February 14, 2017 – Update: Shares of mining company Northern Dynasty Minerals (NYSEMKT:NAK) lost nearly 40% of their value this morning after Kerrisdale Capital Management published an article on Seeking Alpha explaining the merits of its short position. Despite your view of the company, an open-minded investor will see that Kerrisdale Capital Management made many solid points in its argument. For more details read: https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/02/14/heres-why-northern-dynasty-minerals-dropped-as-muc.aspx I don’t usually send out posts like this, but it has never been more important for us to be united and stand up for Bristol Bay. The stock of the sole investor in the Pebble “Partnership” has tripled since Election Day. And, recent news stories have talked about Pebble’s newfound confidence to move their mine forward. We Can Save Bristol Bay But they know we’re a force. Pebble Mine execs said of the millions of Americans who oppose the project, “The company will still have to deal with that apart from the technical aspects of the project.” …Um, yes. We’re not going to make it easy on them. Bristol Bay is too important for us to sit back now. We’ve come too far to let Pebble get a free pass to destroy the rivers and American jobs that so many people depend on. We need you to continue to say loud and clear that Pebble is the wrong mine in the wrong place. Sign the Pebble Mine Petition We’re going to need you this year to tell the world again and again that the Pebble Partnership is not wanted in Alaska. A good start is by signing one of these petitions today: If you live in Alaska, send this letter to the Walker Administration If you live in the Lower 48, sign this letter to President Trump We all know Bristol Bay salmon are a world-class resource, the foundation of culture for local tribes and communities, an angling paradise, and the platform on which a $1.5 billion economy that supports 14,000 full and part-time American jobs is built. Thank you for your time and support. – John Holman and Trout Unlimited
2015 Season in Review
One word, Salmon! Wow! Did we ever see some salmon. The Bristol Bay sockeye run came in at 58 million fish, 70% larger than our average run and second largest in the last 20 years! According to counting results, which at times seem a guess at best, over 22 million were allowed up the rivers to spawn. The commercial harvest value was just shy of 95 million dollars which was 15% lower than the 20 year average. This was due to a low price paid and stocks left over from last summer. The average commercial fisherman caught double the fish but made less money. We saw very healthy returns up most rivers and excellent trout fishing.
As is the new normal, we saw very little snow last winter resulting in low, clear rivers for the spring trout fishing. The lack of precipitation continued well into August with just enough to keep most rivers salmon healthy and trout with enough food and oxygen to remain. Around mid-August, we started seeing some rain and finished up with rivers at typical levels.
2015 will go down in the books as the year of the vole. North American populations peaked and the fish loved it! We actually caught several trout that regurgitated very large voles and witnessed voles and burrows everywhere. If you haven’t caught a trout on a mouse pattern you are missing out, it is a blast, literally! Typically an explosive attack and if the first attempt is a miss they often come right back for another try. All this fun happens in June and July with most fish turning to the consistent protein of salmon and eggs after that.
2015 will also be recorded as a year of big fish and lots of them. We did not catch any real monster trout, just lots of really big ones. As we didn’t count them I could only throw out some approximate numbers, like 200 over 26”. But that would be too close to a fish story, so let’s just say “lots”.
2016 salmon runs are forecast to be very good, not record breaking, but above average. So far this winter has been very much like the last few in regards to snow and we expect June water levels to be excellent.
Over all, it was a great season and everyone left the lodge smiling. Many have signed on for 2016 but we have space available, just don’t wait too long to book, it’s filling fast!
Owner/Pilot and Guide
We enjoy tenkara fly fishing here in Alaska because it lets us focus on trout instead of fussing with gear. Whether you’re new to this timeless style of stalking fish or you’ve already mastered tying the perfect kebari, we bet you’re a lot like us. You appreciate a quick rundown of easy, productive techniques. These five tips can really help you get the most out of your fixed line fly fishing experience. 1. Sometimes, Level Beats Furled A furled tenkara line lets you finesse presentation into a fine art, and its tapered twist can perfect your turnover. Sometimes, its length options are too limited, and its bulky taper interferes with casting on a windy day. In these situations, a level line wins. You can also count on straight fluorocarbon line to keep you off the water and reduce drag, so include it in your small but effective set of must-have gear. 2. Sometimes, Long Beats Short The short line holds its place as a fundamental part of tenkara gear for good reason. It’s easy to cast and gives you powerful control over placement. Sometimes, you need the reach of a long line, but know how to handle it. Ease up on the power of your throw, and go with a back cast stop at 12 o’clock. Keep your forward cast stop high so that your fly hits the water before your line. 3. The Wind Can Be Your Friend Don’t give up when the breeze turns into a stiff wind. One of our favorite tenkara tricks, the blowline technique, can keep you on the water for hours. Put the wind at your back, and pull your rod up so that the fly clears the water. When wind catches the line, guide the fly just above your target, and then lower the rod. We don’t promise accuracy with this method, but it can turn into a real trip-saver. 4. If It’s Not Working, Quit Trying When a dead drift doesn’t work, try a swing down and across stream. If the trout keep ignoring you, entice them with a little sutebari by casting around them and then throwing to target. Minimum gear choices keep options simple, so you can switch techniques as fast as that trout turns away. Ask us why we enjoy tenkara so much, and we have to say because it gives us the freedom to quit doing what isn’t working. 5. Let Go and Get Lost It takes a little time to get used to fishing without a reel. The experience is surprisingly liberating, and that’s one of the reasons that fixed line fishing earns such a respected place on the water. You’re not making decisions based on gear, so you’re in a mental zone that’s not rattled by technical clutter. Let go, get lost, and set yourself free to experience the zone and zen that define tenkara fly fishing. Just like you, we’re always working on our techniques up here at No See Um Lodge. We know that […]
We recently partnered with Woman’s Outdoor News to showcase some of our best tips for successful fly fishing. These cover a variety of fly fishing tips to help you cast better, fish smarter and advance your fly fishing. Here’s the full breakdown! Getting Off to a Great Start: You’re on your favorite river and ready to catch every fish in Alaska. Slow down, and ease your way into a productive day. Fish are easier to catch when you can see them. Polarized sunglasses let you spot potential strikes under the brightest sun-kissed waters. Take in the lay of the land and the river. Check your clearance, size up the shade, and scan for seams. Let the water and air dictate your fly selections. Sneak up on the fish. They spook at the sight and sound of waders, so ease into position without splashing, and then start slowly stalking. Three Must-Tie Fishing Knots If you’re new to fly fishing in Alaska, start with these 3 basic knots. If you’re a seasoned pro, practice the trinity, and improve your tie-on-the-fly time. Improved Clinch Knot: It’s easy, it’s fast and it gives you 95% of your original line strength. This is your classic knot for attaching light tippets to small flies. No-Slip Loop Knot: Does that fly need a little more action in the drift? Alaskan fly-fishing guides recommend this knot with larger lines. Double Surgeon’s Knot: When you need to connect different-sized lines, go with this quick and easy tie. It’s bulky, but it lets you size your tippet to suit your fly. Mousing Tips for Trout Who knows why rodents fling themselves off riverbanks? Just take advantage of big rainbows’ appetites for little 4-legged swimmers. Go mousing for trout. Natural mouse action starts up against the bank. Present your giant, dry fly to fish tucked in and under. It’s an enticement they usually can’t refuse. Trust ‘bows for excellent eyesight. They’ll move out to your mouse, so reel them in with a strip-and-swing combo. You’ll cover more water, catch more fish and have more fun. Mousing takes patience. That’s the hard part. Wait for the closed mouth and the turned head, and then set the hook. Otherwise, wave goodbye to that trophy trout. Prepare Yourself for Rain You can count on a few rainy days, but be prepared for all of them. A little wet weather can’t chase you off the water when you’re prepared with quality rain gear. Gore-Tex still beats the competition as your best waterproof fabric choice. Its lightweight and breathability keep you flexible and comfortable. Go with a wading jacket. The shorter length keeps you from taking on water, and oversized pockets give you plenty of room for fly boxes and hand warmers. Layer on the right materials. Slip a quick-dry, long sleeve shirt over a T-shirt made from the same material. This strategy helps you stay dry regardless of the weather. Avoid Snags with a Sidearm Cast Sometimes, the trout know just where to lure you […]
