Iliamna is a small community situated on the northwest shore of Lake Iliamna, the largest lake in Alaska and second largest fresh water lake in the United States after Lake Superior.
Located 30 miles south of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, the town of Iliamna is one of the gateways to the 5,625-square-mile preserve but its principal attraction is Lake Iliamna. With a length of 75 miles and 20 miles wide, the lake covers 1,000 square miles and is home to the largest sockeye salmon run in the world. Other world-class fishing includes Dolly Varden, arctic char, lake trout and grayling.
Originally an Athabascan village near the mouth of the Iliamna River, the community was moved to its present location around 1935 and today the mainstay of the economy for many of the 95 residents are the fishing and hunting lodges in and around Lake Iliamna and Lake Clark.
Things to do
From Iliamna’s gravel airstrips or floatplane bases, charter flights transport visitors to a wide variety of fly-in fishing and wilderness lodges, ranging from rustic to luxurious. The lake is connected to Bristol Bay by the Kvichak River, through which some marine mammals such as harbor seals and beluga whales can travel. Iliamna sometimes boasts a resident population of harbor seals.
Fly-in fishing trips are popular in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Many are one-day adventures out of Anchorage with guides and anglers landing on a river for an afternoon of salmon fishing.
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve offer numerous opportunities to raft portions of three designated wild rivers that include spectacular scenery and rapids that range from Class III to Class IV. Rafts can be rented in Anchorage and then flown to the start of the float trip. Many wilderness lodges in the park will also have rafts for rent and will assist in transportation to the rivers.
In and around Lake Clark National Park and Preserve are a scattering of remote, isolated lodges where you can truly escape into this pristine wilderness. All offer accommodations, meals and numerous activities, from fishing and kayaking to hiking and wildlife viewing. Most are reached via a float plane from Anchorage or Iliamna.