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Dubai -> Seychelles  -> Zambia

Dubai -> Seychelles -> Zambia

Hosted trip 2018 DUBAI Early October I returned home from the lodge and over four months of flying and guiding. I was home five days before getting on a plane for a long ride to Dubai for a day of fishing for queenfish with my son Jack and Mark W.  Ocean Active operates a very well run fishing operation right in Dubai, very convenient for the traveler passing through or businessman with a half-day to kill. We met our guides at the pier about 7am and boarded a 32′ open fiberglass boat followed by a short ride no more than a mile off-shore. Our guide was searching for birds and quickly located a flock working bait. We got within 75 yards where we could see the queenfish savaging the bait, it looked like a large number of fish and also very fast moving. The guide used a spinning rod to launch a teaser into the school then ripped it back as fast as humanly possible. The teaser was viscous attacked several times before retreating into our 10wt casting range where we were ready with several varieties of bait fish patterns. A long, fast strip resulted in a very solid grab, if only our trout fishermen brain could remember to NOT LIFT the rod, followed by a blistering run with multiple jumps and a very impressive fight. In our half day of fishing we probably had a dozen queenfish on, landed five or six as well as a few kingfish. Ocean Active has several locations and fishing options within driving of Dubai and I’m excited for my return and next adventure with them. That evening Jack and I made our way to the Mall of the Emirates where we did some downhill skiing on the only indoor ski mountain in the middle east. It wasn’t Tahoe, or even Alyeska, but with two tow pulls and a real chair lift it was worth the effort and even the cold hands before venturing back out into the hot evening air for a couple of miles walking back to our hotel. SEYCHELLES The next day we boarded our flight to Mahe’, Seychelles where we met with the rest of our group for dinner and drinks. Mahe’ is the largest island of the Seychelles located about 1000 miles east of Africa in the Indian Ocean. This is the last big airport before boarding a chartered flight to Alphonse Island, about 250 miles to the south. Alphonse atoll is tiny, total island area is only .66 of a mile. The lodge is really the only thing on the island and all guests get around on bicycles. It’s your typical tropical paradise with lush, green jungles, white sand beaches and nothing else. The island has a resident population of giant tortoise, the largest we encountered was at least 600lbs and named George. Each guest is assigned a private ocean bungalow with outside shower, air conditioning and bicycle. Breakfast is at 6:30, after breakfast anglers loaded lunches and […]

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Cuba 2018

Cuba 2018

On February 15th-25th John and Kari hosted a trip to Cayo Largo, Cuba to participate in an environmental sustainability program.  The program was hosted by Cuban marine biologists and fishing guides focusing on the human ecological footprint, a fly fishing fish counting project and their Marine Park protection plan. They were accompanied by 9 guests from across the US.  The trip began in Havana with a city tour and sampling of local culture.  Next was a flight to Cayo Largo, a small resort island off the south coast of the northwestern part of the main island in the Caribbean Sea.  The cay is about 25 kilometers (16 mi) long and 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) wide and is the second largest island in the Canarreos Archipelago.  The fish counting program was a huge success with many species accounted for.  Several group members visited the Centro de Rescate de Tortugas Marinas, a sea turtle farm and conservation center hatchery/rehabilitation center, learning much about the ongoing protection effort. The Cuban people involved in the program were outstanding hosts and teachers and demonstrated a real understanding of the marine environment involved. It was a great group of people and good times were had by all.  Sign up for our mailing list, or follow us to reserve your space on future hosted trips.  

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What did you forget…

What did you forget…

Alaska is one of those places where you want to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything important.  There is no running to the store once you’re at the lodge, you have only what you brought.  So before you head to Alaska this summer make sure you’ve got these often overlooked things covered: Sunglasses – Sunglasses are a must for eye protection.  I can’t even imagine getting a hook in the eyeball!  When packing sunglasses make sure you grab a pair that are polarized.  When you’re sight fishing you don’t want to miss that fish of a lifetime because you can’t see it!  While you’re at it, throw a backup pair in too.  If you’re looking for high quality fishing glasses Maui Jim’s are one of our favorites.  Just make sure you choose a brown, copper, or bronze colored lens. Sunscreen – Yes, you will need sunscreen in Alaska.  Remember that midnight sun thing, that means sunshine ALL DAY.  A sunscreen stick is a good option.  They’re compact to carry, and you can avoid getting sunscreen on your flies and lines.  Not sure if it’s been scientifically proven, but a lot of people think sunscreen on your fly will actually repel fish. Not what we’re going for! Day pack – The weather changes constantly in Alaska and you always want to have layers on the ready.  So a day pack in a must.  It’s also handy for carrying your camera, extra water, snacks, phones, sunscreen, and all kind of things you might find you want to have close.  No need for a huge pack, something small and easy to carry is fine.  It’s also nice to get one that’s waterproof.  Nothing worse than reaching for those extra layers only to find that they’re already soaked. In our Pro Shop we sell DryCase Backpacks, which work great. Waterproof phone case – I can’t stress this one enough!  I have seen SO many cell phones die.  Wader pockets are not waterproof, so even if you don’t drop your phone in the river the moisture in your wader pockets can be enough to kill a phone.  I can speak to this one from personal experience.  I now own a waterproof phone.  Unless you have a waterproof phone, or plan on leaving your phone at the lodge everyday, please invest in a waterproof phone case.  Lifeproof and Otterbox are reliable choices that our guides use. Our Alaska packing guide has a full list of items so you can thoroughly prepared.  If you ever have a question about what you should bring with you, just give us a call or send an email.  We’re always happy to help!