Do you have to have a pair to enjoy fly fishing up here in Alaska? We highly recommend that you do. Should you stick with a particular style, fabric or construction? We have our opinions, and we believe they’re worth sharing. Allow us to weigh in with our five-point guide on picking the perfect waders for your Alaskan fly fishing adventures. 1. You Want Warm Waders in Alaska It stays pretty cool up here. Nothing slows down a day on the Kvichak river like a chill that spreads from your feet to where it really counts. Salmon and ‘bows don’t care about the cold, and you don’t either when you’re layered up. Chest waders keep your core warm, and that keeps your head in the game from spring ice-out to late season. They give you plenty of bushwhacking protection too. When we see anglers up here wearing waist-high waders, we just smile. 2. Fabric Doesn’t Have to Weigh You Down Neoprene waders have a reputation for durability, affordability and warmth. They’re also really hard to peel off. We only mention rubber because it’s still available, very inexpensive and easy to patch. Neither material holds up to the lightweight comfort of high-tech microporous fabrics. You want waders that give you flexible room to move and breathable space to sweat. Materials like GORE-TEX win the wader-warmth category too when you layer some fleece under your fishing clothes. 3. Wader Design Deserves a Close Look Stick your head inside those waders before you make a decision. Are seams tight and smooth? You want solid construction that doesn’t unravel. Do you see layering from mid-thigh down? Better models offer reinforced protection from the waist down and around to the rear. High-end waders also treat your feet right with comfortable booties that feature ergonomic design. Make sure gravel guards offer good stretch and metal-fastener security, and check suspenders for easy adjustment. 4. If You Can’t Try It On, Make Size Matter We understand that you do a lot of things online. Shopping for fly fishing gear is one of our favorite digital pastimes, but we don’t wear reels or nymphs. The best way to suit up in waders that fit requires an in-person visit to the store. Otherwise, keep these rules of thumb in mind. Start with your sweatshirt size, and include extra room for layers. Go with a wader inseam measurement 1 to 2 inches longer than your own. Shoe size counts in both stockingfoot and bootfoot waders, but factor in heavy socks. Use the manufacturer’s sizing chart to pull your numbers together and select the best fit. Always double-check the return policy just in case. 5. It’s OK to Spoil Yourself You’re not supposed to care how they look, but you have standards. It’s not your style to obsess over extras, but you appreciate the small touches. As long as your waders keep you dry and warm, they’re performing as advertised. On the other hand, retractor docking stations on chest pockets are pretty […]
We bet that when a bug hatch makes trout appear out of nowhere, you drift an Adams through the strike zone. When they’re down deep, you might bounce a size 14 nymph off the bottom. You can always cast the classics, but how about something that’s a little off the traditional trout-pleasing menu? We nominate these five candidates for Alaskan fly fishing fun outside the box. 1. Mighty Mouse Imitators When it’s summertime in Alaska, you need to think about mousing. This pattern isn’t just an August trick for anglers stalking the big fish, but it can be a challenge to fire out on a cast. Size matters with this giant fly because it imitates a small mammal. Technique matters because you want it to imitate that small mammal taking a swim. Patience really counts. You have to let a trout slam the fly and turn before you set the hook. We aren’t saying that mousing is easy, but we do guarantee that it’s a lot of fun. 2. Deliciously Tied Sculpin Don’t let their size put you off. Big flies land big fish, and sculpins drive big rainbows wild. It’s up to you to deliver the motion that makes this fly so appealing to trout. Whether you swing down and across from gravel bars or cast to hungry ‘bows across spawning flats, a sculpin pattern consistently catches fish. We really admire the way this fly attracts hits before, during and after the spawn. Its little olive namesake isn’t much to look at, but a well-tied sculpin is a thing of delicious beauty to big, fat trout. 