Diary of a First-Time Fly Fisher: Part I

In First-Hand Accounts by Bear Trail Lodge

If you’re like me, you might think that you need an intense love for and deep understanding of fishing to fly across the country for an Alaskan fishing trip on Bristol Bay. As it turns out, you need neither of those things, but there’s a good chance you’ll leave Alaska with at least one of them. I’ve casually fished with a spin fishing rod many times in my life, usually on the Chesapeake Bay or in ponds around Richmond, Virginia. They were enjoyable experiences, but they couldn’t compare to or prepare me for the grandeur that I would experience fly fishing in the Alaskan wilderness.

During my trip, I attempted to document my time as much as possible while still staying “in the moment.” My pictures will never do the Alaskan landscape justice, and my words won’t accurately portray the excitement of seeing a mama brown bear with her cubs in the wild. However, I hope my first-hand account of a first-time fly fisher traveling to one of the top fishing destinations in the world will inspire you to take life by the flyrod and book your own Alaskan adventure at Bear Trail Lodge.

Day 1: Arrival

After spending the day in Anchorage, my coworker/travel companion and I took a Ravn Air flight to the King Salmon airport. Bear Trail Lodge coordinated the flight, so we only needed to show up at the Anchorage airport with our luggage and hop aboard. Ravn Air’s terminals were separate from the other airlines’ terminals, and I didn’t even need to go through TSA. That was my first clue that this wasn’t going to be your average plane ride.

The plane held around sixteen passengers, but only about half of the seats were full. Because of the size of the plane, we never reached extremely high altitudes, allowing for clear views of the Alaskan landscape below. After one hour of impossibly scenic aerial views, we began our descent into King Salmon.

Two dockhands from Bear Trail Lodge awaited us when we landed and shuttled us from the airport to the lodge. Upon arrival at the lodge, we were greeted by several of the guides. Then, we filled out some paperwork where we mentioned any dietary needs, the size of waders required, our comfort level with strenuous physical activity, the type of fish we were hoping to catch, and other factors that the lodge used to carefully curate an Alaskan fishing trip tailored to our preferences.

Lastly, we sat down to dinner. My coworker and I ate with Lex and Kvichak, soaking up their fishing stories and building our anticipation for the next morning. Around dessert time, Woody, our guide for our first day of fishing, came by to tell us tomorrow’s itinerary.

My coworker and I then retired to our cabin, cleverly named Lynx Lair. Although the sky was still bright, we turned in early so we’d be ready for our early morning wake-up.

Continue reading: Day 2: Flyout Fishing Trip to Contact Creek