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4 Tips for Landing Big Fish

on Tuesday, 09 December 2014. Posted in Article

By Lee Kuepper

bigfishphoto

Congrats, you are elbow deep into the biggest fish of your life. The set was good, the first run did not completely spool you, and his head is turned back upriver. It's now time for the battle. A dirty, one-on-one, fist vs. fin fight, that will test your stamina both physically and mentally. Akin to any epic battle throughout history, the most prepared will generally prevail.

Here are my top 4 tips that will put more tails in your hands than tears.

1. Know your gear. Understanding the amount of pressure you can put on a fish, and the amount of power that is applied by each click for your drag knob, is critical in getting more big fish to hand. Worry not, there is a quick shortcut to knowing your gear and it can be done anywhere. Start by rigging your rod exactly as it would be on the water, except for the fly. Lash the tippet onto something sturdy (ball hitches are perfect) and back up about 30 feet. Slowly start increasing your drag while pulling on the rod. The goal here is to find the point at which your drag tension will cause the leader to break. Mastering this variable will allow you to know exactly how much pressure you can put into the fish. It is always surprising how tight you can keep your drag without breaking the leader. I can't stress enough how important this is when battling leviathans such as king salmon.

2. Use your butt. Don't work harder than the fish. Just because you are sweating, it doesn't mean the fish is. The take home message here kids is that the higher your rod tip goes in the air, the less pressure the fish feels. Really winching down on a big fish is best done with the rod bent at an angle less than 45 degrees from the butt of the rod. The moment the rod passes 45 degrees, you start working harder and accomplishing less. So when a heavy hand is needed, buckle down, drop your tip low and to the side, and start using the powerful butt section of your rod.

leewithking

3. Know his moves before he does. A big fish will almost always take some major head-shaking runs downstream. This big surge is usually accompanied by a state of panic, leaving the angler rushed to try and stop him.

Remember that stuff underneath your fly line, and how much of it you put on? That's what it is there for. Let that fish run a bit. Regardless of how brawny and chrome the fish is, it still needs to turn up river to breathe. In my experience, reducing the amount of pressure you are putting on a fish during a big run will most often result in the fish turning around in a more expeditious fashion. He needs to breathe, so slow your roll, ease up, and encourage him turn around.

4. Be prepared to throw your tip in the water. When that fish finally turns around and starts surging back in your direction faster than you can recover, throw your tip in the water and keep reeling. The current will pull your fly line taught against the fish, while you try and recover the slack. Do not stop reeling or stripping until you come tight with the fish, or at least pick up enough line to hook up your rod and proceed to cry in the back of the boat.

Be sure to check back with us in future posts, where we will go further in detail on each one of these tips. As always, If you enjoyed this article please share it.

Lee Kuepper is professional guide now calling the Kenai River home. He is a co-owner of Alaska's Angling Addiction, chasing the Kenai's monster kings and fabled trout on a regular basis. He is also a member of Loop USA's prostaff and a Certified Fly Casting Instructor through the FFF.

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5 Basic Tips for Planning Alaska

on Tuesday, 25 November 2014. Posted in Article

By Cory Luoma, AlaskaFlyOut.com

bearsfishing

I have heard many people say that one of the most enjoyable parts of a vacation is the preparation for it. Well, I got to say; I think that's a bunch of bushwa! I hate wading through websites, psychoanalyzing email correspondence, and picking the brains of my half-wit bar mates that have "done it all". And, when it comes to vacations in Alaska, there are just too many options. To make things worse, the worldwide web is completely saturated with ridiculous claims, search engine manipulation, and pure marketing dung from the Great North. I won't even mention the reality TV shows.

My commentary is not meant to diminish the majesty of Alaska. I myself have built a business around the jaw dropping fishing and adventure opportunities in the 49th state. The landscapes, fishing quality, and wildness are simply incomparable. Unfortunately, trip planning for Alaska can be equally mind-boggling. Consider the following: Fish runs, lodge rates, quality of accommodations, guide reputation, discounts, safety, inclusions, exclusions, the dining program, travel details, availability, lodge culture, scenery, non-fishing activities, insurance, fish species, gear, and gratuity. Got it?

