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Small creeks spawn big memories

We loaded the float plane shortly after 8:00 am. Sharolynn and David, two students from the Bristol Bay River Academy, were scheduled to spend for the entire day with myself and a guide fishing a small creek deep in the heart of Katmai National Park.

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Day 3: Fish on!

I had my head down puzzling over the schedule for the upcoming days (we often rearrange the schedule to accommodate weather, topics of particular interest to the students, and availability of our “guest speakers”) and glanced up to see David coming down the path with a big grin.  He’d just gotten back from the first fishing outing of the Academy.

“So, did you find any fish?” I asked him.

“Heck yeah, I did,” he said smiling ear to ear and holding up his hands to show me how big.

It was VERY respectable for his first time fishing with a fly rod.

The camp was buzzing for the rest of the afternoon.  Nearly all the students had caught at least one fish and were exchanging ideas on what flies worked, or didn’t; joking on how important the knots were to landing the fish; sharing with their peers where they found the willing fish and of course, embellishing things just a little bit…(they are after all fish stories).

It’s the point of the Academy I look forward to every year.  A tipping point – a switch is flipped and the students go from interested to full-on sucking up information like a vacuum.   It’s when they become officially hooked.


With some help from former ADF&G biologist and Academy instructor, Dan Dunaway, David lands a nice rainbow.  Of course, the camera man was on the other side of the river when he caught the big one.  

photo by: Rich Johnson

Up Next:  Preparing for Client Day

Day 2: Knots and flies

Students broke into two groups to learn essential knots and how to tie the flies they’ll need for the week. While this can be tedious work, the urgency was clear: if their leaders aren’t prepared and flies aren’t tied, they won’t have anything to use for fishing.

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Day One: You can be great guides.

“You’re here because you have key knowledge that will make you excellent sport fishing guides on your home waters,” they were told. But they were also forewarned: being well-versed in many components of guiding and the industry are needed before making that a reality.

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2015 Academy by the Numbers

As the instructors finish up lesson plans, students are en route to the Academy. Before we get started, here's an overview of a few Academy stats and figures.

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A Day at the Academy

Want to know what we're up to at the Bristol Bay River & Guide Academy? Here is what a typical day looks like.

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Meet an Academy Alum: Kvichak Aspelund

Are you considering applying for the Academy, but not sure if it's right for you? Check out what Academy grad, Kvichak, had to say about the Academy and where it has taken him!

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Oh the places you’ll go!

Guiding jobs can take you anywhere. Check out this cool new opportunity for grads in Denali National Park!

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Bristol Bay Lodges are Hiring!

Attention, Graduates! Bristol Bay lodges are still looking for qualified, responsible and friendly guides for the 2015 Season.

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APPLY NOW: Accepting Applications for 2015!

We are excited to announce the dates & location for the 2015 Academy.

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