Blog - Alaska Fly Out

Intricate Bay Lodge - The Comeback

1 Year After Disaster, Intricate Bay Lodge is rebuilt and ready for fishing in 2015

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After a devastating fire consumed Intricate Bay Lodge a year ago, the eight owners decided to lick their wounds and go for the impossible: design, fabricate, ship and build a new replacement in a single year.

"We knew rebuilding off the grid in just one year would be a huge challenge, especially in this remote part of Alaska, but we were lucky enough to find a great collaborator who could fulfill our wish list", said Brian Harry, owner and manager of Intricate Bay Lodge.

The reincarnated lodge, erected on the same location, incorporates dozens of improvements suggested through the accumulated knowledge of many fishing expeditions. Guests will have spectacular views of Lake Iliamna, short boat or float plane rides to Alaska's unparalleled fishing, meals from the new gourmet kitchen, and a new hot tub to relax muscles worn from handling large fish.

"Since this is a small-scale, remote, off-the-grid, commercial fly fishing lodge in Alaska, every design choice was critical – driving cost, functionality and the business model itself," explains Harry.

"We are very grateful to the community for their help and support throughout this process. We're updating our IntricateBayLodge.com site, and are once again booking reservations. The lodge will operate for years and years to come, giving hundreds of people a dream-vacation experience in a very special place."

Anchorage By Winter - Timelapse Reel

By Zan Butler

From the Filmmaker:

So this is what I did over this past winter when I was not making people coffee.

It's all time-lapse footage shot in and around Anchorage, Alaska, with the emphasis on the nature around the city rather then on the people and buildings. This is a collection of the nicer stuff I shot of the northern lights, stars, sunset, and the tide. All of this was shot between October 2011 and April 2012.

Fishing Photography - Picking the Right Lens

Part 1 of 3

Fishing Photography Part 1

Recently, I have had a few people ask me about lens selection in regard to fishing photography. More precisely, "What is the best lens I can get for the majority of my fishing situations?" While I wish it were a simpler question to answer, the fact is, each lens type has its own pros and cons. Every individual lens captures emotions differently, almost as if they have their own unique "personality." Here's my rundown:

Wide-Angle - The Hank Patterson of Lenses

Wide Angle Lens

I think we all have that fishing buddy who always brings the party. They always bring the beer, and are fun as hell regardless of the fishing conditions. They often get worked up over every fish, and are relentless in hassling you after you farm a monster. Simply put, a wide-angle lens is more or less the "Hank Patterson" of camera gear.

I find that images taken with a wide-angle lens have their own special kind of excitement to them. This lens style has a tendency to separate a subject from its background by maximizing the foreground and minimizing the size of the background. This will in turn add a lot of depth to your imagery. I find I most commonly use my wide-angle lens for grip and grin, close up action, and just all around energetic fishing situations.

While this style lens has provided me with a lot of great images, it also comes with it's own set of disadvantages. Unless you are shooting landscape images, where you are trying to shoot an entire scene, capturing your subject full frame requires the camera to be tight to the subject. Mountain ranges, trees, and other parts of your background tend to shrink in comparison to your subject. So if you are looking at capturing the details of the background, you may need to go with a longer style lens. When used properly though, a wide-angle lens can be one of your favorites, and is a must have in any photographers arsenal.

My personal favorite is the Cannon 20mm F/2.8 Ultrawide. It provides crisp, energetic images with minimal distortion, and won't completely break your bank at about $539.

Those Moments - F3T Trailer

by Kokkaffe Media

A new film from the Kokkaffe Media team. A portion of the film explores the Kanektok in Western Alaska. Looks great!

From the Filmmaker:

THOSE MOMENTS is a feature film for the 2015 fly fishing festival cycle, following fly fishing guides on their day off. We start in Alaska with Hawkeye and Zac searching for giant, flesh-eating rainbows on the Kanektok River, then join Torrie and Josie on Andros, Bahamas, for some mellow bonefishing and finish in British Columbia, where Scott and Kara swing for steel on the Dean River.

