Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Father/Son Wyoming Powder River Private Ranch

Great day last Thursday guiding Bruce Copeland and his son Josh.  It was a cool, beautiful day, if a bit windy. Despite the conditions, Bruce and Josh put some nice rainbows and browns in the net. Thanks guys for a really great day!
Josh with an excellent cast nailed this brownie!


Got him!

Lots of these

More Alaska Photos from Anna Riggs

Anna Riggs sent me some beautiful photos from our trip to Alaska's Talachulitna River July 29-August 4. Anna's photos are always great and the results from this fantastic trip were no exception.
Thanks Anna!




Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Albrecht Family Heads to Alaska!

I've known J. P. Albrecht for over 20 years. JP has gone all over the world with us for at least the past 20 years. I remember vividly a Seychelles trip we took together that was quite simply one of the best fishing trips I've ever experienced. JP played a significant role in that assessment.
In addition, I've been fortunate enough to plan many of his family's vacations... from the Bahamas to Mexico to Costa Rica. I remember in 2003, I arranged a trip for them to Abaco Island in the Bahamas. Julie was pregnant with Tyler at the time. Tyler is now 14! As such, I've watched his kid's grow up. JP has been kind enough to send me a Christmas card every year that is typically a beautiful photo card of his family often on one of their adventuresome trips. Thanks for that JP!
This year Julie and JP took Abigail and Tyler to Alaska. First they went bear watching in the Shelikof Straights then fishing on Lake Creek which is only a float plane away from Anchorage. Looks like they had a great time! Thanks JP for the report! You have lovely family (and you're lucky the kids turned out to look so much like Julie).
Here is JP's report:

Tyler, Abby, Julie and JP Albrecht


Thanks for all your help with my family’s trip to Alaska.  We had a great time.  Alaska is interesting.  For many years Julie and I did not consider Alaska.  We were a little guilty of having salt in our veins when it came to our fly fishing trips (although the Agua Boa did help put an end to that).  It also felt a little strange to travel somewhere without a passport.  Hmmm… We get it now.  Alaska is a fantastic destination, and at times we felt as removed as anywhere we have traveled.  We loved the Alaskan brown bears, and were very happy catching chum and silver salmon.


First up, bears!  In Kodiak we had enough time for a hike and a boat tour.  We saw humpbacks, eagles, puffins, and sea otters.  All good stuff.  Our excitement ramped up for our first ever float plane ride to the mother ship anchored off the Katmai Coast.  The snow-capped mountains were beautiful, and during our flight we saw more humpback whales around the Kodiak Archipelago and once we got across Shelikof Strait to Katmai we saw salmon in the streams and the occasional pursuing brown bear.  We absolutely loved our 4 days of brown bear viewing along the Katmai Coast.  The boat we lived on was neat (previously the Time Bandit crab boat from Deadliest Catch TV show), and we had high quality and very close bear viewing.  What little we saw of Katmai was awesome.

Abby and JP

Now, fishing!  Back in Anchorage we made it to Lake Hood, and flew Rust’s Flying Service.  Rust’s did a great job and we appreciated the complimentary shuttles.  We also enjoyed a beverage and snack at the nearby Lakefront Anchorage hotel while we waited for our float plane.  Our lodge for the next 4 nights was about 70 miles NW of anchorage in the Lake Creek region.  After a rainy day and a half to start our trip on Kodiak, our weather continued to be beautiful.  No one spoke out loud about the nice weather.  We kept our fingers crossed.  The evening float plane ride to the lodge was quick, and our guide took us fishing that night after dinner.  We would fish 3 times a day…after breakfast, after lunch, and after dinner.  Very strange to get back to the lodge at 10:30P and there still be sunlight. The rooms had a bathroom, an LED lantern and a wood burning stove.  Worked great for us.  Loved the warmth, smell and crackle of the wood burning stove.  The main lodge was nice, and the food was excellent.  Love fresh salmon, halibut and cod.  The lodge also had a fly tying table, which I enjoyed. 
Pink was a productive color for us, and the rabbit strip streamer patterns I tied were simple, quick and effective.  Our guide also had several flies we could choose from.  We enjoyed picking berries during this trip and the lodge had some fresh salmonberry and raspberry bushes around the property.  All this ‘stuff’ is nice, but how was the fishing?  Amazing.  We saw and caught a lot of fish.  The fish took both a fly and a spinner with seemingly no preference between the two.

We caught mostly chum and silver salmon.  Both were so much fun to catch, and we had fun discussing which we preferred fishing for.  No preference between the two, and both seemed to eat the same fly patterns…though we noticed silvers typically preferred a slightly faster retrieve.  At times the chum almost preferred a dead drift in the current with very little strip.  We did catch a few pink salmon.  They were less exciting (but a fish is a fish!), and the males had the interesting hump.  We also caught a few incidental rainbow trout.  The trout were beautiful, and got to 12”.  Everyone had fun fishing, and everyone caught fish on a fly.  There was a couple slow fishing sessions that reminded everyone that we were not at Disney.  Our last full day of fishing was our best.  The weather cooled and light rain came.  The silver and chum salmon seemed to like the change in weather conditions.  That cool, rainy day we fished the same spot most of the day watching group after group of fish swim by.  These fish were not shy.  An amazing day on the water.  


