Bob Daly's experience at Pumice Creek Lodge

Home of the Monster Silvers and Arctic Char

Do you recall when your grandfather spoke of the "good old" days of fishing when

you are told stories of enormous fish and being caught in spectacular numbers? You were told these were the days and they are now gone! Well, on my recent trip to Pumice Creek Lodge, I relived the "good old" days catching monster silver salmon and arctic char in numbers you dream about.

On September 8, 2015 I took a direct flight on Alaska Air out of Chicago to Anchorage, Alaska. Friends Cole Lundquist and Kevin Cleary will join me to a week of fishing at Gary LaRose's Pumice Creek Lodge.

Pumice Creek Lodge is located on the Alaska Peninsula. The Lodge is 376 air miles east of Anchorage and 86 air miles south of the town of King Salmon. Here, you will see nobody else fishing except an occasional brown bear, as the lodge is located away from the crowds of Bristol Bay and the Kenai Peninsula.

During our stay in Anchorage we stayed overnight at the Coast International Inn and had a great halibut dinner at the old Regal Hotel. Lake Hood is located next to the hotel and float planes are surrounding the lake.

The following morning we take an early 7:30am flight on Pen Air to the town of King Salmon. In King Salmon, Robert May of RJ Aviation, picked us up to fly us out to the lodge. Robert owns the charter service and flys throughoutAlaska.


Robert May's of RJ Aviation charterplane

After about an hour flight which takes us over numerous small ponds, a few rivers, and tundra we landed at Pumice Creek Lodge. The lodge is surrounded by cinders which make for a great landing strip.

Lodge owner Gary LaRose, head guide Rudy McPherren, and Gary's black lab, Cinder, greet us. Cole and Kevin have been at the lodge the past few years while I have been fishing the Peninsula for about 27 years.

The Lodge consists of 2 duplex style guest cabins for couples, a 6 person bunkhouse, a main building where all meals are served, and a heated cabin which has a bathroom and hot shower. The bunkhouse is quite comfortable. It has oil heat and a hot shower which feels great after a long day of fishing.

We normally do not elect to fish on the day of arrival. We get all our gear ready for the next day which will be a fly out to the Cinder River for silver salmon. The weather is cool and rainy.

After a great meal cooked by Gary, we get a good night’s sleep most likely all dreaming about the next day’s fishing. We awaken to a cold windy day with rain. After a delicious breakfast of bacon, ham, sausage, and eggs we fly out to the Cinder which takes about 8 minutes.

At the Cinder there are 2 boats stored which can transfer clients up and down the river.

The plane lands in a dug out runway which is next to the river. Rudy motors us to my favorite spot. The water levels are a little high and the clarity is slightly dirty. However the fishing was spectacular, as we land numerous silvers all day. In this particular spot most fish from the bank and have Rudy net the silvers. I usually wade out to reach the other bank. There is a sandbar where the incoming silvers rest. These silvers are fresh from the ocean and are covered with sea lice.

We are allowed to keep 5 silvers per day of which some elect to get smoked in Anchorage and shipped back home.

On day 2 we elect to fish for Arctic Char on Lava Creek which is about a 6 minute flight from the lodge. Lava Creek is located in Aniakchak National Preserve. It is loaded with Arctic Char and a few rainbow trout. We walk the creek and catch well over 100 char each on small spinners. The day is again full of rain and wind but who cares as long as the fish are biting. Cinder comes along to scare away any brown bears.

On day 3 we elect to fish for silvers at the Cinder River. We again land silver after silver in my favorite hole. Later we head to the area know as the Junction. Here the river branches out and is normally a great place where silvers which have been in the river stock up. The fishing is spectacular. I land over 100 silvers this particular day. The best lure for all is us is 7/8oz Pixee spoons fishing on spinning equipment using 40lbs PowerPro line.


A monster silver salmon caught out of the Cinder River, Alaska Peninsula

The following day is another great day for silver fishing at the Cinder. Cole Lundquist catches the largest salmon of his life, a true monster. The rain is really pouring and the wind is really howling today, but the fishing makes up for it. The action continues all day long. Kevin, Cole and I leave with sore arms after battling silvers all day long!

Gary prepares us great meals each evening. The meals consist of steaks, pork, freshly caught salmon, and spare ribs. Believe me you do not leave hungry! Sandwiches are prepared each day to take out to your day of fishing along with cans of pop, chips, candy bars, cookies, etc. You fly out to your destination of fishing after breakfast then return to the lodge around 5:30pm.


Delicious spare rib dinner at Pumice Creek Lodge prepared by chef Gary LaRose

We are allowed to keep 5 silvers per day of which some elect to get smoked in Anchorage and shipped back home.

On day 2 we elect to fish for Arctic Char on Lava Creek which is about a 6 minute flight from the lodge. Lava Creek is located in Aniakchak National Preserve. It is loaded with Arctic Char and a few rainbow trout. We walk the creek and catch well over 100 char each on small spinners. The day is again full of rain and wind but who cares as long as the fish are biting. Cinder comes along to scare away any brown bears.


Dr. Kevin Cleary with a huge Lava Creek Arctic Char

The last day of our trip we head back to the Cinder River. About 11am it just started pouring. The rain was coming so hard that it made it difficult to see. All of us hid in some brush until the downpour left. The fishing was again amazing as it always is on the Cinder. Silver after silver are landed with some of largest we have every caught. The largest for the group was 35inches which I would estimate around 18lbs. Next year, I already have a scale packed! Pixee spoons again are the hot lures. The best being the 7/8oz new red finish body with orange insert. Large #6 spinners are also very good to use, however, with the Pixee spoons being so productive, I do not believe the spinners ever got their chance.

The following day, Robert May, of RJ Aviation, picked us up at noon from the lodge for a 3 1⁄2 hour flight back to Anchorage. In Anchorage, Kevin and I stayed overnight at the Extended Stay Hotel in downtown. We all visit the Cabelas store in Anchorage and got some great deals. I highly recommend the Extended Stay Hotel as it is very reasonable, clean, located near downtown so you can do some shopping, plus they have shuttle service back to the airport.

In all, this has to be one of the best fishing trips I have taken to Alaska or anywhere else on earth! Despite the rain and wind, the fishing was like the “good old” days! We have already booked for September 2016 and cannot wait to battle the monster silvers and arctic char of Pumice Creek Lodge!


Bob Daly, Dr. Cole Lundquist, and Dr. Kevin Cleary leaving the lodge for Anchorage on RJ Aviation

*Special thanks to the following: Cole Lundquist and Kevin Cleary, Gary LaRose, Rudy McPherren, Cinder the Wonder dog, Downtown Anchorage Extended Stay hotel, Coastal International Inn Anchorage, Alaska Airlines, and PenAir.


Rudy McPherren, Cinder, and Gary LaRose of Pumice Creek Lodge, Alaska Peninsula

The silvers of Cinder River and the Arctic Char of Lava Creek. See you in 2016!

- Bob Daly

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