Fly Right

Trophy trought and salmon are only part of the catch at these luxe western lodges.

May 1, 2005
Outside Magazine
Gallatin – Lodge at Gold River

REFLECTIONS OF PARADISE: Gallatin River Lodge in all its aquatic glory    Photo: courtesy, Gallatin River Lodge

Some hardcore fly-anglers may scoff at booking a lodge for any reason other than its trophy waters and veteran guides. But pull off a pair of dank waders after a long day of roll-casting to indifferent salmon and suddenly you'll appreciate the chef's training in Europe and the blaze crackling in your room's fireplace. Here are six North American operations that, despite their remoteness, have built their reputations on matching superb fishing with the finer things in life.

The Gallatin River Lodge, Montana
Plenty of outfitters around Bozeman can put you on to hungry trout, but not many can tell you whether the Caymus Special Selection or a '96 Château Malescot would better complement your grilled bison. That's the kind of attention to detail you'll find at the Gallatin River Lodge, a 350-acre ranch ten miles west of town with frontage on the famed Gallatin River and more than 100 wine selections.

THE FISHING » It's difficult for fly-fishers to pull themselves away from the Gallatin's rainbows, but those who head east to the spring creeks south of Livingston are rewarded with up to five insect hatches each day. In July the three creeks—DePuy's, Nelson's, and Armstrong's—produce clouds of mayflies called pale morning duns, which draw monster rainbows to the surface.

THE DIGS » Built from recycled barn wood and bridge beams, the six-suite lodge is surrounded by manicured lawns, horse pastures, and views of the jagged Spanish Peaks. And for rehabbing that creaking casting arm, each room comes with a Jacuzzi.

Access and Resources Doubles $2,280 for five nights, guide included. 888.387.0148,

Henry's Fork Lodge, Idaho
Take a close look at the Henry's Fork Lodge, in southeastern Idaho's Island Park, and it's clear the architect was a fly-fishing fanatic. A heated mud room for drying up soggy waders is in the main lodge, and each guest unit comes equipped with rod racks and custom windows—perfect for viewing the Snake River as it flows past.

THE FISHING » Two miles from the lodge, the Henry's Fork flows wide and flat through Harriman State Park. About a week after opening day (June 15), green drakes—big, pea-colored mayflies—start hatching, allowing anglers to sight-cast to 20-plus-inch rainbow trout.

THE DIGS » From the back porch of this 14-bedroom cedar lodge, you can gaze over the three-million-plus-acre Caribou-Targhee National Forest as you e-mail a fish story—using Wi-Fi Internet access—before heading to the dining room for grilled Dijon rack of lamb.

Access and Resources $320 per person per night, plus guide fees; 208-558-7953,

The Lodge at Gold River, British Columbia
Every fly-angler dreams of standing with a two-handed steelhead rod on the banks of one of rainy Vancouver Island's coastal rivers. Set in the middle of the island on the Gold River, the lodge uses boats, planes, and helicopters to access some 40 surrounding drainages.

THE FISHING » When spring rains swell the island's rivers, steelhead leave the salt water in nearby Nootka Sound and surge upstream, where they're taken by fishermen all summer. Later in the season, the lodge's helicopter pilots will drop you off on remote gravel bars after you've scanned the wilderness streams for schools of wild Pacific salmon.

THE DIGS » The heart of this nine-room classic log structure is its anglers' bar, set under an enormous hearth built from Gold River stones and overlooking the tea-colored trout waters that flow past the front door.

Access and Resources Doubles, $450, plus guide fees; 888-777-5060,