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RAINBOW RIVER LODGE - Kienes' Premier Destination
Destination Overview

Wild, trophy-sized rainbow trout…in great numbers! Alaska is famous for its salmon fishing, but that is just part of your experience when you can combine the best salmon fishing in the world with trophy-sized rainbows. Well, it just doesn’t get any better than this! Truth be told, many travelers have said Rainbow River Lodge is the best lodge on the planet! If you’ve never been to an Alaska fishing lodge before, be forewarned that after spending a week here, one never goes all the way back home. You will find yourself forever feeling a compelling urge to return.


Rainbow River Lodge is located on private land in the heart of Alaska's phenomenal Bristol Bay and Lake Iliamna "Trophy Alaska Rainbow Trout" watershed, conveniently adjacent to the Katmai Wilderness. The fly fishing lodge offers magnificent views of the Alaska wilderness and the "Home River" is the beautiful Copper River, one of Alaska's original "fly fishing only" designated streams.


Rainbow River Lodge has been rated as one of the "ten best fly fishing lodges in Alaska" and the Copper River, our "Home River" has been rated by Trout Unlimited as one of the "top 100 best Trout streams in the world". Truly outstanding accolades from the finest fly fishing authorities in the world today.


At a Glance

Location: Rainbow River Lodge is located 210 miles to the South West of Anchorage.  We are located on the Copper River, which was one of the first “Trophy Trout” Fly-Fishing only rivers in the State of Alaska.  We are accessible only by floatplane.  Our only neighbors are bear, moose and a few million fish.


Target Fish: Big Rainbow Trout, Salmon- all species(king, red, char, dog, humpy, coho), Arctic Grayling, Northern Pike

Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel
Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel
Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel
Fishing Program

At Rainbow River Lodge each and every angler receives very special personal attention. You can expect the finest of your fly fishing dreams to become reality and return home with the fondest of all fly fishing memories. There are rivers in this part of Alaska where the fish die of old age having never seen a fly, and they will take you there!


Each night the guide assignments will be announced and the guide will get with you and discuss the plan for the next day. The lodge has 6 guides on staff for a max of 12 fishermen and they are proud of their guide team. No young kids here that are just going to take you on a boat ride or a hike.  These are all  professional men who have made guiding their life.  They have multiple seasons of guiding in this area with valuable local knowledge of the fisheries. This guarantees you a great day on the river.


The next morning your wake up call is your favorite hot beverage delivered to your cabin! After getting dressed you can choose a nice hot breakfast, cold cereal , fruit whatever you like.

After breakfast you will be flown out to fish for the day. The guides will have the shore lunches and beverages of your choice. If you are fishing the lower reaches of the Copper River you will jump in a jet boat right at the beach and be on the Copper in just a few minutes. At the end of your fishing day, the planes will pick you up at about 5 pm to return to the lodge for an endless hot shower, delicious appetizers and amazing dinner. Each fishing day will be different.


When is the best fishing? In order to best answer this we need to know what you want to experience in Alaska.  Each of the 5 species of Salmon enter the rivers at different times. Rainbow River Lodge knows how to get you into the best rainbow trout fishing regardless of the month you book. As the food sources change, the guides adapt to make sure you are targeting big fish and being successful! June, July, August and September all offer unique experiences.  Let us help decide which month you would like to fish based on your style. For example, if you like to dry fly fish for big trout, call our travel expert and we tell you when it is best to book a trip.


Best Fly Fishing seasons:

Rainbow Trout Fly Fishing in Alaska

Rainbow Trout in the Iliamna region naturally grow to 18 pounds or larger. Rainbows are caught June through September. Due to the return of millions of sockeye in the month of July, the most productive rainbow trout fishing is during the months of July, August and September. Rainbow River Lodge is located on the Copper River which was just rated in the top 50 best trout streams in the world by Trout Unlimited. If you want to dry fly and streamer fish for big rainbows, June and early July are your ticket.


