Rainbow King Lodge
- Enjoy what may be the most diverse fly out fishing program in all of Alaska
- Experience high level service, comfort and top notch cuisine
- Enjoy unique and exclusive leased access to several systems around Lake Iliamna
- Experience one of the few fly out lodges with both fresh and saltwater fishing options
Located on the shores of Lake Iliamna (Alaska's largest lake), Rainbow King Lodge is a large, easy to reach luxury operation that has rich history in the region. Positioned to capture spectacular views of the lake and surrounding landscape, the facility spans more than an acre of manicured lawns and flower gardens. The buildings are connected by a series of rustic boardwalks. Rainbow King has an extremely unique fishing program that offers essentially private access to many of the region’s finest streams and rivers. Dream Creek, Southeast Creek, Upper Copper, The Gorge of the Newhalen River, Gibralter, and others that are secured by private leases. In most cases they offer exclusive access. In others, it's the ability to move about the riverbank in comfort, while others must stay in the water at all times. In all cases, it's an Alaskan experience solely available through Rainbow King Lodge.
The season runs from the second week of June through the last week of September. Anglers can target rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and all five species of Pacific salmon. At least one of the salmon species is available at all times of the season, so you can plan your trip to include the salmon species of your choice. Never are all five species running at the same time, but the best overlap of runs occurs mid to late July. The sockeye salmon run from late June to late July. The king salmon run from June 15th to late July, pink salmon from July 15th to August 15th, and silver salmon from early August to the end of the season at the end of September. Rainbow trout are available throughout the season, with the largest and most plentiful being available during June and mid-August through September. Arctic grayling are always excellent, as are the Arctic char and Northern pike. Rainbow King also offers a unique saltwater experience on the south side of the Alaska peninsula. When the weather is right the lodge flies over the mountains to access a couple of small v-hulled aluminum boats the have stashed. They use these small boats to access shallow water halibut and ocean-fresh silver salmon.
Anglers will depart the lodge each morning in one of several float equipped aircrafts. Once the destination is reached, the anglers will depart the plane with a guide. Jet boats with guides stationed on many of the streams are also available so you will always get upstream and to the very best fishing without walking. You will be accompanied by a responsible guide at all times, with one guide to every two anglers. Your guide will prepare a hot shore lunch for you around noon. Guides will be rotated throughout the week.
Rainbow King Lodge can accommodate 16 guests per week, with the ability to accommodate larger groups upon request. Each guest room contains its own private bath, tub and shower, two double beds, wall to wall carpeting, blackout drapes, thermostatically controlled heat, and some with an excellent view of Lake Iliamna and the snow capped peaks across the lake. The lodge room, with its large fireplace, is always enjoyed by guests, as is the large dining room with its similar fireplace. The recreation room has a whirlpool spa, center-of-the-room fireplace, pool table, card tables, color TV and a professional guide to answer your fly casting or tying questions. This area gives you more than enough space for evening recreation and story-telling about your day’s fishing experience.
A pre-planned menu offers such main courses as stuffed filet mignon with snow crab, traditional prime rib of beef, bourbon-pecan encrusted rack of lamb and medallions of pork. The current year’s detailed menu is available upon request. It is possible to customize the menu for your dietary needs. Breakfast is cooked to order with a great variety of menu choices including Belgian waffles, eggs Vienna, eggs Benedict, and all the fresh fruits and melons in season. There is no set time for breakfast so you can eat at your convenience depending on your departure time each day. Dinner is served at 7:30 PM nightly.
There is not a public bar, nor is liquor available for purchase. Please bring your own spirits. Mixers are provided and everyone tends the bar and has a good time. Iliamna is a dry village by law so it’s illegal for the lodge to sell liquor, but it is perfectly fine to bring your own. For large orders, the lodge can refer you to a distributor in Anchorage who will ship your order to coincide with your arrival.
The lodge also has a well stocked pro shop with a fine selection of jackets, layering pieces, rods, reels and most all that is needed if you happen to forget or want to upgrade your equipment.
