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Jerry Walker, Program Lead of our Dallas, Texas program, checks-in following a tremendous week-long trip to Bristol Bay, Alaska hosted by the Deneki Rapids Camp Lodge.  The trip brought 12 PHWFF disabled veteran participants to experience the wonder, beauty, and tremendous angling of Bristol Bay. Don’t forget to view the great photo gallery at the bottom of the post!

Post and Photos by Jerry Walker, PHWFF Dallas, Texas

Hello everyone, I hope everyone is doing well and that your programs have done well this summer. This year several of the Programs in North Texas (Dallas, Ft. Worth and Tyler) we able to spend a week at the Deneki Rapids Camp Lodge on Bristol Bay Alaska.  What a beautiful location and experience for our Veterans.

The first week long outing to the Rapids Camp Lodge, at the end of June-first part of July, was a huge success. So much so that the owners, Amy and Dan, want us back next year. This time they want us to bring 12 Participants and 4 trip leads and fill up the lodge! This will be a South-Central Region outing. (The reason for so many trip leads is due to the distance we will be spread out across Bristol Bay area while out fishing.)

So, what does this include fishing wise? To begin with, 6 straight days of fishing from 8:00 am to 5:30-6:00 pm – everyday. Breakfast is at 7:00 am & after breakfast we have to be ready to go, waders and boots on, waterproof dry-bag with extra clothes and all the little things you will need for the day in hand, and at the dock by 8:00. If we fish the Naknek River we will come back to the lodge for lunch. If we do a fly-out to other locations they pack a lunch for us.

They have three float planes (1 Otter, 2 Beaver DeHavillands) and their own very experienced bush pilots to fly them. Besides flying us to other locations to fish, they also have a ½ day fly-out to the famous Brooks Falls for bear watching. This is the place where the famous photo of the bear catching a salmon out of mid air at the top of the waterfall was taken. Needless to say, the place has a LOT of grizzly bears feeding on salmon trying to make their way upstream to spawn. They have multiple fishing locations to fly us into and each one of them is unique.

This year the different species caught included Sockeye Salmon, King Salmon (biggest was 38 inches), Arctic Grayling (up to 21 inches), Arctic Char, Dolly Varden, Lake Trout, and giant Rainbow Trout (largest caught by our party was a whopping 29.5 inches long.)

What did our Veterans think of the trip?  One of our participants this year pulled one of the trip leads aside to say “thank you”, because this trip had been a bucket list item for as long as he could remember, he thought he would die without getting it checked off.

We want to recognize Amy and Daniel Herrig and the entire staff of Deneki Rapids Camp Lodge who showed such kindness and generosity to our Veterans.  Thank you.