The Fishing Program
Our Guide ServiceDuring your week at the Royal Coachman Lodge, you will be fishing some of the world’s most productive fishing waters. We are a professional guide service. We believe we have a very important role to play in preserving this fishery for future generations.
We have a 2:1 guest to guide ratio. During your week, you will have the opportunity to fish with almost every guide on staff. If you have any questions about fishing techniques or fishing etiquette, please do not hesitate to ask. We are happy to help.
Our guides have fished around the world and make this their career. They can help the beginner learn how to cast, or show the experienced fly fisherman how to reach a tricky undercut bank. They will give you as much or as little assistance as you desire.
At the Royal Coachman Lodge, we strive to make the best decisions for your fishing. If the local river is fishing as well or better than our fly out options, we will schedule guide days on the local river. A local river day usually does not include flying out. Unless requested, we will not schedule a client for more than one day on the local river.
Fishing SchedulePlease make sure that you get your fishing licenses in advance as well. Visit the site below to buy your fishing license:
IF YOU ARE COMING DURING KING SALMON SEASON, YOU WILL NEED TO BUY A KING SALMON STAMP. IF YOU ARE NOT COMING IN JUNE OR JULY YOU DO NOT NEED A KING SALMON STAMP.
The Royal Coachman Lodge has the distinct advantage of being a small operation located right on the river. This allows us to cater to both the serious and the more laid back fisherman. Flexibility is the key to our fishing schedule. Every evening we sit down with our guests and go over our plans for the next day. With nearly 20 boats scattered throughout our region, and many wadable rivers, the fishing options are almost limitless. All we need to know is what species you would like to focus on for the day, and if there is a particular river that you would like to fish, and we will help pick the best fishery for you.
Each day begins with a hearty breakfast (if you are an early riser coffee is set out beforehand). An hour after breakfast, you will depart for the day's fishing. The guides will pack a picnic lunch, or if requested, they can prepare a stream side lunch of fresh salmon (when available). Our daily departure times are flexible to maximize your fishing success. Pickup time will vary depending on the group's plans for the day. Remember, that at the end of the day, if you have not gotten enough fishing in, you can always fish in front of the lodge.
Each river we fish is different. We use Jon boats with 40 hp jet units on the rivers that have boats stashed. We drift fish from the boat or wade fish, depending on your preference. If you are on a creek that does not have a boat, your guide will carry lunch in a backpack and you will wade fish for the day.
All anglers return to the lodge one hour prior to dinner, so you’ll have time to shower, relax, and enjoy hors d’oeuvres. A family style, gourmet dinner, including dessert, is served between 7 and 8 pm.
On the Sunday exchange days, you can get some fishing time in (usually unguided). Please keep in mind that we use the transfer days to prepare for the next guests and the transfer, so fishing time is limited.
Catch and ReleaseTo increase the success of our catch and release program, we follow the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Catch and Release objectives. Caring for the fish you catch during your week is a critical component of our fishing program. All fishing for Rainbow trout, Grayling, Char, and Pike is catch and release. Anglers are allowed to keep 5 salmon during the week, however, we limit the keeping of Salmon within the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge to only those fish that are deep hooked and do not appear sufficiently strong to survive.
When landing fish, anglers should always strive to land the fish as quickly as possible. When landing your fish, do not drag it up on shore or lift it into the boat. Your guide will always be around to help you land your fish. If you are alone, try to avoid letting the fish flop about in shallow water, on the ground, or in the bottom of your boat. All of our guides use soft mesh nets for landing the fish to minimize the impact of our fishing.
All fishing is with single, barbless hooks. We do this for your safety and the fish’s safety. Our guides have pliers for crimping barbs, your hemostats also work well for barb pinching. Barbless hooks allow you to release the fish with minimal harm. We do not allow stainless steel hooks for fishing. These will not rust out of fish and pose a longterm mortality threat to the fish. If you see that the fish is deeply hooked, please cut the leader – do not try to remove the hook, you will only hurt the fish.
