MAY 2015


Reeling Stoner


from Bill Huber

Thank you to everyone for coming out to the Alaska Fly Fisher's Annual Spring Auction.   Ben Rowell and his Auction Committee did a tremendous job planning, organizing, and executing the best auction the club has ever had.  I must also thank everyone who helped solicit incredible donations from our generous sponsors.  This year's donations where the best I have seen in several years and will be hard to repeat next year. 


Our new website is now online and operational at or  If you have not already renewed your annual membership with a board member, you can now sign up online.  We have been adding, on average, a new member everyday since the website went live and over 40 new members in the last 45 days.  Josh Bell, our Webmaster, is doing an incredible job getting this operational.  We are all very excited about the potential this new webpage software brings to our club's activities.  


As you can see above, the Naknek River was absolutely awesome for me this spring.  Fishing with Nancy and Heath Lyons at the Alaska Sportsmans Bear Trail Lodge is a lifetime experience that goes into the memory books.  We are all now counting down to opening day on the Kenai River and seeing the salmon return.  I am hearing we are going to experience the best Alaska red salmon return in the last 25 years. Sounds like there is going to be enough fish for everyone this June and July.   


Again, a huge thanks to all our club members who have volunteered their valuable time supporting the club in the Alaska Boat Show, the Great Alaska Sportsman Show, the Fly Fishing Film Tour, the Annual Spring Action, and the AFF Spring Seminar.  This has been a exciting, challenging, and demanding Spring, but we all got through it with great success.  Thanks for all your support!


As always, keep the lines clean and the fish on!

Bill Huber
AFF President

MAY 4th GENERAL MEETING     Millennium Hotel
from Pat Malone
This month's General Membership meeting will feature Ms. Kristine Route providing us with a presentation about The Impact of Human Waste on the Upper Kenai River Watershed.  As we all know, fish thrive in clean water and whereas all healthy ecosystems naturally have waste; we humans have a tendency to take the naturally occurring waste and compounding it to overwhelming levels.  We unfortunately observe this far too often not only on a daily basis while fishing the Kenai, but annually in September at our Kenai Clean-Up event.  Kristine graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Natural Resources and is currently in grad school, attending Alaska Pacific University.  

We look forward to Kristine's presentation Monday, May 4th at 7 pm and learning how we can help reduce the negative human impact on this and other waterways.

Hope to see you there and bring a friend,

Patrick Malone
Vice President

Your Executive Board, citing significant financial resources being used to provide our monthly general membership meetings (one evening per month for 3-4 hours) 9 times per year, and the annual auction for one evening, has decided to seek other options for a meeting location for our General Membership meetings.  

The Board, as representatives of The Alaska Fly Fishers, is  greatly interested in our members' opinions and suggestions in making a decision that will impact us all.  A committee has been organized to gather feedback, seek options, and present at the next Board meeting (Tuesday, May 12, at the BP Energy Center ).  The committee consists of Chris Pouncey, Josh Bell, and myself.  

Please feel free to contact any of us or speak with us at the General Membership meeting on Monday, May 4th or attend the board meeting to help us make this decision.

Patrick Malone
Vice President

N E W S !
from Steve Lambert

Science Fair Award Winners

There will be some familiar faces at the Science Fair Award presentations at the May meeting.  Two of this year's three winners were also winners in 2014. 

Alta Dean  has continued to study the acidification of sea water in Prince William Sound.  Her talk this year will highlight the additional work she has done to continue to document changes in pH of seawater at selected sights within Prince William Sound.  Alta is a senior at Colony High School and is planning to continue her studies at UAF next year.


At last year's science fair Alisa Aist presented a project which focused on the identification of parasites in Halibut.  This year Alicia is once again back in the laboratory.  Alicia has been working in the lab for ADF&G comparing the results of a faster method of performing genetic sampling of salmon.  As a result of Alicia's work, it has been confirmed that the faster analytical method provides results which are comparable to slower more conventional testing.  This should ultimately save time and money in the identification of salmon genetics.  Alicia is also headed off to college next year.  At our last discussion she was still undecided on her destination.


Paul Nitisaporn is a new winner of the Alaska Fly Fishers Science Fair awards.   Paul is a middle school student.  His project compared the effectiveness of various types of baits while ice fishing at Taku Lake in Anchorage this winter.  Paul will show that there are definite advantages to using certain baits.  Based on the large number of fish Paul caught during his study, he has a bright future as a fisherman in Alaska.


At the May meeting, each winner will be presented a check for $100 from the Alaska Fly Fishers and each winner will present a brief summary of their project.  Please plan to attend the meeting to learn about their projects and make all our young scientists and their families feel welcome.

from Ben Rowell

Thank you!


I'd like to thank all the volunteers, donors, sponsors, and bidders for supporting the Alaska Fly Fishers 2015 Annual Fundraising Auction. The event was a huge success because of your efforts. 


To all the attendees, I hope you enjoyed the evening and left with an exciting trip to look forward to and some gear that will be put to good use this spring.


If you had submitted items to be sold at the auction with AFF taking a commission, any unsold items will be available for the owner to pick up prior to AFF's General Meeting on Monday, May 4 th  from 6:30-7:00 at the Millennium Hotel. I have another commitment that evening, so please try to make it during this time.



Thanks again for all the support!


-Ben Rowell

Auction Coordinator



 from Rich Johnson

Spring Seminar Reminder

After three consecutive Monday nights of seminar sessions, don't forget there is a break to allow for our regular membership meeting on May 4th. The final session, for casting, will be Monday, May 11th, at the main BP building in the conference rooms just off the main entrance.

Certified casting instructor, Mark Huber, will start off the evening with verbal coaching and a demonstration. We'll then all head out to the front lawns to learn some basic casting strokes. If you have a fly fishing outfit already, you're encouraged to bring it. If not, no worries; AFF members who are there to help will have balanced outfits for you to work with. Remember to dress for the weather as we'll be outside for over an hour.

We'll head back inside a little after 8:00PM for door prize drawings, including the grand prize of a 6wt fly fishing outfit.

Call for Casters 

We've had a great Seminar so far this year, I'm asking for your help to make the last session as successful.

Monday, May 11th is the casting instruction for our attendees. Mark Huber will be the head instructor for the basic casting we want to teach. We'll then head outside to work on the basic casting stroke necessary for attendees to begin fly fishing this summer. All you need is one of your balanced fishing outfits and a
willingness to teach people what you know. After Mark gets done with his introduction and we're outside, the hands-on casting instruction is very informal.

The actual program runs 6:30 to 8:30 pm and given all the stringing of rods that will go on, I'd suggest showing up as early as possible. Dress for the weather as we will be outside for over an hour. We provide yarn (no hooks allowed) for the end of your leader. The casting session is in the main BP Building's conference room, off the front entrance. No need to call me, just mark your calendar and be there.

If you have any questions, please contact  Rich Johnson at or by phone 243-1093 (office)

Are you ready to go fishing and you want to go with a "buddy"?  Join the Alaska Fly Fishing (AFF) Fishing Buddy Program to connect with others who also want to fish around Alaska.  The program includes beginners who want to learn how and where to fish as well as seasoned Alaskan fishers who are eager to help others. 


If you want to link up with others who have a passion for fishing, meet with Jan Schnorr at the May meeting to get the latest information about this fishers' network or click on this link to download the enrollment form.  The form is user friendly. Either download it, fill it out, and submit it via email (no paper required!) to Jan at, or print it and bring it to the May meeting. 


The list will only be distributed to AFF members who return/sign the consent form.   


 by Bill Hauser

Bill is out enjoying life. While absent, has chosen a few of his favorite articles to repeat over the next few newsletters.  

