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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!

John Holman
Owner/Pilot and Guide

10 Trout Fly Fishing Basics That We All Forget Sometimes 

10 Trout Fly Fishing Basics That We All Forget Sometimes 

If you’re like us, sometimes your enthusiasm gets in the way. Maybe you’re too focused on that perfect presentation. Perhaps you’re daydreaming about how the morning just has to get better, or you’re suddenly up to your waders in incredible action. Once in an Alaskan blue moon, you actually miss one of these 10 trout fly fishing basics. 1. Take a Good Look The greatest fly fishing guide in Alaska can put you on the best action of your life, but slow down before casting your fate to those trout. Take stock of shade, find the seams, and check out the water and air for the day’s most likely fly options. 2. Make Sure You Can See A few minutes of quiet observation puts you ahead of the game, but how well can you see that potential action? Polarized sunglasses make it easier to spot trout coursing through sun-spangled waters, and your favorite hat is must-wear eye-shading gear. 3. Wade, Don’t Splash If the sight and size of waders wasn’t enough to spook them, trout still take off at the sound of your thrashing and splashing from bank to position. Ease into the water slowly, sneak up on steelheads and rainbows, and quietly stalk them with fly fishing finesse. 4. Put Those Nymphs to Work What’s in the water all year long and makes up the majority of an Alaskan trout’s diet? What type of presentation doesn’t include watching that rainbow race for your dry fly? Don’t deny yourself the productivity that comes from mastering the art of casting nymphs. 5. Big Trout Love Streamers This is another angle that gets you out of the dry-fly box, and it’s really effective with the big guys. The larger the trout, the more it needs to eat.  So, up your chances of landing a hungry trophy by swinging a good streamer presentation. 6. Match Colors With Seasons It happens. You try your best, and you still can’t figure out which fly color works best. When you’re overcome with indecision, don’t over-think it. Keep it as simple as lighter shades in the summer and dark colors for fall and spring. 7. Pause and Inspect Wind knots weaken line, hackles need adjustment, and tippets deserve a close look. Some Alaskan fly fishermen check their setup after every cast while others are good with a quick inspection after five or six tries. Mileage may vary, but this tip saves tackle and aggravation. 8. Hooks Need Help They don’t stay sharp by themselves, and the best down-time maintenance doesn’t always hold up to a stretch of heavy action. Keep a stone or diamond hone handy to touch up hooks that get dull during duty with as many rock strikes as trout bites. 9. When You Stalk, Stay Low You’ve probably demonstrated this basic to folks who are just learning the art of our sport, but it’s an easy one to forget. Trout that see you coming are gone in a heartbeat even when you’re wearing your […]

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How to Choose a Fly Fishing Rod?

How to Choose a Fly Fishing Rod?

Before you smile and wave us on, we understand that you probably already have the perfect fly fishing rod. We’re not sure that there is such a thing, but feedback here tells us that folks really enjoy honing all the finer points of fly fishing in Alaska, so let’s talk basics about picking out rods. Whether you’re filling up the rack or taking your very first plunge, these five questions should always be asked and answered. 1. Where Is This Rod Going? Are you setting your sights for rainbows on the Kvichak River or lake trout in the Upper Skilak? A fly fishing rod doesn’t care about the itinerary, but you want a length that targets the fish. If you expect to do some bush whacking, a 7- or 8-foot rod makes a good choice while many dedicated still water anglers prefer 10-footers. Split it down the middle with a good 9-foot rod, and you can fly fish almost anywhere here in Alaska. As long as you always match line and rod weight, you’re good to go. 2. Can You Handle the Action? If this is your first fly fishing rodeo, welcome to the club, and consider choosing a medium, mid-flex rod. It’s perfect for freshwater trout, versatile under almost any conditions and easy to learn. Slow, full-flex rods are also forgiving when you’re new, and they put extra excitement into landing small fish. Save the fast action rods for power casting on windy days. It takes practice to finesse precision out of these models, and you don’t get as much small-stream flexibility. 3. Does Material Really Matter? There’s no argument about the high-performing durability that you get with a graphite rod. Its light weight and responsive sensitivity make this your best choice hands down. Sure, you can spend more for something infused with boron or nano-silica resin, and you’ll enjoy longer rod life, but it comes down to personal preference. We know anglers who still love fiberglass for small fish and close quarters. We even understand bamboo and cane because we admire the custom craftsmanship that goes into these expensive models. 4. Are There Devils in Rod Details? Fly fishing rod manufacturers want to make you happy. They know that bells and whistles spook fish, but you have options. If construction is paramount in your decision, check out different manufacturers’ sites. If you prefer easy packing for quick travel, choose a multi-piece model. You might enjoy the personal thrill of starting with a rod blank courtesy of custom crafters who produce originals from grip to guides. A new fly fishing rod can be as beautifully simple or astonishingly sophisticated as you like. 5. What Do You Get for Your Money? We finish up with this one because we know that a $50 fly fishing rod can look like a bargain. You’ll meet up with this temptation in big box stores that also sell lawn mowers and linens. Fishing is a lifetime love, so invest at least $100 in something […]

