Chelatna Lake near Denali National Park
Chelatna Lake harbors all five species of Pacific salmon, rainbow trout, grayling, northern pike, lake trout, and even burbot. Our fleet of jet boats, kayaks, canoes and rafts offer exclusive access to Denali's premiere fishing destination. We specialize in both fly fishing and conventional gear fishing, with seasoned guides sharing their local expertise to ensure a rewarding experience. Whether you’re a first-time angler or seasoned traveler, you will relish in the joy of having an entire fishery all to yourself.
Fishing Upper Lake Creek
Lake Creek, renowned as one of the most celebrated rivers in southcentral Alaska, has gained notoriety for its abundant king salmon runs in the past. Its outlet begins adjacent to our property on Chelatna Lake, providing us with exclusive access to a range of river floats and jet boating experiences. The initial three miles of river near the lodge feature class I and II ratings, while further downstream, you’ll encounter class III and IV rapids.
For those seeking an extended adventure, we can accommodate guests interested in private overnight raft and packraft trips. You have the option to book our air services, fly into Chelatna Lake, embark on a 4-7 night float, get picked up, and return to our lodge for 2-3 nights, ensuring a more intimate and well-rounded experience. Our lodge serves as the ideal home base! Prior to your journey, we’ll offer valuable tips to guide you to the best fishing and camping spots. Upon your return, enjoy the comforts of a private chalet, a lakeside hot tub, and freshly prepared meals.
Sockeye Salmon: July 20th-Sept 20th
Silver Salmon: Aug 7th-Sept 15th
Chum Salmon: Aug 7th-Sept 15th
Pink Salmon: July 20th- Sept 20th
Rainbow Trout: June 7th-Sept 20th
Northern Pike: June 7th-Aug 20th
Arctic Grayling: June 7th- Sept 20th
Lake Trout: June 7th- Sept 20th
The timing of your visit significantly influences the salmon species you might encounter, including pink, chum, sockeye, king, or silver salmon. By the time most salmon reach Chelatna Lake, they exhibit vibrant colors and are typically in spawning mode. Although silvers will still eat a fly by the time they make it 80 miles from the ocean, we exclusively practice catch and release.
Rainbow trout inhabit Chelatna Lake and in the early part of the year will feed on mice, insects, out-migrating salmon smolt and sculpins. As the sockeye salmon run upstream for spawning, the fishery completely changes. Rainbow trout gorge on their eggs like it’s Thanksgiving, and even the worst drifts can still reward you with a wild Alaskan trophy.
Within casting range from our shore, you may have the opportunity to catch a northern pike. For anglers passionate about sight fishing, this species is a must on your bucket list. In Chelatna Lake, pike can reach over 40 inches, making them among the longest fish you can encounter during your stay.
If you haven’t experienced catching a fish on a fly rod, grayling are an ideal fish to target. They are not only hungry, but often easy to catch. Whether you’re introducing your family to fishing at Chelatna Lake Lodge, or you’re a seasoned angler, grayling provide an exceptional experience, especially for dry fly pursuits.
In the depths of Chelatna Lake, native lake trout cruise structure and ledges. Although colder water temperatures make them more accessible for fly fishing, we often use our prop boats to target drop offs on the far side of the lake. They are the perfect fish to troll for with your family. When combined with a day of fly fishing for rainbow trout and grayling, successfully trolling up a lake trout will mark the completion of your Chelatna Lake grand slam.
Equipment & Gear
If you already own fishing gear, we invite you to bring it along. No need to worry if you don’t– we are fully equipped with waders, boots, fly rods, gear rods, lines, flies and lures. Our old lodge, with its rich history, features the original cabin on the property, complete with a wood stove and, of course, a fly-tying station for you and your friends to enjoy after a full day out on the water.