Day 1: (Saturday): If unable to arrive in Anchorage at Lake Clark Air at Merrill Field by 3:30 PM on Sunday, arrive in Anchorage and transfer to your elected accommodations (independently arranged, not included).
Day 2: (Sunday): Check in to your charter flight by 3:30PM. Board your charter flight (approximately one hour) from Anchorage to Iliamna in the afternoon. You will be picked up by a member of the Rainbow King Lodge staff who will transfer you to the lodge, three miles down the road. Once at the lodge, the staff will take you to your room where you can get settled in. Head down to the recreation room where the next days of fishing is planned. There is no fishing on arrival day.
Days 3 - 8: (Monday to Saturday): Six days guided fishing with fly-outs (weather permitting) begins. After fishing on Saturday, pack up and transfer to the Iliamna airport for an evening flight back to Anchorage. You will arrive at approximately 8:30 PM. Collect your bags and head to your elected accommodations (independently arranged, not included) or your flight home or points beyond.
Rates & Details
2024 Rate: Per person based on double occupancy
6 night/6 day package: $10,450
Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, transportation between fishing destinations and the lodge, lodging tax, guiding, all tackle, flies, lures, rods, reels, rubber-soled boots, fish processing and travel box.
Not Included: Round trip airfare to Anchorage, accommodations and meals in Anchorage, round trip airfare to Iliamana from Anchorage, waders, fishing licenses, alcohol, gratuities and bed tax.
Species: Rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and all five species of Pacific salmon
Season: June to September
Capacity: 16 anglers (additional anglers may be accommodated upon request)
Fly Water Q&A
Who is best suited to this destination? This is a great destination for any angler interested in experiencing Alaska. With wonderful exclusive fly fishing options along with conventional options for king salmon and even halibut, the program can cater to nearly any preference or skill level.
Where is the lodge? The lodge is located in the community of Iliamna, on the shore of the lake of the same name. Iliamna is about an hour flight west or Anchorage.
How do I get there? Guests arrive in Anchorage and will need to check in for their charter flight by 4:00PM on Sunday. The flight departs at 4:30PM. The charter flight is out of Merrill Field, about a 30-minute cab or Uber ride from Ted Stevens International airport. Please plan accordingly if arriving in Anchorage on Sunday. For those wanting a more relaxed schedule, arrive in Anchorage on Saturday and overnight. The charter is lodge coordinated, but guests will pay on site, typically around $500 for a round trip seat.
When should I go? Rainbow king has a very diverse fishing program. Any week offers unique and quality experiences. King Salmon anglers will enjoy mid-June through mid-July. Sockeye and chum anglers will enjoy July and silver salmon anglers have success from early August through September. Trout fishing gets going in June with streamers and even dry flies taking most of the trout and these tactics continue through late-July. August begins with egg and indicator tactics taking trout through September, with the last couple weeks of September offering good streamer fishing once again.
How will I fish? The lodge has lots of options from rafting a river for the day, to hike in access to jet boat access to many other systems. It can be a mix of fishing form the boat or wading, but again with so many options the lodge is happy to cater to nearly any preference.
Is there wade fishing? Yes, guests can choose to wade for nearly all of their fishing, but conversely those that are not willing can choose more boat fishing.
Where will I fish? Rainbow King has lots of knowledge and willingness to keep their guest fishing in remote and productive systems. Some of the unique leases are on wonderful trout fisheries like the Gibraltor, Copper, Dream Creek, Southeast Creek and other Lake Iliamna tributaries. The lodge also has a camp on the Nushagak for king salmon season and some of the best sockeye fishing on their private access to the Newhalen river gorge. They also access to the east side of Cook Inlet for silver salmon. There is also a unique option for near shore halibut fishing on Caylpso Bay where the lodge keep several skiffs to access the fishing grounds.
How many rivers/beats/areas? The daily flights allow for an incredible number of fisheries to be accessed. Too many to even see in a year. Their experienced management has great knowledge of where to be and what is fishing best and will have their guests in great position for success each week.
How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? Most flights are under an hour with many only 15 to 20 minutes.