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Why Are Fishermen Called Anglers? Hooks and History

Why Are Fishermen Called Anglers? Hooks and History

John Denny’s book, “The Secrets of Angling,” morphed the word into a noun, and Izaak Walton finally bestowed it on fishermen as a specific designation when he published “The Compleat Angler” in 1653. We could be called hookers. Go ahead and laugh. It makes us grin too, but think about the etymology. That $20 word for the study of word origins has something in common with fly fishing here in Alaska. It’s not an exact science, and its practice always leaves room for improvement, improvising and a passionate pursuit of perfection. We know that’s a mouthful, so let’s figure out the angler moniker with a very brief history of hooks. A Hook by Any Other Angle So, why are fishermen called anglers? Were we given the name as a verb describing what we do, or was it derived from that angle on the end of our lines? Yes, hooks were called angles back in the 1400s when Dame Juliana Berners published her ultimate guide titled “Treatise of Fishing With an Angle.” Dame Berners even included instructions for crafting angles because tackle shops didn’t catch on until the late 1600s. Gorges, Copper and Cock Feathers What do you call a spindle-shaped piece of bone used to catch fish more than 7,000 years ago? Archeologists call it a gorge. Fortunately, the wordsmiths left this one alone, and we’re glad because we don’t like the idea of being known as gorgers. The Bronze Age gave fishermen tools that let them reshape their gorges, and Egyptians figured out the basic shape that we recognize today. Those hooks dating back to 3000 B.C. were barbless copper wonders, but design evolution resulted in a barbed version by 1200 B.C. Second century Romans were partial to iron and bronze hooks sporting red wool and cock feathers. Historic rumor has it that these were the first hand-tied flies. From Homemade to Kirby Standards From those ancient times up to the days when defining the word “angler” was still up in the air, hook production was a home-based business. All fishing tackle started out as a project on someone’s back porch, but hooks posed a special challenge to determined fishermen. In spite of Dame Berners’ how-to book, the quality of iron hooks remained dicey at best. Credit inventive Englishman Charles Kirby for perfecting the steel-tempering process that put his little company on the map in 1665. Mass production quickly figured out his secrets, but his hook designs set the standards, and one of his originals brings a nice price for something that’s considered discontinued. Lucky Anglers With Options Whether we’re called anglers because of what we do or what we do it with, we can look back in amazement at how far we’ve come. Can you imagine what kind of tackle box you’d need for a gorge collection? You’d have to keep Roman cock feathers in a shoe box instead of a fly case. Today, we fish with steel, carbon and alloys. We can pick and choose hooks that […]

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Alaska Nothern Lights & Winter Greetings From the No See Um Crew

