We are a Fly Fishing Academy | INDIE ALASKA

We are a Fly Fishing Academy | INDIE ALASKA

Alaska is not always easy to access so
you can still get a feeling of being the first person to place your foot on that
piece of tundra or the first person to cradle that fish in your hand. That’s
really what the sport fishing industry is about, giving people a taste of
something that they can’t have full time. I’m Nancy Morris Lyon and I’m the lead
instructor for the Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy. I’m gonna put up
assignments for tomorrow. This Academy takes local young adults
who are interested in getting into the sport fishing industry in some form and
allows them to have a week experience learning how to fly fish, tie flies, cast
a fly line, as well as learn customer service skills and conservation skills
and basically the mentality that surrounds the sport fishing industry. If it
applies to fly-fishing they learn it. If you need any dry flies, mice patterns,
leeches, smolts. Then we let them put what they’ve got to work. So client day is
essentially the final exam of the guide Academy. So all week we’ve been teaching
them how to fly fish, we’ve taught them about customer service,
safety and today they’ll put all those new skills to the test and they’ll be
expected to guide a member of the community that they’ve never met before
for a safe and fun day out on the water. It’s a good day out, we’re gonna be
catching some rainbows. It’s all free to the students, yep it is, and it’s well
paid off the minute I see one of them out on the river fishing while I’m out there guiding
during the summer it’s awesome. They are absolutely uniquely qualified to be the
next generation of guides. They were born and raised here, they know the stories
from their ancestors, they can tell you why the caribou migrate, where they
migrate, when they migrate. When the seals are going to be coming through.
Those are all things that take a lifetime of living here to learn and,
you know, when you have guides coming from the lower 48 even though they’re
marvelous and very knowledgeable about fly fishing, they have a whole lot to
learn about the area. The thing is I never had that idea of becoming a
fly fishing guide when I was a child. You know, I grew up commercial fishing, I
mean everyone commercial fishes and it’s not it’s not even a question. So once I
was introduced to the Academy it kind of created that dream of, oh, you know
there’s something different, you know, this is awesome! I want to come out here
and be able to fish every day with new people. So now that it’s actually
happening it’s incredible. Yeah after I came here, I fell in love with fishing
and everything that goes into a lodge like the management, hospitality,
everything like that. I wouldn’t want to be in an office or anything. Being
one of the three girls in the Academy, it was kind of cool because you
could just try to keep up with the boys too and it wasn’t that hard. Learning
that I get to fly out to all these remote places in a place I love and being able
to help people catch trophy fish that a lot of people in the world don’t get to
do is just something I find amazing. This class, this particular one, the 10th
anniversary class is just an example of how incredibly well trained these guys
are. These are remarkable young people. At first I just wanted everybody to share
my passion for the sport, but then I realized very very quickly what I was
actually teaching the kids and the knowledge I was giving them was giving
them multiple opportunities in an industry that’s growing everywhere in
the world. I would say there’s another element that
is important as well and it’s the cultural shift that has occurred to
allow or embrace the notion of catch and release fishing. Catch and release
fishing was a concept that was foreign to people as little as two
generations ago. I mean, but it was an incredibly courageous move on the part
of some of the leaders to recognize that and bless it, and say it’s okay. And the caveat that they placed upon us and the challenge they laid down for the
instructors and the students is to make sure we do it right.
Fly fishing guides have been the ones to really lead conservation movements.
Bristol Bay’s is going to have a lot of tough management choices both when it
comes to habitat and fish and, you know, I think the more we can have these kids
thinking creatively and thinking about how to solve problems together, that’s
going to be best for the future of Bristol Bay. I love doing it here because
this is my home water. Obviously the Naknek River is my home River, and it
gives me the opportunity to share it with the kids. I don’t know I fell in
love with it and I learned why everyone’s so passionate about it. You
know, over the past couple of years I’ve worked with people from Washington,
from just places down south and you know, they come up here and, you know,
catching 12 grayling a day, a couple rainbows is pretty normal
over in Dillingham, and they’re like ‘how many fish do you catch?!’ ‘What?!’ and they’re looking at all the salmon. I’m like oh yeah, it’s a really special place, you
know? Alaska to me has always been
the stuff that’s off the road system and how those communities are sustained and what diverse opportunities they have, we need to make the most of what is
available, and certainly entry into the sport fishery is one of them. In my mind
that keeps it here, you know, it helps the economy here and it helps sustain the
people here. And you’ve got to consider what Alaska would be… if we didn’t have
rural villages, Alaska wouldn’t be Alaska

4 thoughts on “We are a Fly Fishing Academy | INDIE ALASKA

  1. I like this pole. >>>nub.best/mego This fly rod is great, I bought the 8 weight along with a Pflueger Trion 1978. Great match.

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