Guide: Linda Leary
The excitement was building as we met at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to begin our trip to Nome. We are off to fish for the world famous Arctic Grayling!
We boarded the flight, comparing the gear we brought and worrying about what we forgot. The scenery was beautiful as we ventured further north into the Arctic leaving behind the treeline. We land, meet our host, Tom Gray, and after a quick stop at the local grocery store, we head out in his van for the 80 mile, 2 hour ride to Council, Alaska. It is a beautiful journey on a long gravel road to Council, home of the Niukluk River.
"Passing summer camps and gold dredge operations along the beach, we turn left at the old railroad site and head into the mountains..."
Passing summer camps and gold dredge operations along the beach, we turn left at the old railroad site and head into the mountains. We experience a chance encounter with a Musk Ox on the way and arrive ready for a 20 minute boat ride down river to Tom and BeeJay’s Lodge. It is homey, rustic, and a welcome respite after a long day of travel. We find our dry cabins and settle in for the trip.
"It is homey, rustic, and a welcome respite after a long day of travel."
The days that follow are filled with wonderful home cooked meals, shared stories of Tom and BeeJay’s adventures, living between White Mountain and Nome, sharing their love of hunting and fishing with many over the years.
Each morning Tom shuttles us up and down the river, taking us to his favorite grayling spots. He explains the best method to cast and skitter the fly, or beetle, across the water with rods raised high. The goal is to create a V in the water dragging it toward you, no mending. Soon everyone was perfecting this method and we were enjoying lots of action. The Grayling were attacking our flies nonstop! Each time they hit it makes you jump and giggle at how vigorously they go after the fly - it is just SO much fun!
"The Grayling were attacking our flies nonstop!"
One sunny morning we headed to a slough to target one of our favorite predators to catch on the fly… local Pike. Casting to the shore and into the weed line, the ladies had a number of pike chase down their big flies for an exciting hit and fight! A fun addition to Grayling fishing, the Pike are always exhilarating.
We would break for lunch at the lodge or on the river, and be back at it, fishing for the afternoon or canoeing a section and fishing on our own. The evenings were spent enjoying a home cooked meal prepared lovingly by BeeJay, and of course dessert was always such a treat! One evening we tied flies with one of our guests and frequent Trip Host, Jolynne. We fished them the very next day with great success! It’s always so gratifying and such a pleasure to land your target fish on a fly you have hand tied yourself!
"One evening we tied flies with one of our guests and frequent Trip Host, Jolynne. We fished them the very next day with great success!"
After three days of fishing and regaling in stories of catching grayling and pike, we head back to the landing in Council for a history filled tour ride back to Nome. It is always sad to leave. We savor laughter and the stories of our trip and fun we had! But a trip to Nome is not fulfilled without buying some gold or purchasing local art. So we top off our visit by heading to the local gift store to find a little treasure to always remind us of the memories we have made.
"We love it and all its beauty... There's NO PLACE LIKE NOME!!!"
We love Nome. We love it and all its beauty and are so thankful for the opportunity to experience fishing for the famous Arctic Grayling! Until next year… there's NO PLACE LIKE NOME!!!