Newhalen River Gorge at Rainbow King

Newhalen River Gorge

The immense power and grand volume of the Newhalen River is born from the snow and ice fields of the Chigmit Mountains and the 4 million acre, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The awesome wonder of the Newhalen is distinctly different from most of Alaska’s other glacial, high-volume, extremely swift, and turbulent rivers. This clarity is due to the glacial-filtering effect of 75-mile long and very deep Lake Clark, one of Alaska’s largest lakes.

At the Newhalen River Gorge, the large wide-open river suddenly turns a sharp corner and is then channeled into two narrow gorges separated by a large island of rock. Not only does the river channel into a narrow section of steep rock walls, but it also drops in gradient suddenly which results in a series of very turbulent rapids. It is at an eddy at the bottom of this that the salmon stack up waiting for their run at the rapids. We have exclusive licensed access from the Alaska Peninsula Corporation to what is probably the best sport fishing in Alaska (if not the world).

Accessible only by a dirt (usually muddy) road, the Newhalen River Gorge not only provides great fishing on any day, it is also a great option on days we are weathered in and not able to fly.

A tarped platform overlooking the river provides a vantage point to watch the mass of salmon and angles as well as shelter from the weather and is an ideal spot for lunch.

From late June to early August we fish at the Gorge for Sockeye Salmon, using fly rods and the Teeny Sparkle Nymph. Catching Sockeye on a fly rod starts the fight of a lifetime. For the first few weeks that they are in fresh water, Sockeye is the hardest fighting salmon pound for pound. Sockeye Salmon average 6 to 10 pounds with a 15-pound maximum.

The Newhalen River, its tributary streams, and great lakes are prime Sockeye Salmon spawning grounds, contributing to over 16 percent of the world’s commercial Wild Sockeye Salmon harvest.

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