Bristol Bay Guide Academy

Learning to Fly Fish Leads to More Local Jobs

This spring, as millions of Bristol Bay salmon begin the epic migration back to their home streams, 13 young Bristol Bay residents will spend an action-packed week exploring what it takes to pursue a career as a fly fishing guide or lodge owner on Bristol Bay’s world-class fishing rivers.

The Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy, in its third year, will be held May 29 – June 5 at the Alaska Sportsman’s Bear Trail Lodge on the Naknek River.  Participants between the ages of 15 and 24 learn how to fly fish from long-time Bristol Bay resident and lodge owner Nanci Morris Lyons and Ekwok elder Luki Akelkok. They find out what it’s like to be a guide or own a lodge and how the knowledge of a local guide can create a unique experience for visiting anglers. The hands-on experience also includes boating safety, CPR, and sessions on river ecology and conservation.

“As more local young people are equipped and excited to pursue careers in the sport fishing world, local lodges are taking notice and becoming increasingly interested in hiring their guides locally,” explained Nelli Williams of the Trout Unlimited Alaska program, one of the Academy’s organizers. “And that’s what the Academy is all about – giving local young people the skills and tools they need to explore a sustainable, salmon-based career on their home rivers. Bottom line – healthy salmon runs mean more local jobs.”

Check out the Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy on Facebook or at www.bbflyfishingacademy.org for stories from the river. We already have eight interested students on the wait list for 2012, so if you’re interested in participating, be sure to apply early next year.

Interested in sponsoring a student at the Academy?  A donation of $250 can help cover travel costs for these students.

E-mail nwilliams@tu.org to learn more about how you can support this program.

Here's a look at the 2010 Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy