Alaskan Adventures Volume 6 Winter 2022

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Alaskan Adventures Issue #06 WINTER 2022

Life is truly an adventure ALASKAN ADVENTURES


Tips and tricks on preparing for a fly-in fishing adventure

Planning a fly in fishing adventure can be almost as much fun as the trip itself by heightening anticipation and giving you confidence that you are prepared. I was so excited about my first fishing adventure to Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories I packed and unpacked my baggage probably 4-5 times two weeks prior to departure. And as it turned out I brought way too much unnecessary gear. Just the thought of planning a fishing adventure, hundreds, or even thousands of miles away in the remote wilderness of the far north can be both exhilarating and daunting at the same time, but with proper planning, a checklist and an open mind you will have the trip of a lifetime and a rewarding adventure.

One of the key elements to a successful trip is to make a list of things that are important or that you wish to experience during your adventure. Here are a few things to consider that will insure you and your group have a great time and create lifelong memories on your journey to the wilderness of northern Canada. First you need to decide on a budget for your adventure. The factors that will influence this will be things such as what kind of amenities or comfort level you and your travel mates would like to have while on your trip. Do you wish a fully guided experience with all the bells and whistles, or the more modest amenities and lesser expenses of an unguided outpost experience?

How far north would you like to travel? Other important variables are things such as what kind of fish you want to catch and are you looking for a very focused trophy fishing experience only or just a good time catching lots of nice fish (and maybe a few trophies) while enjoying the camaraderie of good friends and the beautiful scenery of a relaxed wilderness setting. The latter would be my choice for a first trip to the North Country.

Once these factors are settled they will help guide your initial inquiries as to what kind of lodge or camp you will likely be most comfortable in. Fully guided adven tures are what I would recommend for a first timer, unless there is someone in your group that has experience with outpost camp fishing. What you are paying for on a fully guided trip is in essence a trained mentor to help you be successful catching fish, while being safe and comfortable in a wilderness environment.

In addition to doing online research for lodges and outfitters that offer the type of experience you are seeking, consider attending an outdoor travel and sport show such as the All Canada Show. It is here you will have the advantage of ac tually meeting the people that will be running the operation, and through a face to face conversation, decide who you are comfortable planning your trip with. After you have narrowed your search down to a particular lodge I would always recommend checking several references from former guests of the lodge to insure their experiences at the camp match up with what it is you will be looking for on your adventure. We at Dardevle spoons would be happy to give you recommendations for some of the many lodges and outfitters we have used over the years. On our website we have a page dedicated to many of the lodges we have fished and stories about the adventures experi enced while fishing at those lodges. Please feel free to give us a call at our factory or stop by our booth at one of the sport shows we are attending.

A Checklist

I have found over the years that a detailed checklist is helpful to insure I have exactly what I need for a fly in adventure without under, or over packing. Most lodges and outfitters will


All fly in lodges have weight restric tions for guest baggage, but with a little planning and consolidation you should have no trouble meeting those requirements. As a general rule cloth ing made of synthetic fabrics are light er and dry faster than natural fibers such as cotton, and are thus good items to invest in for your trip. These lighter materials will help you meet the weight requirements when packing your gear for the trip. Plan on dressing in layers with the under layers being moisture wicking fabrics. I recommend Fleece garments for mid-layer be cause they are light weight, warm and dry quickly when wet making them ideal. Layering will enable you to adjust to variations in temperature keeping you comfortable through-out the day while on the water. Another good idea is to plan out what you will wear while fishing and traveling and keep those outfits separate. There is no need to change your fishing cloths every day. Wool socks are my prefer ence when on an outdoor adventure trip. They will wick moisture from your skin and keep your feet warm even when damp.

Packing your bags

Wheeled duffle bags are a great innovation but they weigh 6-10 pounds and that counts against your weight limits with the airlines and more impor tantly the bush pilots loading small planes. For safety reasons weight limits on small planes are very critical and generally pilots can’t cut you any slack if your baggage is over the limit. You may be asked to leave some of your gear behind! I will also pack smaller items of clothing such as t-shirts, underwear and base layers in zip loc bags and squeeze the air out of the bag to eliminate bulk while packing. This is a handy way to keep these items organized as well. I recommend a duffle with-out wheels if weight is a serious factor with the camp you are visiting. I use a 14x22x16 inch canvas duffle bag, a waterproof day pack as a carry-on bag and my 33’ carry-on rod case on fly in trips. The day pack doubles as a boat bag for keeping cameras etc... dry while on the water. With this set up I can outfit myself for a 1-2-week wilderness fishing adventure and weigh in at 50 pounds all tackle included.