Alaska Nothern Lights & Winter Greetings From the No See Um Crew

Things slow down during the winter, but we don’t spend all of our time around the lodge fireplace daydreaming about Alaskan fly fishing adventures. Yes, we look forward to the first spring melt in April, and visions of sockeye and rainbows are always dancing in our heads. Still, our No See Um crew stays pretty busy. If you wonder what we do up here at our Alaskan fishing lodge during the off-season, prepare to be surprised. There’s Always Work to Be Done It may be hard to believe, but not everything we do up here is glamorous. We deal with the same winter chores that you take care of, but our sub-freezing days and nights require heavy winterizing around the lodge. We don’t just insulate pipes. Our chimneys, heater intake systems and propane tanks need special protection. We do our fair share of snow shoveling too because that boardwalk to the hot tub and sauna won’t clear itself. Of course, it’s important to make sure that the open bar is always stocked. We never know when company might drop by. We Still Have Plenty of Fun If you imagine us hunting and ice fishing during the winter, we confess to loving both. Living off the land is an Alaskan tradition, and appreciating this wilderness paradise runs in our blood. Where else can you go wolf watching just a few miles from the back door? How often can you look up and count bald eagles soaring overhead? When was the last time you heard North America’s largest owl sing his evening love songs? These are just a few of our favorite winter things, and we take pictures like crazy too. For us, the cold months are almost like a vacation. The Northern Light Skies Dance at Night Our amateur photography talents aren’t limited to winter treks through Katmai National Park or the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. We aim our cameras at the nighttime skies and capture the world’s most incredible light show. It starts with a faint glow and slowly builds into an incredible curtain of colors. Our Northern Lights ripple and dance as they drape the sky with brilliant reds, blues, purples and greens. It always takes our breath away, and the dazzling display is different every night. Did we mention that this miracle only happens during the winter up here? We know that our coldest months don’t appeal to everybody in the Lower 48. That’s OK because we make the most of our downtime. When we see you in April, the lodge will be in top shape. The rivers will be running with dollies and bows chasing salmon fry, and we’ll be saving you a place here on the banks of the Kvichak. When you’re ready for the Alaskan fly fishing trip of a lifetime, No See Um Lodge will be ready for you.

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Five Reasons to Really Respect Fly Fishing for Dolly Varden 

Five Reasons to Really Respect Fly Fishing for Dolly Varden 

They’re not the Rodney Dangerfields of Alaska’s fly fishing scene, but they don’t take center stage in our angling dreams like sockeye and rainbows. If respect could be earned through sheer numbers, dolly varden would be superstars. These are fish so determined to make it that they refuse to just spawn and die. They spend their lives migrating back and forth from fresh water to salt and offer up angling adventures that rival their trophy cousins. We really admire Salvelinus malma, and here are five reasons why. 1. They Aren’t Arctic Char Yes, dollies and char are close relatives. It’s easy to get them mixed up because they bear a strong physical resemblance, but the two fish part company at the jaw line. Dollies have a much larger kype than char, and that huge hooked lower jaw gives them a distinctive profile. The fork in a char’s tail is deeper, and its spots are larger. Dolly varden sport pink or red bellies while char undercarriages are yellow, orange or gold. We enjoy catching char, but we admire dollies for not complaining about constantly being misidentified. 2. Dollies Put Up a Great Fight How you fish for dolly varden depends on time of year, location and your personal preferences. Generally speaking, they favor bright colors that resemble salmon eggs. Some anglers swear by white streamers, and others recommend all-black leech patterns. You can catch dollies on sinking tip or floating line with a 12-foot leader. Whatever approach you take, be sure to go with a 4 to 6 weight rod. We promise you’ll share our respect for the ferocious fight in these fish when you go after them with lighter gear. 3. They Give Us So Many Opportunities Does spring get you in a fever for Alaskan fly fishing fun? Cast your enthusiasm into an enormous shoal of dolly varden feeding on outgoing fry around our river mouths and estuaries. Hit small streams in July, and try to keep your cool in the late summer stalking dollies as they stalk the salmon egg-drop. Are you ready to land a fish so colorful that it looks like its wearing a clown suit? Spawning dolly varden in late August are your ticket to angling heaven. We salute dollies for giving us so many exciting opportunities to fish in so many beautiful settings all across the state. 4. Their Name Origin Is Interesting If you’re a fan of Charles Dickens, you may be familiar with a character from his book, “Barnaby Rudge.” That Dolly Varden was fond of wearing brightly colored clothes, but our fish isn’t named after her. In the late 1800s, women routinely sewed their own, and one of the more popular fabrics was a pink, patterned muslim referred to as Dolly Varden. No one’s sure how the name was transferred from dress to fish, but we always appreciate an interesting backstory even when the details are fuzzy. 5. Dollies Survived Serious Misinformation Fuzzy details are one thing, but fuzzy science can […]

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Our Five Favorite Rivers for Fly Fishing in Alaska

