Alaska Advice with Kelby

Kelby Braun - 08/25/16

Alaskan Brown Bears fishing for salmon in the river.

Four details to making your trip better.

For most of you I’m a fresh new face in the fly shop. My name is Kelby Braun and I have been guiding since I turned 16 with the help of my Aunt Nanci Lyon. For more than 20 years she worked as an independent guide in Bristol Bay. Years later she had the opportunity to purchase a lodge some of you may recognize, the world famous Alaska Sportsman’s Bear Trail Lodge. With the passion of fishing coming through the DNA on both sides of my family, I spent every waking moment on the water trying to out smart any available fish.

Starting at the age of 5 each year I would take a trip to Alaska to experience the salmon runs. To be a guide in Alaska one has to be 16 years old and have a first aid, CPR certificate. Needles to say the day I turned 16 I became a guide! That being said, there are two different guide licenses to obtain, one being a paper over the counter allowing one to only guide from shore, walk and wade style fishing. The other is a Coast Guard six-pack license. Once you dedicate the better part of a year to this effort, you are allowed to legally run and operate a boat with paying clients onboard.

Having achieved these goals at such a young age has given me unique insight and knowledge in the best way you might be able to prepare for your Alaskan Fishing trip. Below are four important aspects to consider before planning your trip-of-a-lifetime to Alaska...

Underwater Trout eating an egg.

  1. First and foremost DO NOT buy cheap rain gear.
    I have seen too many times, people do a once in a lifetime trip to Alaska and try to save a buck by getting cheap rain gear from the sale rack. Take the time and visit your local fly shop to discuss quality jackets and layers that won’t allow you to get wet and ruin your trip! Alaska weather can change at a moments notice and one needs to be prepared. In Alaska if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it will change. This makes layers you can shed are a must! A quality rain jacket followed by a nanopuff, possibly a R-1 layer and a long sleeve shirt is my go to.
  2. Quality sunglasses, and Buffs are essential as well.
    You visit Alaska to catch and spot trophy fish, high quality optics like Smith glasses will spot fish that much easier. I wear a Buff every time I guide, first for the bugs, adding insect repellant to Buffs are perfect to keep these critters at bay and the second reason is to avoid the sun. The UV protective Buffs keep your skin safe while casting to your trophy fish.
  3. Your next step should be going to your local fly shop and discussing fly rods.
    After spending many seasons in Alaska I have found the 9’6’’ 6wt with a fighting butt to be my favorite small stream rainbow, char, and grayling rod. I pair this with a sealed drag reel and load it with floating nymph line. Odds are you have booked this trip in advanced so please take the time to go out and cast, get a feel for your new Alaskan trout rod! It will save you and your guide time, and will result in more fish brought to the net.
  4. My last piece of advise for your trip to Alaska is understanding what you want to do.
    Plan your trip accordingly. What I mean by this is do some research and find out what you want to fish for. Typically rainbow-fishing starts in the end of May and goes into the middle of June. King Salmon start heading into the rivers mid to end of June and go until the end of July. August first is the start of silver season and that lasts until mid September. After silvers it’s back to rainbows, in many cases big rainbows swim out of the lakes to feed on dying salmon and their eggs. This is a great opportunity to catch trophy rainbow from 18-34 inches.

One must decide what they want to accomplish before blind-booking a once in a lifetime trip to Alaska. If the free time you have available is more relevant than the type of fish you catch, you cannot go wrong with fishing anytime of the year in Alaska. Hopefully Alaska is on your bucket list of fishing trips. If you need more information please stop in or call Silver Bow. We will be glad to set up a trip to Alaska Sportsman’s Bear Trail Lodge or any other fishing destinations you might have in mind in Alaska.

  • Alaskan fly out sea plane.