Arctic Grayling Fly Fishing in Alaska

Grayling Salmon are God’s gift to light tackle fanatics. They are thick in many of the streams and will attack a fly all season long, even in the worst of weather. Most grayling average 10 to 14 inches with trophies measuring 21 inches. Their good reputation comes from their susceptibility to dry flies and the gracefulness in which they take them.  


Arctic Char Fly Fishing in Alaska

Char are commonly associated with the Dolly Varden since they are biologically the same. They average 3 to 5 pounds with the largest of the fish tipping the scales at 15 pounds. Available season long, they are a very hard fighter and one of the most beautiful fish in Alaska.


Chinook (King) Salmon Fly Fishing in Alaska

The largest of the Pacific Salmon, Kings average 20 to 30 pounds with the largest weighing in at 60 pounds. They enter our rivers in early June with fishing peaking from mid-June to the middle of July. Rainbow River Lodge fishes “leased” land on the Nushagak River which holds the largest returning run of Kings in Alaska. Fishing “leased” lands on the “Nush” provides the clients with the BEST King Salmon fly fishing available.


Sockeye (Red) Salmon Fly Fishing in Alaska

The Sockeye salmon enter the Iliamna drainage by the millions in late June and early July. For the first few weeks in fresh water they are considered ‘pound for pound’ to be the hardest fighting salmon and the best tasting! Sockeye Salmon average 6 to 10 pounds with a 15 pound maximum. We will package and freeze for you.


Chum (Dog) Salmon Fly Fishing in Alaska

Chums average 8 to 12 pounds and have a keen appetite for streamer flies and spinners. They don’t have as good as a reputation as the other salmon species when it comes to the dinner table, but on the fly line there is much respect for their fighting endurance. Chum Salmon top the scales at 20 pounds and arrive in July and early August.


Pink (Humpy) Salmon Fly Fishing in Alaska

The smallest of the Pacific Salmon, averaging 3 to 5 pounds. They arrive in mid-July and August. What pink salmon lack in size they make up for in aggressiveness and non-stop action. They are excellent sport on smaller rods.


Silver (Coho) Salmon Fly Fishing in Alaska

Fishing for Silvers is at its best in August and September. Most silver Salmon weigh between 8 and 15 pounds and are very aggressive towards flies and spinners.


Northern Pike Fly Fishing in Alaska

Northerns are the freshwater alligators of Alaska. Their strike is vicious, they are usually big and they will hit anything the moves! Pike are usually caught in the 25 to 40 inch class range. Pike can be found as close as your cabin door and are available all season.


Lake Trout Fly Fishing in Alaska

This is Alaska’s largest freshwater fish, inhabiting large, deep, cold lakes with the best fishing just after ice-out. Lake Trout are not usually a target species but are a welcome surprise when landed. “Lakers” are caught in the outlets and inlets of the lakes near the lodge.

Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel
Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel
Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel

This fabulous lodge is surrounded by typical breath-taking Alaskan scenery. Nestled among pines overlooking a small picturesque lake from which the float planes land and take off. The lodge and guests have easy access to countless rivers teeming with wild rainbow trout and salmon.


The famed Copper River (that we long ago nicknamed ‘Rainbow River’) is just a little more than a stone’s throw away. The lodge is well furnished and has a large dining area, fabulous bar, a nice conversation area and an attached room with a new pool table and fly tying desk.


The guest cabins were newly built in 2004 using natural cedar both inside and out. Each Alaska rental cabin has an Indian slate entry, Maple hardwood floors, state bathroom with slate vanity and corner glass shower with on demand hot water for an extra long shower after a day of fishing. 


The cabins have hand-made Aspen log furniture, custom built wall sconces & chandelier and pillow-top mattresses with down comforters. Thermostatically-controlled heat ensures your total comfort. Each cabin is equipped also with a VCR and DVD player and a 19” monitor.