Fill your Fly Box for Bristol Bay

Trout Flies for Bristol Bay

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There is no denying that Bristol Bay is known as one of the best regions in Alaska for the die hard trout angler. The Nushagak, Togiak, Kvichak, and Naknek are a few of the big rivers in Bristol Bay which support some of the largest naturally reproducing salmon runs in the world. These massive riverine ecosystems, rich in salmon, also produce giant rainbow trout. Prime time trout weeks get filled fast here with the best lodges in the region and with good reason. The clear waters, pristine habitat, and monster trout, make it a world-class angling destination.

One common question that visiting anglers all seem to ask is "what flies should I bring with me?" While most lodges provide you with all the necessary equipment, catching big trout with your own flies has a special feeling to it. So, without further delay, here is a list of my top 5 flies to bring along for the giant red-sides of Bristol Bay.


 

DollyLlama black whiteDolly Llama
The Dolly Llama dominates most Alaska trout boxes, and for good reason. The combination of bulk, movement, and all around fishiness make it a trout catching machine. According to guide Tyler Nonn (www.tidewatercharters.com), during the early season on the Kvichak, fly boxes are stocked with large leeches in purple or black/white color variations. Leech patterns like the Dolly Llama are a Bristol Bay standard and account for some donkey sized trout every year.

754Dirty Flesh
The springtime thaw accounts for a special kind of "hatch" each year. The frozen river banks give way to spring, and the salmon graveyards begin to thaw, washing the carcasses back into the river. The trout know this and have a special place in their hearts for the early season protein. While it may not seem like it, a dirty, off-white colored flesh fly is always a good choice early on in the year

trout beads fly fishing selection10mm bead
Yes, I said it. Condemn me as a cheater all you want, there is no doubt that beads are one of the most productive and therefor controversial patterns on the planet. While some "purists" prefer to not use them, there is no doubt that the little plastic ball is an Alaska staple. A varied range of colors and sizes are necessary to properly match all the egg variations in the river. If you were to only grab one size though, it would probably be the 10mm version. Carrying an array of colors, from milkier pinks to fresh red, will keep you in the fish for the majority of the season.

753Articulated Fresh Flesh
You can smell it in the late summer and fall. The salmon that were once charging upriver in masses are now looking like extras for AMC's "Walking Dead." While it may not seem very appealing to you or me, trout are addicted to salmon flesh. It is more or less the crack cocaine of the underwater world and often times the bigger the fly the better. Remember, the size of some of these trout can be incredible. Like, "deep throat a softball" big. Articulated flesh in particular is one my favorites. Carry it in a few variations of pink, orange and white and you'll be set.

sculpin lt olive medMorrish Sculpin
Similar to the Dolly Llama, the Morrish sculpin is another Alaska staple. Regardless of the time of year, sculpin will scurry along the riverbed feeding and running from hungry trout. Sculpin feed on many of the same things trout do, so be sure to throw them in places you would find food. Even around actively spawning salmon, where trout generally will focus on eggs, sculpin patterns will shine. Depending on the time of year, they will wear a variety of colors. Keeping with the naturals, like black, brown and olive in a 3-inch size is a safe bet.

Check out the top Bristol Bay Fishing Lodges

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Angler's Alibi Video 2014 - Alaska

By Owen Osborne Productions

Angler's Alibi gives you a glimpse of their slice of fishing paradise on the Alagnak River. This is nice video that shows many aspects of their program and the experience in Bristol Bay.

From the Filmmaker:

In South Western Alaska, just west of where the Aleutian Island chain meets the main land, exists a place where man remains a visitor. A place where the moon and the tide keep the pace for the harmonic rhythms of the natural world. Here everything still lives and dies by this rhythmic dance. In one of the last places truly untouched by man kind's negative influences the natural world still reigns supreme.

Here salmon return in numbers not seen anywhere else on earth. Here bears and eagles are more likely to be seen than another group of people. Here an ecosystem exists supporting life so vibrant and so plentiful it has to be seen to be believed. Here salmon return in numbers not seen anywhere else on earth. Here bears and eagles are more likely to be seen than another group of people. Here an ecosystem exists supporting life so vibrant and so plentiful it has to be seen to be believed.
It is here that an adventurous few have created a stronghold deep in the wilderness where we can safely visit this wild place.

Visiting Angler's Alibi for the first time changes one's life. To be at a fish camp where the fishery is so untouched and authentic is nothing less than an inspiring experience, sure to ignite passion in us all while reinvigorating one's love for the natural world. Recharging your soul with every cast, Angler's Alibi is a destination that has to be seen to be believed.

