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Monday, 28 June:  Our day began in Anchorage where we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading to the airport at 12:00 noon.  (We had arrived in Anchorage the day before after first driving to Denver and spending a night there.)  At the Anchorage airport, we met some of our fellow anglers, Becky & Bill and their son, Heath and daughter-in-law, Ashley.  It was great to catch-up before we all boarded our flight to King Salmon. 

We arrived at King Salmon airport at 5:00PM and were met by guides Chris and Bobby.  After loading our gear, we divided into groups, boarded the Beavers and were all flown to No See Um Lodge arriving at 6:00PM.  Upon arrival at the dock, we were met by John & Kari Holman, No See Um’s owners, as well as all the staff members.  Then, we were shown to our respective cabins.  For the first time, we joined a group in the main cabin which houses eight people in four separate bedrooms with private facilities.  Our “roomies” were also anglers we knew from our prior visits – Dr. Ben (“Gramps”), his son, Dr. Bob, and Grayson, Adrian, Nick and one newbie, Nick’s dad, David.

We all enjoyed a delicious dinner along with all the guides, including Jack Holman (John’s dad), founder of No See Um, who returns for a few weeks each year at the beginning of the season.  Afterwards, it was an early evening in anticipation of our first day of fishing.

Tuesday, 29 June:  It was a cold, foggy morning.  We all enjoyed breakfast and then learned about today’s fishing adventure.  At 8:00AM, we boarded a Beaver with John at the helm with our fellow anglers, Ben & Grayson.  We were headed to Gibraltar to do a float trip with Caleb and Ben & Grayson were headed to Brooks River.  Unfortunately, it was so foggy we had to return to the lodge.  At 10:30AM, John decided to try it again when there was some relief from the fog.

Ultimately, we made it to the lower Gibraltar River at 11:15AM and no further due to the weather.  Instead of doing a float, we all fished the river - us fishing with John and our fellow anglers fishing with Caleb.  It continued to be cold and rainy throughout the afternoon.  The fishing was difficult but we both managed to catch rainbows.  Ed also did some multiple species fishing.  From the same spot, he caught two beautiful grayling as well as a char and a rainbow.  So, all in all, we enjoyed some fun fishing.

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A shot of Chef Gerald enjoying
some coffee in his spotless kitchen
when we returned back to the
lodge due to weather
Ed with one of his grayling (a little fellow)
but check out the new No See Um Lodge cap!

A great shot of No See Um's founder,
Jack Holman, with his three
grandchildren - Luke, Jack & Sydney

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After lunch, John made an executive decision to try to fish for a bit on the Morraine River.  So, at 3:00PM, we headed out.  Unfortunately, the Morraine already had anglers on it so we continued on to the Big Ku.  The water was roaring and after an hour and four anglers with not even a single strike, it was 5:00PM and time to head home.

Wednesday, 30 June:   The weather looked much more promising today with a few breaks in the clouds.  So, we headed out at 8:00AM on board again with John at the helm and Ed in the co-pilot seat.  Since it was to be a long ride (over an hour), Parker traded the co-pilot seat for some nap time in a passenger seat.  When we arrived at the Ugashik River some other anglers had already been dropped off and were in one key channel.  So, we took areas that weren’t occupied.  The fishing was very slow until 11AM when we moved to another channel.  Then the action was fast and furious.  We both caught several char (our quest for the day) and Ed also landed a beautiful 19 inch grayling (the world record is a 22” from Alaska).  Parker made a great lunch of fresh char for the entire gang (we were at the Ugashik with the entire Mauer family so we were eight anglers in total).

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A view from our Beaver of Chris
flying NSU's newest member
of the fleet, a 3rd Beaver

A stunning view of Peulik Volcano
and its reflection
John holding Ed's 19 inch grayling
A shot of Ed and John with
a typical char from the Ugashik River
"Chef Parker" preparing a delicious
lunch of freshly caught char
Ed doing some deep-water wading
on the Ugashik

[ T O P ]

After lunch John asked if anyone wanted to do “exploring” to see what was happening at the Featherly River.  We volunteered as did David and Bob.  Chris and Caleb got us into the Beaver and off we went.  We made it to the Featherly but Chris didn’t see any fish in the river.  So, we continued to Margo Creek but it was blown out with mud.  So, we continued on to the famous Brooks River.  There we fished the Upper Brooks and had great fun and lots of fish using a dry fly.  It was the perfect way to end our day of fishing!

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A view of the beginning of The Brooks River
(we forgot to take any photo's of our final
fish of the day be we didn't miss this
great landscape shot!)

[ T O P ]

We returned to the lodge at 6:00PM.  Gerald had delicious snacks awaiting us in the main cabin.  As we got out of our waders, Lindy realized she had a leak in her waders.  So its repair became our main priority during happy hour.  Thankfully, Ed found the leak.  So, after a delicious dinner, we returned and applied AquaSeal to repair the leak.  The balance of the guests went “flossing” for salmon (dragging a lure into their mouths) on the shores of the Kvichak.  This is a great thing to do if you want to take home some really fresh salmon.  We don’t normally partake except to watch the action so it wasn’t too much of a sacrifice especially since waterproof waders are an Alaskan essential.

Thursday, 1 July:  Today we were dropped off at the Lower American River with Caleb.  Caleb got the boat which is kept on shore there ready for us and we were off.  Our day was a full one with lots of fish caught and released.  Initially, we were blind fishing and both caught numerous char.  Then, we fished a back channel and were able to find some rainbows.  Throughout the day, Caleb was on the look-out for fish and once spotted, one of us took a shot at sight casting to it – most times with success!  We moved from spot to spot throughout the day if the fishing ever slowed.  Our biggest fish of the day was a 25” char that Lindy was able to catch & release.  We enjoyed a very good day of fishing (and Lindy got some great fishing technique tips from Caleb) despite it being more like Fall than Summer with the rain and clouds being with us throughout.  By the way the patch to Lindy’s waders worked perfectly; no leaks at all.

