There are a myriad of great fishing areas on planet Earth - and then there is Alaska - and the Kenai. Bob Rima's Drifters Lodge is strategically located directly on the incomparable Kenai River near the confluence of the famous Russian River in the little town of Cooper Landing. Mike Marshall, Jeff Boyd and I were fortunate to fish there in September and we really killed them. Our target species were the giant rainbows the Kenai is noted for, but secondarily, for Coho salmon that are abundant. We had great success and also incidentally caught huge pink salmon, sockeyes, Dolly Varden, and steelhead.
Bob has assembled one of the nicest and most competent staffs we have ever experienced. They catered to our every need. We had met several of Bob's guides at The Fly Fishing Shows and head guide Nick Holman and Manager Andy Wallace and really took a liking to them. All of Bob's guides are young, friendly and extremely competent. We really had a great time and great success with each of them. The meals we had at the lodge were great but we strayed a few times to local bars and restaurants and found them exceptional. We would end each day sitting around a bonfire on the Kenai shore swapping stories of the day and met some really nice anglers. We fished all the stretches of the Kenai and walked several sections on the Russian where we sight fished for trout and salmon in the clear and very shallow water.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that Bob had trips to nearby rivers to target species like steelhead and to Homer for Salmon and Halibut fishing.
This is a destination that should be on everyone's bucket list. The Kenai is famous for the world record size King salmon and giant sockeye runs as well as huge rainbows and silvers. On the day we targeted silvers on the Kenai River, I landed about 15 large ones in the 15 - 16 lb. class and also caught sockeye & pink salmon, Dolly Varden,and rainbows. My largest rainbow was well over 30" and was taken sight fishing. Jeff and Mike also pounded them. One large hen rainbow came next to me as I was wading and stayed near me to within 12" from my boot. I moved slowly and she followed. Finally, Jeff replaced me and the big rainbow attached herself to Jeff who finally lowered an egg pattern down to her by hand and as she ate it set the hook by hand. Now there's a fish story that drew laughter around the camp fire. Thank you, Bob, for providing such a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We hope to be back next year. If anyone is interested in joining Team Boyd please contact me. We do research and fly fish and write articles and books about the finest locations on earth and this is one of them.
View photos from the trip by clicking here.