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Humpback Whales Bubble Feeding in Alaska

on Thursday, 18 December 2014. Posted in Featured Video, Video

Incredible Drone View

Large Group of Humpback Whales Feeding in the Pristine Waters of Alaska. Aerial Drone Footage from Seagulls Point of View.

From Wikipedia: The humpback whale's most inventive technique is known as bubble net feeding; a group of whales swims in a shrinking circle blowing bubbles below a school of prey. The shrinking ring of bubbles encircles the school and confines it in an ever-smaller cylinder. This ring can begin at up to 30 metres (98 ft) in diameter and involve the cooperation of a dozen animals. Using a crittercam attached to a whale's back, researchers found that some whales blow the bubbles, some dive deeper to drive fish toward the surface, and others herd prey into the net by vocalizing.[40] The whales then suddenly swim upward through the "net", mouths agape, swallowing thousands of fish in one gulp. Plated grooves in the whale's mouth allow the creature to easily drain all the water initially taken in.

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Bristol Bay - Two Steps Forward And One Back

on Thursday, 18 December 2014.

By Lee Kuepper

Pebble Dance Off Image

"In The bureaucratic dance-off to secure the protection of Bristol Bay, Alaska is moving in the right direction, but is not quite to the end."

It is not every day that we sportsmen are actually able to see governmental progress in terms of protection. Seemingly, most of the current headlines are that of additional threats to our outdoorsy way of life, and the lands that support them. December 16, 2014 was different though, as President Obama signed into action the indefinite removal of the Bristol Bay area from Oil and Gas development.

The North Aleutian Planning Area, a 32.5 million acre swath of land, is now closed for oil and gas exploration and development. This action was spurred by an existing oil and gas lease, set in motion by the previous administration. This sale would have opened the doors to about 5.6 million acres of land to development. President Obama had temporarily shut that window in 2011, and now has taken action to protect Bristol Bay's land and fisheries forever.

Do not be misguided though, as the highly controversial Pebble Mine battle still smolders. While the President may have taken a step in the right direction, the war over large scale mining and the protection of Bristol bay is far from over. Earlier this year, the EPA had endorsed the analysis of the projections, essentially blocking the development of Pebble. The Pebble Partnership echoed this action with a legal filing that locked the battle up in court, and has delayed the ultimate ruling.

Either way, this oil and gas protection law is a great step forward for all sportsmen nationwide. Especially those invested in the truly amazing Bristol Bay watershed. While I personally believe that development and progress is essential to keeping us moving forward as a country, there is always a right time, and a right place for it. The Bristol Bay watershed is neither of those.

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2015 F3T Film - The Lost Boys of Yantarni

on Sunday, 14 December 2014. Posted in Featured Video, Video

Official Trailer

The Lost Boys of Yantarni is the story of the quirky few, stubborn enough to live and work on one of the most rugged and formidable outreaches of the Alaska Peninsula - a Neverland practically unknown to the angling world. The allure? – giant, dime bright, Coho Salmon that charge into these mile-long rivers with a seek-and-destroy mentality.

Mother Nature still keeps secrets here, never really showing her hand. For the guys running the place, outwitting her is a daily battle. Severe weather, four-legged locals, and never-ending chores stack the odds against them.

"Oh, the glory of being a guide in Alaska . . ."

SPONSORS
www.CrystalCreekLodge.com

MUSIC
Tony Anderson - The Prophecy
Ben Miller Band - The Cuckoo

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The Fly Angler's Christmas List - #5

on Thursday, 11 December 2014. Posted in Article, Gear

Stanley Mountain Thermos

Wish List Header

Tis' the season once again. The time for reckoning has come, testing how well you were listening to your loved ones throughout the year. If it is a fly fisherman you are shopping for, the way I see it, you have two options. You could peruse through the pages of the fly fishing catalogs found in the bathroom, analyzing the most worn and drool soaked pages, or you can follow along for the next few days as I outline the top 5 fly fishing gifts this holiday season. So, forget the flannel onesie pajamas, and be sure to drop one of these little gems into the wading boots fastened to the fireplace with care.