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Trout fishing in June???

Trout fishing in June???

Yes, there is awesome trout fishing in Alaska’s early season! Early season fishing in Alaska has been overshadowed in recent years by the fall salmon egg glut.  The invention of bead fishing seems to really have changed people’s idea of what the peak season is.  When you talk to people about June fishing they seem to think you can’t catch good trout in Alaska until the salmon spawn and bead fishing is on.  Fake news!!!  Don’t get me wrong – August and September fishing can be epic due to the salmon spawn, but June and July can be just as good.  But we don’t want you to take our word for it.  Here’s a note from one of our well-traveled, well-fished guests highlighting some of the reasons you should consider Alaska’s early season fishing: Last year was eighth trip overall to No See Um Lodge and was scheduled for opening week, June 12th.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as the opening week isn’t bead fishing season when the salmon are spawning and when most fisherman think about fishing in Alaska.  I decided to bring, for the first time, my switch rod and use it all week for something different.  Turns out early season fishing and the switch rod were a smart move.  Here’s why: The rivers aren’t crowded with fishermen in the middle of June as they are later in the season when the salmon are spawning.  All week, I think we saw other people one time. The days are long as the summer solstice is only 10 days away – no getting up in the dark. The weather feels about the same as later in the season.  I have fished in a t-shirt in August and I have hunkered down in a swale in the pouring rain, driving wind and cold temps.  The weather last June was typical – a couple of days I stayed in my wader jacket and several days I fished in a long sleeved shirt. Hey, this is Alaska and if you aren’t ready for variable weather; then you are in the wrong place. The fishing was terrific which is obviously why you go.  The water was low and there had been a terrific salmon run the previous fall which meant lots of salmon fry feeding lots of hungry trout – perfect conditions for a switch or spey rod where a little extra distance doesn’t hurt and where the rhythm of a longer rod fits well in the unbelievable Alaska environment. Several of No See Um guides are steelhead guides in the winter.  For folks like myself who don’t get to use my switch rod as much as I would like, the help of the experienced guides was invaluable. On the very best, day, I caught 25-30 fish on a mile stretch of a river.  I was surprised – pleasantly.  Most of the fish I caught were very healthy and in the 20-24” range. Bottom line:  I have been to No See Um the […]

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Swinging for Kings in Alaska

Swinging for Kings in Alaska

Join us in June 2018 for kings and rainbows on the swing If you’ve been looking to fish Alaska with a spey rod…June is the perfect month for it!  We will be offering two featured weeks, June 11-18 and June 18-25, where the focus will be swinging flies. In the spring the trout are hungry and aggressive, and will absolutely attack streamers and mice.  This offers a great opportunity to work on your technique with a lot of positive reinforcement.  During the week of 18th-25th we will shift our attention towards swinging for kings.  There’s not much that can compare to hooking a 20+ pound king on a spey rod. When fishing for rainbows we recommend a 11′-12.5′ 6wt switch or spey rod.  Depending on the water conditions, and your preference, you could be fishing a mouse with a floating line or streamers on sink tips.  King fishing will be on the Nushagak and/or Alagnak, two of Alaska’s best salmon rivers.  We will be using 12.5′-14′ 9 or 10 weight spey rods and fishing heavy, with sink tips and big streamers. Experienced spey caster? Great!  We will get you right into fishing.  However, one of the best things about spey casting is that there’s always ways to improve.  So we can help you fine tune your casting motion and your fishing techniques. Never picked up a spey rod, or just getting started? Not a problem! On Monday we will offer an afternoon of spey casting instruction to get you started.  Whether you are a total beginner to fishing with a two-handed rod, or are looking to improve your skills, we will customize the instruction to your level and goals.  Over the course of the week we will keep working with you to give you a solid foundation to build on. Spring in Alaska Of course we can’t talk about June in Alaska without mentioning the weather!  The average highs are in the low 60’s and there’s that midnight sun.  All of that sunlight makes for a stunning landscape with bright greens and all shades of vibrant wild flowers.  With daily fly outs you really get a chance to enjoy all the different scenery from the ground, and the sky.  It’s a great time of year for Alaskan adventures! Contact us for more details or to book your spot!  

