I was fortunate enough to have been invited to join my father-in-law at ARL 8 years ago. I've now been back 5 more times, the most recent being the early fall of 2011.
I've been on guided trips (not just fishing) in other parts of Alaska, Colorado, and Africa. I can say with certainty that ARL provided the best experience of them all.
Ron Hayes, who owns the operation, is a true Alaskan adventurer with tons of fascinating stories and tales. There is no doubt about his piloting, guiding, and fishing skills and he is extremely serious about ensuring his staff lives up to the standard he sets.
Ron's wife Sharon takes care of the lodge itself. It is clean and comfortable. The beds are firm enough for my bad back, but not too firm. The housekeeping is top notch. The food has been consistently great, even though there have been multiple chefs over the years (a testament to Ron's management skills). You'l get coffee and juice delivered to your room every morning.
Ron & his guides (particularly the head guide, Mike Bales) do a terrific job with all levels of anglers. This year, due to a cancellation, I had the opportunity to bring my 15 year old son on the trip. He had never fly fished before (other than a quick 1 hour lesson I got him in Seattle the week before). The guides completely took care of getting CJ up to speed and turning him into a pro...landing 28" rainbows and 34" Chars. At the same time the guides know enough to leave my brother-in-law, who's basically a pro himself, alone. As for me, I'm in the middle and I know that I can count on the guides to help me untangle a tangle or give me just the right amount of grief when I start false-casting too much (a bad habit of mine).
The aircraft ARL uses are Beavers and in all my trips there they shown to be perfectly maintained and reliable. They are always clean and ready. Each year it is clear that Ron spends the off season upgrading them (this year N7283 had a brand new interior, for example).
The wildlife is out of this world. It's not just the fish, but the eagles, wolves, and ... the BEARS! I love seeing and taking pictures of the bears almost as much as I enjoy the fishing. The guides are super careful to ensure you are safe, but you need to know that you will likely be in relatively close quarters with some really incredible bears while fishing.
ARL is not cheap. But in my experience when engaging in adventure trips like this, you absolutely get what you pay for. If you are going to do it, do it right...and I firmly believe Ron & his staff do it right.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
It's nice to have nice clients. Your photos show you have an "eye" to find great shots. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree and CJ was a real pleasure to fish with.
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