Fishing Tackle

You should consult with your outfitter for their recommendations on rods, reels and lures to bring with you de pending on the species of fish you will

I recommend bringing a backup rod and reel. It’s not uncommon for a rod to break under the stress of constant use on a week long trip. I have experienced both rod and reel failures on trips but in each case had a backup to keep me in the game. I would also recommend bringing an extra spool of line. Leave your one-piece rods at home. The air lines will charge you extra for the oversized baggage (length), and they are inconvenient to transport while navigat ing through an airport. They are also vulnerable to being broken while in transit. All of my Fly rods, bait casting, and spinning rods are either three or four piece and fit in a case that is 33 inches long that travels as carry-on luggage in the cabin with me. Temple Fork Outfitters and St Croix both offer high-quality American made multi piece travel rods that I have personally used and highly recommend. If you are using two-piece rods I would recom mend the use of a quality rod tube such as a Plano airline telescope rod case to transport your rods in the cargo bay. These tubes can handle a lot of abuse by baggage handlers

The baggage we leave behind

Ultimately, it’s not the stuff we pack for a trip to the North country that makes an adventure successful, but more importantly the baggage we leave behind such as the stress generated by the temptation to quantify and measure every experience as if I were at work. Enjoying the company of your friends and simply immersing yourself in the serenity that Mother Nature provides for use has many rewards, including adventure, discovery, and recovery from the stress of our urban lifestyles. Keep in mind that large trophy fish are a gift not a given. Not that you shouldn’t hope for, and anticipate catching some really big fish, but appreciate every fish as a trophy when caught in a pristine wilderness environment. My advice is to plan well, relax and let Mother Nature’s wisdom and wonder bring the intangibles of life into focus, and dreams your to life in the Wilderness of Northern Canada.

John Cleveland is the Marketing Director for Dardevle spoons, and a freelance outdoor writer for several outdoor adventure publications.

For as long as I can remember sheefish or Inconnu have been a wonder to a lot of anglers looking for something different. I think the wonder is the fact that there is not a lot of places in the world that you can catch sheefish. That topped with there is not a lot of anglers living in places where sheefish do live. It seems they like they live a solitary existence.

Looking at their home water existence they can be found from the Kuskokwim River, North to the Kobuk and in almost every drainage in between. The Yup’ik and Inupiat of Alaska as well as some Athabascan people call these fish “shees” and thus in Alaska the common name is sheefish. However, in other parts of the circumpolar north, this species is commonly called Inconnu (unknown fish) because early explorers, upon seeing this fish for the first time, did not know what they were.

Regardless Sheefish can be found in great numbers around the waters of Alaskan Adventures Lodge on the Holitna river witch is a drainage of the Kuskakwim River. Sheefish typically are some of the first fish to make their presence known after ice out. We typically can catch sheefish before any of the Pike turn on. Usually this early in the season we are catching sheefish on spoons or soft plastic swimbaits. It’s rare that real early in the season have we ever seen sheefish break the surface of the water to chase smolt or bait.

Topper Popper Sheefish

An experience and I mean any in Alaska can be exciting endeavor. Now a hunting or fishing trip in Alaska can be exhilarating however a DIY bear hunt can be the thrill of a lifetime. This story begins MANY years ago but is brought back to life with some fresh faces in todays world.

Many years ago, “Greg” had made the journey to Alaskan Adventures lodge to hunt bears with his son. At that time the lodge was owned by Rocky McElveen. Greg and his son had such a great time the trip was imprinted into Greg’s memory bank. So much that when friends “Bill” and “Scott” wanted a trip of a lifetime only one place came to Greg’s mind.

The rest of the day was spent squaring away licenses, checking the zero on rifles and organizing gear. A nice hot meal prepared by the chef at the lodge would be the last for a few days.

Now most of us have flown in an airplane from time to time however how many of us have flown in a supper cub in the Alaskan bush? Not many can say they have, however those that have can testify that the flight alone is worth the price of admission.


Greg had kept up with us at Alaskan Adventures through social media and in the Fall of 2021 reached out to the new owner of the lodge Dan Paull to discuss a trip for him and his friends in the fall of 2022. Since Greg has already been to the lodge and hunted bears in this area, he was well versed with what to possibly expect however his partners had no idea. Little did they know they were in for the experience of a lifetime.

August of 2022 finally rolled around, and they boys flew into the lodge for there hunt. Since it was late in the day when they arrived, flying out to the hunt area was not in the cards. The plan was to gear up and fly out first thing in the morning. No guide was going to be accompanying the boys however a videographer was along just to document the journey so keep an eye out for a video of this hunt in future editions.

That morning everyone was shuttled from the lodge to the mountains within sight of the lodge roughly only 20 miles by the way the crow fly’s. However once on the mountain the boys would be alone to deal with whatever nature had in store for them.

It seems to be often when guests get flown out of the lodge to hunt that day “USUALY” is a wonderful bluebird day and today was no exception. Everyone made it to the mountain without a hitch. First order was to get camp set up a quick as possible. Alaskan law does not allow hunting and flying in the same day so the boys had plenty of time to set up camp and get ready for a great hunt. That evening they were able to glass up some bears but could not hunt until the next day.

