From Our Patrons
- Dr. James Dobson
“Absolutely wonderful! A highlight of many years. Tell the world! The food was spectacular, seven days in a row. Every one of the staff was courteous, knowledgeable, pleasant and helpful. Great crew! Facilities like nowhere I have been. We appreciate you all. God’s blessing to you all.”
- Roy Stringfellow
Truly outstanding!! Great fishing, beautiful environment, superb facilities, excellent boats, great people – staff and the other guests. The best ever for me. Especially appreciated the devotions in the AM. Best gourmet food, daily, I have ever had. Plutonic!! Wonderfully prepared, beautifully presented. 5 stars. Best staff I have ever been around. Professional, considerate, patient, great senses of humor. Really made us feel at home. Beautiful view, comfortable, thoughtfully and skillfully put together. Tops! Safe, spacious. The family experience added greatly to an already superb visit. We came as clients, leaving as friends. This is truly Alaska
- Josh Floum
Bill and company, I want to thank you for a really terrific week. Everything about the trip was awesome–The lodge and bed were super comfy, the food was fantastic and, most of all, all of the staff and guides were attentive, knowledgeable, upbeat and excellent. The coffee brought to the room in the morning is a perfect start to the day. Breakfast is plentiful and good fuel to get going, the fishing diverse and fantastic, and the evening meal and company were always outstanding, even if we guests were worn out from landing so many lunkers!
- Mike & Pati Palumbo
Our family had a wonderful time at Iliamna River Lodge!! It was a vacation of a lifetime! Some of the best fishing anywhere, Bill, Mel, and their very polite, helpful boys were so welcoming and charming. All the guides were so extremely professional, and friendly. I highly recommend a trip to Bill’s place, you will love it.
- Nicole Banning
Amazing staff, fishing, lodging and activities. IRL exceeded all of my expectations. The family atmosphere was refreshing. Definitely the best fishing trip I’ve ever been on. Food better than any restaurant I’ve ever been in. Hands down the most friendly and helpful staff. Amazing and so kind; always willing to help. All of the guides were extremely helpful and encouraging. Amazing lodge!
- Johnny Ruffin, age 12
The experience was great. The food was amazing. The staff was great, very helpful. The facilities were clean, warm beds, nice boats, experience was awesome. I had a great time at the lodge and I hope I can come back soon! P.S. The boys were great!
- Deborah Burnett
This week was the fly-fishing vacation I’ve dreamed of having for years! We caught beautiful Arctic Char and Rainbows and had the extra bonus of catching and keeping some hefty Sockeye Salmon. The setting is stunningly beautiful and full of endless spectacular vistas. Every meal was absolutely outstanding! The staff was wonderful! The guides are very talented and it was obvious the team works well together and likes each other. The guides know the rivers very well and did a great job of putting us on fish. Facilities are very nice. Guests have enough privacy and the lodge is a great place to socialize.
- Clifford Ray
This was something I will remember the rest of my life. The food was excellent. Great staff – wonderful human beings. Outstanding facilities.
- Rick Barry
Great friendly, relaxed place. Food was better than a cruise – unbelievable. Staff could not have been any better. Very nice facilities – being new makes you feel you are on the ground floor of a fantastic happening. The fishing was like dying and going to Heaven. The Iliamna River Lodge is truly amazing!
- John McManus
We had a wonderful experience. Staff were top rate – knowledgeable, cheerful and helpful. We caught great fish and enjoyed spending time with each other and the whole crew.
- Walt Hanni
A++. I will come back. Great digs, great staff and a great lodge. The food is better than the fishing and I don’t know how that is possible.
- Michael Heckethorn
You can’t describe perfection, it has to be experienced, and EXPERIENCED it was.
- Steve Afeman Sr.