Take a deep breath and start here; it's all worth it. Here are 5 basic tips for planning a trip to Alaska.

1. Consult an Alaska Expert or Travel Specialist

What every angler and adventure traveler wants is a perfect fit per their interests. Don't play Alaska Lodge roulette! Find a reputable travel specialist that is experienced with AK – Ehem! These services are free. There are many guides, veteran anglers, and travel professionals that have first hand knowledge of the different Alaska adventure and specific lodges. Whether you are planning your first trip to the Last Frontier, or you would like a 2nd opinion on a new adventure, there are resources out there to help. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Or, better yet, let someone else do it for you.

2. Book Early

The best lodges in Alaska have incredibly high return rates. In many cases, guests have the first right of refusal for returning the same time next year, which means there can be few openings for new anglers. Your best chance to get a high-demand date is to book 6-12 months in advance.

3. Choosing the Right Type of Operation

There are many types of fishing and adventure offerings in Alaska. In fact, it's an outright wilderness of options out there. Each lodge/company is unique in their culture, fishing operations, and other services they offer. Trying to classify the variety is a task – one with a lot of gray area. With that said, this is my attempt to categorize the Alaska fishing trip types:

• Fly Out Lodge ($$$) – The most exclusive and luxury way to see and fish Alaska. These operations fly to different remote rivers, lakes and ocean locations daily. A fly out lodge allows you to experience the wonderful variety of Alaska, in addition to accessing the most remote fisheries in North America. For many, just the views from the air and the daily flight experience are worth the price of admission. In addition to having the most versatile and mobile fishing options, in general, Fly Out lodges offer extraordinary accommodations and dining.

• Fly-In or Wilderness Lodges ($$) – Naturally, these lodges are located in remote locations, away from the road system, and only accessibly by air. A fly-in or wilderness lodge can be located on a lake system, ocean bay, or river; and it is this homewater that is the foundation for their fishing programs. This type of operation does not have a daily fly out routine, but sometimes, fly out options may be available as an add-on. The meals and accommodations vary, from borderline luxury to "homestyle" country cabin and cooking.

• Float Trips ($ - $$) – A classic Alaska adventure focusing on a genuine wilderness experience, self-reliance, and a world-class fishing adventure. Despite the "roughing-it" nature of a float trip, most outfitters provide tent and bedding accommodations that are surprisingly comfortable, and the food always tastes good after a long day on the river. This is a great option for those fishermen and women who are looking for quality in fishing without all the fluff. If adventure is your passion, a float trip may be the best fit and value for your vacation.

• Guide Service ($) – Individuals with a reputation. That is how we define the "guide service" category. Their strength is in intimate knowledge of the fishery, personal attention, and outstanding customer service. In most cases, a guide service will be able to provide food and accommodations with partnering lodging.

4. Look for Discounts and Cancellation Prices

Often times, lodges have discounted weeks that are traditionally difficult to book. These weeks can be a great deal if you act on them while they are available. And, you won't sacrifice much in your Alaska experience or world-class fishing. On occasion, lodges will offer up to 50% off as a result of a last minute cancellation. The most up-to-date lodge specials can be found at AlaskaFlyOut.com.

5. Find Reviews

User reviews are an excellent way to get genuine and honest information on a particular lodge, outfitter, or operation. Guest testimonials displayed on a company website are mostly handpicked, and usually a small sample size of the overall experience. Customer reviews are raw, showing the true quality of the product. Don't limit yourself to just looking at the rating or score, but read the comments, where the most detailed and valuable information can be found. Popular review sites that are linked through AlaskaFlyOut.com are Trip Advisor and Yelp.

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Mousing Alaska - Video

on Tuesday, 16 September 2014. Posted in Alaska Fly Fishing & Adventure Films, Article, Video

Mighty Mouse - Aniak River Lodge

KATIEMOUSE

The Fly Out team made a visit this past July to Aniak River Lodge in Western Alaska. If you've already watched the video above, then you'll understand why we are going back. The mousing on the Aniak is unlike anything we've ever experienced in Alaska - anywhere. Despite plenty of salmon eggs and flesh underwater, these rainbows are consistently looking up! Katie and I spent 90% of the time throwing a mouse pattern, but you could certainly wear yourself out "catching" with leeches, flesh patterns, beads, etc. The guides were great, the accommodations are clean and comfortable, and the fishing was off the charts. I won't mention numbers to avoid the onslaught of doubters and naysayers, but let's just say, the trout population is impressive. Serious anglers that would like to experience top water action with quality Alaska rainbows, look no further. 

