Goodnews Lake and River

(Click on the thumbnails below for larger images.)

More and more rafters are using electric fences... Goodnews Village Goodnews Valley Annie bright has been driving boats... Typical king salmon in late July
Goodnews Lake Goodnews Lake Goodnews Lake Goodnews Lake Goodnews Lake
Goodnews River Goodnews River Goodnews River Goodnews River Goodnews River
Goodnews River Goodnews River Goodnews River Goodnews River Goodnews River

Goodnews Lake is a 45 minute flight to the West of Dillingham and is the headwaters of the Goodnews River. This river is 70 miles down to the confluence and should take approximately 15 floating hours.

Please Note:
Campers must stay well clear of beaching area while setting up equipment or camping. Please stay clear of the aircraft taxiing up onto the beach and departing from the beach.

The lake is located directly under a steep mountain. The river runs out of the lake and down a huge valley, named appropriately, Goodnews Valley.

The scenery is fantastic throughout the entire float and so is the camping. The river is small with a swift current, but no white water or sweepers. (The Goodnews River float is the number one float for fly fishermen who love great fishing and like to avoid crowded rivers.) There is only one base camp on the river operating commercial powerboats, located about 7 miles up the river from the village.

Many rafters report great hiking along small streams that flow into the main river and on occasion are lucky enough to see red fox, one of the many species of scavengers that live in Alaska's great outdoors. There is also a wide variety of birds that migrate through and inhabit the thick alder brush and small lakes that riddle the valley. On special occasions the great Alaskan brown bear can be seen feeding on dead fish along the banks of the river, or fishing large schools of spawning salmon, as you float by.

Berries are in abundance throughout the Goodnews Valley and local villagers frequently use the river to access favorite harvest locations.

Fisherman in recent years have reported catching lake trout, rainbow, arctic char, dolly varden, arctic grayling and northern pike all on the same float. The king salmon season is from the 15th of June through the last week of July. The red and chum salmon start coming into the river about the last week of June and are available until about the first week in August. Silver salmon start showing up about the last week in July and keep coming into the river until early September. Humpies run hot and heavy on even years.

The river flows down to the small village of Goodnews. The airport is not far from the boat ramp and three wheelers and trucks can be employed to transport your gear from the ramp to the airport. From there it is only a short walk to the store and telephones.

There is a strong tidal influence the last 5 miles of the river. Floaters that would like a little help avoiding this stretch of the river can arrange for a tow boat.

The middle fork of the Goodnews flows into the main Goodnews River, giving this location the name Confluence. The Confluence is an excellent place to arrange for a tow boat to the village. The coordinates are:
N 59 07.771'
W 161 28.843'

The boat drivers will only operate on high water so whatever times you arrange with them, don't be late. The boat drivers are also picky about their pick up location so again make sure you are at the Confluence. It is easy to find and although many people choose to camp there, the Confluence is subject to flooding. We recommend camping up the river one or two miles and then floating down to the Confluence so as to be early. Leave your boat complete and be prepared to be pulled down the river. Fresh Water Adventures can assist you with the tow boat arrangements.
The high water times and heights table at the bottom of this page will help you figure out the approximate arrival time of the tow boat. Click here for estimated costs. For information about three alternatives to Goodnews/Kanektok Rivers, click here

For more information on the fishing you should encounter while floating the Goodnews River, contact the Refuge manager for the Goodnews River.

Note: For topographic maps covering the Goodnews River, order Goodnews Bay Quadrangle - Scale 1:63:360. A-7, B-7, B-6, B-5, C-5.

Goodnews River Yearly High Water Times & Heights
June July August September

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