Our Five Favorite Rivers for Fly Fishing in Alaska

Everybody has an opinion. Every fisherman who’s been lucky enough to cast through a perfect day in the Last Frontier knows its best rivers for fly fishing. Every single angler is right, too. Recognizing this fact of fishing life makes it easier for us to put together our list. We know that you know the best, so we’re going to play it safe and just call these five locations our five favorite fly fishing rivers here in Alaska. 1. The Kenai River   Running more 80 wild miles through the Alaskan panhandle to Cook Inlet, this river earns its reputation as a trophy-fish paradise. If that wasn’t enough to land it on our list of favorites, its spectacular backdrop of the Chugach Mountains seals the deal. The lower Kenai’s chinook runs are legendary, and we’re crazy about catching 20-pound rainbows on the upper river. Sockeye numbers from the middle of July through summer’s end can top 1 million. Cohos jump in by early August, and an average Dolly Varden tips the scales at 4 to 6 pounds. We admit that we’re partial to the upper Kenai’s seclusion and scenery. 2. The Copper River You have to love a river that was one of the first in Alaska to receive a catch-and-release-only designation for rainbow fly fishing. You have to call it a favorite for winding pools and undercut banks. This is a river that nature designed for wading with gorgeous stretches through scenic valleys lined with birch, spruce and cottonwood. The Copper is big, and it runs long for 300 miles out of the Wrangell and Chugach Mountains. The star-studded salmon lineup from mid-May through October includes chinook, sockeye and coho, and Copper River rainbows are still some of the biggest in Alaska thanks to that special designation. 3. The Talachulitna River Seeing truly is believing when you can count the fish swimming by. That’s how clear the Talachulitna’s water runs on its way down from Judd Lake in the Beluga Mountains. This incredible stretch earns its place on our list of favorites with a world-class combination of breathtaking scenery and amazing fly fishing action. When someone mentions the Dolly Varden they caught on the Tal, they’ll probably also brag about the chinook, rainbow and grayling they landed. If you dream about casting while majestic, snow-capped mountains look over your shoulder, fly in to one of our favorites, and fish the Talachulitna River. 4. The Alagnak River This tributary of our very own Kvichak River is a perfect spot for folks who are just now discovering the world’s best outdoor sport. Its lower stretches are wide with plenty of sandbars to anchor waders longing to get wet. We especially enjoy schools of silver salmon holding on the shallow edges, and we love chasing kings in the deep channels. The upriver braids are an endless labyrinth of gravel beds and small channels teeming with salmon and rainbows. Some folks like this 69-mile run for whitewater adventures, but we prefer perfecting our […]

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10 Twitter Accounts That Every Fly Fisherman Should Follow

10 Twitter Accounts That Every Fly Fisherman Should Follow

Imagine asking a fly fisherman here in Alaska about tweets 10 years ago. Picture that same angler scratching his head and wondering why you wanted to talk about chickadees. Today, Twitter has everybody hooked, and we can’t resist hashing the tags. Here’s our list of 10 Twitter accounts that every fly fisherman should follow. 1. Fly Fishing Report @FlyFishReport This latest entry in the Twitterverse doesn’t have a website yet. They do have a passion for everything about fly fishing, and their tweets hook up with breaking news, plenty of pics and great videos. FFR promises to go live in the next few months, so we strongly recommend staying tuned. RT @wildsalmoncntr: Oh, that all salmon rivers look like this! Let’s protect our last, best https://t.co/VtstcUiTBG pic.twitter.com/A1tNoh0tSb — Fly Fishing Report (@FlyFishReport) January 15, 2016 2. Simms Fishing @SimmsFishing If you’re one of the oldest fly fishing gear companies in the world, you tweet about it. We give Simms credit for focusing on tips, techniques and conservation without overselling their goods. Interested in a beautiful shot of rainbows charging minnows? Yes, they lure us in with wonderful photography. Support fish-focussed management and preserve prime salmon and trout habititat in Alaska. https://t.co/jOZy8Za7yG pic.twitter.com/DBpRHSI4Lt — Simms Fishing (@simmsfishing) December 17, 2015 3. Sage Fly Fishing @SageFlyFish Again, we’re linking up with commercial tweets, but founder Don Green always had our respect as one of the world’s master fly rod designers. It’s good to see his legacy live on in the digital world. Enjoy a mix of breaking news and breathtaking pictures. Yes, they also bait us with product updates. Ambassador Mark Raisler of @headhuntersfly with a gorgeous brown. #sageflyfish http://t.co/zOT9Vgytm4 pic.twitter.com/N5JX1aVSzU — Sage Fly Fish (@sageflyfish) September 27, 2015 4. Redington @RedingtonGear We aren’t endorsing. We just call them like we follow them. Redington’s innovative products are always worth a quick read. Besides, one click leads to another, and suddenly you’re linked up with a fly fishing story on the other side of the globe. No, they don’t tempt us with enough pictures. Battle for the flats. #findyourwater #vapenblack #behemoth @thebugparade pic.twitter.com/UFioKYq6OL — Redington (@RedingtonGear) January 24, 2016 5. April Vokey @AprilVokey We’re OK that she’s down in British Columbia because she’s developed her Fly Gal guide service into a network with worldwide connections. For a dedicated conservationist, Vokey has a seriously entertaining attitude, and that makes her tweets worth following. We always learn something new too. Long casts & separated loops go “hand in hand”! Yes, that was a cheesy pun. pic.twitter.com/R1EnYCNnHd — April Vokey- Fly Gal (@AprilVokey) October 28, 2015 6. Field & Stream @FieldandStream We wonder at what the first publishers of this icon might think if you could transport them here from 1895. We marvel at how well an old flagship bridges the divide between print and tweet. Enjoy top-notch content that’s always relevant even if it doesn’t give us as much fly fishing as we’d like. Kirk Deeter’s Fly-Fishing Tip: Consider Shadows and Sun https://t.co/gZFRWj0rY2 pic.twitter.com/jWLXSp3jSB — Field […]