Excellent! No details were left out of making the experience perfect in every way. Meals – spot on. River trips – fun, exciting and productive. Staff – best I have experienced. Truly, an experience of a lifetime! 5 star meals with presentation that bumped the level. Dinner was an experience, not just a meal. Every staff seemed to care about you having a perfect trip. I would do it again and tell anyone who would listen. Thanks for sharing this special place!
- Steve Afeman Jr.
My experience here was one that I will remember for the rest of my life! The trip, lodge and staff combined with friends and family combined to make one of the best trips of my life. My dad and uncle and I hunted and fished together for my whole life and this was a trip that put us all back together in an incredible place. I will highly recommend the Iliamna River Lodge to anyone interested in Alaska. Some of the best people I have ever met in my life! Thanks!! Every meal was something everyone looked forward to. Great selection and presentation. The staff was without exception excellent. Each person went out of their ways to ensure our comfort and safety as well as seeing that our experience was above the expected. All of the staff seem to really enjoy their work and that makes a big difference to your time here as a guest. The facilities are situated in a beautiful location with excellent access to a large variety of fantastic fishing. The lodge, cabins and buildings are all well done, comfortable and guest friendly. I would not change anything.
My overall experience at IRL was awesome. I caught the biggest rainbows I have ever seen (and many of them). The float plane trip to Copper River was an unbelievable trip!! In the evenings playing corn hole and the beach party were all great times. These are all going to be memories of a lifetime. Great guides – I really had a fun time trying to learn to fly fish with those guys.
- Casey Collins
Epic. Tons of fish and the weather was unreal. The guides were first class and knew where the fish were. Staff did a fantastic job. Highly recommend. First class all the way!!
- Jim Maes
Fishing was awesome. One of the best lodge experiences I have had. Personable and knowledgeable staff. Very homey and comfortable.
- Ralph Eslick
Excellent experience. Great staff, everyone did a wonderful job. Lunch on the river is a necessary distraction from fishing. Staying in the lodge is my preference. I love the open kitchen. It changes the experience. I feel like I’m part of the family.
- Mike and Darlene Murry
Based on lots of research and having been to 8 other Alaska lodges, I would say Iliamna River Lodge is the best lodge in Alaska that combines luxury accommodations with abundant fly out opportunities and an amazing home river. There are only a few lodges that can boast about this combination. Home waters are generally described as good, but realistically they are hit and miss as timing is critical with salmon runs at many lodges; miss that timing and you will miss that lodge’s “good” fishing. Then you just have a fly out lodge which is a serious problem on bad weather days. The Iliamna fishery is good all season, with the char always providing a great back up and maybe it is the best char fishery in the Bristol Bay area. Also, the scenery from the lodge is the best I have seen, beautiful nearby mountains. Western Bristol Bay rivers are not surrounded by mountains. Food excellent. Facilities excellent. Guides very good. I really like their enthusiasm and knowledge. We had a blast.
- Neil Leuhring
The overall experience of this week has been a great one. The facility, staff, equipment and location of this operation have all worked in concert to provide a very memorable week. The location provides opportunities to fish different rivers and experience a broader range of the surrounding fisheries, scenery, history and the “Alaskan” experience. The staff has been great. They are personable, experienced and have worked hard to ensure we had a great time. The facilities have been comfortable, inviting and worked very well for the needs of our group.
- Cliff Spencer
Unbelievable!! The whole experience far exceeded my expectations. The superb food, guides, host were all great. I specifically enjoyed all of the variety; different fishing experiences, delicious food, the abundant wildlife and beauty of the lodge. Staff was great, very helpful, patient and friendly. I liked the log cabin we stayed in. The heater kept us very warm at night. The beds were extremely comfortable.
- Brian Williamson
Wonderful – a magnificent facility with all that anyone would want by many varied types of fisheries, great natural foods and hot showers to think about installing at home! A must visit! Magnificent, various meals each day. Without exception, all wanted to please and did to the maximum! The cabin had all that one could possibly want. A bed and mattress that provided a marvelous sleep with the sounds of the flowing Iliamna River.
