Flowing west from Naknek lake for 35 miles before dumping into the Kvichak Bay Branch of Bristol Bay. The river is known for having the largest run of Kings in Bristol Bay and this is probably due to the rivers emmense size. There is also a great population of large Rainbows.
I headed for the Naknek in July of 2003. My Wife and I made a visit to Rapids Camp Lodge for the second leg of our honeymoon. We landed in King Salmon which is several miles down stream of the lodge and then took a long van ride down the dirt road (King Salmon has no paved roads) to the lodge.
We took several day trips to other rivers and streams, taking one of the lodges float planes to rivers such as the Lower Morraine, and several others, but nearly every evening included fishing the Naknek with two-handed rods. Most of this was for Kings on a run across the river from the camp, usually fishing until midnight. While I really didn't land any big kings, I did hook a few big guys and I brought a few smaller fish, up to about 13lbs, to hand.
Even the Smaller Kings fought incredibly hard, incredibly similar to bright steelhead. They would go on screaming runs and jumped with abondone.
We also fished two handeders for the rainbows of the Naknek. One evening, I fished with Clayton, one of the guides, in the rapids that the camp is named for. We landed lots of rainbows in the low 20" range as they chased down bait fish. Mostly the evening fishing on the Naknek was for King Salmon, that despite being late in the run for most rivers, were vry bright and aggressive. There was a run just across from the lodge. This was a nice long run.
I also Fished one morning with Scott O'donnoll the Head guide, we fished runs up river from the camp and Got some really great fish including one truly big bow that he landed.
Scott O'donnell lands a solid July Rainbow
The Naknek has a considerable bear population, as does the whole area of Bristol Bay.
The Lower Moraine River:
We fished big rainbows on swung flies. The largest fish that I got was about 26" and the fight was great.
This is a small river that flows into Lake Illiamna. We flew into to the river from Rapids Camp Lodge and then floated several miles of river in inflatable rafts called Water Masters, I have since bought three of these wonderful little boats.
We saw lots of bears.