Client Day of the Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy is here. Today, the local youth of this rural region of Southwest Alaska will show off the new skills they’ve learned throughout the week. This year, we’re at Mission Lodge on Lake Aleknagik in the heart of Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon country.
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Sunny weather beckoning, three float planes lined up at the dock, shore lunches packed and new Orvis gear donned, the group was more than ready for another big day on the water. The students were told that today was their last big trip before they'd guide their client. Given this, they set to work (and play too, let's be honest) ensuring they are ready to show their clients how to bring in a fish safely and while having lots of fun on Client Day.
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.
As I type, Mission Lodge is buzzing. Forks are clanking, students are laughing. Someone just asked, "where are you from again?"(New Stuyahok, he answered). It smells like pizza, and I'm slurping down a Coke knowing we have a night of activities ahead - and the long days of June in Alaska will allow for them.
“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.