Ode to the Nushagak

It’s easy sometimes to take things for granted in life—things like fishing and being able to start your season as you normally do. But when our cages are rattled by unforeseen obstacles larger than us, we see an opportunity to reflect on what we love and appreciate most about our lives. We remember our privileges and how good we have it as Americans living today. We believe in our country’s ability to persevere and know we will be back to fishing together in time. So in a state of positivity and with the intention of spreading our zeal, we asked our valued lodge team to share what they love most about Alaska’s Nushagak River.

Here is what our staff had to say about our home each summer—Nushagak River Adventures Lodge.

Chris Lee, Executive Chef & Lodge Manager
“What I love most about Nushagak River Adventures Lodge is the pride we all take in the new camp that was literally built from the ground up by the staff for our clients.”

Brent Seamans, Lead Guide
Brent shared his favorite part of being on our fishing team, “Nushagak River Adventures Lodge is where I get to tag along and be part of our guests’ dream fishing vacations each and every week. I get to witness the thrill on their faces and watch the stress roll off when that first big king is netted. It never gets old, fish on!”

Jenn Laube, Dessert/Pastry Chef
“My favorite thing about the lodge is meeting up with guests and teammates from all over the world, sharing stories, our love of fishing, and appreciation for Bristol Bay,” said Chef Jenn, “One of my favorite guests was an 8-year-old angler named Trent. He was a great fisherman and he lost his tooth while he was at the lodge. I made homemade marshmallows and the entire camp sat around the fire making s’mores together to celebrate! It’s these types of memories I cherish most.” For Jenn, she says, “Nothing is better than catching a king on summer solstice.”

Ted Gibson, Fishing Guide
Those who know Ted know that he’s a top-notch guide and he is into fitness. He shared that his favorite times at the lodge revolve around the new lodge building. He said, “There’s nothing like grabbing a hot cup of coffee and a healthy pre-breakfast snack with the guides in the new cozy lodge building before everyone wakes up. Pre-breakfast snacks are always the best—A handful of candy and whatever “healthy” stuff Chef Jenn has laying out works for me. Sometimes I’ll boat down to the Portage Creek runway for an extra long morning run. I get to dodge bear and moose for extra running motivation! The normally scheduled breakfast by Chef Chris is timed perfectly for post workout and that is always great too! It’s the perfect way to start off a day you’ll spend catching fish on The Nush. You can see the lodge, dinners, desserts, and all things related to the food are highlights for me!”

Kris Kallina, Fishing Guide
“The Nush is the last great king salmon fishery in Alaska. It has liberal catch limits, plus we can still catch and release salmon until you’re content even after you have your limit.”

Ron Logan, Fishing Guide
“The new lodge is nice,” said longtime guide Ron, “the food is terrific, accommodations are more than fine, we have quality boats and gear, but my favorite thing about The Nush are the sheer numbers of fish. I fish for salmon and steelhead 12 months a year but it is hard to beat The Nush in terms of how good the salmon fishing is.”

Kim Kottke, Fishing Guide
For Kim it is hard to pick just one thing he is excited about. “First,” he said, “is the anticipation I feel flying that final leg to Nushagak River Adventures Lodge realizing my dream is coming true again as my heart moves up into my throat. The sheer beauty and allure of Alaska makes my heart pump fast. That first king to hit my lure and the fight that follows is what I think about off season. It never ceases to amaze me the power and strength of battling a king as they rip line, make power runs, and leap into the air while they fight to the very end.” Kim also appreciates rekindling friendships and making new ones, and the many stories and conversation around an evening camp fire.

Tom Randall, Fishing Guide
Tom couldn’t narrow it down to one answer either. “There are a plethora of things that I enjoy about the whole experience that make it such an awesome place,” Tom said. “We are so fortunate to work with, what I feel is, the best crew of people at any lodge in Alaska. Chef Chris and Jenn kill it daily. Korey and the camp staff keep everything organized and operating smoothly. And our guide team is second to none. All of this combined makes us one of the most sought after fishing destinations in Alaska. I can’t wait for the first pass of the season and the anticipation of seeing that first rod pinned by the first king of the year. When that first king slides into the net and I see the huge smiles and share in the high fives, it reminds me why I come back to Alaska year after year.”

Chris Titus, Fishing Guide
It is fishing guide Chris Titus’s first year with us, but he is not new to The Nush. “I look forward to working for a top notch camp with nice equipment, good people, and what appears to be a team-effort mentality.”

Marc Bush, Fishing Guide
Marc is a longtime Washington salmon and steelhead guide. “This will be my first year guiding in Alaska,” he shares, “and I very much look forward to this opportunity. It’s exciting to continue learning more about this sport that has become such a huge part of my life, working with other guiding professionals in a new area, and also feel that I can bring a fresh perspective to any situation.”

Andrew Scott, Junior Camp Hand/Housekeeping
“This will be my first year working at Nushagak River Adventures Lodge, and I’m very excited. I look forward to this opportunity to work in Alaska and to making memories with great people!”

Pete von Jess, Owner
Our lodge owner waxes poetically taking a phrase from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43. “How do I love thee, let me count the ways…New boats, maintained motors, great fishing gear, beau facilities, wonderful staff and professional guides are all but some of my favorite parts of Nushagak River Adventures Lodge. It is hard to match our salmon fishing anywhere in Bristol Bay and it’s easy to see why we consistently rank as a five star in the bush!” Pete also shared that he loves the Nushagak River for its wide variety of wildlife, but he most enjoys the personal adventures and client interactions that come with being part of memories formed.

It’s refreshing these days to hear the positive thoughts of our lodge crew. The appreciation they have for their jobs, the area, the lodge, our guests and each other is evident. While this world we live in is great, but small, it makes us want to profess our enduring love to protect our great love, of the Nushagak River.

Save Bristol Bay. No Pebble Mine!