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Hosted Trip to the Seychelles and Zambia

Hosted Trip to the Seychelles and Zambia

Lodge owner, John Holman, will be hosting a once-in-a-lifetime fly fishing trip to Alphonse Island, Seychelles and along Zambia’s Lower Zambezi River in Africa. Your journey starts with the tropical paradise of Alphonse Island, situated in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.  This legendary fly fishing destination will put your right in the heart of a fishery that is renowned for its density of bonefish, Indo-Pacific Permit and the huge Giant Trevally to name a few of the 60 species that are worthy fly rod species.  The professional guiding team will maximize your chances of getting in to the fish each day by sharing their knowledge and passion of the area and its fish species and how best to target them. There are few experiences as rewarding as being able to drift one of the world’s largest rivers with a fly rod in hand and a back drop of true wilderness that is home to most of Africa’s big game which you will next experience at Chiawa Camp in Zambia.  Your main focus on the river will be to target the tiger fish.  This species is well known as being pound for pound one of the best fighting fish in the world.  These incredibly beautiful fish have a tendency to get airborne the second they are hooked and are a species that are a “must” for any serious fly fisherman.   The bony jaws, interlocking teeth and lightning fast strike of a tiger fish makes it a formidable target and a worthy trophy for anyone who succeeds in landing one.  Combining this opportunity with the chance to view Africa’s big game in close proximity from the comfort of an open land-rover or from the boat as you drift the river, makes for an incredible blend of fly fishing and safari. The trip will be October 12-26 2018, at a cost of $17,700 per person.  We trust that this encounter targeting some of the world’s top fly fishing species alongside Africa’s wildlife will be an unforgettable experience! Regards, John Holman and Essential Africa Guided Safaris

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2017 Season in Review

2017 Season in Review

Once again Bristol Bay’s incredible salmon runs made a spectacular return with excellent numbers of sockeye, silvers, chum and notable kings in a few rivers.  The sockeye run started a little late but made up for the delay with big numbers.  According to Alaska Dept of Fish and Game, 56.5 million fish returned to Bristol Bay.  The 2nd largest run in the last 20 years.  Of those the Kvichak saw 3,163,404 fish, 2,041,824 went up the Alagnak and 1,899,972 in the Naknek.  This resulted in spectacular trout fishing throughout the region.  Our silver salmon return was way up from 2016 also and provided many excellent days.  Our weather was pretty standard with rivers at a good level in the spring, dropping for a few weeks and coming up later in the season. 2017 saw a few notable changes at No See Um: We replaced N65223 with N67251 (read more about the Beavers).  This was a nice upgrade in aircraft with 251 recently undergoing a complete rebuild and sitting on brand new floats. We built a new custom bar in the main guest lodge complete with two Alaskan craft brews on tap. Our wood fired sauna has always been very popular but not always easy to use.  This year we converted it to a combination electric/#1 heating oil giving a much greater heat range and ease of use. We did a complete rework and upgrade on our water system with all new showers, toilets and supply system.  This resulted in excellent pressure and temp even at maximum usage. The crew was mostly a repeat of the year before, it was this experience level and continued dedication that made for one of the best seasons I can remember. 2017 marked my 25th year working at No See Um as a pilot/guide and 10 years at the helm.  I’ve seen a lot of change in SW Alaska during that time, primarily ever increasing pressure on our rivers.  One would expect to see a decline in fishing.  While I have seen a few rivers suffer, many are producing more and bigger fish than they did 20 years ago.  Education, catch and release laws, clean water and abundant food have mitigated much of the impact but we constantly struggle to keep things going in the right direction. 2018 is already shaping into an even better year.  The big salmon return of 2017 means another incredible spring fishery with fat and numerous trout in all our rivers.  This will be the third year in a row of good returns,  last spring was better than the previous and I fully expect the next to be even better.  Most of the staff will be back and we have added some excellent talent. Thank you to everyone that visited us and we all look forward to seeing you again soon. Sincerely, John Holman

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Save Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine Project

Save Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine Project

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

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Five Tenkara Fly Fishing Techniques That Really Work

Five Tenkara Fly Fishing Techniques That Really Work

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 […]

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The Great Big List of Fly Fishing Tips

The Great Big List of Fly Fishing Tips

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 […]

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