3. Dead Drifting Flesh You have to love the startled look on an uninitiated face when you casually talk about fishing flesh. It gets even better when you explain how the fly pattern imitates chunks of decomposing salmon. The high point comes when you show a novice how quick and easy it is to tie this inexpensive and effective fly. Can it get any better? Yes. You can’t fish flesh wrong, and trout love it. We favor a dead drift without any pun intended, but you can swing and even strip flesh. We’ll just leave it at that. 4. Correctly Pegged Beads Some folks still don’t believe that fishing a bead is really fly fishing. Obviously, the bead isn’t a fly, and it’s not attached to the hook. Here in Alaska, it’s considered an attractor, so you can’t peg one more than 2 inches from a hook. If you’re in fly-fishing only waters, you can’t fish a bead with a bare hook. We understand and respect the rules, and we know you do too. Beads are on our list because they’re cheap, realistic and durable, and they really catch fish. Don’t get us started on how easy it is to cast stone beads from the craft store. 5. Steak and Egg Combos Just the name of this late fall rig conjures up visions of doubling your hit percentage. It’s true. The presentation of […]
Once winter sets in, we don’t do much fly-fishing. That never surprises folks from the Lower 48 because everybody knows that it gets pretty cold up here. What does surprise them isn’t a secret, and it always puts a smile on faces that come fish with us for the first time. We actually have four unofficial fly-fishing seasons here in southwestern Alaska, and each one is perfect in its own way. Unofficial Fishing Season 1 – April and May By April, the ice-out is on, but we treat early fly fishing spring fever with a big dose of patience. The state protects spawning rainbows by closing trout fishing in many rivers and streams and all fishing in some area waters. Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game posts online reports with detailed information about stocked lakes that are open through early spring. By May, downstream salmon fry migration turns into a buffet for winter-starved predators like dolly varden, and our unofficial first fly fishing season is unofficially under way. Unofficial Fishing Season 2 – June and July When rainbow fishing opens around the middle of June, we’re already out there chasing king, sockeye, coho, chum and pink salmon. The kings’ unofficial early run usually peaks by the middle of June, and we see anglers land 50- to 60-pounders every year. Early sockeye action fires up by the end of June with some of the world’s largest runs happening right here in southwestern Alaska. We’re catching plenty of dollies and ‘bows too. By the end of July, we’re officially in Alaskan fly fishing heaven. Unofficial Fishing Season 3 – August and September The end of summer means last call for late king and sockeye runs as they finish spawning, but even-numbered years put us on pink salmon from early August well into September. We’ve broken a few rods on 20-pound chums in August, and cohos stay aggressive well into September. Steelhead start to show up in some of our peninsula watersheds delivering serious fly fishing action all the way through October. Rainbow trout really bring out the best in us this time of year. They’re pretty much full of salmon eggs, so it takes every trick in our tackle box to entice stuffed ‘bows. Dollies are just as challenging. Unofficial Fishing Season 4 – October and November Sure, sometimes we have to knock the ice out of our guides, but it’s not officially winter yet, so we make the most of Unofficial Season 4. We enjoy the last coho runs even with a little cold and rain. Steelheads can be as elusive as ever, but they’re here in small runs. The seasonal egg smorgasbord is disappearing out from under the ‘bows, so we switch to flesh patterns. Some of our flowing waters are closed mid-September through the end of October to protect dolly varden during their spawn, so we always check ADFG online for details. Unofficially, we spend winter getting the lodge ready for your fly-in. Whether you come up for the […]
We can guess what you’re thinking, and we agree. Nobody learns fly fishing by watching YouTube. On the other hand, anybody can go from being curious to buying their first waders with the right inspiration. Besides, it’s just fun to watch videos that cover rods and reels and flies and fish. Put “how to” in front of these 10 selections, let your fingers do the clicking, and enjoy. 1. Put Together Your First Rod, Reel and Line This video does a great job of explaining the basics. The sponsoring tackle shop is based in Wisconsin, but we don’t hold that against narrator Tim Landwehr. We like his easy style and the way he keeps it all interesting. 2. Fish With Wet Flies and Nymphs Orvis has put together a smart series with its video lessons, and the format is really user-friendly. In this one, host Tom Rosenbauer covers everything you thought you knew about nymphing. OK, he also covers a lot that you already know, but the quality of this series is outstanding. 