Fly fishing and adventure go together like pizza and beer. By nature, an adventure is not defined by some pre-canned success story. Adventure is defined by an unknown outcome. And, as it turns out, the Alaska wilderness is a perfect canvas for genuine adventure and the unexpected. In the words of one of Alaska’s great explorers and bush pilots Paul Claus, “Everything here is bigger, larger, harder and tougher than it looks. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or how great shape you are in, if you come here, you’ll contend with the Alaskan factor.” For this group of anglers, that’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
The goal of this expedition was simple – to use packrafts as a tool to explore and fish an extremely remote and braided river system, much of which is not accessible with larger rafts. The simple and no frills nature of packrafting offers the ultimate in flexibility and mobility. In climbing, they call it going alpine style – lightweight, fast, efficient. For an angler, this means accessing countless small channels and mouse-eating trout without the worry of dead ends, portages, and extra baggage.
This trip was not a first descent on an unnamed river. It was not some epic of mankind’s quest through the uncharted. But, after going 100 river miles without seeing another human soul, it felt like it. To revel in the unknown is the greatest thrill for an angler. And when it’s all over, the fishing, the adventure, and the solitude all culminate into a shared experience with the company you keep.