Check out the action off the dock at Mission Lodge. It's a lot of work to operate a 1st class Fly Out fishing operation. Mission Lodge is located on Lake Aleknegik in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
The name "Aleknagik" comes from the Uupik native tongue meaning "wrong way home". It seems that quite often fishing and hunting parties returning to their villages on the Nushagak from Bristol Bay would mistakenly turn and follow the Wood River. The surroundings of the Wood are so similar to that of the lower Nushagak, a simple mistake in navigation would go unnoticed until the parties turned the corner and found themselves at the lake. At this time the lead boat would declare "ALEKNAGIK!" (wrong way home).
For hundreds of years the village of Aleknagik was the hub of trade and culture for the Alaska native peoples who lived throughout the Bristol Bay region. The ideal setting along the shores of Lake Aleknagik and the safe haven this location provided from the harsh winters of Southwest Alaska, proved to be the reason many of the regions natives made Aleknagik their winter home. Fur was the main item of commerce along with dried fish, berries, and hides from the previous summers harvest. Lessons learned from fishing and hunting expeditions were shared, creating strong ties amongst the people who came here.
Flying is part of the adventure in Alaska! This video showcases the beautiful landscapes that you can see each day as you travel to your fishing destination. Tikchik flies in the Wood-Tikchik Mountains, in the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, and in the Wood-Tikchik State Park. Enjoy the flight!
Music: Open Air by Lemolo itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-kaleidoscope/id575354928
The Fly Out team had the opportunity stay a few days with Crystal Creek Lodge on the Naknek River in Bristol Bay, Alaska this past summer. As expected, Katie and I arrived to a well oiled staff and guide crew, with everyone being incredibly friendly, making us feel like part of the gang. We fished and filmed for two days in early July with Dan Michels and his crew of pro guides - Alex Oberholtzer and Aaron Rogers-Richter. The first day, we flew all the way down to the Alaska Peninsula past Ugashik Bay to fish a little-known river for King Salmon. The authentic Bristol Bay snot was in full force, so the skies were a bit gray for the cameras. However, we did find plenty of hot King Salmon and Chum Salmon that were very accessible with the fly rod. You can see scenes from that day in our short film - Long Live the King (showing at the Fly Fishing Film Tour).
The following day, we took a quick trip to a very small wadable creek in Katmai National Park. Alex flew the plane, walked us across the tundra, and put us on 5 species of fish in a matter of 4 hours. See the short video above for a quick summary of that day.
I can confidently say that Crystal Creek Lodge is the nicest lodge facility I have ever been to in Alaska. In addition to their incredible accommodations, the dining program is top tier. But besides all of that, the genuinity of the staff, the welcomed feeling and the atmosphere is what makes CCL special. If you want the authentic Alaska experience, you can find it here.
Uses: The Blood Knot is a favorite knot for fly fisherman. It is primarily used to join two lines of similar size, e.g., when joining sections of leader or tippet, and is one of the best knots for this purpose. The strength of the knot depends on making at least five, and up to seven, turns on each side of the center
Pulling the Knot Tight: When lubricated and pulled tight, the knot changes its structure. Pulling on each line forces the wrapped turns to redistribute the twists so that the inner strand becomes an outer wrap (not illustrated in the animation using rope).
Tying it: There are several methods of tying it. The animation shows each half being created separately, which provides a good picture of the structure.
Alternative: An alternative method is to just overlap the two ends and twist them together for about ten to fourteen turns. Then go to the center of the twists and create a hole. Pass the two ends the opposite way through the hole.
Whichever method is used, the knot is usually symmetrical about the middle. Although the twists usually continue in the same direction either side of the center as shown in the animation, it can be tied so that the wraps are mirror images of each other.
Advantages: The Blood knot is a simple, easily learned and very effective way of joining two similar sized lines.
The Fly Out Team had an opportunity to visit Talaheim Lodge this past July for a week of fishing, filming, and enjoying the home style hospitality and family atmosphere of a genuine Alaska bush lodge. Owner Mark Miller has been operationg the lodge on the Talachulitna River in Alaska since 1976. Much has changed since Talaheim's humble beginnings, as the lodge has expanded their adventures to what Mark has coined, "Heli-Fish Alaska, New Zealand Style!" The helicopters open up the doors for anglers to access the small streams that are inaccessible by boat or float plane. These unfished waters are the cornerstone for Talaheim's fishing program, and it really is an experience you cannot find many other places in Alaska. The fish are wild, there are no crowds, and the experience is genuine to the spirit of the Last Frontier.
What really impacted me about Talaheim Lodge, was the surrounding area. Located in the foothills of the Tordrillo Mountains, the clear salmon streams and rivers collide with the giant peaks and glaciers that Alaska is famous for. The flightseeing alone is worth the price of admission - utterly jaw dropping. This is not a 1-dimensional fishery. There are many things to see and do that the lodge takes advantage of. I have to rank Talaheim among the top most scenic lodge locations I have visited in Alaska.
The world’s longest ongoing salmon research reveals the astounding complexity of wild ecosystems.
Scientist Daniel Schindler and his daughter, Luna, watch the "red wave" of sockeye salmon navigate up Sam Creek, home to one of the earliest-spawning populations in Alaska's Bristol Bay ecosystem. by Jonny Armstrong
Don't take our word for it - Read the article on the world's longest ongoing salmon research from Daniel Schindler and why Bristol Bay deserves our attention and protection. Read the article.
Here's a great demonstration of the "Reach Cast" - an aerial mend that is subtle and quite useful. For me, I used this technique before I ever knew it had a name. This is a very useful mend for many types of fishing situations.
This is a good exercise in reflection and self examination. I think all anglers should write or at least contemplate their own personal fly fishing poetry, as it allows us to put the sport in perspective. A very nice example here.
From the filmmaker:
A fragment of Mel Krieger's "Patagonia - 40 years fly fishing in ARGENTINA - this is for us the most emotional and beautiful few thoughts about fly fishing describing the very essence of being a fly fisherman... Rest in peace Mel...