Where Have All the Salmon Gone?


Another FISH TALK discusses a research report about ocean acidification and the probable negative effect on food items in the marine waters important for growth and survival of young salmon. Another report addressed the issue of Chinook salmon stocks in the Yukon River and the presenter pointed out that Yukon River Chinook salmon have been steadily declining in both size and numbers since the mid 1970s.

In an attempt to understand what may cause these declines, one must first understand the life history and ecology of Chinook salmon in the Yukon River. After hatching and emerging from the redd, young Chinook salmon spend usually one year rearing in the river. They migrate to the ocean as smolts and the peak of their emigration occurs shortly after the spring seasonal peak of discharge. These fish enter the Bering Sea where they reside mostly in the upper 150 feet of the water column where they feed and grow. Abundant, good quality food is important because the biggest fish can avoid predators better and fatter fish will survive the winter in greater numbers. After one to four years at sea, they return as adults to spawn.

Read the rest of the article


Do you have a question for FISH TALK? 
Contact Bill at


Bill recently published Fishes of the Last Frontier, Life Histories, Biology, Ecology, and Management of Alaska Fishes and previously, Letters from Alaska, the Inside to the Outside


from Chad Gage


The April tying clinic found a steady stream of people throughout the day. We had several eager new tiers  ready to learn. We also had a handful of members that have been attending the last several clinics and their skills at the bench are impressively improving. As always I would like to extend a thank you to the folks that helped out with sharing their knowledge and with the clean up at the end of the day.  

AFF will be holding its next clinic on Saturday, May 16, at the William Hernandez fish hatchery from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Hatchery is located on the corner of Reeve and Post Rd on Ship creek. The clinic is free of charge and open to the public. The Club has plenty of vises and material if you don't have your own and we are always happy to see beginners. Come on down to share your fish stories and have some coffee and cookies. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Chad Gage                                        

clip art fly
from Jan Schnorr
PHW logo

Tying Clinics Update


During April, PHW sponsored five Thursday tying clinics at the Soldier Family Assistance Center on JBER, as well as 5 Wednesday tying clinics at the WJ Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery.


The tying sessions, staffed by Damond Blankenship, DAve Rooker, Dean Williams, Chris Pouncey, Frank Stevens, and Jan Schnorr, focused on the midge larva, wooly buggers, and knot tying. Dave Rooker continued to staff the Wednesday tying sessions at the Fisher House, a facility in Anchorage where veterans live while receiving medical treatment.

PHW fish 

Rod Building


The Hook & Hackle Company sponsors this rod building program and contest for PHW participants. The purpose is to give the participants the experience of building their own fly rods to further their physical and mental rehabilitation through the sport of fly fishing. It also gives them the possibility to win prizes for their rod building abilities and includes the opportunity to further their rod building experience by attending a bamboo rod building school or to attend a PHWFF National fly fishing trip.


Damond Blankenship and Dean Williams are teaching the classes held on Wednesdays at the Soldier Family Assistance Center on JBER. Most participants are in the final stages of completing their rods and three participants have sent their completed rods to the National Competition! This is the first year local participants have entered the competition, and we are hopeful one of them will win one of the prizes! Thank you, Damond and Dean, for all the extra hours you devoted to this activity!


 PHW fish

First Trip of the Season 


Project Healing Waters Alaska is pleased to announce the first trip of the year scheduled for April 24 - 26.  The trip to the Mendeltna Lodge is designed for seven participants and five+ volunteers and is primarily a tying retreat.  Additional details about the trip will appear in the next newsletter.  Anyone who would like information about future trips may contact Jan Schnorr at or view information about PHW at the Project Healing Waters Alaska Facebook page.


