Alaska’s vast road-less wilderness offers very little practical transportation options. Air travel being the best means of travel over land, and of course boats throughout Alaska’s waterways.
Alaska Lodge operators located in remote areas on large rivers or lakes can utilize float planes to travel from the lodge to fishing spots that are adequate and safe for landing a sea plane. Float planes need favorable winds, water depth suitable for landing a 2000 to 5000-pound plane, and enough ‘runway’ length to allow for a safe take off and clearance of terrain. For 50 years or more float planes have been a remote fishing lodge’s main mode of transportation to and from the lodge and for fishing in remote Alaskan waters. Flying aboard a float plane over the wilderness of Alaska can be a great Alaskan experience, as long as the weather and winds are favorable.
Talaheim Lodge Early Years
At age 20, I began my career as a fishing and hunting guide in Alaska. I began by working at a couple of different lodges in Bristol Bay, southwest Alaska. We traveled by de Havilland Beaver and Cessna’s on floats from lake to lake or landing on larger rivers. In those early days of my career there were few Alaskan fishing lodges. Today, the famous Iliamna region of southwest Alaska has perhaps 40 or more lodges.
During my early years at our Talaheim Lodge, I had a Cessna on floats in which I carried fishermen to nearby fishing spots. If I could land there, so could others that had float planes. You couldn’t always expect solitude.
How We Started With Helicopters
Twenty-seven years ago one October, I had a hunter and guide stuck in the mountains under four feet of snow. It was impossible to get them out by fixed wing aircraft. Food was running low. A friend of mine who owned a small helicopter volunteered to help rescue these two souls. After the snow lifted, we managed a successful rescue. My friend didn’t want any numeration for his services, so the next summer I decided to make it up by hiring him for a few days for helicopter fishing to haul around my fishermen. It was an experiment for me and yes, it’s true that “once you go helicopter you can’t go back to fixed wing”.
Now with my friends helicopter my anglers and I enjoyed three days fishing waters that previously I have only just looked down upon and wondered what the fishing must be like. Fishing was fabulous and not a sign of another human being. I was hooked. Next winter I bought a small helicopter and for five or six years I hauled anglers to close by rivers and streams that only saw our guests. As the years went by I purchased another more powerful helicopter and then another a few years later. I kept my fleet down to two, I fly one and one of my three other pilots fly the other.
Getting To Remote Rivers and Streams
Talaheim Lodge is located on a very remote stretch of the Talachulitna River. Depending on the water depth we can river boat about six miles of water, but we can access the other 40 miles of the “Tal” and its tributaries by helicopter. Within a 15-minute flight, we can access about 100 miles of rivers and streams inaccessible to fixed winged aircraft or boats. Talaheim Lodge evolved into one of the first daily helicopter fly out fishing lodges. Our two helicopters fly our anglers out six days a week, we river boat equally remote waters one day a week.
Our float planes may take scenic side trips over glaciers or mountains, we can land on them for pictures of a lifetime or our signature gourmet picnics. Nearby our lodge we have what I call our private glacier. Each week our guests enjoy a one-hour romp over 300 feet of ice and scenery that creates memories for life.
Helicopters are expensive to fly and maintain, plus they are slow and can’t haul large amounts of people unless you are willing to spend millions on a large ship. Alaska Fishing Lodges that wish to move a dozen or more anglers each day can hardly justify helicopters. For 30 years or more I’ve enjoyed being the only helicopter fly out lodge in our area, however, a couple other lodges 20- miles from here are also now using helicopters. Helicopters can land just about anywhere, so on the rare occasion we might see another heli-fishing group, we simply move to the next spectacular spot.
Come Visit Us
Helicopter fishing allows anglers to reach remote rivers and streams that rarely are fished. Our Talaheim Lodge offers a truly unique helicopter fishing adventure that will surely be your most memorable fishing experience.
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Talaheim Fishing Lodge is considered tops in industry and most friendly and experienced staff in Alaska.