This past week Kulik Lodge and the Bristol Bay River Academy (formerly Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy) tutored a dozen Bristol Bay-area kids in the ins and outs of the guiding industry. Most young Alaskans already have a head start on lower 48 guides, growing up around float planes, boats, and harsh weather. In the course they expand their knowledge and skills. Fly casting and tying and preparing shore lunches are among the highlights. The lodge guides play client for the kids, as well.

Jobs aren’t exactly plentiful in remote AK, but the fishing lodge industry offers tangible economic prospects. “By providing [students] with the tools and opportunities and the guidance they need to be employable in this region is a critical step for the future of Bristol Bay,” explained instructor Chris Little. The Academy also helps graduates source jobs. The kids learn a range of skills in the course but importantly are also able to connect with the land and their heritage.

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Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.

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