BTW: Big Ups to Reckless Kelly and their Beautiful song "Wicked Twisted Road"

Swingers Handbook - A Quick Guide To Tip Control

By Lee Kuepper

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The perfect presentation of a swung fly relies heavily on tip control. It's so easy to get caught up in perfecting your cast that you fail to analyze the most important part of the process, the swing. Controlling the tip of your rod directly impacts the speed and depth at which your fly is coming across the river. Regardless of how well you cast, or how far you can shoot line, an improperly presented fly will almost always be denied attention.

Master Your Flies Depth and Speed

After your cast has hit the water, your tip will immediately govern the potential depth that your fly could reach. If not adjusted after the cast, the path of your fly may stay relatively flat and high in the water column. The sink tip or weighted fly will only sink freely if given the time to dead drift. The more slack you give the line, the more time you give the fly to sink. In some circumstances stripping line off the reel may be necessary, allowing the fly to reach the deepest level possible.

On the contrary, if you want the fly to stay high in the water column, placing a downstream bow in the line will speed up the swing and pull your fly towards the surface. The important thing to remember here is that as long as your line is not under tension from the current it will freely sink. As soon as the line comes under tension however, the sink rate will not remain the same and in some instances your fly will loose depth.

Expand Your Turf

I use tip control on a regular basis to dictate the area that I am covering during my swing. I can extend my drift by sweeping the rod tip all the way though to the opposite side, or truncate a drift by holding the rod tip out towards the casting direction. Sometimes simply pausing a swung fly briefly mid-drift can entice a few grabs.

Keep in mind though, the further you have the rod extended to the side of your body, the less power you will have on the hook set. So make sure the fish has turned on the fly before lifting that tip. You lift it, you lose it!

Make It Dance

One of my staple nuances during the swing is imparting action into my fly. For some reason, I just don't feel confident in a swing without movement. Pop the tip to add a little jump to your baitfish, or even apply a side-to-side motion to skate a surface bug. Mimic, experiment, and explore new ways to impart movement in your drift. You will often be rewarded.

The Takehome

Don't get stuck in the typical down and across rut. Analyze each drift individually and start finding yourself toe-to-toe with the fish that you never even knew were there.

3 Tips for More Successful Winter Angling

By Lee Kuepper

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There is no doubt that winter fishing can provide some of the most extreme conditions that we anglers could ever face. Bitter cold, gale force winds, and frozen reels are all brushed aside in our endless and sometimes fruitless efforts for a tug. Over the years I have fine-tuned the way I approach my winter fishing, increasing the productivity while reducing the potential frustrations. These are my top 3 tips to improve your wintertime angling sessions.

1. Pack less gear

While multiple boxes of flies, various tippet material, and all the gadgets may seem nice to have at first, having to haul all this gear along the river may leave you thinking otherwise. Keep your wintertime packing to a minimum, transporting only the most necessary gear. For me, that is coffee, food, extra gloves, and a spare reel. Packing a spare reel has saved me many times, and will quickly save the day if you find your reel has decided to take a swim in sub zero temperatures. In regards to flies, I primarily stick with winter-time standards for Alaska such as sculpins and leeches. Something meaty enough for a fish to justify burning the energy to chase it down. There is no need to get complicated with your fly selection. Sticking with these known favorites will allow you to spend more time not just fishing, but fishing confidently.

2. Find the Prime Lie

Winter water temperatures without a doubt cause a change in the location and the feeding activity of resident trout. With fewer food sources rolling around down there, fish are forced to make a decision. Move to an easier location (lake) or hunker down and find the rivers most prime lie. What I'm saying here is that you don't want to waste your time in mediocre water. Productive locations in the summer may not equate to success late into the year. Head to a place where the fish can feed most effectively. Ledges, seam lines, and submerged gravel bars all fit the bill.

3. Fish The Water Thoroughly

The biggest sin that I see winter anglers commit is fishing fast. Don't assume that covering more water means finding more fish. Cold weather generally causes the trout to be less active, and a very accurate approach is needed. Fish will not move far to jump on your presentation, so consistently monitoring your depth and speed is crucial. Active fish during the winter are usually few and far between, so make sure you are putting the fly where it needs to be on each and every drift.

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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