For 2015, we made early reservations for the prime mousing weeks at Aniak River Lodge. We'd like you to join us. Limited spots available. Call 406.781.7184 or Email for booking inquiries.  

SPECIAL MOUSING WEEKS - $5,395 Per Person 

'What is "INCLUDED" in my Aniak fishing trip package?

  • 7-nights lodging / 6-days of guided fishing with experienced guides
  • All flies and terminal tackle
  • Airport pickup by ARL staff in Aniak
  • Cabin and/or Weatherport Accommodations - based on double occupancy
  • Daily Room Service
  • Delicious meals
  • Soft drinks, fruit juices, bottled water and snacks
  • Guide-operated boat, outboard, cooler, hot coffee thermos, and prepared lunches on fishing days.

What is "NOT INCLUDED" in my Aniak fishing trip package?

  • Your commercial airfare to Aniak, Alaska
  • Personal expenditures
  • Gratuities for the guides and staff
  • Hotel in Anchorage awaiting flight into Aniak (if applicable)
  • Extra day hotel stays in Aniak or Anchorage (if applicable)
  • Airport departure taxes (if applicable)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Fly Fishing Equipment (rods, reels, waders, etc.)
  • Cold weather/water gear

Trip Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://alaskaflyout.com/article/page-4#sigProIdd7d081ea4b

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Alaska Float Trip - Kanektok River

on Monday, 25 August 2014. Posted in Alaska Fly Fishing & Adventure Films, Article, Video

from Chris Morgan

Nothing like a wilderness fly fishing trip to bring you back down to planet Earth. These guys did it right, taking a 11 days to float down the remote Kanektok River in southwest Alaska for the fishing trip of a lifetime. Shot and edited by Chris Morgan (twosherpas.com).

Watch the extended version below. 

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Alaska Salmon Camp Special - 50% Off

on Wednesday, 30 April 2014. Posted in Specials , Article

Yantarni Salmon Camp by Crystal Creek Lodge

yantarnispecialblog

Special Package Details: Discount Code FOM50

  • 5-Day/5-Night Trip - $2,550 Per Person (Normally $5,100)
  • Dates: Aug 25 - Sept 1, 2014 (Primetime Silvers)
  • Included: Accommodations, Meals, Guide Services, Flies, Lures, 25 lbs of Processed Fish, Unlimited Fishing Time
  • Not Included: Air Transportation between Your Home and King Salmon, Fishing Licenses, Personal Fishing Gear, Alcoholic Beverages, Gratuity
  • Description

The Yantarni Salmon Camp is a wilderness tent camp 125 miles south of King Salmon and is an experience and trip distinct from the fine lodging and fly out trip offered by it's parent operation, Crystal Creek Lodge. A trip to Yantarni is for hard-core fishing enthusiasts seeking a high-volume wilderness Alaska Silver Salmon fishing experience. Days can pass without hearing the sound of an aircraft and the only fishing competition is from your fellow campmates.
Fishing Program

The fishing experience at Yantarni is high- volume salmon fishing for Chum, Pink and Silver Salmon in small coastal streams. Fishing time while at the camp is unlimited. The main stream, within walking distance from the camp, fills with ocean-fresh salmon as well as sea-run Dolly Varden. Two other prolific salmon streams are close by to give a total of three streams within easy reach of camp.

The best salmon holes are those at tidewater, about a mile from camp, and the guides transport fishermen from the camp to the tidewater holes using ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles). The streams are small enough to wade across most places at low tide and at high tide a good fly caster can reach well past the center.

As the salmon enter the stream from the ocean, they can be seen porpoising the surface as they arrive with the tides. The water clarity is often so clear it is possible to see and cast to specific fish. The roar of the nearby surf before you and majesty of the mountains behind you only add to the sweetness of the experience.

