The Susitna watershed’s big water is ideal for casting long two-hand fly rods. It also has many roadside streams that call for shorter switch rods and single-hand Spey casting techniques. Having these tools in your arsenal will open up water that has been out of reach by being too far away or limited space for a backcast.
If casting two-hand rods is your preferred fishing style, or if you would like to learn a new casting technique, this Saturday’s 4th annual Fly Fishing Fair and Spey Clave, hosted by Alaska Fly Fishers, is a great opportunity for free instruction from some of the best casting instructors in the state. This year’s event is being held on Saturday, June 3 at the scenic Russian River Ferry Crossing in Cooper Landing.
“The goal of the event is to get people excited about fly fishing. It’s a terrific sport and there’s a lot of interest here in Alaska but not a lot of good instructional opportunities. People often must learn by watching YouTube videos. To watch presentations by experts and learn from Certified Fly Casting Instructors is really a great opportunity,” said Mark Huber, a past president of Alaska Fly Fishers and a Certified Fly Casting Instructor.
“Fishing with a spey rod is just another great way to enjoy Alaska’s world-class rivers. Whether just learning or a seasoned expert there will be something for everyone,” said Shannon Carroll a board member of Trout Unlimited Southcentral Alaska chapter, a sponsor of this year’s event.
Presentations will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. with a break for a hosted BBQ lunch. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., participants can try out equipment, work with the experts and instructors on fly casting techniques, and participate in a 7wt. single hand fly casting distance contest.
George Cook has been on the forefront of the spey casting evolution in the northwest and Alaska. A native of Washington State, he now shares time between Washington and Alaska where he has worked as a sales representative with Sage Rods since 1987. George also represents RIO, Redington and Sitka Gear. Early in his guiding career, George developed the popular Alaskabou fly series which are still popular today. George is always entertaining and is an engaging casting instructor and presenter.
Lee Kuepper grew up in Northern Wisconsin fly fishing for great lakes steelhead until the Alaska called and hasn’t let go. Lee owns and operates Double Haul Fly Fishing a fly fishing guide service on the Kenai River. When not fishing, Lee can be found shooting cool photos, teaching fly casting, or chasing steelhead around South-East Alaska. He is an FFI Certified Casting Instructor. Lee is an ambassador for Loop Tackle Company.
Mark Huber is a long-time resident of Anchorage and has many years of Alaska fly fishing experience. He is an FFI Master Certified Casting Instructor, FFI Certified Two-Hand Casting Instructor and serves on the FFI Casting Board of Governors. Mark gives presentations and workshops at national and international FFI events and provides fly casting instruction individuals and groups. He is a member of the R.L. Winston Rod Company and Scientific Anglers Pro Staff and the lead volunteer for the Fly Fishing Fair and Spey Clave.
Jake Zirkle is the Northwest Region representative for G Loomis and operated Alaska Fly Water Guides for fourteen season guiding on the Kenai Peninsula and fly out rivers. Jake has been fly fishing since the age of seven, spey casting for the last 10 years, and has taught spey casting in clinics and with his clients for several years.
Jolynne Howard is a long-time Alaska resident with a passion fly fishing and sharing her passion through teaching others. Jolynne has been active for many years with the Alaska Fly Fishers and presented at out 2016 Alaska Fly Fishing Fair. Jolynne is working towards successfully testing for her FFI Certified Casting Instructor designation.
Dave Lisi is the owner/guide for Cooper Landing Fishing Guide, LLC located in Cooper Landing, where he makes his home year-round. Dave has a passion of fishing the Kenai River with two hand rods and swinging flies for the large trophy rainbow trout resident in the river.
Eric Neufeld lives in North Bend, Washington and studied Psychology at the University of Colorado. While living in Colorado he worked as a fly fishing guide, fly shop employee and commercial fly tier. With a growing passion for fly fishing, Eric continued his guiding career at Alaska West Lodge, Mission Lodge and Sandy River Lodge and spent the winters guiding at El Patagon in Chile. In 2003, Eric retired his guide boots to become a fly fishing sales representative. Eric currently is the Pacific Northwest sales representative for Simms Fishing Products, R.L. Winston Rod Company, Echo Fly Fishing, Airflo Fishing, Bauer Fly Reels, Nautilus Reels and Umpqua Feather Merchants.
Event sponsors include Alaska Fly Fishers, Trout Unlimited, Mossy’s Fly Shop, R.L. Winston Rod Co., Fish Alaska Magazine, and Scientific Anglers.
You can find out more details at Alaska Fly Fishing Fair and Spey Clave.