There are no cell towers within range of the lodge.  However, we do have a satellite phone at the lodge for you to use.  Any standard calling card works to place long distant calls.  We also have a satellite Internet connection with a wireless router.  If you want to bring your laptop, you can get a wireless signal around your cabin and lodge.  We also have a computer for your use located in the main lodge building.


No expense has been spared in creating a great atmosphere and comfort level you deserve.



Dinners and appetizers like one finds in finer restaurants are served in the main lodge. The chef has no budget in creating the fresh and delicious meals. Prime rib, fresh Alaskan King Crab, roasted chicken, homemade soups, salads and amazing desserts. The bell for breakfast rings early for anglers anxious to get out and fly fish this treasured Iliamna Lake region of Alaska.

Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel
Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel
Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel
Getting There

Most guests fly commercial into Anchorage on the Friday before their trip. Alaska Air has the most flights.


Rainbow River Lodge guests will then fly from Anchorage to Iliamna on a private charter operated by Lake Clark Air. Rainbow River Lodge will schedule your flight from Anchorage to Iliamna for you.  You will need to call Lake Clark and pay them directly or pay them when you board the charter. The cost of this flight is $480 and is payable to Lake Clark Air (907-278-2054). Iliamna Air taxi may also be used but you will be notified either way.


Your flight will depart Anchorage at 4:00 pm on Saturday arriving into the village of Iliamna at 5:20 pm. Chad Hewitt will meet you in Iliamna as you step off the plane and will transfer you over to the floatplanes for a short 15 minute flight to Rainbow River Lodge.


After a week of great fly fishing you will depart the lodge on Friday at 6:15 pm for a 7:00 pm departure out of Iliamna. You arrive back into Anchorage at 8:20 pm. You may want to take a redeye flight out that night or overnight in Anchorage and fly home Saturday morning.


When scheduling your flights from your home city and Anchorage, make certain to give yourself 2 hours to make the charter flight to Iliamna.


Suggested Anchorage Accommodations:


Captain Cook Hotel

5th Avenue & K Street Anchorage AK 99501  Phone: (800) 843-1959

The Captain Cook has been called the premier Hotel in Anchorage. It offers Great Alaskan decor and is located downtown within close walking distance to several great restaurants.


Millenium Alaskan Hotel

4800 Spenard Road, Anchorage, AK , USA 99517-3236

tel: +1 907 243 2300  fax: +1 907 243 8815  reservation: +1 866 866 8086

This is a popular choice. It is located close to Anchorage International Airport and right on the worlds largest floatplane base in the world.


Executive Suite Hotel

4360 Spenard Toad Anchorage, AK 99517

Tel: (800) 770-6366 (907) 243-6366 fax (907) 248-2161

The Executive Suite Hotel is a good choice for those who are looking to save a little money while still expecting a good night’s rest.


Barratt Inn

4616 Spenard Road Anchorage, AK 99517 

Reservations 800-221-7550   907-249-4941  907-249-4909

The Barratt Inn is conveniently located next to the airport and is a good value for those who are looking to just get a quiet place for the night. Be sure to ask for a new room.

Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel
Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel
Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel


Rates Include: All 5-star meals, guiding, use of all boats and motors, use of aircraft, all equipment including rods: reels: flies and leaders, flights to and from the fishing lodge and Iliamna and a 7 day Alaska non-resident fishing license. 

Rates do not Include: Tips, liquor and commercial air travel to and from Iliamna. Reservations and Deposits: A deposit of 50% per person is required to confirm reservations. The balance is due 60 days prior to the scheduled arrival.

Cancellations:  Trip cancellation insurance is recommended for your Alaska fishing vacation.  We can assist you with obtaining a policy if you choose to cover your trip. 

Guests are required to provide their own beer, wine and liquor as Iliamna Alaska is a “Dry” village. Ask us how we can assist you in purchasing and shipping your alcohol. We wish you the best of travels and invite you to our favorite fly fishing lodge in Alaska. 


To book any of our trips give us a call to start the process
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