Fishing

Welcome to the world of fly fishing in Alaska where you’re cordially invited to wade right in and read all about the greatest outdoor sport on the planet. We admit it. We’re insanely partial to posting about everything that makes the hearts of trout bums beat a little bit faster. You have to admit it too. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t share our passion for the art of a careful cast and a perfect presentation.

What do we cover in this section of our ongoing and always-entertaining blogs? We post about sockeyes and bows and dolly varden. We share fishing tips and angling tricks. We laugh at some of the worst fly fishing advice we’re ever heard, and then we turn into softies teaching the kids in our lives how to cast. If you love variety, climb aboard, and start reading. It’s the next best thing to hanging out with us in front of the lodge fireplace.

Fly Fishing Show 2019

Fly Fishing Show 2019

Below are the shows that we will be attending (Denver, Edison, and Atlanta), but you can check out the full schedule here. DENVER, CO Dates: January 4, 5, & 6, 2019 TimeFriday: 10am – 6pmSaturday: 9am – 5:30pmSunday: 9am – 4:30pm Location: Denver Mart451 East 58th AvenueDenver, CO 80216-8470 A Note from the Director:You are cordially invited to the 18th Annual Denver Fly Fishing Show. We have expanded floor space yet again with additional areas and features, and presentations … now more than 10 per hour for three full days! Some of the highlights include:•New 2019 products from manufacturers.•Programs and learning opportunities for youngsters and families.•New scouting merit badge program.•Women’s Fly Fishing Showcase with a stand-alone exhibitor venue focused on the woman angler.•Casting demos and instruction with Simon Gawesworth, Gary Borger, Tom Larimer, Landon Mayer, Jeff Currier, and more!•Fly tying with Ed Engle, Dave Whitlock, Charlie Craven, Pat Dorsey and more!•Classes with the Experts where you can get one-on-one time with the pros.•The most extensive list of speakers to date.•Lodges, resorts, exotic vacation destinations offering money-saving show specials.•Live, on site, fly fishing tattoo artists.•The must see International Fly Fishing Film Festival World Premier on Friday at 6:30 featuring award-winning fly-fishing films.•New rods, reels, lines, accessories, clothing, waders, boots, books, DVDs and anything else you may want to purchase, plus our exclusive author’s booth.•Conservation organizations and opportunities to volunteer for the sport you cherish.Every day of the Denver Fly Fishing Show offers something different. You can’t see it all in one day, so plan on the weekend. Bring your friends and family for some fun at the biggest consumer fly fishing event to take place west of the Delaware River.See you there. Ben Furimsky and The Fly Fishing Show Family EDISON, NJ Dates: January 25, 26 & 27, 2019 TimeFriday: 9am – 6pmSaturday: 8:30am – 6pmSunday: 9am – 4:30pm Location: The New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center97 Sunfield Ave.Edison, NJ 08837 Fly Fishers International (FFI) is pleased to offer FREE fly fishing instruction at the Learning Center located on the main show floor.  Basic fly-casting, fly-tying, and knots, will be taught throughout the day-every day of the Fly Fishing Show. ATLANTA, GA Dates: February 1 & 2, 2019 TimeFriday: 9am – 6pmSaturday: 9am – 5:30pm Location: Infinite Energy Center (formerly Gwinnett Center)6400 Sugarloaf ParkwayDuluth, Georgia 30097 A Note from the Director:You are cordially invited to the Third Annual Atlanta Fly Fishing Show, the largest fly fishing-only extravaganza in the Southeast. See the newest rods, reels, clothing, accessories, lodges and camps along with non-stop fly-tying and casting demonstrations. Some of the highlights include:• New 2019 products from manufacturers.• Programs and learning opportunities for youngsters and families.• Casting demos and instruction with Gary Borger, Mac Brown, Kevin Howell and more!• Fly tying with Dave Whitlock, Ed Engle, Tim Flagler and more!• Classes with the Experts where you can get one-on-one timewith the Pros.• Lodges, resorts, exotic vacation destinations offering money-saving show specials and destination seminars.• The must-see International Fly Fishing Film Festival on Friday at6:30 […]

