Alaska is one of those places that will overwhelm you. The surrounding beauty in almost every inch of the state is something that permeates your soul and viewing this vast wilderness from the air will almost certainly leave a lifelong impression. One magnificent location perfect for a full day exclusive trip in July is a journey to the Gibraltar River where it flows into Lake Iliamna. This adventure places you in one of the wildest and remote settings in all of Alaska and directly in front of several hundred thousand sockeye salmon. If there was ever a place where you could walk on their backs, this is it. It is not uncommon for the masses of fresh sockeye to create breaking waves at the shallow outlet of the Gibraltar River where it empties into the colossal, ocean-like Lake Iliamna. Instinctively gathering in enormous schools, the triumphant assembly revels in the scent of their natal stream.
Gibraltar is a clear, relatively short river just north of the fabled Moraine and Funnel drainages. It stems from Gibraltar Lake and flows into Lake Iliamna. Our fishing is largely curtailed to the section of the river where it empties into the lake, as this area normally contains the highest concentrations of fresh fish. For literally up to a mile along the shoreline of the lake leading into the river, a steady parade of fish is readily seen from the air as you descend for the landing. One can only guess at how many fish are concentrated in such a relatively small area and perhaps even more remarkable, there is seldom another human insight.
This fishery is dependable from mid-July until the first few days of August. The floatplane ride is just over one hour from North Kenai and it takes you through the epic Lake Clark Pass, the Alaska Range, and some of the most unbelievable scenery on earth. For an all-day sockeye salmon adventure to the most productive red salmon waters in the state, a trip to Gibraltar is legendary indeed.