Get a glimpse of the skiing and winter experience with Ultima Thule Lodge
Truly an incredible project working with Ultima Thule Lodge, Chris Davenport, and the Claus Family. This isn't heli-skiing. This is genuine winter adventure in one of the most awe-inspiring places on planet Earth.
Book your trip today!
When chasing down your 30 inch rainbow trout, head toward Alaska's "Big 3."
Each year thousands of anglers board a plane chasing the bounty of 49th state, taking a shot at hooking into the rainbow trout of their dreams. While other foreign destinations such as Russia and Argentina may produce some big fish, there is no doubt that the accessibility and accommodations of our Alaska fisheries, in combination with the wide array of time periods, make Alaska a very easy choice when you decide on where to go to hunt for your Troutzilla.
Similar to other waters throughout the country, Alaska has a benchmark length that is considered the "trophy" designation. In Alaska this mark is usually set at an astounding 30 inches. While there are many factors that come into play when embarking on this quest, the first step to improving your odds is choosing the right river system to target.
The "Big 3" is a term that people use to refer to the top three systems that tend to pump out more monster trout than any others in the state. Topping this list of legendary trout rivers are the Kvichak, Naknek, and the Kenai. While they are not the only rivers systems in the state that hold monster trout, there is no doubt that they produce more gigantic rainbows on a regular basis than any others in the state.
Prime dates on these rivers fill in fast, so anglers heading out would be well advised to call, and book their trip early.
Salmon Conservation Film by Mark Titus
When fishing guide/filmmaker Mark Titus learns why wild salmon populations plummeted in his native Pacific Northwest, he embarks on a journey to discover where the fish have gone and what might bring them back. Along the way, Titus unravels a trail of human hubris, historical amnesia and potential tragedy looming in Alaska – all conspiring to end the most sustainable wild food left on the planet.
Alaska Showings & Schedule
• 2/19 – Anchorage – Bear Tooth @ 8 p.m.
• 2/20 – Juneau – Rockwell Ballroom @ 7 p.m.
• 2/21–22 – Ketchikan – New York Café @ TBD (with Bristol Bay Sockeye dinner special)
• 2/24 – Fairbanks – Blue Loon @ 6 p.m.
• 2/26 – Dillingham – Middle School Gym @ 7:30 p.m. (with subsistence food potluck)
The Shangri-la of trout fishing, variety, and natural beauty is just a short, easy flight from Anchorage
South-Central Alaska holds a very special place in my heart. It was where I first cut my teeth guiding in this great state. The waters of the South Central region of Alaska are often under publicized, and overlooked. For the adventurous angler looking to score some great trout fishing, this region of Alaska is a true diamond in the rough.
River drainages such as the Susitna, Yentna and Copper reach far inland towards the towering mountains and glaciers of Denali and Wrangle-St.Elias National Parks. Eventually, they wind their way south, finding their terminus in the salty waters of Cook Inlet or the Gulf of Alaska. The clear, pristine headwaters that feed these massive systems provide some spectacular fishing for a wide variety of species. The trout fishing in particular is uniquely exceptional, perfectly catering to the angler that wants to try a wide variety of fly fishing techniques. Mousing, nymphing, beads, dry flies, smolt, and baitfish imitating methods are all productive ways to fish for the resident leopard rainbow trout of South-Central.
A variety of accommodation styles can be found throughout the region. Comfortable riverside and mountain lodges as well as multi-day remote wilderness float trips are all available to the traveling angler searching for their trout fishing vahalla. Access to many of these rivers is generally floatplane based. After the flight to the main lodge, anglers will then explore the area via jet boat, raft, or even helicopter.
Recently, I contacted a good guide friend of mine, Casper Leffel, to discuss his personal choices regarding fly selection throughout the waters of South-Central Alaska. Casper is a very experienced guide throughout the region. He began his career on Lake Creek, and has since guided on multiple other South-central watersheds including the Talachulitna. Casper is without a doubt a trout addict, and the passion shows in his guiding.
Here are his thoughts regarding fishing the waters of south-central Alaska for trout, and the flies you will want to bring along for your next trip out.
The Artist-in-Residence program was created on the premise that every one is touched by art, but few have the opportunity to witness it's creation, or have meaningful conversations with those who produce it. The idea is to blend fly fishing and the arts in an Alaskan setting; to expose the lodge's guests to writers, poets, painters, print makers, photographers, song writers and musicians in a manner that enriches their experience and encourages them to support the arts.
- July 20 to 27 - Photographer, Louis Cahill and painter, Bob White
- July 27 to August 3 - Poet and Writer, Larry Gavin and painter, Bob White
- August 1 to 8 - and - August 8 to 15 - Nashville Song Writers, Scott Laurent, Wynn Varble, David Turnbull, Bruce Wallace, and Earl Bud Lee.
If you have questions, or have an interest in joining us, contact Bristol Bay Lodge here
Alaska's Other Peak Season
Recently I had a discussion with a good friend of mine, Anthony Carruesco, regarding the unique and exciting fishing that we have each year in Alaska. We both were reminiscing on the springtime baitfish migration, agreeing that it can provide some of the most spectacular fishing for the big red-sides of Alaska.
Every river that has a salmon run, will also have a baitfish migration at one time or another. Specifically, river systems with heavy sockeye salmon returns provide some of the greatest near surface streamer fishing found anywhere in the world. As the snow melts, and spring starts to become summer, the fragile aelvin stage salmon begin to take shape. Now considered "fry," they move from their natal hatching grounds towards the lakes where they will grow before migrating to sea.
Not only do the fry stage salmon move during the Alaska spring, but various species of salmon "smolt" also migrate towards their salty feeding grounds, where they will spend a few years growing before returning back to their home water to spawn. Depending on the species, the "smolt" will vary in size and coloration, but in general they are larger than their "fry" cohorts.
Getting your fly hammered by trout that are acting more like a school of saltwater tuna is some of the most exciting trout fishing on the globe. Soft hands need not apply as there are no soft strikes here, every fly gets hammered, nearly pulling the rod out of your hands every single time. At times it can be slow, and patience is a must. But if you are positioned correctly, and the fish gods smile down upon you the way they sometimes do, you are in for the ride of your life.
Part 3 of 3
Growing my skills in the field of photography has been a passion of mine for many years now. We fly anglers are so fortunate to be surrounded by such relentless, awe-inspiring beauty. For this reason alone, I like to pick up a camera almost as much as I do the rod. Throughout the years, I have learned a lot and have realized a few common tips that really helped improve my imagery.
Look at the big picture
When searching for that perfect shot, I always make sure to try and capture the scale of where I am fishing. One of my favorite methods in doing so is by stepping way back with telephoto glass, allowing the lens to pull the angler and their surroundings into perspective. It's amazing how background objects like trees or mountains are pulled into the frame, allowing the viewer to grasp the full scope of the environment.
Channel your inner Miss. Cleo
After spending years on the river, anglers begin to almost develop a psychic sense of what a fish is going to do. Most of the time this very unique skill is used to help land a fish more efficiently. Not only is this trait ideal for fishing, but as a photographer this trait can be used to predict special moments throughout the day. Acrobatics, blistering fast runs, and the look of despair on your buddies face when he's been manhandled all have an air of predictability when one is channeling their inner psychic. Make sure you're ready.
All in the details.
Macro photography is yet another way that we can change the way our sport is viewed. Instead of grabbing large scale images, stick to the specifics. Scales, fins, and eyes, all are intricacies that are unique to fishing. Capture the details and give focus to another level of beauty.
Part 2 - Understanding Your Camera's Priority Modes
By Angler's Alibi
Captain Landry was hard at work this past summer guiding flying and filming at Angler's Alibi. There really is some unique footage here, showcasing the incredible salmon runs and wildlife on the Alagnak River.
On a side note: For all those aspiring drone pilots, let's be respectful with these flying/photography tools so that we can continue to use them.
Part 2 of 3
I think taking on full manual control of a camera is a goal for any aspiring photographer looking to improve their skills. While it is very intimidating at first, learning manual control can be taken one step at a time through the use and understanding of the camera’s preset priority modes. In the last “Behind the Lens” article we discussed choosing the proper lens for your fishing photography. Building on that, I will briefly discuss using priority modes in preparation for takingon full manual control of your cameras settings.
Shutter Priority -
Outside of full manual control, using your cameras shutter priority mode (“S” on Canon or “Tv” on Nikon) is the best way to learn how to control the amount of movement and/or blur produced in your final image. Here, your camera allows you to choose the desired shutter speed, while it takes control of the remaining ISO and aperture settings. When trying to capture fly line in flight, or a fish doing mid-air cartwheels, you will find that cranking up the shutter to the maximum possible speed is necessary to get a sharp, clean image. While this is not exactly rocket science, it is necessary to understand completely. I can hold my camera steady at a shutter speed of 1/60th or faster by hand, but if I need to shoot any slower, a camera support is necessary to avoid blur in the final image.
The downside to using the shutter priority mode lies in the photographers inability to set the desired depth of field. Keeping this limiting factor in mind, I always enjoyed experimenting with the shutter speeds when trying to capture a fly line in flight. I would start at a low shutter speed, and continuously analyze how “frozen” the line and angler were as the speed was ramped up. Over time I realized that sometimes a little blur is a good thing, giving the image a sense of movement and action that a completely still frame does not have.