It was fairly hard to break the news to our group that we didn't get to go fishing on Day 4. The boats were tied up with other things and mostly, we had lots of really important stuff to go over with the group.
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.
We had a record number of applicants for this years' Academy. Each of the last few seasons we've seen more and more Bristol Bay young people apply for the program and with that, the coordinators are both thrilled with the incoming class and disappointed to have to turn away so many qualified applicants!
early 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).
“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.