By Cory Luoma
We don’t ever bad-mouth our competition as there are many great lodges and guide services throughout Alaska. Tikchik has the upmost respect for the sport fishing community here in SW AK. However, we are constantly asked about what makes Tikchik Narrows Lodge special. Well, from a guide’s perspective, I’ll give you the 5 reasons why Tikchik stands above the rest.
1. Scenic Location – Tikchik’s location is one of the most spectacular in all of Alaska. The dramatic scene surrounding the lodge is difficult to match. Perched on an isthmus, the lodge overlooks two incredible lakes connected by a short “river” (The Narrows) for which the lodge is named. The Kilbuck Mountains loom in the west, and stunning rock formations line the eastern horizon. When you’re sitting on your front porch after a long day of fishing, you’re not overlooking alder-filled jungle, nor are you watching jet boats flying by on a busy river. It’s quiet, and calm. And, those who have been there know that this serenity is part of the experience at TNL.
2. Uncrowded Variety – Being located on the western watershed of Bristol Bay, Tikchik only sees a fraction of the lodge traffic that those of the Kvichak River, Naknek River, and Katmai fisheries. Yet, TNL enjoys the same world-class fishing opportunities. Our guests and guides rarely have to race to any special hole or fishery. In addition, Tikchik has exclusive and semi-exclusive guiding permits for some very special waters. See the lodge density map below.
3. Lodge Culture – At Tikchik Narrows Lodge, the guests mingle with the guides, hospitality staff, pilots, and everyone who happens to be a part of the Tikchik family that particular week. This creates a dynamic environment where many different people of varying backgrounds share the Alaska experience together. Many lodges/operations quarantine their staff from the guests during après-fish as if their presence will spoil the enchantment of AK. Tikchik employs the opposite philosophy, and it has become central to the tradition.
4. Evening Fishing Reports – As many of you know, after dinner at Tikchik head guide, Chip King, directs a series of fishing reports from each party that went out that day. In doing this, guests get an honest review of the waters, guides, and overall experience that others enjoyed. If the king salmon fishing was slow, everyone gets the skinny. If it was 100-fish day on the Upper Nushugak, each guests hears the report after dinner. There are no secrets. This type of transparency helps our fishing program focus on providing the best fishing experience for each guest.
5. Elite Flexibility – With 4 planes and over 40 boats stashed all over Bristol Bay, Tikchik Narrows Lodge has unmatched mobility in a 1.5 million acre wilderness park. Three DeHavilland Beavers and one Cessna-206 can easily accommodate all of our guests for daily fly outs. In Alaska, you have to take what the weather, waters, and environment gives you. Tikchik’s aircraft, boats, and other resources allow them to shuffle guests, change fisheries, and exhibit flexibility in a generally unforgiving Alaska wilderness. Additionally, TNL’s diverse homewater is the best insurance policy you can have against no-fly weather conditions (Note: Tikchik homewater deserves it’s own article).
To me, all of these things are part of what makes up the “Legend of Tikchik”. I am sure that many past guests could add to this list. You can write why you think Tikchik stands out on our Facebook Page.