- Alan Wilhelmy
We had an outstanding week. The lodge and cabins are first rate. Food is wonderful and better than you find in any lodge. The staff are very accommodating and take care of everything. And of course the fishing is over the top fantastic. Big fish and lots of fish. Everything at the lodge is an adventure. Travel by bay boat, jet boats and floatplanes. Something new each day and all kinds of different beautiful water to fish. We are already trying to figure out when we can return. Guides are expert in the local waters and are excellent coaches and companions on the water. Bill and his wife and two sons are special people who want to make sure you have a great time and leave the hustle and bustle of work behind so you can recharge your batteries on your escape from civilization.
- Mark Levin
This was my 5th Alaskan fly fishing trip. The lodge staff is top notch. Very attentive, friendly and professional. Our guides were knowledgeable and put us in the right spots to catch fish. Lots of rainbows and char. The lodge provided waders, boots, rods and reels. All equipment was excellent. No need to bring your own. The chef was spectacular. Meals were outstanding and well thought out. I would highly recommend Iliamna River Lodge.
- Andy & Kara Sanderson
We wanted to experience Alaska, not knowing what to expect. Fortunately, choosing the Iliamna River Lodge to stay was by far the best choice. We did not know how to fly fish when we arrived, but the guides taught us everything we needed to know. The staff, owners, and guides were all patient, friendly, and accommodating. We caught more fish then we knew what to do with each day. Thank you so much the Iliamna River Lodge. We will be back!
- Lance Banning
By far exceeded my expectations, the overall trip looked great online but nothing compared to firsthand experience with a great group of staff and guides. Unbeatable bush food! The guides are experienced and will put you on fish. Camp staff was full of jokes and a lot of fun to be around. Top notch, first class.
- John Schell
An incredible lifetime experience! Combining the wilderness experience and scenery of Alaska with the best fishing of my life and the incredible service and catering made this insane. The sensitivity to our personal desires and the variety of experiences. Over the top food – totally unexpected. Absolutely great staff – friendly, easy going and anxious to please. These guys and gals made the trip – best guides ever. Facilities were way more than we needed or expected.
- Chase Bridgforth
This week has been fantastic. The planning and preparation that go into the IRL experience was evident all week. Attention to detail and an incredible staff ensured a great week. The meals were all excellent and exceeded all of my expectations. Each member of the staff was at all times courteous and professional. I can’t imagine that a better staff exists anywhere in Alaska. The facilities are above and beyond what I expected to find.
- Jeff Kimbell
Heaven on earth. Divine hospitality and amazing people to guide you to new and unique experiences in beautiful Alaska. A once in a lifetime unforgettable week. Food was amazing, delicious, decadent, nourishing and prepared with love. Impeccable service, kindness, generosity and accommodating. Warm, friendly and supportive as we navigated new territory of fishing. Beautiful, comfortable; 5 star quality bedding and gear. Our family has been to over 40 hunting and fishing lodges over the past 10 years, IRL is one of the most gorgeous of them all. The staff is top notch and fishing tremendous. We look forward to coming back. You guys have much to be proud of. Congrats. Our son asked, “Why can’t we stay here the rest of our lives?” Dining was A+. Top 3 of all time.
- Finn Oestgaard
Amazing experience, showcasing what the area has to offer. 5-star dining in the middle of the woods. Staff were super helpful and knowledgeable of the local area and the multiple species of fish in the river. Great balance of rustic with modern amenities. Very clean and fresh!
