Kisaralik Lake and River

(Click on the thumbnails below for larger images.)

Grant Lake Falls About 75,000 caribou ... The flight from Dillingham ... Missing Link Pass Approaching Kisaralik Lake ...

Kisarolik Lake is about a one-hour flight north west of Dillingham. The Kisarolik River has exploded with popularity in recent years and can no longer be considered the last true wilderness float left in Alaska.

At the top the Kisarolik River can be very short on water, but soon tributaries flow in and widen the river. In fact, the further from the lake you get the greater the chance of flooding.  The Kisaroilk River is feed by a large number of tributaries that flow heavily after every significant storm. Consequently, the river often rises and muddies up which causes fishing to go from fair to bad faster than any other river in the region. (Especially rainbow fishing)

We believe one of the highlights of your trip will be the flight to the lake, we would like to point out some of the scenery you will enjoy while embarking on your truly spectacular adventure. You begin your journey in an antique atmosphere, traveling a world famous, amphibious Grumman.

Immediately after departing from Dillingham airport in route to Kisarolik Lake, you see the mighty Wood River stretching northward into mountains surrounding the first lake of the Wood River system, Aleknagik Lake. As we cross the east end of the lake near the beginning of the Wood River, you see the village of Aleknagik that encompasses both sides of the lake end.

Cutting through a short valley, we come to the longest lake in the series, Nerka Lake. You can see the lake stretching back into the mountains to the west as we cross the east end of  lower Nerka Lake.

Reaching the heavily wooded shoreline, moose can oftin be spotted standing in the clearing where they ward off insects with the assistance of a light breeze that is common in the summer months.

Within minutes we cross Nerka Lake again as it stretches back underneath us leaving the mountains to the west and stretching to the east where it receives water flowing from the Agulukpak River linking Beverly Lake to the Wood River System. Beverly Lake, the third lake in the system, is the home of the ranger station.

Beverly Lake also stretches back into the mountains to the west, receiving water from the Peace River that flows crystal clear from Mikchaulk Lake.  This lake is the forth in the system and receives water from the Wind River flowing into the west end from Kulik Lake, fifth lake in the system.

After we cross the east end of Lake Beverly, more and more caribou can be seen grazing the open areas of the tundra scattered throughout the wooded back country. Camouflaged as wildlife is, someone on board usually spots something as we cut across a hump of brush-covered hillside that slopes down from the two thousand-foot mountains separating Beverly and Kulik Lakes.

Grant Lake is medium size, and is the sixth and top lake in the Wood River System. Grant Lake is in the heart of black bear country and many adventurous travelers have been fortunate enough to see one in its natural element, eating berries on the top of a knoll, or running for cover from the center of a clearing. These animals, with their jet-black coats shinning in the summer light, excite even the most experienced bushman. We are flying at about 1500 feet above sea level now as we cross the ridge between the Wood River System and the Tikchik Lake area.  As we cross the ridge, we come across Nuyakuk Lake.

Nuyakuk Lake is over twenty miles long. About half way across we are able to see the Narrows that separate Nuyakuk and Tikchik Lake.

Chauekuktuli Lake flows into Nuyakuk Lake and as we cross the east end of Chauekuktuli Lake, we can look back into the mountains that engulf the west end of this long lake.

The Allen River connects the lake we have just flown over to the third lake in the Tikchik sequence, Chikuminuk Lake. We follow the bank of the Chikuminuk Lake to the very end where milky colored glacier water mixes with the blue lake water.  It is here where you have an opportunity to see evidence of live glacier activity. The range of mountains just ahead of us now is the 4000-foot mountain that divides the Wood-Tikchik State Park and the Kuskokwim.

Our guess is that yearís ago when the mountains were beginning to form, Mother Nature left an intentional link out of the chain of mountains separating these two vast areas of wilderness in order to invite travelers.

To safely fly through the missing link, we need to be able to see through the 5-mile mountain pass, but if we canít, the long way is equally beautiful. In the past, flying through the missing link, we have had the opportunity to see caribou congregating on the many snow packed crevasses that line the pass walls.  The caribou seem to use the large patches of snow as a refuge for the heat of the summer and the insects that inhabit the bottom of the pass.

As we exit the pass, we turn into a bowl in the mountains that surround Kisarolik Lake. Sometimes after landing, we have had to wait for the caribou to mosey off the beach, in order to utilize the same area for unloading our passengers.

We recommend ten days to float the Kisarolik River, allowing a day or two at the lake. The lake is truly remote, and full of all kinds of wildlife. If the Kisarolik is your choice of adventure, we hope you will seriously consider using Fresh Water Adventures for your air transportation needs.

FWA will land in Kuskokuak Slough and bring you back to Dillingham if you can't find a boat ride to Bethel; the cost is listed under Kuskokuak Slough.

 Press here for estimated costs. For additional information recently received by Freshwater Adventures on the Kisarolik River, press here.