Like you, we are always excited to see a great fish landed by one of our fishermen. We also want to make sure we can help you capture the sort of photographic memories which allow you to relive the experience for years to come. So, once you have landed the fish, please make sure you wet your hands before touching it. You should remove the hook prior to taking the photos of the fish. When removing the hook, you should use your hemostat or long nose pliers. Please remove the hook quickly, keeping the fish underwater.
Do not remove the fish from the water until you are ready to take a picture. When holding the fish, cradle it gently with both hands, one under its belly, one at the tail. Avoid placing your fingers in the fish’s gills and eyes. Do not squeeze the fish, and make sure you support the fish in the water while your partner takes your picture. Fish cannot remain out of the water very long (less than 15 seconds). There are many good pictures demonstrating this technique in the gallery section.
After you have taken the picture, please carefully release the fish back to the river. If the fish is bleeding form the gills, it is likely to die and you should consider keeping it as part of your bag limit.
When releasing the fish, point your catch into a slow current, or gently move it back and forth until its gills are working properly and it maintains its balance. When the fish recovers and attempts to swim away, let it swim from your hands. If your fish is slow to revive, continue to assist the fish. You will have plenty of time left for fishing.
Equipment & ClothingFishing equipment and clothing vary greatly from week to week. As the airlines get more stringent with luggage requirements, you might consider renting your fishing equipment. A week’s wader rental is $125. Rod rental for both a salmon and trout rod is $75 for the week with a $50 breakage fee if you happen to break our rod during your stay. Please call us to reserve the rentals at least 90 days before your arrival. You will use a 4-6 weight fly rod for the non salmon species. The lodge also has backup fly rods available for guest use if you happen to break a rod while you are at the lodge.
At the Royal Coachman Lodge, salmon are usually available all but the first and last week of the season. A 7- 9 weight rod is the ideal set up for these strong fighting fish, except for the Kings (available in June and July). We suggest a 9 -10 weight for the Kings. Give us a call at the office for exact rod suggestions for your week. We generally use floating lines, but occasionally sinking lines, and sink tips can be effective, especially for the Kings. Our favorite sinking line is a type IV 10 foot sink tip for silvers, for Kings it is a Teeny 300. We suggest that you bring both floating and sinking tip lines.
Fishing licenses and King salmon stamps are not included. Licenses and king stamps must be purchased online , before your trip, with Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Be sure to purchase the one week license for the dates of your trip. King Salmon stamps are only needed in June and July.
Flies are included in the package. We will have a large selection of flies on hand at the lodge. Spinning gear is not included, if you are a spin fisherman please notify us and we can tell you what is available at the lodge. If you have a trout or salmon fly collection, bring it along, as it is always fun to experiment with different patterns. We have a lodge policy of using only non-stainless steel, barbless hooks on the fresh water species. If you would like to tie some flies for your trip just give us a call and we can give you some guidelines for your week. We will have plenty of flies at the lodge. We have a fly tying table available for your personal use. While we keep a good supply of hooks and fly tying materials, if you plan on doing a lot of fly tying, please bring some of your own supplies.
In general, during June and July average temperatures are in the 60’s to mid 70’s. Temperatures in the fall are quite a bit cooler and average in the 50’s-60’s. Temperatures can drop into the 30’s and 40’s at almost any time in Alaska. Keep in mind that Alaska has unpredictable weather, it is good to always come prepared for anything.
Leave No Trace PracticesWe all come to this remote portion of Alaska to be a part of this wilderness. When we are fishing we do not expect to find any signs of people, so we make sure that we also do not leave anything behind, and pick up any garbage we do find. Our guides and pilots closely follow these rules, and will expect you as a client to also follow them.
The seven principles of "leave no trace" are: plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly (ask your guide for direction if you have a question), leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors.
From your point of view as a client, we expect you to not throw any garbage out while fishing (bring it back to the lodge), dispose of human waste properly (ask your guide), do not harass wildlife, follow the regulations for both fish and game, and permits, and respect other users (do not confront anyone, if there is an issue tell your guide).