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10 Tips to Improve Your Fly Fishing Powers

10 Tips to Improve Your Fly Fishing Powers

Besides the rod, reel, waders and flies, there’s something else that sets you apart from other sportsmen. You love your game enough to do it all day, every day. As a dedicated fly fisherman, you relish the idea of spending the rest of your life getting better and better at the only outdoor sport that really matters. We add to your ongoing quest for knowledge with these 10 tips to improve your fly fishing. 1. Start Out Shallow You’ll eventually get all the way out there, so don’t storm the river without exploring that shallow water first. Take your time, ease your way in with a few short casts, and enjoy the salmon and trout that rise to your shallow presentations. Ignore your buddies’ sideways looks while you get the fishing day off to a productive start. You don’t always have to be hip-deep to hit serious action. 2. Add Accuracy to Those Short Casts Now that you appreciate the overlooked art of staying shallow, you realize that you haven’t had much practice with the unappreciated short cast. It isn’t easy, but it’s a technique that you can master over time. Until then, give your rod an advantage with an overweight. It sounds too simple to be true, but overweighting by just one line weight can turn you into a master short-caster. 3. Stay on the Move Don’t enjoy that shallow action so much that you start working one spot over and over perfecting your presentation. You know the raw aggression of a salmon anywhere near a good fly. Trout make up for their short feeding season with a frenzy. Give them your best, and move on with your chin held high when they ignore you. They aren’t the only fish in the river. 4. Learn to Read That Foam Develop a talent for foam reading, and you’ll always be on top of main current seams. As the water flow moves the foam, you know it’s moving the buffet that entices hungry fish, so follow the flow line. It’s also an excellent strategy for catching minor drag problems. If your fly isn’t moving in synch with the foam, it’s time to make some adjustments. 5. Go Prepared for Anything Are you ready to catch something besides chinook and rainbow? Don’t limit your chances for action with a two-species mindset. Surprise your guide the night before you head out with an idea to fish for something that isn’t salmon or trout. He’s your go-to guy for everything it takes to catch something outside the tackle box, and he’ll appreciate your sense of adventure. 6. Let Go of Perfection If you could nail every cast on the money, you probably wouldn’t be reading this list. If you’re like most other fly fishermen, you sometimes miss the mark, and that’s OK. Relax, and take a deep breath. While you figure out what went wrong, just go with the drift. Fly fishing is as much mental as it is physical, so don’t wear yourself […]

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Planning a Fly Fishing Trip? The Worst Advice You’ll Ever Get

