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2014 Academy Day 4

On day four, students put their heads down and did some serious preparation. Client day is looming and they have lots of preparation to do to ensure they’re ready to guide a stranger for a day fishing on the Newhalen.

When asked how they’re feeling, most of them said “nervous.” So instructors gave them the day to prepare.


Tasks for the day included:

  • Tying enough flies for clients – a few dries and some bright, flashy ones for cohos


  • Preparing leaders for clients
  • Practicing client interviews to determine what kind of fishing the client wants and to ensure they have all the gear that’s needed
  • Scoping out fishing spots (and getting licenses checked by the trooper – luckily they all came prepared!)


  • Wondering who their community clients will be when they arrive tomorrow…

Aside from these preparations, the students also had a valuable lesson in river conservation.

After enjoying stories from Mulchatna River guides Anders and Scotty, students were given a stretch of river and $500,000 to plan what they’d do with the surrounding acres. They had the afternoon to mull it over and come up with their plan.

Later, students lined up their plans from up to down stream and each introduced their development and/or improvement plans along the river. As a Watershed Council, students decided together on how many years each development would impact the watershed (improves property, no impact, 1-5 years, 5-10 years, 10-20 years, 20+ years), paying special consideration to those downstream of each development. Students presented anything from a simple lodge with a few cabins, to an oil field, to a sushi bar and salmon research facility, to an off the grid personal cabin. As they presented, they asked questions about each others’ developments and debated on the benefits and threats posted by each.


It took them well into the evening to work together and decide on the impacts of each on the watershed when it was all said and done. They took away a lesson in watershed planning as well as how difficult it can be to work with diverse interests that are all taking a stake in a single resource.

After all this collaborative debate, they headed straight to bed, running checklists through their heads for tomorrow.

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