Unfortunately, the weather was rough for the next few days. I mean wind, rain and more wind and rain. Bears and game and well humans for that matter don’t really like to deal with such conditions. Being able to see at a distance is key to this type of hunting. When the fog and rain has socked in its pointless to walk around the moun tain and spread your scent. So, the toughest thing the boys must face is keeping spirits up and to just wait it out. Sometimes this is and can be the toughest part of the hunt. Patience is key in making the right move at the right time or not. In this case the boys held tight for a couple days, and it paid off.

When the weather finally broke, they were able to glass the mountains and look for bears. Once they were able to finally look, they were able to find Black Bears, Moose and Grizzly Bears in the hills and mountains around camp. Yes, even a rather LARGE grizzly bear was spotted not to far from camp. The boys were not too worried about this however since the bear had plenty to eat with the abundance of berries in the area. As they continued to look over the country, they found the caliber of bear they were looking for and the hunt was on. That afternoon they were able to harvest not only one bear but a second bear 100yrds from where the first had expired. Both bears were very nice six-foot bears and the boys couldn’t be happier.

hard. It seems as if the hills and mountains close to the lodge are loaded with bears and game. The toughest part about hunting the mountains and hills close to the lodge in Alaska is being able to be patient. Alaska can throw a lot at a hunter. From fog for days to wind and rain. The tough part is the waiting game. Just being able to do nothing for days until the weather clears enough to see. Getting out and just walking is one of the worst things a hunter can do as it spreads scent all over the mountain. Once a bear catches wind they can either disappear or go nocturnal making finding a quality bear to take home a real challenge.

So, if you’ve ever thought about a western style hunt where your glass ing the mountains and spotting the bear you want and then put a stalk on him rather than sitting over a bait than this is the hunt for you. Yes, you’ll be hiking up and down hills everyday however the hardest part of this hunt will probably be the mental stamina it takes to make the right move. Almost anyone can do this high success DIY hunt and have a great time. It’s a great way to break into hunting Alaska.

Early season hot Pike Action

When you think of Alaska, I’m sure you think of big snow peaked mountains, coastal beaches, whales, grizzly bears, and salmon. Yes, that is pretty much the iconic vision of Alaska however, the further you look the more that picture begins to broaden. The entire state can be divided up into roughly six regions and all of them offer something different and unique.

The area of focus for Alaskan Adventures Lodge is known as the western region. Western Alaska can be easily described as quite simply “the Alaskan Bush”. Although western Alaska does have mountains it’s probably mostly covered in tundra and thick bush. A lot of the rivers of Western Alaska have thick dense vegetation surrounding them. The rivers around Alaskan Adventures lodge are big, slow and hold probably the largest variety of native fish in the State.

One of the largest, most plentiful and most aggressive is the Northern Pike. Pike around Alaskan Adventures Lodge can be so aggressive that we have actually caught 30” Pike with 20” Jack King Salmon in their throats. Thoughout the season we have seen all five Pacific Salmon Species in the throats of Pike. If that doesn’t describe how aggressive these Pike can be, we don’t know what does.

Fishing for Pike can be nothing short of EPIC! If you like a lot of in your face top water explosive action, then June and July is the time you want to come to the lodge. It’s at this time that the waters around the lodge start to warm and when that happens Pike put on the feed bag. Spring or early summer is when there is a LOT of bait in the water for Pike. Everything from baby ducks to Lamprey over 24” and it’s also at this time that last year’s fry begins to make there way down river to the ocean.

Our absolute favorite way to fish for pike is anything topwater. It’s not uncommon for a pike to grab a lure or fly a dozen times before finally getting hooked. It’s also not uncommon to see pike actually fighting each other for the fly or lure. We have even had days where just fishing for grabs with no hooks on the offering was more fun than actually hooking and landing fish. I know that sound crazy but sometimes just getting the fish to attach is actually more fun than fishing the fish. Trust me you’ll want to try it.

With the fishing this epic we expect guests to land 30-50 Pike a day per person with a hand full of them being over 40” each day and have shots at fish in the 50” range. We expect guests to be absolutely tired at the

With the fishing this epic we expect guests to land 30-50 Pike a day per person with a hand full of them being over 40” each day and have shots at fish in the 50” range. We expect guests to be absolutely tired at the end of the day. We expect after dinner guests to retire to the porch for a drink while watching moose come to the river for a drink while recharging batteries to be ready for the next day full of action on the water.

Life is truly an adventure ALASKAN ADVENTURES

ALASKAN ADVENTURES 110 Meadow Lane Bellvue, Colorado, USA – 80512 (303) 881-0200 (765) 398-0439 ALAS KAN ADVE N TURES RESTORATION TH R OUGHRECREATION

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