Being so close to the Ocean, the salmon are very aggressive; willing to hit a fly with abandon, often within moments after it hits the water and before the angler is ready. Persons who do not fly fish can use jigs with similar results. If weather and water conditions are right the fish will strike surface poppers.
Accommodations & Dining

As one would expect from a camp managed by Crystal Creek Lodge, it is a comfortable place featuring heated wall tents, hot showers and delicious food. The accommodations consist of heavy-duty wall tents with wood floors. The guest tents feature wood burning stoves, electric lights, carpet, and comfortable beds with sheets and down comforters. The kitchen/dining tent provides ample space for comfortable dining and evening social activities. The shower tent and lavatory facilities have an inexhaustible supply of hot water, and the water, which is pumped from a well, is as clean and pure as you will ever find. There is a flush toilet for guests.
Meals are cooked and served "home style" in the dining hall. Breakfasts can be chosen hearty as sausage and eggs or light as oatmeal or fruit. Streamside shore lunches of fresh salmon are a camp specialty. Dinner entrees include prime rib, roasted chicken and fresh salmon with side dishes.

Discount Code FOM50

Contact Us:  | 406.781.7184 | AlaskaFlyOut.com | Yantarni.com

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Alaska Ski Tour in the Wood-Tikchik

on Tuesday, 25 March 2014. Posted in Article, Video

Aniak to Dillingham - 250 Miles

From thingstolucat.com

Derek Collins and I skied from Aniak to Dillingham through Wood-Tikchik State Park (Alaska). Our route was 250 miles, and it took us 14 days. The highlight of the trip was ice skating ~50 miles of the route on nordic skates. We were stomped by a storm the entire second week.

Earlier this winter Joe Stock proposed we do a fly-in ski traverse of the Wood-Tikchik mountains in Southwest Alaska. The Wood-Tikchiks are a freshwater fjord system, big mountains to the west, U-shaped glacial valleys (the lakes), and rolling hills (moraine) to the east. I was really excited to do another trip with Joe because I can learn so much from him. After scoping the area in Google Earth, I was really impressed with the 4000-ft relief, granitic and glaciated, at the northern end of the mountains, so I proposed we fly in for steep skiing, then tour out to Dillingham. At the last minute Joe had to bail, and without him there was no funding to fly in.

I met Derek Collins a few years ago when he came to the Brooks Range for the Winter Classic. We didn't travel together, but Thomas Bailly and Roman Dial were really impressed with him. Early in the course Roman borrowed one of Derek's ski poles and accidentally broke it. Derek just shrugged it off. Since hearing that, I've invited him on a number of trips, but living in Jackson Hole with two kids, he hasn't been able to make other trips.

Derek was particularly interested in this route because he spent 6 years growing up in Aleknagik, the village at the southern end of the Wood-Tikchik lakes, and Dillingham. We discovered an almost spooky number of similarities. Derek moved to Aleknagik at age 4, from Salmon, Idaho. I moved to McGrath (up the Kuskokwim River from Aniak) at age 4, from Missoula. He moved into Anchorage for 4th grade, I moved in for 8th. We are both quiet, a little socially awkward, and uncomfortable with the party scene. It gets even weirder... our older brothers, Dirk and Burke, are both pro videographers. Dirk was a co-founded of TGR, now sole owner of One Eyed Bird, and Burke has Things to Look At. It was fun thinking of what project they would put together... Girls Gone Wilderness?

Read More 

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EPA considers blocking massive gold mine proposed for Alaska

on Friday, 28 February 2014. Posted in Article, Conservation

from The Washington Post

clayton5

By Juliet Eilperin, Updated: February 28 at 10:48 am

The Environmental Protection Agency will announce Friday it will examine whether to block a massive gold and copper mine proposed in Alaska, according to people familiar with the issue -- a major win for environmentalists, native tribes and commercial fishing companies that have been seeking to kill the project for more than three years.

While the announcement does not mean the Obama administration has made a final decision to prohibit Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., a Canadian-based firm, from starting construction on the Pebble Mine project, it will delay it for months and make it much harder for the controversial project to move ahead at all.

