Big Ku Lodge

Alaskan Fly Fishing at its Finest

Experience the excitement of casting for sockeye salmon and rainbow trout in the gin-clear waters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay. The Branham’s Big Ku Lodge offers the best trophy rainbow  trout in Alaska.


Casting for trophy trout

The Katmai Preserve and adjacent Park play host to some of the most remarkable landscapes in the world. Stepping out the front door of your cabin and turning your head, you will see, in turn, heavily forested mountains, vast expanses of tundra (Alaska’s underfoot Narnia), and everywhere, water.

There are active volcanoes, agate beaches, glacier mountain ranges, wild blueberry bogs…it is no wonder this area is considered one of Americas most precious and pristine natural resources. And the region’s watersheds, gin-clear and cold, pouring from ancient tarns, harbor some of the largest remaining salmon runs on the planet.

Lurking amidst these millions of spawning sockeye salmon swims the target of most Big Ku Lodge guests, the huge rainbows of the Katmai/Iliamna basin. Averaging 2-6 pounds, with massive specimens over thirty inches landed every year, there is perhaps no better place on earth to target, catch, and release numbers of these magnificent fish. There are both resident river trout, often dark and red-sided, and chrome-bright nomadic lake rainbows that make late season forays into the streams to forage. These rivers are largely scarce of trout food as we think of here in the Lower 48, but nature has provided them a bounty in the form of salmon eggs and decomposing salmon flesh.

The time of plenty is short this far north, and the trout feed voraciously, often putting on several pounds in a short 3-month window of opportunity. The implications for the angler are obvious! As well, some of the streams here are also home to brilliantly-colored sea-run Dolly Varden, and sail-finned Arctic grayling.

Only a short boat ride from the lodge a shallow tundra lake full of big northern pike lays waiting. And for a few weeks in July, the home river is full of bright, jet-fueled fresh sockeyes, a lot of fun on a fly rod. And all are readily accessible via short boat rides from the lodge, eliminating the necessity of expensive float plane travel, keeping the trip cost to a fraction of the area’s luxurious fly out lodges; the perfect scenario for anglers looking for modest-yet-comfortable wilderness lodging and the regions best possible trophy trout opportunities.

a trophy trout destination

The Branham name has been synonymous with quality fishing and hunting experiences in Bristol Bay for over 50 years.

Chris and Linda Branham started their famous Royal Wolf Lodge over 15 years ago with the help of The Fly Shop, and what began as a tent operation in the woods has evolved into one of the most respected trophy trout destinations in the state, built on the integrity, hard work and vision they brought to the project. So it is with the confidence built on all those years of working together with them that we enthusiastically approach the opportunity to help anglers experience their newer sister operation, Big Ku Lodge.

“Its common to see massive grizzlies wading the river, oblivious to the anglers, focused intently (and with bad intentions) on the legions of spawning sockeye salmon. A week here is a bit like stepping into a National Geographic special.” Aardvark Angler 

Ideal for serious trout anglers

Big Ku Lodge is nestled on a bluff above its namesake river – the Kukaklek overlooking a spectacular vista of river, lake and sweeping Alaskan wilderness. Built several years ago on privately-leased native land within the boundaries of Katmai Preserve (the Branhams hold the lease rights on over 5,000 acres up and down the Big Ku River and including some lakeshore on Kukaklek Lake, as well), the lodge could not be more centrally located to the highest concentrations of trophy trout streams in the state.

This isolated outpost combines the best of all worlds for the serious trout angler – four incredible rivers within quick and easy boat access, and a home-base that is as comfortable as it is remote. Guests here can walk down and fish the legendary Big Ku River anytime they would like, before and after their normal fishing day.