With participants from Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and Alaska The Women’s Flyfishing School in Cordova, AK for 2017 had a super group. As women’s increasing interest in fly fishing grows, our students were from several different states around the country this year. They will be fly fishing for fish like bass, and crappie, and other warm water species in addition to the fish they pursued while in AK.
As it always does, our fly fishing school begins with a lesson in the basic overhead cast on a rocky beach in Cordova where a small stream absolutely teems with pink salmon. The students tie on a hot-pink fly with their first knot and line up along the shore to make their very first cast to a fish with a fly rod. All six of them manage to get the fly into some part of the fish, even if it isn’t in the mouth, and the mayhem begins.
“I’ve got one,” can be heard up and down the water, “what do I do now?” are the next thing we can all hear. Two or three students will gather around the person with a fly in its mouth while they try to land it with the techniques they were just introduced to. The fish is finally to the bank, and the first lesson in removing the hook happens. With no time, all six of them are hooking, playing and releasing an Alaska salmon, and loving it.
Soon after lunch we head back to the lodge for the first lesson in knot tying and they all struggle with the nail knot and the blood knots as they learn how to construct a leader. Almost everyone will keep on practicing the knots throughout the five-day school along with other skills they need to learn.
Much of the school occurs at beautiful Sheep Creek, a remote salmon creek in Prince William Sound, AK. The water is absolutely packed with fish and their white bellies are noticeable in the dark water. Now more casting ensues and leader construction is practiced as necessary as they get a more challenging location. The boat from the lodge has driven us to this wonderful place, but, since it is too big to get up into the bay high enough, we must disembark and walk part of the way. As we head to the water several tiny creeks all have pink salmon in them and it’s amazing to watch them swim with their backs out of the water as they struggle toward their spawning location. The day passes quickly and their performance improves in every aspect of their learning.
The next day the lodge flies us to another remote area where we land on the beach as the tide is going out. The plane will be back for us after the tide turns. Now everyone is using a 5-wt rods to seek out the sea-run cutthroat trout that reside in this tidal creek. The “little jewels” as we call them, tempt the students and they see how different it can be to use a light fly rod with smaller fish. They switch flies from time to time to cast two-at-a-time into a small pond where the fish are quite furious to take the small flies. They all end up trying dry flies and are anxious to try more. The end of this day sees them all getting a flight-see to the glacier that exists near the lodge and come back with great pictures.
The last day is a short day, but with enough time to head to a beautiful bay that hosts the Cordova Bird Festival in the spring, and salmon in the summer. By now, everyone’ confidence is evident and they cast, play a fish and construct their leaders with skill.
Whether they will continue to fish for warm or cold water fish or even a saltwater fish, they now have the fundamentals on which to build. As usual, no one wants to leave things like the amazing meals, the cooperative pink salmon, other fish, and the hospitality of Orca Adventure Lodge and Cordova.Best Fishes!