Planning a Fly Fishing Trip? The Worst Advice You’ll Ever Get

Friends are excited to see you heading off for the Last Frontier, and everyone has an opinion. If you’ve managed this wonderful escape before, it’s easy to separate good and bad advice. If this is your first chance to fly fish in Alaska, be careful. If this is your first chance to fly fish in Alaska, be careful. Some tips are great, some are crazy, and some are just plain awful. We nominate these five nuggets as the worst advice we’ve ever heard about planning a fly fishing trip. 1. Buy All Your Gear at Home You already have a favorite rod and reel, but you’re excited about the upcoming trip and ready to restock that tackle box with fresh flies and beads. Friends who tell you to buy new gear before you take off believe that it’s money-saving advice. It might be if you can completely outfit a trip at the nearest big box store. You want to hit the river with the right equipment, so wait, and do some shopping up here. It’s easier to match tackle with water and fish when you’re on the scene. 2. Cheap Lodges Are Just Fine We know that an Alaskan fly fishing trip isn’t always easy on the budget. You can find lodges with rock-bottom rates, and you get what you pay for. Cheap accommodations don’t come with frills like good food, comfortable beds and outdoor balconies. The money you save doesn’t go towards experienced guides, licensed pilots and a friendly staff. You don’t have to stay at a luxury lodge to enjoy the very best up here, but don’t shortchange your chance for an unforgettable getaway by booking with a low-ball outfit. 3. Local Tackle Shops Don’t Offer Much You won’t find fancy floor displays and acres of equipment. You will find some of your best resources for the latest news on rivers, runs and weather reports at the local tackle shop. The folks who own these small operations have spent their lives up here, they love to talk about fly fishing, and they don’t charge a thing for their expert advice. Which flies are working right now? What river blew out yesterday? Get to know the local fly shop, and you’ll be on top of it all. You’ll make great new friends, too. 4. You Don’t Need a Guide You can rent an isolated cabin, check your maps and head for the nearest river. You can spend your entire trip trying to figure out why you aren’t catching anything. The alternative is hooking up with a seasoned guide who makes a living by making sure you land plenty of fish. His experience is a great teacher, and his patience is legendary. We have more than 3,000 rivers to explore here in Alaska, and it just takes one professional guide to put you on top of the action. 5. Fishing Is All You Get to Do Fly fishing never gets old, but it’s not the only thing that you’ll love […]

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Five Tips for Tutoring Your Youngest Fishing Buddy

Five Tips for Tutoring Your Youngest Fishing Buddy

How old were you when you cast your first fly? Do you remember that combination of wonder and excitement? Whether you started out as a kid or tackled fishing a little later in life, it’s fun to think back on those days when your lack of finesse didn’t matter. Learning how to do something that calls to your spirit is one of life’s better joys. Passing along that passion to a child connects you both on levels that stay strong for a lifetime. When you’re ready to tutor a young fishing buddy in the ways of Alaskan fly fishing, focus on these five productive tips. 1. Bait That Natural Curiosity If a child watches intently and wants to know why you put together those bug-looking things, he’s a good candidate for the river. If he likes to explore the tackle box, show him your case, and tell him why different fish chase different flies. Most young anglers don’t care about the details, but they’ll listen when you explain that fish are like people with different appetites. The fact that you sit at a table making fake insects is enough to impress any curious kid, so show him how to tie a wooly bugger. Ask him if he’d like to try it out, and watch that little face light up as you start planning a day together on the water. 2. Fit the Gear to the Kid As much as you love your old gear, your youngest fisherman really wants his own stuff. Resist the temptation to pass off your favorites as sentimental hand-me-downs, and head for the pro shop. From kid-sized rods and waders to pint-sized hats and shades, you’ll find everything for outfitting a short-statured novice. Let him try out a few rods for size while you consider weight options. Most 6-weight rods are heavy enough for a child’s cast, but you might want a 4- or 5-weight for someone small who doesn’t need as much stiffness. A kid’s enthusiasm goes a lot further when he’s not worn out from working a rod that’s hard to handle. 3. Don’t Make Casting Complicated Your littlest angler won’t master the perfect cast in one season. You can fine-tune techniques later, so concentrate on the basics for now. Try a simple approach to casting that starts with a two-hand hold on the rod and thumbs on top. Instruct your young student to quickly lift the rod, and then give it a sudden stop even with his ear as the line goes straight behind him. Follow through with a smooth forward motion that puts the tip at eye level to loop the line and deliver that fly. Never underestimate the power of patient encouragement and sincere compliments as he starts to get the drift. 4. Make Everything Easy to Enjoy Getting a kid hooked on fly fishing should always be about having a good time. Give that budding fisherman a fighting chance for a great start in water that you know promises plenty of […]

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