Day 3: Gone fishin’
Historically, day three of the Academy is when the students come alive. They’ve gotten to know everyone’s names, they’ve got the basics of fly fishing down, they’re not shy around the instructors and after many hours in the classroom, they are SO ready to get out on the water.
This year was no exception in those regards, but what was exceptional was the weather. The sun shone brightly on Lake Aleknagik and the neighboring peaks yesterday, and the temperature was perfect for a long day on the water.
After a morning session with Joe on boat safety, an overview on Nanci (“what should go in your fishing bag”) and lunch, the students were well equipped with the knowledge and tools to head out. As you can imagine as the sun shone into the lodge during the morning sessions, they were really excited to get out onto the water.
The students were flown out in Mission’s float planes to the mouth of the Agulowak River as it met the lake. One of the Mission guides prepped a shore lunch of sockeye and potatoes (it was so yummy) for everyone to eat on the beach. Unsurprisingly, the students ate FAST. We divided up into 4 boats and a river group and, along with their own guide and boat-operator, we split up to get fishing.
Fast forward a few hours and a bit of a logistical delay later, we were back to the lodge sharing stories of fish caught, fish lost, new skills learned and first experiences. The instructors all noticed how many of the students were so good about sharing facts about this area with us as we were out on the water. The students leaned on the instructors for reminders on their knots, tips on which flies to use and how to get at those fish the birds are diving at!
The first day on the water is always when the Academy starts coming together and it’s so exiting to see the students’ passion grow.
After dinner, we had guests from Togiak National Wildlife Refuge and Wood Tikchik State Park talk about how they found their jobs and shared more information about this region with the students.
Amazingly, after the evening sessions, most of them still headed back into the tying room to keep making progress on creating their flies for the next fishing day and client day. We had to basically shoo them out at 10:30 and force them to bed.
This is an incredible group. Can’t wait to see how well they’ll do on client day!