(Click on the thumbnails below for larger images.)
|Ongivinuk Lake is ...||Approaching Ongivinuk Lake ...||Landing at a Lake||Most of the silver salmon ...||Fresh salmon cooking ...|
|Ongivinuk Lake and River|
Ongivinuk Lake is a 30-minute flight west of Dillingham and is the headwaters of the Ongivinuk River.
Ongivinuk Lake is small and directly east of Togiak Lake and is surrounded by mountains. The river leaves the lake and flows down a medium sized valley directly toward Togiak Lake before making an abrupt turn into a smaller valley.
The river increases in size as it breaks out into another medium sized valley and is joined by No Name Creek flowing into the Ongivinuk River from the east.
From there the river snakes its way through alder brush, low cliffs, and great salmon beds before dumping into the Togiak River.
Ongivinuk River does not get very many floaters. It seems to be floated mostly by the local residents of Dillingham. In 1996 three groups of fisherman choose Ongivinuk River as an alternative after lost luggage and weather delays shortened their trip. They were running out of time, but still wanted a great experience after all their bad luck.
The Ongivinuk is only 35 to 40 miles long before it dumps into the Togiak.
There are four designated pickup points to choose from. The first choice is a long, deep, straight stretch 5 miles below the point where the Ongivinuk dumps into the Togiak (N59°22.947' W159°57.184'). The second is the gravel bar just upriver from the Fish & Wildlife Camp on river left (N59°16.138' W160°12.863'). The third is river left for the Pungokepuk River immediately at the bottom where it dumps into the Togiak River (N59°15.585' W160°12.470'). The fourth is just downriver from where the Geshik River flows into the Togiak River on river left. (N59°12.067' W160°15.345').
Fishing on the Ongivinuk is comparable for everything the other rivers offer except kings and rainbow. Most anglers report no rainbow until they hit the Togiak, and then only sporadically.
The river is truly remote, inexpensive to access and flows through beautiful scenery. Whether you choose the Ongivinuk as your primary river or your alternative, you will surely appreciate this small personal fly fishing river with plenty of open space.
Water levels determine great camping, lots of grayling, arctic char, and all four species of salmon making this river an excellent choice for your first river experience in remote Alaska. Kings tend to spawn in deep, sweet water so they would not normally be available until you near the end of the Ongivinuk or start down the Togiak. The reds and chum salmon start coming into the river about the last week of June and are available until about the last week in August. The silver salmon start showing up about the last week in July and keep coming into the river until early September. The humpies run the first week in July through the first week in August on even years.
The Ongivinuk River is an Alaskan experience for the whole family.
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For topographic maps covering the Togiak and Ongivinuk rivers, order Goodnews Quadrangle D-2, C-3, C-2, B-4, B-3, B-2, A-4.