PHW fish

Special Events 


The Great Alaska Sportsman Show held on April 2 - 5 enabled Project Healing Waters to set up an information table during the event.  A special thanks goes out to Chris Pouncey for coordinating the volunteer schedule and to all the volunteers including Darren Jorgenson, Chris Foreman, Alicia Hollis, Dave Rooker, Laura Sherman, Ryan Hawk, Ryan & Stacey Luczkowiak, Chris Wallick, Chris Pouncey, and Jan Schnorr. A very special thank you goes to Aurora Productions, Inc. for their sponsorship of our table.



Anchorage Cabela's sponsored a Special Ladies Event on April 18th and invited Project Healing Waters Alaska to be a Community Partner. Jan represented PHW at the event. She explained the significance of the National Defense Service Ribbon and the National Defense Service Fly that PHW uses as a fundraiser to support the program staffed by volunteers who are members of the Alaska Fly Fishers. Anyone interested in obtaining the fly or any other Ribbon Fly by making a donation to PHW, may send a message to All donations are used to fund fly tying/fishing activities for injured/disabled active duty military personnel as well as disabled Veterans. Thank you for your generous support!


A special thanks also to Cabela's for inviting us to participate in this wonderful event.


PHW fish 


PHW would not be possible without the support of the 
Alaska Fly Fishers

Thank you for your continued support.  



Make a Difference
Get Connected

If you are interested in helping on any committee, please contact any AFF board member. Currently we are in need of volunteers for the Second Annual Fly Fishing Festival & Spey Clave, the Annual Fundraising Auction, the Great Alaska Sportsman's Show booth, Spring Seminar, the Kenai River Cleanup and more! Even if you only have a little time to spare, please consider volunteering. Every minute is valuable to us.  



And let us know about any cool things our members do! 
Email photos and stories to

 If fishing is interfering with your business, give up your business. 

                                                 -Alfred W. Miller

(you don't have to have a Facebook account to see our page)




color logo

In this issue: 

  • Tying Clinic News
  • Spring Seminar News
  • More!

Banner photo "Reeling Stoner" 

by  Gerry Balboni,

2011 Photo Contest

2015 Alaska Fly Fishers Membership

RE-New your Membership!

If you're not a member, join today!

The cost for membership is:   
$25 Individual Annual
$30 Family Annual
$250 Lifetime
Be sure to get your membership card and save on fly tying materials.  Discount details printed on the back of your membership card.


What'cha been tying?

What's every body been tying lately? Share a picture of your latest ties with us at 

Below are some of Ben Rowell's favorites...


AFF Logo Raffle!

All members who wear Alaska Fly Fishers logo merchandise to the monthly meetings will be eligible to enter a drawing for a great gift. Drop by the merchandise table, show us your AFF gear and you'll receive a ticket to be eligible for the free drawing.  
AFF Happenings

All General Meetings: First Monday of most months, 7:00 pm at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel, Redington Ballroom.

All Tying Clinics: Third Saturday of each month, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the WJ Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery at the corner of Post Road and Reeve Blvd.

All dates are subject  to change!


May: 4th - General Meeting, Millennium Hotel
         11th - Spring Seminar - Casting Clinic
         16th - Tying Clinic, WJ Hernandez Fish Hatchery

June: 1st - General Meeting, Millennium Hotel
           20th - Tying Clinic, WJ Hernandez Fish Hatchery

July:  6th - General Meeting

August:  Annual Picnic& Fly Fishing Fesival / Spey Clave

September:  12th - Kenai River Clean-up!

October: 5th - General Meeting
to All Kenai River
Clean-up Sponsors
British Petroleum
Cast Alaska
Cooper Landing Grocery
Russian River House
The Shrew's Nest
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Contact the editor for any corrections.  Thanks!

Fly Tying Outreach
Remember, AFF has 10 vises and tool kits available to loan if any members need them to teach youth. 

Please contact Chad Gage at
to schedule the use of the vises or if you need a list of instructors.


Members' Corner 


Have something to sell or a story to tell? A picture to show or something to share? This is the place! Send your submission today!




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