What type(s) of fish will I catch? Nearly all the freshwater fish Alaska is known for and even a saltwater favorite, halibut, can be targeted here. Highlights of the Rainbow King program are top notch sockeye fishing, a long silver salmon season and some of the best access for trophy trout throughout the season.
How many fish will I catch? Rainbow King will abide by seasonal harvest limits for salmon and halibut. A good angler can expect to catch dozens of trout, Dolly Varden and grayling on the good day.
Will I see other anglers? Some days expect to see others. Places like the Copper or Nushagak are frequented by others, but the fishing is just too good not to mix in a bit. Other access will be more exclusive, and Rainbow King prefers to keep their guests fishing in remote locations whenever possible.
What are the guides like? There is a mix of experienced and newer guides each season. Craig Augustonovich has been a large part of the guide/pilot team for many years and mentors his staff to be professional and well prepared.
What are the physical demands? The physical demands are light, guests do need to get in/out of planes, boats and do some hiking and wading to get the most out of their experience here.
Are there any special skills required? None.
Does the lodge provide equipment? The lodge can provide rubber soled wading boots, any needed rods/reels and terminal tackle. Guests do need to bring their own waders.
What is your favorite setup for the trip? For all the trout fishing scenarios, a 9-foot 6-weight with a floating line. Sockeye, chum and silver salmon are best targeted with a 9-foot 8-weight.
What are the top flies? June and July trout fishing streamers like the Dali Llama in blk/white is a go to pattern. Add some Morrish Mouse patterns in size 6 and a smattering of sculpin patterns. August is dominated by indicator and bead (egg imitations) fishing. September is the time where are flesh and streamers come back into play.
What are the options if water and weather conditions become challenging? While unusual, if weather does not allow for a flight, the lodge can access the nearby Newhalen River.
What is a typical day like? The day begins with staff dropping off you morning beverage of choice at your room. Around 7AM breakfast (made to order) is served. You will then either meet the guides/planes out front of the lodge or jump in the lodge vehicles to be shuttled to the planes if waves are too much out front. Once at your fishing location, you will have a full day with a hot lunch cooked riverside (weather permitting). Guests are typically back at the lodge between 5 and 5:30PM. Appetizers are served in the lounge building, then head over for a short walk to the dining area for a full curse dinner service.
What is the general vibe, atmosphere, and style of the lodge? The lodge is comfortable and well appointed. Guides and staff do not mingle much with guests, but overall, the feel is relaxed and lodge facilities yours to enjoy. The staff is very professional and offers a high level of service. There are several wooden buildings, with the lounge, dining and guest rooms separated by wooden walkways on the spacious lake front property.
Is there an on-site owner, manager, or other point-person at the lodge? Craig Augustonovich is on site and is a pilot/guide and manager for Rainbow King.
Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? All meals are served in the dining building. They are of very high quality with breakfast made to order and dinners have a choice of a couple entrees each evening. Lunch at Rainbow King is one of the better riverside experiences in AK. If the weather allows, expect a hot cooked meal while out fishing.
What is the alcohol policy? The lodge cannot provide alcohol as Iliamna is a dry village. Guests are free to bring along whatever they would like, and lodge provides a variety of mixers and ice.
Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? Guest rooms are spacious and well appointed. Two queen beds are in each room and very comfortable. Each room has a full bathroom with shower, sink and flush toilets. There is 24-hour power here provided by the nearby hydroelectric plant.
Are single accommodations available? If so, is there an up-charge? No, the rooms are double occupancy and best to expect to be paired with another.
Is there internet and/or cell service? Yes, there is internet, and some cell providers get service at the lodge (not Verizon).
Are there other activities? No, this is a fishing focused lodge, but daily flights and the lodge amenities make for a great experience for any.
Are there any other expenses? The charter flight between Iliamna is not included in the rate and guests need to pay upon arrival. Credit cards are excepted. Staff gratuities are also not included, and cash is much appreciated.
Are there any health concerns, dangers or annoyances? As with most of Alaska, bears frequent the same waters as anglers and there is a need to have an understanding of your surroundings. There are inherent risks with flying, jet boats, rafting and hiking and wading rivers. Overall, the dangers are low, but its best not to take any unnecessary risks as medical services are a flight away.