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A char caught by Ed who also had
to be the photographer since he
was fishing alone while Caleb
was fishing with Lindy

Lindy gets a nice rainbow

Ed with another char during a rainstorm
Lindy's 25 inch char - long
but a wee bit skinny

[ T O P ]

Friday, 2 July:  We enjoyed the Brooks River today with Chris.  Chris flew the Beaver and we landed on the Upper Brooks.  After a quick walk down to the middle of this part of the stream, we began fishing.  While it was a bit slow, we both managed to catch numerous rainbows – with Lindy catching two 22” beauties being the highlight of the morning.  We returned to the Beaver for lunch with fellow anglers, Bob and Adrian, and guide, Dave.  Afterwards we all walked to the Lower Brooks River below the famous Brooks River Falls. 

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Ed with one of the beautifully
colored rainbows from The Brooks

This guy is definitely checking us out!
Lindy and Chris with her 22 inch rainbow
Look at the huge hump on the
back of this fellow!
Lindy holding her own healthy rainbow

[ T O P ]

The afternoon fishing was also productive but we may have spent more time out of the water waiting for bears to pass than we spent fishing.  Everyone caught lots of fish – probably in the 14”-16” range mostly on dry flies.  While we were most often waiting for one or two bears to pass, there was one time when we had eight bears in the river attacking a pod of salmon.  It was amazing how quickly they could run across the water from one bank to the other in response to a jumping salmon.

Saturday, 3 July:  We had an early breakfast at 6:00AM in hopes of an early start to the day.  However, the rainy, foggy weather once again thwarted that plan.  It had rained all night long so we hoped it would play out.  Eventually, we were able to leave camp and we ultimately arrived at Headwaters at 10:40AM (after dropping Parker, Ben and David at Lower American).  We took a 40 minute hike to reach the river.  Both the setting and the river were pristine and it was wonderful to be in the true wilderness. 

Unfortunately, the water was really high in Headwaters.  Places we previously had used to cross were totally impassible.  This too meant very tough fishing.  We worked multiple shorelines until we finally hit a spot with some holding fish.  So, we stayed there until we had each caught multiple rainbows (and Ed had a grayling too).  We had a quick lunch at the spot and, before leaving, we had Chris take a couple of casts to ensure we had done our best to hook everything in the pool.  Then, we hiked out via a different route which took us an hour and 10 minutes.  The walking wasn’t too difficult but the bugs were unbelievable.  Yuk!!

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An aerial view of The Headwaters

Ed and Chris with a nice rainbow
Lindy geta a rainbow too
The guys with another one

[ T O P ]

After returning to the Lower American to pick up the rest of our gang, we returned to the lodge at 5:15PM and exchanged stories of the day while enjoying a cocktail.  Then, it was time for another delicious dinner and then some well-deserved rest.

Sunday, 4 July:  Happy 4th of July!!  This was our final day of fishing (for 2010 that is!).  We once again headed out with Chris for fishing.  Our designated spot was the Upper American with fellow anglers, Adrian and Nick, and guide Dave.  We left the lodge early but had to return back due to fog.  Ultimately, we were able to make it to the river by about 10:30AM and Ed had a fly in the water by 11:00AM.

It was a difficult morning in that we could see a few fish feeding in the river.  The nose of the fish would briefly break the surface of the water so it wasn’t a real vivid take.  We tried throwing every kind of nymph, fry, dry fly and even a mouse without a single strike.  Wow!  Finally, we decided these fish had won so we went a bit further downstream where fish were ultimately caught.  Yeah; we’ve never been skunked at No See Um and we didn’t want this to be a first.

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Our landing spot on Hammersley Lake

Lindy fishing in this beautiful setting
Finally, a fish takes one of Ed's dry flies

[ T O P ]

We returned to the lodge at about 5:30PM and then enjoyed a delicious dinner before watching John’s children get our 4th of July festivities underway at about 7:00PM with the lighting of various fireworks.  Then, it was time to watch the brave souls who decided to get towed behind a boat on an inflatable raft on the cold Kvichak River.  It is part of the lodge tradition that in the past included some nude waterskiing but not this year (hey, everyone is getting a bit older (and perhaps wiser)).

At midnight it was time to turn in after another enjoyable week at No See Um Lodge.  In addition to our fishing, we also enjoyed the lodge environment itself as well as our interactions with other lodge guests and lodge staff members.  We’ve already signed up for another visit in 2011!

Post-2010 log:  This was our 7th visit to No See Um Lodge and it remains one of our favorite fishing spots worldwide.  The Lodge sits on the banks of the Kvichak River.  Guests are housed in either the main lodge building (described above) or in one of two “honeymoon” cabins with double beds.  The amenities are the same in any of the locations – a great room, private bath with incredible hot water, 24-hour electricity, lounging area and wonderful views of the river.  Of course, the main lodge building houses the bar which is where everyone gathers before dinner to enjoy cocktails and appetizers.  Dinner is served in a separate dining hall which also has a lounge area and a television (for those who can’t escape without hearing the news or for those who want to watch an evening football game in the latter season).  Staff housing is at the rear of the compound and it too has excellent amenities so the lodge boasts happy guides and happy staff (not something every lodge can attest to).

If you're interested in exploring our other adventures at No See Um lodge, just click on a link below to go to that year's trip.


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