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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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Our 10 Favorite Fly Fishing Writers

Our 10 Favorite Fly Fishing Writers

We considered putting together a list of the best, but that started too many arguments. Instead, we offer a collection of our 10 favorite writers who always manage to translate the fly fishing experience into words that we really enjoy. The next time you’re stuck inside waiting for the weather to break, break out one of these authors. For easy reference and an end to friendly disagreements, we’ve alphabetized our list. 1. James Babb Editor emeritus is a pretty impressive title, and Babb earns it with unmatched wit and style at Gray’s Sporting Journal. While we admire his well-earned literary credentials, he could be a lonely guy writing from the bed of his truck and still make this list with his book, “River Music.” He’s that good. When our copy of Gray’s hits the mailbox, we hit Babb’s fishing essay first. 2. Kirk Deeter If you ever thought that you missed your calling as a fly fishing guide, read Deeter’s essays on what the professional’s life is really like. If you want to know everything about every type of fly, knot and line, snag one of his reference books. Deeter knows his stuff, and he generously shares it all with his blog over at Field and Stream. We admit it. We also enjoy the great photography. 3. John Gierach Anybody who writes a book titled “Sex, Death and Fly Fishing” earns a place on this list. We won’t give away the first essay in this highly entertaining volume, but it involves mayflies. Gierach does more than put a knowing smile on your face. The original trout bum’s advice, strategies and river wisdom make any one of his 33 books a must-have for your fly fishing library. 4. Ted Leeson We have a real winner here. Leeson snagged the IFFF’s Roderick Haig-Brown Award for outstanding fly fishing lit back in 1996, but you probably know him better from Field and Stream. If our sport had a philosophy professor, it would be Leeson, and his volume, “The Habit of Rivers,” would be the only class assignment anyone would ever need. His writing captures and celebrates the spirit that makes us all love fishing. 5. Nick Lyons No fly fishing book collection is complete without several well-worn classics including a copy of “Spring Creek.” Lyons is a prolific writer and independent publisher, and we’re still turning his pages after more than 30 years. His ability to string together wisdom and humor makes us all proud of our collective fly fishing obsessions. We salute both his talent and longevity. 6. Thomas McGuane Settle in, and travel from Florida to Russia and Montana to Iceland. You’ve probably never imagined fly fishing in the Andes, but McGuane puts you there as he paints pictures with words that capture the essence of some of the world’s most beautiful rivers and lakes. His essays are timeless, he’s been writing for more than 30 years, and he’s very funny. 7. Howell Raines A Pulitzer Prize for journalism isn’t necessary to […]

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No See Um Named One of the Best Fly Fishing Vacation Spots in the World

No See Um Named One of the Best Fly Fishing Vacation Spots in the World

If you have ever been a guest at No-See-Um Lodge, then we hope you would consider it one of the best locations you have ever been for a fly fishing vacation. Well, we are happy to note that one fly fishing focused website, My Alaskan Fishing Trip, puts No-See-Um Lodge on their summary of the best fly fishing vacation spots in the world – that’s right…not just Alaska…in the WORLD. The article includes fly fishing focused lodges from locations as diverse as Mexico, Iceland, and New Zealand but No-See-Um is the lone representative from Alaska.  Obviously, there are a lot of great lodges in Alaska to choose from and what makes it especially exciting to be the Alaskan representative on the list is the fact that the content developers website focuses on Alaska fly fishing – so they know every lodge and location throughout the state. The summary of No-See-Um highlights the diversity of fish species that anglers will be able to target in the waters around the lodge as a primary reason we are a top destination.  However, it also notes additional factors like our camp guides and luxury accommodations…speaking of which, No-See-Um Lodge also made the sites list of Top Ten Luxury Lodges in Alaska!  They are right when they say ‘your only job here is to enjoy the outstanding food and reel in trophy fish’.

