Naknek Lake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Naknek Lake
Brown bear Brooks Camp.jpg
A grizzly bear in Naknek Lake
Location Lake and Peninsula Borough and Bristol Bay Borough, Alaska
Coordinates 58°38′11″N 155°56′27″W / 58.63639°N 155.94083°W / 58.63639; -155.94083Coordinates: 58°38′11″N 155°56′27″W / 58.63639°N 155.94083°W / 58.63639; -155.94083
Primary outflows Naknek River
Basin countries United States
Max. length 64 km (40 mi)
Max. width 13 km (8.1 mi)
Surface area 150,000 acres (61,000 ha)

Naknek Lake is a lake in southern Alaska, near the base of the Alaska Peninsula. Located in Katmai National Park and Preserve, the lake is 64 km (40 mi) long and 5–13 km (3–8 miles) wide, the largest lake in the park The lake drains west into Bristol Bay through the Naknek River.[1] The elevation of the lake has lowered over the past 5,000 years as it has cut through a glacial moraine, separating Naknek Lake and Brooks Lake and creating Brooks Falls about 3500 years ago.[2]

Location of King Salmon, Alaska

The earliest Russian explorer reported the lake's name as Naknek, but a later one said its name was "Akulogak". Ivan Petrof named the lake Lake Walker, for Francis Amasa Walker, Superintendent of the 1880 United States census.

The lake is famous for its sport fishing, supporting one of the largest king salmon fisheries in southwestern Alaska, though the king salmon are greatly outnumbered by sockeye salmon as well as pink and chum salmon. Large rainbow trout are also common around the lake, along with northern pike, lake trout and Arctic char. Brooks Camp is located on the lake's shore where the Brooks River enters the lake over rapids.[3]


A mother grizzly bear with four cubs on the edge of Naknek Lake

Naknek Lake harbors a wide variety of life, typical of the Alaska Peninsula. Typically observed around the lake are moose, wolves, and occasionally wolverines.[4] However, the lake is most famous for sockeye salmon and grizzly bears. The bears are often seen wandering around the lake or wading into it to catch fish, but they are found in the greatest abundances at Brooks Camp. Bears are so abundant there and have trusted humans for so long that the animals and people get along fine, which is considered to be one of the finest man-nature relationships.[by whom?] Bears are seen frequently at Brooks Falls, catching salmon there; they are the main attraction to the lake and Brooks Falls and Camp.[5]


  1. ^ "Boating". Katmai National Park and Preserve. National Park Service. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Brooks Camp". Katmai National Park and Preserve. National Park Service. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sport Fishing at the Naknek River" (PDF). Alaska Department of Fish and Game. October 2006. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Van Gelder, Richard. Mammals of the National Parks. Johns Hopkins University Press, pg. 150. ISBN 0801826896.
  5. ^ "Best Places to View Grizzly Bears". Grizzly Bay. Retrieved May 27, 2014.