Read More Here

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Please Help the Bristol Bay River Academy

on Thursday, 27 February 2014. Posted in Article, Video

Sponsor a Participant

The Bristol Bay River Academy is now planning for its sixth year. The mission of the Academy is to impart to the youth of Bristol Bay - the joy of fly fishing, the practices of a professional fishing guide, the skills needed to work at a fishing lodge, an appreciation of the habitat complexity of the Bristol Bay salmon ecosystem and an understanding of the conservation tools available to protect that ecosystem. The annual Academy accepts 12 to 15 participants.

How You Can help - Sponsor a Participant

There is no charge to the young people accepted into the Academy. There is no charge for the assistance we provide to graduates of the Academy who want to pursue opportunities to work in conservation or the recreational fishing community of Bristol Bay. We can do this because of the the generous support of many individuals, businesses and organizations. A simple way to help is to sponsor an academy participant for $250. That donation helps cover the cost of air transportation for a participant from his or her village to the lodge hosting the academy.

You can donate online directly here --------------> DONATE

If you are an Alaskan resident you can provide a donation to the Academy by designating the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust for a portion of your Permanent Fund Dividend under the Pick, Click, Give program.

If you are interested in helping in other ways email us.

Help us create opportunities for the next generation of Bristol Bay residents that are linked to healthy fish habitat.

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Andrea Larko Fish Art - Steelhead Progression

on Friday, 21 February 2014. Posted in Article, Video

The Art of Angling

I've been seeing these really cool fish illustrations pop up on the Fly Out social media feeds for the past year or so from an Andrea Larko. I kept seeing these really unique pieces of digital art, paintings, color pencil, etc. I'm not an artist (in the traditional sense), but her work really struck me. I asked Andrea if we could do a progression series on AlaskaFlyOut.com with a steelhead piece she would be commissioned to do. The video above is the result. 

Find out more about this super talented artist at AndreaLarko.com. And, you can purchase Andrea's art at her etsy site

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Alaska's Igiugig Lodge Trip Report

on Thursday, 13 February 2014. Posted in Article

By Cory Luoma

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 10.23.38 AMBrad Waitman at Igiugig Lodge graciously invited us to his lodge for a couple days of fishing and filming for our recent fly fishing film, Long Live the King. Located at the mouth of the Kvichak River and the outlet of Alaska's famous Lake Iliamna, sits his humble, family-run fishing lodge. The beach front location on the giant lake makes it feel you are on the ocean somewhere - maybe the Oregon Coast. Waves were licking the shore, and we really felt like we were out there - in the REAL Alaska. Brad runs a small operation, hosting just 4-6 guests per week. Brad is a pilot and a guide. So, he flies a Cessna 206 to many different fisheries in Bristol Bay and Katmai National Park, where he puts his 29+ years of Alaska guiding experience to work for you. The truth is, the guy is a fish hound. I mean he is fish nuts! One of those guys that has a sixth sense, and just knows how find fish, with every type of tackle and skill level. We asked Brad to try put us on King Salmon on fly rods on the very large Nushagak River, which does not naturally lend itself to fly fishing. Nevertheless, Brad was able to put us in the right spots at the right time for outstanding success. Nothing like having an ocean bright King Salmon tearing line off your reel at slack tide! 

In addition to Brad's skills as a guide/pilot, he and his wife Brenda were incredibly generous hosts. The family atmosphere, good home-cooking, and comfortable accommodations made for a fantastic apres-fish experience. If you're looking for serious fishing, comfortable accommodations, with a first-class family owned lodge - consider Igiugig Lodge. 

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://alaskaflyout.com/article/page-4#sigProId1abd6cff07

What's Special about Igiugug Lodge: 

  • Homewater - Located on the Kvichak River, their operation is based on one of the most productive fisheries in Bristol Bay for both salmon and giant rainbows. When weather doesn't allow you to fly, it will not affect your day of fishing. It just might improve it. 
  • Small Group Exclusivity - The lodge is available as exclusive with just 4 anglers. 
  • Serious Anglers Take Note - If you're interested in fishing and fishing hard for a solid week, you've found the right place. If you want to swing for the world's hottest rainbows on the Kvichak with one of Alaska's most experienced guides, Igiugig Lodge. 
  • Price - As a Bristol Bay operation offering fly outs, Igiugig Lodge's week rate sits at a modest $6,200. With special pricing available through us at Fly Out. Questions? Contact Us

 

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