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 about a trip to Alaska. If you’re in the mood for a little kayaking or rock hounding, enjoy yourself. Climb a mountain, and hunt bear with your camera. Catch a day cruise, and chase down glaciers. Go horseback riding, bicycling and hiking through the backcountry. When you’re ready to explore, you’ll discover that our wilderness is unspoiled, unconquered and undeniably the most beautiful place on earth.
You have to feel sorry for friends who give lousy advice. They haven’t had the chance to experience a great Alaskan escape, so they daydream their way into an adventure that you get to enjoy firsthand. We’ve heard it all for more than 40 years, and we’re pretty good at separating fact from fiction. Take our advice. If you want the fly fishing trip of a lifetime, come stay with us at No See Um Lodge. We’ll save you a place here on the Kvichak River.