- Aksel Oestgaard
Out of this world! Everything was beyond expectation. The food is better than a 5 star restaurant…amazing!! Food was outstanding. Staff – best ever, for sure! I like the coffee in bed in the morning
- Charlie Afeman
Overall experience was +10. Of all my trips made in my 83 years, this one tops them all. You made sure I was comfortable with every trip and got to do all the trips with safety and security. You have made this place almost holy, the spiritual feeling of the majestic environment gave me a feeling of rarely experienced deep felt tranquility. A truly special place that I would recommend to any and all. Food was a great adventure. All meals prepared like a 5 star restaurant. Friendly, courteous and kind staff. A pleasure to have such a great group of people to teach beginners how to do Alaska fishing. Every guy was so understanding and patient and made a great effort to make us comfortable and guide us to the fish. 5 star – these facilities so deep in the wilderness are a miracle of God. All who want to be closer to God should come here and live in these beautiful cabins and experience the camaraderie of this lodge. Loved all of it.
- Julia Henning
Epic. Period. Big – exciting – never boring, ever changing, every day was a first and new experience. Truly, a trip of a lifetime. I learned a lot daily. Food – Perfect!!!! Not one complaint. All of the staff was perfect. Each one had their own perfections and qualities. At the end of our stay I have decided that they are all keepers. Great facility, comfy cozy, warm and inviting. It truly felt like home for a week.
- Lani Schuck
Absolutely the best vacation ever! Life changing. People – staff, guides, everyone top notch lovely folks! Every meal amazing! Even though I had to loosen my waders, it was worth it. Your staff – everyone wonderful, patient, kind and helpful. Beautiful! Simply elegant among Alaskan wilderness.
- Joe Moffenbeier
This is by far the best lodge I have experienced on my many travels to Alaska. Lodging, food, guides and of course the fish are by far the best! Staff, professional skills, willingness to make this the best trip possible. They cannot put the fish on the hook but if they could, they would. Great group to ride the river with! Only one word for the facilities – fantastic! But still improving and look forward to next year.
I was very skeptical at first especially because I’m not the fishing, camping kind of woman but I had one of the greatest times ever and will definitely be returning. Amazing food. I’ve eaten at many fine restaurants and the food here was by far the BEST! Everyone was great and so helpful. All the guides were knowledgeable and wanted to see you catch lots of fish. Bill was great and you can tell he treats his staff well. Clean rooms; nice comfy beds, nice bathrooms.
- Mark Mahler
Superlative, excellent, exceeded expectations. My first thought is thank you! My expectations were high and all were met/exceeded. Fishing was obviously fabulous, but the overall experience was even better…all the little things make it great…the hats and tee shirts, the smiling faces all the time, the friendly kidding, the card games, the music, the wi-fi, the appetizers. Keep up the fabulous service – I’ll be back! Great breakfasts, dining over the top! Loved the coffee/tea/juice service in the AM. Great staff! Welcoming, fun, all with good people skills. Great guides – fishing skills, knowledge, boat handling and attentiveness are top notch – as good as it gets. Very comfortable cabin. Pleasant, comfortable beds, bathroom and shower – great. Like the porches. Love being away, but minimally connected, if desired.
- Frank Kozak
Excellent. All my expectations were exceeded. Loved the fishing on the Iliamna and on the other rivers. Guides were outstanding. Some of the best meals I have ever had. As a novice fly fisherman, I received good instruction. I liked that my guide was well prepared to get and keep me fishing quickly throughout the day. Guides worked hard to help me catch fish.
- David Boyers
The overall experience has been amazing. The operation run here is beyond anything I have ever experienced in my life. To be in such a remote area and feel as though I’m at a first-class hotel/resort is beyond belief. The fishing guides were professional, courteous, affable and knowledgeable. Best guide I’ve ever had. He went above and beyond expectations, simply amazing. I will certainly spread the word about this terrific place. The staff you have assembled are wonderful. I particularly enjoyed being able to congregate with them after fishing in the evenings. Having coffee delivered to the cabin with a wakeup call in the morning is a very nice touch. The facilities you have created here are excellent. The cabin was warm and comfortable. The showers were hot, beds comfortable and the lodge space is truly a showpiece. Thank you all for such a memorable experience!!!