3. Tie an Adams Fly From Fly Fishing Daily, Jim Misiura introduces basic fly tying for beginners. We like this one because Jim’s instructions are very clear and easy to follow. We also admire anybody who can make a video about tying flies while wearing a Band-Aid on one thumb. 4. Master the Morrish Mouse We picked this one out of a dozen great fly tying videos available at InTheRiffle.com. Notice the taper that the narrator trims into the body as he finishes up. We’d give him credit, but the video doesn’t, so we just thank him for the pointers. 5. Conquer a Kenai River Sockeye Rig Brian Smith from the Peninsula Clarion is correct. It’s just plain fun to tie your own, and we like his strategy with the red hooks. Sure, this is basic stuff, but remember when you tried it for the first time? Credit Smith for making something simple really watchable. 6. Wrapping a Hareball Leech In this video from Alaska Fly Fishing Goods, the narrator assumes that you know the basics as he shows you his take on tying one of the most effective patterns for catching salmon. He makes it almost look easy, so we’re impressed. 7. Read Any Kind of Water We have to give another tip of the rod to Orvis. From currents and cover to pools and pockets, Rosenbauer talks and walks us through every setting. While we don’t expect to read droughts up here any time soon, we appreciate how much water these videos wade through. 8. Test a 3D-Printed Reel No, we haven’t, and yes, we sure will if we get the chance. No, we can’t imagine it replacing our favorite reels, but yes, it’ll probably show up in pro shops one of these days. Field and Stream’s Joe Cermele tackles this one with just the right touch of humor. 9. Imagine That You’re in the Last Frontier […]
We don’t run into them very often here on the Kvichak River, but they stay up this way from time to time. We don’t name names because everybody enjoys their privacy, but we know a few. They might be on this list, and they might not. The next time you’re stalking trout, keep an eye on that angler just upstream. He or she might be on our list of 10 celebrities who really get fly fishing. 1. Harrison Ford Ford pilots his own de Havilland Beaver up to his Wyoming ranch, but he says that he doesn’t get as much time on the Snake River as he used to. We’re trying to picture a retired Han or Indiana relaxing on the front porch and reading old copies of Fish Alaska Magazine. 2. Jimmy Buffet You can bet that the original Coral Reefer never misses a shot at serious saltwater fly fishing when he’s at home in Palm Beach. This is a guy who makes casting from a SUP board look easier than sipping margaritas. We cordially invite Buffet to try that technique on Lake Iliamna. 3. Liam Neeson It’s hard to imagine this Academy-award winning action star fly-fishing without attacking the drift, but his off-screen reputation as a precision angler is well-documented. Neeson credits his success on Canadian rivers to patience, and we aren’t about to argue with him. 4. Reba McEntire What does an Oklahoma girl do when she wants a new hobby that doesn’t involve making great country music? She learns how to fly fish in Tennessee. Reba fell head over waders for the best outdoor sport on the planet back in 2012. How do we know? We have our sources. 5. Eric Clapton Sometimes, even rock gods think about retiring, and Clapton makes it clear that he enjoys fly fishing because it’s a little bit quieter than his day job. If we could tune into British TV, we’d sure like to see an episode of “Botham on the Fly” starring Slowhand himself and a nice grayling. 6. Martha Stewart This one is hard to figure, but Stewart seems serious about fly fishing even though she has a lot to learn. Check out her video of fishing on the Upper Ruby River in Montana with some guy named Ted. She’s put together the perfect gear and wardrobe for a day on the water, and that’s a good thing. 7. Huey Lewis When he sang about how it was hip to be square back in the ’80s, Lewis hadn’t put together his 500-acre Montana spread. A few rich and famous years later, he’s still fly fishing the rivers in Ravalli County just like his father taught him when he was a kid back in California. 8. Emma Watson We bet she can out-fish that Potter kid any day. While her character, Hermione, casts some impressive spells, Watson casts her lot with Britain’s conservation charity, the Wild Trout Trust. This young lady ties her own flies and often donates them to […]