The lodge does vacuum seal fish and put it in a freezer if you want to bring fish home with you.  We released most of our fish, but I did tell the kids I would check one box of silver salmon fillets if they could catch them.  Challenge accepted.  There were other boats on the river, and the number of fisherman increased on the weekend.  Did not bother us, and did not prevent anyone from fishing or catching fish.  My family did try to leave a few minutes early each fishing session to make sure some of our guide’s favorite spots would be available. 

Tyler and Abby

Back in Anchorage we had a layover and enjoyed walking around downtown Anchorage, going to the Saturday Market to enjoy the crafts and eating reindeer sausage and halibut tacos.  The downtown museum is also impressive.  Great trip.  I will send some pics in separate email.  

My family would certainly return to Alaska to enjoy its rugged beauty, wildlife, and salmon.


If you are interested in this trip for your family, please give me call at 800-211-8530 or e-mail me at

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Alaska: The Last Three Days

Doc, Anna, Trevor, Nick and Jason ready for a new day.
Our last three days were incredible... Neil Dorsey, a very experienced Alaskan angler told me as he got out of the chopper late one afternoon, "I've never caught as many 20" rainbows in one day in my life!" Maybe that statement best sums up our last three days.

On Day 4, Anna Riggs and I were dropped off a few miles up from where Friday Creek dumps into the Talachulitna. We were with guide Scott Thomas. On this, our only rainy day, Anna and I caught numerous 'bows in the 18-22 inch range, tons of grayling, chum salmon and fresh silvers at the confluence. 

Anna fished like a rock star! She fished both a Dollie Lama and a mouse and railed on fish with both.  Friday Creek was bigger down low as it collected tributary water on its journey to the Tal. This stretch was beautiful with classic runs and tailouts.

The rains never got too bad and we were seemingly always in fishy water. I even managed a 19 inch grayling which was a record for this lodge according to our guide Scott. An 18" grayling is considered a trophy in Alaska. Scott was thrilled with the catch. I just knew it was a big grayling, but didn't realize it was the biggest they had ever caught.

At the confluence, Anna gave us a lesson on how to catch silvers on a mouse. She was on fire... so much so, she finally sat down to rest after her umpteenth silver. This was a great day!

Whop,whop, whop. Another day is done.

Big chum on a mouse.

Anna with a nice 'bow
And one of my own!

Big Grayling with head guide Scott!

a couple photos...

...and he is gone.

Another silver for Anna

Scott will need to clean his shotgun well tonight!
Day 6, the day of the three Scotts! Scott Sawtelle (Scotty), head guide Scott (Scooter) and I (Digger) fished another tributary of the Tal. Using these nicknames, we managed to keep our calls to each not too confusing. We had a great day together!

These beautiful streams were becoming addictive. The drill was the same, the results, as we had come to expect, spectacular. The daily drill had become: spectacular flight to a small stream, then dropped off on a gravel bar, rig rods (while the inflatable is being blown up if appropriate), start leapfrogging the runs... catch fish and by that I mean silvers, grayling and 'bows on mice, eggs and streamers. Greatfully acknowledge the good weather with no wind and beautiful blue skies. Then it was fish hard all day, enjoy another spectacular flight back to the lodge. Finally enjoy, cocktails, laughter over a great dinner and to cap it off, enjoy a beautiful walk to our cabin for some much needed rest.

Whew... we had GOOD weather!
Hen silver

And a big buck

Meanwhile, the Peskoe's are dining at the glacier...

Steve and Cindy Peskoe celebrated their anniversary in style. Pulled off the river by a chopper and while still in their waders, they were dropped off at the terminus of a glacier and served lunch by the lovely Jessica.
Scott Sawtelle and Anna Riggs

Love at first sight

On the last day, we fished until 3:30 PM. Scott Sawtelle and I along with guide, Trevor fished a very small stream with big bows. The fish were tough, but I did mention BIG. Scott nailed a very big rainbow behind some spawning salmon and I spent at least an hour trying to get the biggest 'bow I had seen that day.

Trevor with a big 'bow

Mother Grizzly and two cubs a bit downstream from where we landed! We would later see them cross the river above us.

The bow was dogging a small group of spawning chums. I tried mice, dollie lamas and eggs to no avail. I got some looks, but no takers. Then the chums chased the rainbow until he hid under some roots upstream. His new lie made a good presentation much harder.

Then I saw this big 'bow eat a tiny caddis off the surface. I couldn't believe it. I had no caddis with me... Trevor found one smashed in his pack. It was the only one he had. we fluffed it up and gave it a try. We got a small look, but repeated attempts ended in zip. Given the rainbow's willingness to look up, I put on a small beetle and gave this fly a try.

Trevor looking pensive...
 or not yet awake!

Nothing on the dead drift. I knew the chopper was on it's way by now. This next cast would have to be my last. As the black beetle reached the 'bow, I shivered the fly just a little bit. Holy Smokes, he ate! I set the hook and the big bow launched himself up and over a logjam, then tail-walked through the run. As he was being assaulted by the nasty thing in his mouth, the spawning chums attacked him from below. Trevor and I yelled and laughed.

As the big bow tired, I was worried the rainbow would be injured by the aggressive chums and my concentration wavered. It was then the hook pulled and he was gone. I said to Trevor who seemed upset, "That's fine, it's good way too end a trip... Makes you want to come back for more!" And I meant it AND we will be back!
NEXT: More photos!