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10 Tools Every Alaskan Fly Fisher Should Be Using

10 Tools Every Alaskan Fly Fisher Should Be Using

You wouldn’t be caught on the river without sharp nippers and sturdy hemostats. You respect the fish with rubber nets and baby your favorite flies with waterproof cases. Beyond the basics, it’s easy to get overloaded with gear and gadgets, so we recommend these 10 essential tools that every Alaskan fly fisherman should be using. 1. Save Your Eyes With a Fly Threader Changing out flies in a flash is a snap with a handy fly threader. Shady spots don’t slow you down when you have one of these simple tools, and it really ups production at sunrise and sunset. The basic configuration provides magnetic slots for different fly sizes that let you handle the smallest eye by simply sliding the tippet down a funneled channel. 2. See Better With a Clip-On Do you need a better bead on that threader? How about a small magnifier that clips on your hat’s brim? This extra eye instantly doubles your visual powers. Most models sport lightweight clips and hinges that secure the magnifier out of the way until you need it. When the job warrants a closer look, you’re ready to stay focused. Just fold the rectangular viewer back over your brim when you’re done. 3. Pouch Your Patterns Dry This remedy for soaked flies is one of your best Alaskan fly fishing buddies. It works like magic, but the secret ingredients are natural materials that suck up moisture with a firm squeeze and revive drowned flies for immediate action. Most drying pouches measure a compact 2 inches by 3 inches with protective leather covers, and they’re versatile enough for all of your flies. 4. Stay Sharp With a Multi-Tool Some anglers swear by the trusty Swiss army knife, but you’re better off with a small tool collection designed especially for fly fishing. The best multi-tools sport hook hones, needle-noses, cutters and more. They won’t replace your gear box, but most of these handy, compact kits are just what you need when you’re waders deep in serious fly fishing action. 5. Tool Your Way to Quick-Release When you’re fly fishing in Alaska, a quality quick-release tool is always essential. It spares fish from extra handling and line tangles, and that ups their chances for quick recovery. Your hands stay dry while flies avoid damage, and that ups quality time on the water. You’ll appreciate a good quick-release tool when you’re catching more than 100 fish a day on the Kvichak River. 6. Handle Them With Landing Gloves Catch and release rules, but when you have to lay on the hands, do it with care. Landing gloves protect fish with a dual-layer outer mesh that makes it easer to handle even the biggest salmon and trout without causing harm. Hold that fish, smile for the camera, and enjoy knowing that you’re practicing the kind of responsible catch and release that helps preserve one of Alaska’s most important natural resources. 7. Refresh With a Filter Why not carry a lightweight, compact thermos that doubles […]

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10 Sure Signs That You Need to Visit Alaska

10 Sure Signs That You Need to Visit Alaska

In your imagination, you’ve been there so many times. Once visions of the Last Frontier start dancing in your head, there’s no denying that longing in your soul. If you have any doubts about those dreams tugging on your sleeve, here are 10 sure signs that you really need to plan a trip to Alaska soon. You Count Trout Instead of Sheep – When life gets too busy, getting to sleep at night takes a little help. When you start counting rainbow trout instead of sheep, it’s time to head north. Those torpedo-shaped beauties and their brilliant colors are the fish that angling fantasies are made of. Nothing compares to the majesty of a wild rainbow flying out of the water on the end of your line. The Grid Is Officially a Grind – You’re always plugged in and powered up. Even a day off surrenders to the sound of your smartphone or taps on a tablet. It all adds up to a form of constant online overload, but you know there’s an escape. Alaska isn’t that far away, and it offers a peace and quiet that drowns out all that digital noise. You don’t have to unplug completely, but you can if you want to. Vacations Are Becoming Routine – When you think about an upcoming getaway, do you realize how often you’ve been there and done that? You need a change in scenery that rates spectacular. Imagine crystal rivers and pristine countryside. Picture landing at a rustic fishing lodge in a de Havilland Beaver and watching stars shoot across the night skies from your cabin deck. There isn’t anything routine about a vacation in the 49th State. The Wilderness Keeps Calling – Close your eyes, and listen. Do you hear the cry of a bald eagle flying overhead? Give in to that call of the wild, and add the sound of rushing water, the rustle of towering spruce and the howl of a lone wolf. It’s all a part of the natural symphony that extends an open invitation to the magic of Alaska’s unspoiled wilderness. It’s an offer that you can’t resist. Dreams of Fresh Salmon Dance on Your Palate – Nothing else compares to that incredibly pure flavor. You know a farm faux fish with the flick of a fork, but cutting into a fresh chinook salmon filet is akin to slicing butter. Regardless of what the menu tells you, your palate knows. That culinary longing for a taste of something deliciously real is a sure sign that you’re overdue making dinner reservations somewhere close to Bristol Bay. You Need a New Frontier – There’s still plenty left to conquer, but it’s hemmed in by office space and city limits. You’re not afraid of new challenges, but they begin to take on a shade of sameness. Variety is a spice that you can find anywhere, but you can only find 660,000 square miles of rugged natural beauty inside Alaska’s state lines. The Last Frontier can be your […]