- Steve Boyers
First trip to Alaska – exceeded all expectations. IRL is awesome – location in the mecca of rainbow fly fishing. Great lodge – all the comforts. Wonderful staff. Dinners were exceptional. Guides were first class. Like kids in a candy shop, they seemed to relish each catch – lots of whooping and high fives. All were experienced Alaska guides with an uncanny ability to find big fish – learned a ton from them. Facilities were impressive – well-appointed individual cabins newly built. Beautiful lodge. First class fly-out.
- John Wilhelmy
EPIC. The attention to detail from rooms, guides, food and of course the fishing was outstanding. I feel refreshed. I would recommend this trip to any fly fisherman. Huge trout on a mouse…silly. Sight fishing for huge fish is a blast. Team Bill and the entire crew ROCK!!
- Nick Miller
This was a terrific week experience. A really premium lodge with a great attitude and a tremendous range of fishing, food and conversation. The fishing is world class and the Betts family put a full effort into each guest having a wonderful set of memories. I really liked the coffee at the cabin each morning!
- Linda Newlin Kittelson
Heaven on earth. Divine hospitality and amazing people to guide you to new and unique experiences in beautiful Alaska. A once in a lifetime unforgettable week. Amazing, delicious, decadent, nourishing food and prepared with love. Impeccable service, kindness, generosity and accommodating. Warm, friendly and supportive as we navigated new territory of fishing. Beautiful, comfortable; 5-star quality bedding and gear. Your family are all warm, gracious, caring, kind and so welcoming. Thank you. Our son loved being with your boys to play and discover the wonder of time in the beauty that surrounded us. Your beautiful wife could only be described as an angel. Always warm, smiling, helpful, open and caring for all people in her orbit. A gift to us all!! We loved the kind and gentle wakeup call. We are so thankful to the guides for all we learned and all the thrills of catching so many fish. Your hard work and years of experience are appreciated. Thanks for all you do before and after the day, too.
- Kevin Kittelson
Your hospitality and accommodations were perfect. Starting the day with coffee delivered to our cabin so we could enjoy the beautiful views was very much appreciated. Fishing the amazing untouched watersheds was an experience I’ll never forget. I thank you for all the wonderful experiences and the friendships we made this week. Amazing meals – sooo delicious – thank you!! I could taste the passion for cooking in every meal. Everyone on the staff was very accommodating, very kind – went out of their way to make sure we were happy. Very sincere about everything. Very comfortable – top rate experience with the entire stay – thank you so much. Thank you for sharing your slice of heaven with us. You’re so very blessed to be able to be in such a beautiful place, and share your passion with us. I’m very grateful for the tie I’ve been able to share with all of you, and will never forget this experience.
- Stephen Wilson
Terrific – I hope to be back again. IRL is a world class experience. The conversation with guests and staff made it special. Superlatives all the way on the food. Coffee brought to the room is a treat. The staff were some of the most professional and good humored people I’ve ever met. They are the best. Really top notch facilities – great room, beautiful view.
- Gretchen Wild
Wonderful accommodations for the person who wants to be in the wilderness but doesn’t want to rough it. The shower was excellent and much appreciated after a cold day in the rain. And yes, this is a female perspective. Guides were great teachers, knowledgeable and patient with novice fisherman. We enjoyed the different routes, scenery and variety of fish we caught.
- Jim Mackay
I can’t imagine that there is a better rainbow and char river in the world. The combination of fishing, staff, and accommodations are outstanding. All of the above are extremely important to the Iliamna trip. Professional staff, the best. I call this country club fishing in remote Alaska.
- Terry Ing
This is my 2nd time at the lodge. This place changed my life for the better. It’s a special lodge with wonderful staff and the river is a spiritual place filled with unlimited amounts of fish. My happy place – thank you, IRL!! Pure awesome food. After a long day of fishing, an awesome meal only makes this place more special. A+++ staff – everyone is awesome. Facilities get better and better every year. Great job upgrading the place.
