* Tsiu River, Alaska - Sept. 10-17 - Pat and John Steele

John and I made this trip solo this year. In the few years past, we have gone with other friends and family, but they weren't available, so we did the trip by ourselves. That usually doesn't impact the fishing, as flyfishing is a solitary activity, but in the evenings, at dinnertime, it's fun to compare notes and socialize with the others in your group. It ended up being a good thing, because it forced us to interact with other groups that were at the lodge.
The fishing was, as usual, absolutely top-notch. Our guide, Matt, took us to a part of the river that is closer to the mouth, on a bluff over the river, and having the height advantage made it possible to sight fish. The fish gather in pools along the river to muster their strength for the upriver swim to spawn, and they were mostly resting in the mornings. That made it a bit tricky, because you would catch one of two of the fish in a pool, and then your fly wouldn't work anymore, because they all had seen it before. Thus, you had to change flies more often than when the fish are on the move.
The fish usually went on the move around noon. That's when the real fun began. You could catch fish until your arms fell off, it got that crazy. I even caught one on a popper, which was exciting. Matt wore himself out, running up and down the cliff to unhook fish, and either keep them or let them go, depending on their size and condition. The daily limit is four per fisher, but it wasn't unusual for us to each have caught 25 or 30 per day. People think that's an exaggeration, but if they came to the Tsiu, they would quickly see that it's the truth!
We lucked out with the weather as well, only having one day when it rained. The rest of the time the temperatures were in the 50's, so if you wore the right gear, you were fine. We had the dubious pleasure of a fishing companion one day, a solitary female bear.
I have described the accommodations in a previous Fishy Tale, so I would urge anyone who is interested in this outfitter to visit their website, www.alaskawilderness.com. John and I will bring some brochures to the October club meeting, too.