#5 Stanley Mountain Coffee System

file 1409253140 3Now pay attention, this might be one of the most impressive and innovative X-Mas presents to date. I must confess, as angler, usually our wish list can be full of fairly expensive tools (yes, tools not toys.) This product though, is reasonably priced and is going to be a game-changer amongst the thermal socks and beard trimmers under the tree. You very well earn the badge of "favorite uncle" or "best friend", so be prepared.

Before today, there were two options for anglers regarding riverside coffee. You could pack in a heavy and forever cooling thermos, or pack in all the gear necessary to boil a pot. Breathe easy. These tough, harrowing days are over. Enter, the Mountain Coffee system by Stanley.

This product, a brilliantly designed coffee French press and coffee transport device, is an all-in-one riverside rejuvenation apparatus. I had the opportunity to play with one of these the other day. It was like those little Russian nesting dolls, I kept removing layers, finding more and more great features.

Now, I am not going to completely spoil the surprise for you, so I'll let you check out the video and link below and make up your mind for yourself. I'm guessing you will be checking one gift idea off the list soon. And, at $50 it's not breaking the bank.

Stanley Mountain Vacuum Coffee System - MSRP - $50

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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Crystal Creek Lodge - VIDEO

on Wednesday, 10 December 2014. Posted in Featured Video, Video

One Minute Alaska Vacation

A one minute glimpse of the experience at Crystal Creek Lodge. Alaska flightseeing, fishing, adventure - it's all here!

Is Bristol Bay on your bucket list? 

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In Southwest Alaska - VIDEO

on Tuesday, 09 December 2014. Posted in Featured Video, Video

By Jason Ching

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Last year, Jason Ching produced the short film showcasing the research of an Alaska Salmon Program. Watch it here. It was incredible. Some of the best salmon, wildlife, and landscape videography we'd ever seen. Fast forward 1 year. 

Today, Jason has yet another beautiful Alaska video reel, focusing on the landscape and salmon of Lake Aleknagik in the Wood River System and Iliamna Lake. There are some absolutely fabulous aurora, aerial, and underwater shots in this short film. 

From the Filmmaker: 

This video highlights the scenery of Iliamna Lake and Lake Aleknagik in Southwest Alaska. These two watersheds provide spawning habitat for some of the largest returns of wild sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, and also serve as important habitat for the development and growth of salmon in their early stages of life. As a keystone species in Bristol Bay, sockeye salmon are of large economic importance to the commercial fishing industry and local lodge outfits, they serve as an important food source for local communities, and also support the diverse and amazing ecosystems within these watersheds.

Visit Jason's Website

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Unbroken - Full Film Release

on Tuesday, 09 December 2014. Posted in Featured Video, Video

By Camille Egdorf

Fly Out Ambassador Camille Egdorf releases Unbroken - her latest film on their family run business on Alaska's Nushagak River in Bristol Bay. Camille is quickly gaining momentum in the fly fishing world, and this film reveals the spark of her love affair with the sport. 

From the Filmmaker: 

"Unbroken" a continuation of "Forget Me Knot" portrays the deep connection and love my parents, Dave and Kim Egdorf hold for a wilderness they've known for over 30 years. It depicts and shares the experiences had by myself, our clientele and the guides working hard to make the family business what it is today. From broken boat motors, to moose and bears, to big fish, "Unbroken" is the story of a family living in remote Alaska for 4 months every year and sharing it with others. It was an honor to have it as an official selection the 2014 International Fly Fishing Film Festival. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. -Camille

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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.

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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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Alaska's Mountain Kingdom - TEASER

on Monday, 08 December 2014. Posted in Featured Video, Video

From Ultima Thule Lodge

When you step foot in the mountains that surround Ultima Thule Lodge, your perspective will change forever. It is truly arcane and unworldly - a skier's paradise.  

Behold the biggest and wildest skiing in the world. Full film coming soon. 

| Continue Reading | Leave Comment | Tags Alaska Lodges Ski Film Ultima Thule Lodge Wrangell-St_ Elias

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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