- Gary Hilbert
The entire trip was GREAT!!! Bill and his team went over the top to make all our expectations made. Over the top – the best!! A great place in a great location.
- Tim Siebling
You and your team are amazing!! I had a feeling this week would be amazing but you all exceeded anything beyond my wildest dreams. I t was an epic week that has left me speechless. Thank you for an incredible week. Staff – off the charts!! Great guides – I never had to lift a finger. Very special!! Speechless!! Over the top facilities. Thank you for a life changing week!
- Bob Wolfenden
My wife and I came to Iliamna knowing nothing about fly fishing. The guides taught us to cast and land a fish. The food was exceptional, staff very helpful.
- Janet Wolfenden
Incredible group of folks to learn from and hang out with. Unique experiences this week. Bible reading was different for me but a nice addition if you were interested. Incredible food.
- Ben Schuck
The week here was among the best weeks of my life. The beauty, the fishing, the food, the people, the overall experience was wonderful. Wow – wow – wow – the food was soooo good. I love the people. They were what I wished I was and could be. Comfortable – perfect.
- Dave Townsend
Wow! Had a great time. Outstanding dining, great staff, wonderful facilities.
- Nick Eslick
The trip was great! Everyone is fun to be around and fun to talk to whether we were fishing or not. The food is better than anywhere else in the world. Everybody on the staff is fantastic and very helpful. The facilities are great.
- Harvey Gartley
Amazing! A piece of heaven on earth. The scenery is breathtaking. The fishing is fantastic. Seeing bears, moose and eagles is such a treat and thrill when they are close. The staff are great and enthusiastic about making our experience the best it can be. The facilities and equipment are first class. Finally, the food is way beyond anything we could have hoped for. Hands down, the best. Nobody does it better. Excellent service. Knowledgeable, skilled team. Very friendly. First class.
- Paul Martinez
I have been to many lodges around the world, fishing, safari, and luxury, Iliamna River Lodge is in the top 5. The host Bill and his staff were wonderful, I felt like I was with family. The fishing was fantastic. In my 6 days of fishing, I fished 3 different rivers and passed on a 4th, that is impressive. The food was amazing – magic in the bush of Alaska. Warm soup for lunch is great!!! Different cookies are everyday!!!! The dinners every night were enough to put this big bear in hibernation for the evening. Top notch – the whole staff was very personable, fun and engaging. A very good group. A gem in the middle of Alaska. Having bears, eagles and fresh water seals as your neighbors is fantastic. The fishing is out of this world.
- Pat Milligan
This was an outstanding event. In most any way to measure – absolutely first rate. Dinners on the order of wonderful to amazing. Very special staff – right off the get go – memorable, and this is a key ingredient – very key!
- Sonny Hood
Outstanding! If I come back to AK, would definitely be first choice!
This has been just a super experience. Far better than anything I imagined! I never thought I would catch as many fish, eat such good food and be so well taken care of by everyone. The hot soup on the river everyday stood out to me. Something hot on the water was really nice. I really enjoyed everyone here. All were super friendly and helpful. They all made it a point to get to know me. It was so nice to have a warm place to come to at the end of each day. The cabins and the lodge are fantastic. It felt like it became my home by the end of the week.
- Philip Thomsett
A great week despite some challenging weather! Fishing has been great! Helpful, friendly and obviously hardworking staff. Cabins and lodge are great, endless hot water doesn’t hurt! Sincerely thanks!
- Mark Cooper
Excellent…great time, great experience, great lodge, great food, great fishing! 5 star service. Gourmet style, fabulous!
- Rand Frederic
This trip was the #1 bucket list item since I was 20 years old. The experience exceeded my expectations!!! Unbelievable cooking…fantastic food all week long. Everyone treated me like a very good friend. The 8-guest design allows for a very personal experience. Everything related to my stay at the lodge was first class all the way. Thank you.