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A Brief History of Alaska Fly Fishing

A Brief History of Alaska Fly Fishing

By the time Europeans made it to Alaska in the mid-1700s, fly fishing was already an ancient sport. Flip the calendar forward about 100 years, and folks on the Continent considered it a pastime for the elite. Yes, while Alaskans were fly fishing to put food on the table, casting became an art form back in Europe. That’s not really bad when you think about it. All those lucky people with time on their hands came up with some impressive innovations that we take for granted today. Let’s start at the beginning. Everybody Was Fly Fishing It was a just another lazy afternoon in the 2nd century when Roman teacher Claudius Aelianus settled in to watch anglers casting into the Astraeus River. He was so impressed with their tackle and technique that he put stylus to tablet describing round hooks wrapped in red wool and sporting cock feathers. He sang the praises of perfectly placed casts from 6-foot poles, but the Romans didn’t have a monopoly on anything. The Japanese had been at it for centuries too, and fly fishing eventually migrated to Europe and England where it found no boundaries in age or gender. If you don’t think of women as accomplished anglers, you need to get out more. The very first book of instruction on fly fishing was written by Englishwoman Juliana Berners in 1496. Her publication was a how-to that covered rods, line, hook making and fly tying. You have to wait until the 1600s for someone to actually use the term “cast a fly.” That credit goes to Shakespeare’s fishing buddy, John Dennys, who was moved to write poetry about the sport. By then, what had started out as a necessity for filling pantries had become a favorite pastime. Mass Production Actually Helped No one documented early fly fishing in Alaska, but it’s a safe bet that the first rigs were homemade. Settling this wild territory took steel will and sharp wits, so there’s no doubt that our original anglers made their own gear. It took the Industrial Revolution and mass production to make tackle available for frustrated fishermen who were tired of twisting their own line. Running rings and pre-fab flies were considered fancy innovations, debating the pros and cons of wet versus dry became a sport of its own, and fly fishing books sailed off printing presses. The next time you drop by the Anchorage Public Library, check out a copy of “The Fly-Fisher’s Entomology.” Alfred Ronalds published this definitive volume back in 1836, but it might look familiar because it set the standard for today’s fly-fishing literature. You won’t find a better collection of angler’s eye candy. The book is beautifully illustrated with full-color plates showcasing fish and flies. Reading about the history of fly fishing in Alaska is fun, but this visual journey into the sport’s past is as inspiring as it is glorious. It Just Kept Getting Better Two very important things happened to Alaskan fly fishing in the 1950s. The first was […]

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10 Sites You Need to Follow If You Love Alaska Fly Fishing

