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2014 Academy Day 3!

It was a little bit difficult to convince the kids to agree to a 7:00am breakfast… until we told them there was a fly-out planned for the day.

Students divided into two groups, taking turns heading out to the Newhalen river and then taking an Iliamna Air Taxi float plane to the Tazimina River 20 miles north of the host lodge in Iliamna.
DSCN1802At the end of a long day on the river, the kids shared a few high and low-lights from the day:


  • Waking up early for 7:00am breakfast (“I got up at 6:57”)
  • The buggy, bushwhacking hike to the river from the float plane (“I literally almost died!”)
  • The wind, making it difficult to cast.


  • They caught fish! We saw a 20 inch rainbow, a number of silvers (which were eaten with shore lunch), a pink salmon, and a couple of Dollys
  • The float plane ride
  • The sunshine


As the kids have headed out to the river each day, a science team from University of Washington has also jumped in a helicopter and headed out too, also staying at Red Quill and coming together to share stories in the evenings. After dinner (of student-caught salmon), instructors talked the science team into telling the kids about their field studies of collecting data on fish species in Alaska. Students’ fish identification skills were tested and some of them seemed to have a knack for fisheries biology.

Client day is looming and students are preparing to bring around a community member of Iliamna for a day on the water. They shared with me a few critical lessons they’ve learned in preparation for Sunday:

  • Bring bug dope!
  • How to tie a fly, and to bring extras
  • How to cast in the wind (“You’ve got to really put some power behind it”)
  • How to prepare a salmon for lunch using tinfoil and a fire
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