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.
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
“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.