We talk a lot about fly-fishing here at the lodge but we also get many questions about the Salmon life cycle. Salmon make an incredible journey downstream from the fresh water where they are born, to the ocean, and then back upstream again as adults, finding the exact location where they began several years earlier. Salmon Eggs Salmon lay their eggs in many streams and rivers. Depending on the species, a female salmon will lay anywhere from 1,500 to 7,000 eggs in a nest or redd she has created by making a shallow depression in the stream bottom. The male fertilizes the eggs and then both fish push gravel over them to protect them. Hatching Salmon Young fish or alevins hatch in late winter or early spring, looking more like worms than fish. These tiny fish depend on a yolk sac to provide them with nourishment until they are mobile enough to wiggle out of the gravel and find their own food. At this stage, the young salmon are called fry. Feeding on tiny plants and animals, the fry cluster in groups and develop into juveniles. Salmon Fry Cluster in Groups When juveniles are ready to migrate to the ocean, they undergo a physiological transition from freshwater to saltwater fish. Only about 10 percent of the fry make it to this stage and are called smolts. Smolt Development. Only 10 Percent Make it to This Stage. Smolts are especially vulnerable and are frequently injured or killed by predators. Dams also slow the migration considerably. A trip that used to take one to three weeks can now take one to three months, depending on the beginning point of the trip. The smolts have limited energy stored in their bodies and may run out before they are able to reach the ocean. Up to 90 percent of the salmon hatched never reach the ocean. Salmon Spawning The smolts that complete the journey downstream spend several weeks in estuaries where the river meets the ocean, feeding on small fish and shrimp. Eventually, they disappear into the ocean where they grow to adulthood. After two to five years, the adult salmon are ready to migrate upriver to spawn in the streams where they were hatched. It is believed that salmon are guided to the rivers by currents, stars, and the Earth’s magnetic force. Once in the river, the fish find their home streams by scent. The journey upriver is a difficult one. Salmon do not eat during this time, but live on fat stored in their body. They may travel as far as 1,440 km in fresh water to their spawning grounds. Obstacles encountered upstream are many and varied. Dams, waterfalls, bears, uncertain stream conditions, and habitat degradation are among the most common challenges for salmon.
At first, it’s as simple as making sure that line and rod weight match. After awhile, you appreciate that taper and type are more than fine points of friendly conversation among seasoned anglers. Still, those neatly hung boxes in the tackle shop don’t spell out where, when and why their contents will be the most effective. How hard can it be to choose the right line? As dedicated Alaskan fly fishermen, we feel your confusion, so let’s untangle your line options. Who Started This? Delivering a fly precisely where you want it depends on your line. Experience, location and wind play a large role too, but let’s give Cortland Line Company a little credit. This outfit liberated dry fly anglers from oiled silk lines back in 1953 with their Cortland 333 HT. With its braided nylon core, tapered design and synthetic finish, the revolutionary line quickly caught on with grateful fly fishermen. We also tip our fly rods to Scientific Anglers founder Leon P. Martuch. By the mid-1960s, he figured out how to produce straight braided line with a tapered overlay, and that inside-out thinking led to the wide range of options that lure us into tackle shops today. Taper Forward or Center? The idea of a tapered line seems innocent enough. A weight forward line proportionally tapers to a thicker end while a double taper centers line weight. So, how can we be confused by just two types of line tapering? Credit again goes to fly line companies that really just want to give us the best fly fishing experience possible. Seemingly endless configurations range from heavy weight forward designs that put bulk in the last 20 feet for power to double tapers that put delicate finesse in your presentation. Depending on the taper, you can gracefully cover distance or carefully cast to spooky fish. When it comes to tapers, our cups pretty much run over with options. Float, Sink or Sink-Tip? Again, the choices start out simple with three types of line. Floating lines offer versatility, sinking lines target depth, and sink-tips put streamers on the bottom. Things get a little more complicated when you consider line type and taper combinations. With a double taper or weight forward floating line, you can spend a day on the river switching between nymphs and dry flies. Sinking lines are assigned rates that indicate how quickly they settle by inch per second, and that makes them a good choice for lake fishing. Sink-tip fly lines combine float and sink design, so they’re naturals for streamers in rivers and lakes, and they put extra power in your cast. Is There a Code for All That? We really do appreciate fly fishing line options, and we’ve figured out a way to minimize confusion at the tackle shop. Take a look at the code printed on that new box of line. The series of letters and numbers separated by dashes actually makes sense. The first part of the code tells you about the taper. WF […]