10 Sites You Need to Follow If You Love Alaska Fly Fishing

They might seem at odds with each other. An afternoon surfing the Internet can’t compare to time gladly lost in the magic of casting a line. Putting apples and oranges aside, the online world embraces everything on the planet including its very best outdoor sport and Alaska’s favorite pastime. Of course, we’re talking about fly fishing, and we know you’ll really enjoy these 10 sites that make our point. 1. Fish Alaska Magazine – You don’t need a subscription to enjoy this online publication dedicated to everything about fishing in Alaska. Posts are organized by topics that cover it all including ice fishing, recipes and how-to articles. Naturally, fly fishing has its own section filled with the kind of information that’s sure to help fine-tune your delivery talents. Amazing photography makes this site a keeper. 2. Mystic Waters Fly Fishing – Get it straight from the professional guides’ mouths, and read all about Kvichak River adventures, the latest fly recipes and breaking news on Alaska’s fishing action. Check out tips and tricks, product reviews and the always entertaining Strange and Unusual articles. Site contributors also cover fly fishing in the Lower 48 and Mexico, but we don’t hold that against them. 3. Alaska Fly Fishing Online – We admit, this one looks a little long in the tooth, but it’s got so much to offer that we think it belongs on the list. Compare your techniques with the site’s Stalker series outlining strategies for streams, still water and salt. Cruise the Tips section for posts on tying weedless flies and making tougher peacocks. It’s a shame the Members’ Forum doesn’t work, but overall, the information is timeless. 4. Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage – If you’ve only heard about the story, read in-depth reporting and recaps devoted to Alaskan fishing. It’s not exactly a blog, but it’s a great roundup of information that really impacts our sport. Some stories are controversial, others are entertaining, and they all serve to increase our awareness of Alaska’s incredible natural resources. Feel free to ignore the Politics section, and just concentrate on fishing news. 5. Alaska.org – Technically, this is a travel connection, but we’ve linked you to its Fishing Tips section to give you an idea of how much the site has to offer. The folks on these pages are wildlife biologists, bush pilots, park rangers and photographers who all love fishing Alaska as much as we do. Of course, if you’re planning a trip, we want you to stay with us here at No See Um, but we know you’ll enjoy all the information rounded up on this site. 6. Trout Fishing Alaska – Yes, this site is trout-centric, and it’s not the snazziest presentation on the Internet, but it’s a rock-solid source for all things trout. Cutthroat, steelhead and bow are all covered along with updated information about licenses and stamps. No, you won’t find anything here about salmon, but the tips and techniques are focused on every type of trout that […]

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Why We Love Alaska Fly Fishing (And You should, Too!)

Why We Love Alaska Fly Fishing (And You should, Too!)

We aren’t crazy. We’re just crazy about the sport. How else can you explain living in the same spot on the Kvichak River for more than 40 years? Sure, the scenery is incredible but it all revolves around the magic of that perfect cast on a perfect afternoon into the most perfect waters on the planet. We know why we love Alaskan fly fishing, and we really believe you should too. Because It’s Just So Beautiful You’ve seen the pictures. You’ve watched the videos. You’re already dreaming about Alaska, but it’s impossible to understand the beauty without experiencing it firsthand. You probably even know the numbers by now. Yes, we really have 3,000 rivers, 3 million lakes and more than 6,000 miles of coastline. Those figures don’t begin to convey the vast, unspoiled backcountry that stretches beneath your flight out to a favorite fly fishing spot. They can’t carry the scent of primal forests on a breeze that guides your line over the water. Seeing is more than believing up here. It’s falling in love with a land that defies civilization. When was the last time you looked up and saw bald eagles commanding a perfectly blue sky? How often can you turn a trail and find yourself on the edge of an ancient mountain range? We love our Alaskan wilderness, and we take very good care of it, but its immense expanse will always be more than anyone can conquer. We don’t try. We just thank the stars every crystal clear night that all this is our backdrop to the best fly fishing in the world. Because the Fish Are Here Can you pick a favorite? Neither can we, and thank goodness, no one has to. Our Kvichak River here in southwest Alaska runs wild with rainbows all season, and their majestic aerobatics on the end of a line always take our breath away. The forked tail on a lake trout might not be every angler’s dream, but we love the challenge of bringing up one of these big fish after it slams down deep. Whether you’re after that perfect rhythm of cast, drift and rise or in the mood for sinking lines and tips, trout fishing in Alaska makes time stand still. Are you up for the largest annual sockeye run on earth? The 2014 count in our backyard topped 4 million reds. If you love a good fight, try going half an hour with a chinook on the line. Our Alaskan kings always earn their reputation as the state’s heaviest, fiercest sports fish. Northern pikes, silver cohos, Arctic chars and graylings all belong in the lineup of fly fishing action that excites anglers of all ages, genders and skill levels, and all those fish swim our pristine waters here in the 49th state. Because Everybody Gets It If you’re a solitary angler, you still appreciate other folks who understand why you love wilderness fly fishing. If you enjoy company, there’s nothing like swapping stories at the end […]