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Pebble Mine Update

Pebble Mine Update

The following five or six paragraphs are about the Pebble Mine and to summarize, we need your support now more than ever! Even if you don’t have time or desire to read the info, please take a minute and click on the link https://gifts.tu.org/bristolbay to donate to TU and be a part of protecting the last great trout and salmon fishery in the world. PLEASE! As most of you are aware,  the battle to protect our waters from the largest open pit mining plan in north America is still going.  Our current federal and state administration is less than favorable to our efforts and because of this the mining company has a window of opportunity that may never happen again. Sensing a political window of opportunity, last December the Pebble Partnership applied for a major permit needed to build their mine. The Army Corps of Engineers is advancing a rushed and weak review process for Pebble’s key permit. On top of that, Alaskans elected a new, development-friendly Governor in the midterm election, lost allies in the state legislature, and didn’t pass a ballot measure that would have made it more difficult for Pebble Mine to proceed. To make matters worse, Governor Dunleavy has since appointed a pro Pebble commissioner (yet to be confirmed) to the Department of Environmental Conservation, who will oversee the issuance of key state-level permits.    Knowing they have a limited amount of cash and political capital, Pebble is doubling down on persuading Alaskans to support the mine in advance of a critical public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) expected in the first half of 2019.  A 20-page full-color brochure from the Pebble Partnership arrived in tens of thousands of Alaskan mailboxes just days after Alaska’s new Governor Dunleavy was elected. The mailer complimented several lunch-and-learn events, trip giveaway, and a series of presentations to community groups across the state. Clearly seeking to win social license, each touted misleading information about a smaller mine, minimal impacts to fish, and dams that can withstand massive earthquakes.  We have several powerful opportunities in 2019 that will push back against Pebble’s recent public relations campaign. With your generous support, we will turn Alaskans and sportsmen and women out in opposition to Pebble Mine during the DEIS public comment period, hire scientific experts to review the DEIS, make scientific and legal cases that Pebble’s permit should not be granted, and ensure that the proposed Pebble Mine remains toxic to decision makers and investors alike. We need to raise at least $500,000 by Spring 2019 to ensure we hold the line as Pebble pushes forward.  Why TU’s Alaska Program? People like you care about the future of Bristol Bay and want to see it remain a special place. Because of past investments made by people like you, Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program has built a powerful network of sportsmen and women who also care about Bristol Bay and its world-class fishery. TU and this network stand ready to continue to […]

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Looking forward to 2019

Looking forward to 2019

After finishing up the 2018 season at the lodge and having some time to contemplate the lessons learned from this past season and how we would like to improve going forward.  We have decided to make a couple of changes for the upcoming 2019 season. In order to offer a couple of single-occupancy rooms we will be reducing the number of guests at the lodge from 12 to 10.  This will allow us to offer two single-occupancy rooms at a rate of $12,000 and four double-occupancy rooms at a rate of $10,500.  The two single rooms will be sold on a first-come first-serve basis. On Mondays your round-trip charter flight from Anchorage to King Salmon will be with a local air taxi, Katmai Air.  We will book those flights for you and that cost is included in the weekly rate. The flight out to the lodge will depart Anchorage at 3:00pm.  You will need to check-in to the Katmai Air’s Lake Hood office (4125 Aircraft Drive) by 2:00pm.  Most hotels with an airport shuttle will bring you to Lake Hood, but you might want to confirm before booking any hotel rooms.  Our planes will meet you in King Salmon, and once at the lodge you will have time to unpack, get settled, and unwind with a cocktail and appetizers before dinner.  Guides will be available to help you set-up and evaluate your gear. The return flight to Anchorage will be the following Monday morning.  You will want to book connecting flights after 2pm to allow time for any weather delays.  Katmai Air will have a shuttle at Lake Hood to bring you to Ted Stevens International Airport, or to nearby hotels. There will also be a couple new faces on our staff this summer.  We would like to welcome Kris Robinson (pilot/Guide) and Chace Booth (Guide).  Both are valuable additions to our staff and we are excited to have them.  You can read more on our Fishing Guide page. We certainly hope that these changes will lead to an improved experience at the lodge!  If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback please feel free to call or email.

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Christmas Wish List

Christmas Wish List

Looking for Christmas ideas?  We know that the internet is full of gift giving lists right now.  So instead, here’s a list of companies where you can get some awesome products and feel good about it.  Each of these companies are giving back and supporting conservation.  If we missed any companies doing good things please let us know in the comments!

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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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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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