymph tactics are productive here through July. Sometime just after July 4th the sockeye salmon will begin to enter the river in great numbers. The sockeye can be harvested for about three weeks each season. In August they begin to spawn, and the resident trout take notice. By September the migratory lake rainbow trout begin to enter the river and the largest trout of the season can be had until the end of the year.

How will I fish? The Copper River offers traditional dry fly and nymph fishing for trout in June into July. This is one of the best rivers in Alaska for these tactics during this time. Streamers take a good number of trout throughout the season and egg and indictor tactics can be fished from August through mid-September. Most fishing is done while wading. The river is accessed via jetboat from the bottom upstream as far as the boat can go (water level dependent). There are also options to fly to the upper river and float down in rafts for a day. This is a great add on and worth the extra expense.

Is there wade fishing? Yes, nearly all fishing is done while wading and the river is wader friendly for all skill levels.

Where will I fish? The Copper River. If you add a fly out, you can access several other rivers in the Katmai Park area.  

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? Just a few minutes from the lodge.

What type(s) of fish will I catch? Rainbow trout, sockeye salmon

How many fish will I catch? A good day would be reaching double digits.

Will I see other anglers? Yes. Despite it being a remote location it is frequented by many regional lodges.

What are the guides like? There are three guides on staff. They are knowledgeable, safe, fun to be with and informative without being overbearing. They have many years of experience working and fishing in the area.

What are the physical demands? There are few physical demands other than getting in and out of a boat and wading.

Are there any special skills required? No.

Does the lodge provide equipment? Rods, reels and all terminal tackle is included. Waders and rubber soled boots are available upon request.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? A quality 6-weight with a weight forward floating line is a great all-around tool. For June and July, I would lean towards a 5-weight and a 6-weight. August and September, I would lean towards a 6-weight and 7-weight if you are able to bring two rods.

What are the top flies? Traditional dry flies like parachute Adams, elk hair caddis and small stimulators work well in the early season. Sizes range from 12 to 18. Add some nymphs in the same sizes, prince’s, PT’s, Hares ears and small stoneflies. Streamers like the Dolly Llama and black leech patterns will take fish throughout the year. Beads in various shades of orange will match the eggs in the river and 6 to 8mm are the sizes of choice.

What are the options if water conditions become challenging? The river stays fishable throughout the year. Its source and two lakes help keep the water clear for the most part. Wind and rain can be expected in any week and can hinder flights at times.

What is a typical day like? Breakfast is served around 7AM. After breakfast, guests can set the pace. Wader up when you want and get going. The river’s first fishable runs are just a short jetboat ride away. If a fly out is scheduled a specific time will be relayed. Lunch is taken riverside midday. Guests typically return to the lodge around 6PM. Appetizers are out, and dinner is on at roughly 7PM.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere and style of the lodge? The vibe is relaxed. Fishing is the focus but having an enjoyable experience is of equal importance. The lodge is hand-built by its hardworking owners. They continue to make improvements and love to share what they have learned over the 20 years on the property and local waters.

Is there an on-site owner, manager or other point-person at the lodge? Steve and Sean are the owners, and they are on-site doing everything they can to make your stay a good one.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Breakfasts and dinners are served in the main lodge. All guides and guests meet here in the AM and PM to enjoy family-style meals. The food is carefully crafted and hearty. Expect a good variety and a down home feel.

What is the alcohol policy? Guests are free to bring their own. If a larger portion is needed, please contact us well in advance.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? There is one large cabin that can sleep four or six. This unit has a loft with two twins and two twins on the ground floor with twin sized bunks.  The other cabin has two twin beds. Bedding, tables, chairs, propane lights and heat round out the cabins. Several outhouses are built around the property and there is a shower facility with on demand hot water.

Is there internet and/or cell service? There is internet here and because of the small number of guests, it is good by AK standards. There is no cell service.

Are there other activities? No.

Are there any other expenses? Fishing licenses, added fly-outs, guide gratuities.

Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances? This is a remote area where wildlife like bears, moose and wolves can frequent. Small plane flights are required to arrive and depart. Boating, both motorized and downstream floats have inherent risks.

We recommend that guests always consult with the U.S. Department of State and the Center for Disease Control websites for general travel information and guidelines.

Tell us about yourself and we'll reach out to plan the details of your trip