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The History of the Name ‘No See Um Lodge’

The History of the Name ‘No See Um Lodge’

In 1972 Jack Holman and his wife were teaching in a one room school and living in Levelock, a small native village on the edge of the Kvichak river in Southwest Alaska. Both had recently graduated from college and taken contracts to live in the village and teach for at least a year. Jack spent much of his free time traveling the river with locals, hunting and fishing. The lodge site was an occupied homestead where they always stopped in for coffee and visiting with the old man who lived there alone. His name was Ingdal Bertinussen, in his 80’s. Ingdal had spent much of his life commercial fishing summers in Bristol Bay and wintering on the river. So in about 1973 he made a decision to move into the Alaskan Pioneer Home since he was sick of his own cooking. He and Jack were talking over coffee when he mentioned his plans and mentioned that he would sell to Jack if he wanted it. Jack didn’t have much money and but asked about the price anyway. Ingdal said he would have to get what he paid for the property, $5000. The deal was made, $5000 for 160 acres that included a house, log sauna, small shed, outhouse and a late 1800’s era wooden barge that had been used in the early Bristol Bay salmon fishery. When Jack made the deal he had no grand plans to open a world class sport fishing business on the site but did know if he had a business he could purchase a boat, airplane and other “tools” and write them off as expenses. As there was no actual “lodge”, just a few buildings, he thought long and hard and came up with the name No See Um Lodge. There are some obvious negative associations with the name but he made a successful business with it and it does stand out from the numerous “picture” names out there. People don’t typically forget the name and never confuse it with Rainbow Lodge, Rainbow King Lodge, Rainbow River Lodge, Rainbow Bend Lodge or even Rainbow Safari.

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Alternatives to Felt Soled Boots

Alternatives to Felt Soled Boots

As the seasons change—winter melting into spring—fishing enthusiasts need to take changes in climate and weather into consideration when choosing the appropriate gear for their angling adventures. In the early summer, many areas surrounding rivers, lakes, and even the Alaskan coastline, are prone to high waters. This makes the beginning of each new season the ideal time to change up your fishing gear—especially your boots. What kinds of seasonally appropriate options for boots are available to you? Not too long ago, the state of Alaska declared felt bottoms illegal. Rubber is the only alternative but, but this is a dangerous material in some rivers as it’s doesn’t grip slippery bottoms. Studded boots are a great alternative, but there are many scenarios in which they cannot be worn, such as aircraft, boats, rafts, and other surfaces such as docks, wooden walkways, stairs, decks, and hardwood floors. The soles of studded boots can scuff and do damage to wooden surfaces, making them an inappropriate alternative to felt soled boots. This leaves anglers with only three options for boots: Wear rubber soled boots, and be very careful on slippery surfaces Wear studded boots and cover them when traveling Wear boots with a removable sole that can be changed when needed When it comes to rubber boots, we have found Vibram to be the best brand out there. Vibram is an Italian rubber sole company, and the original producers of one of the first rubber lug soles for heavy-utility boots used for mountaineering and outdoors sports. Simms and Orvis sell boots with Vibram soled footwear. If you prefer studded boots, No See Um Lodge provides slip-on boot covers that you are required to wear when you’re not in the water. We have approximately 15 pairs of Orvis rubber slip-ons that can accommodate any shoe size. For those who opt for removable soles, Korkers makes the best product available. No See Um Lodge has a Korkers dealership, and can order removable soled boots directly at a special Lodge price. John has personal experience using the Korker Omni Track boot. They are very light and comfortable to wear. The soles are easy to change and stayed on well. They have several great options at different price points and multiple sole variations. We have found that the Redside is a solid, well-built boot at a great price. Ordered with a Vibram and second studded sole produced excellent results. The Vibram is good enough to use most of the time and the studded fills in the few rivers that are a bit trickier wading. “I have personally worn Korkers for the last three seasons. I have tried several models of Korker boots, all have had the same Omni Track system. It’s a very solid, versatile product that works exactly as advertised. The company has been super to work with and I now have over thirty pairs of loaner Korkers for my guests” –  John Holman- Owner-No See Um Lodge If you are interested in purchasing Korkers through No […]

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