“Coho Fishing With Becharof Lodge On The Egegik “

Story & Photos

by Scott Haugen

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Trophy-class Arctic grayling trips are a specialty of Becharof Lodge, where a bushplane is required to reach remote streams.

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Outdoor writer, Scott Haugen, has fished much of Alaska over the past 32 years, and ranks coho fishing on the Egegik River as the best he’s personally experience. He took these hefty coho on a soft bead, just one of the many ways to fish for these salmon.

I know there are some incredible rivers in Alaska, and I’ve fished a number of them while working on various book projects over the past 32 years. But having fished the Egegik River with Becharof Lodge for 15 years, from late July to early September, I rank it as the top coho stream I’ve ever fished. What I love most about fishing the Egegik River is the number of ways coho can be caught; something I’ve never experienced to this degree on any other river I’ve fished in Alaska. One day I caught and released 95 coho on Soft Beads. The next day I caught nearly that many by casting plugs and spinners from shore. I’ve experienced a number of 100+ coho days when fishing cured eggs. Twitching jigs, drifting jigs or eggs beneath a float, and flyfishing are all very effective approaches on the Egegik River; and it’s the best topwater action I’ve ever seen for coho. Watching coho boil for a surface popper is worth the trip, alone. The Egegik River runs crystal clear, born from Becharof Lake, Alaska’s second largest lake. Catching silver salmon on Alaska’s Egegik River makes everyone feel like a pro, which is the beauty of it. For me it provides a starting point to try different things in fisheries in the Pacific Northwest, on more pressured rivers with fewer fish. For others, it’s the ultimate getaway. “This was the best vacation we’ve had in 14 years,” I overheard one wife confide in her husband as they prepared to fly home.


The Experience

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Brown bear viewing is a big attraction for many guests at Becharof Lodge. Not only are bears common around camp, but famed Brooks Falls is only a 25 minute floatplane ride away.

            Another thing I love about Becharof Lodge on the Egegik River is the setting. There are days I’m content catching a dozen coho, then sitting back and watching brown bears, wolves, red fox, ptarmigan, and the abundant bird life in this part of Alaska. I’m not alone.

            The new cabins at Becharof Lodge are a big upgrade from when I first started going there, where tents were the norm. Today, multiple flush toilets and hot showers are so nice to have in camp. If you want a fancy lodge with finished rooms, multiple wines and five course meals, this place isn’t for you. But if you want comfortable and affordable, with world-class coho fishing, it’s perhaps the best in all of Alaska. “Last year I spent over $10,000 to flyfish out of a plush lodge in King Salmon,” shared a gentleman I fished with on the Egegik. “Here, I was able to bring my two kids for about the same price and I caught more coho by lunch on my first day here than in seven days of fishing with the fancy lodge.” He’s excited to return to Becharof Lodge, with good reason. The new owners of Becharof Lodge on the Egegik River have it running smoothly, which is a feat in itself in remote Alaska. The cost of fuel, food, bushplane service, land permits and more, continue to rise, but they’re still able to offer affordable rates. I’ve eaten coho from numerous rivers throughout Alaska, and my wife, Tiffany, who is a cookbook author, would agree that the silver salmon from the Egegik River could be the best of the best, year in and year out. The food in camp is also top-notch and you’ll never go hungry.

Bonus Trips

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Floatplanes, the taxi of remote Alaska, are how you get in and out of Becharof Lodge and access many of the other fisheries and brown bear viewing locales in this part of Alaska.

         Another bonus that comes with fishing at Becharof Lodge on the Egegik River is its proximity to even more remote places in Alaska. Bushplane flyouts take you to captivating streams where the pursuit of world-class Arctic Char and grayling, along with rainbow trout, capture the essence of fishing in Alaska’s most tranquil streams.

         If you want to experience brown bear viewing at famed Brooks Falls, that’s only a 25 minute floatplane flight from the lodge. Floatplane is the only way to access Brooks Falls where watching 1,500-pound bears gorge themselves on salmon is a sight to behold. You’ll also see brown bears when fishing with Becharof Lodge on the Egegik River.

         An hour boat ride down the Egegik River finds you in the village of Egegik. Along the way you’ll often see brown bear, moose, beluga whale and unlimited bird life. It’s a fun village to walk around and envision what it must have been like for the indigenous peoples of the region hundreds of years ago.


Getting There

         Getting to Becharof Lodge on the Egegik River is easy. Simply hop on a commercial plane and fly to King Salmon. There will be a stop in Anchorage, where you’ll switch planes and possibly airlines.

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The Egegik River is a wide, shallow river with plenty of places to fish, and it’s easy to wade, making for ideal bank fishing.
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A morning catch of silver salmon by guests at Becharof Lodge on the Egegik River. This is the perfect place for families, friends, youth and anglers of all ability levels.

            Before the pandemic, getting to Becharof Lodge the same day you left home was the norm. Today, if flying in from out of state you’ll want to overnight in either Anchorage or King Salmon, then catch the late morning flight the next day from King Salmon to Becharof Lodge on the Egegik River. The cost of your round-trip bushplane flight is included in the $4,350 package, and the lodge will arrange those flights for you.

         The more time I spend at Becharof Lodge on the breathtakingly beautiful Egegik River, the less important catching high numbers of coho becomes. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown more aware of all the other things this magical place has to offer. Then again, maybe it’s because I know I’ll be back next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. Note: To book your trip with Becharof Lodge on the Egegik River, call Mark Korpi, at 503-298-9686. Learn more at becharoflodgefishing.com