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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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How to Choose Fly Fishing Waders – Wading Through the Basics

How to Choose Fly Fishing Waders – Wading Through the Basics

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 […]

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5 Fly Fishing Flies That You Should Cast More Often

5 Fly Fishing Flies That You Should Cast More Often

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 […]

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Alaska’s Four Unofficial Fly Fishing Seasons

Alaska’s Four Unofficial Fly Fishing Seasons

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 […]

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