Pink Salmon
A pink salmon, or "humpy", makes its way up river to spawn (photo: B. Finestone).

Prince of Wales

It might just be Alaska's best kept fly fishing secret

For a remote Alaskan island being made famous by the latest in reality show kitsch, this place is actually pretty easy to get to, all things considered.

Yes, the funky community of Port Protection—the subject the National Geographic Channel’s newest Alaska-based reality show depicting the challenging nature of daily life in the middle of a watery nowhere—rests at the northern tip of Prince of Wales Island and remains accessible only by boat or float plane, but you might be surprised just how easy life can be on the island’s sophisticated, if a bit rustic, road system.

Tailwater Lodge - Salmon River
Photo: c/o Tailwater Lodge

Not your father's Salmon River

Can a high-end lodge help change the landscape on the Salmon?

The Salmon River is one of the most prolific fisheries in the entire country, with dizzying counts of salmon and steelhead making their way through its waters to spawn each year. Both the Great Lakes record Chinook salmon (47 lbs 13 oz) and the world record Coho salmon (33 lbs 4 oz) were pulled from its waters. For reasons such as these, the Salmon River draws anglers not only from all over the northeastern US, but from all over the globe — which line its autumn-foliage draped and often picturesque banks as it winds its way to Lake Ontario.

Limay River Brown Trout - Patagonia, Argentina
No river anywhere in the world may hold more big brown trout than Patagonia's Rio Limay (photo: Chad Shmukler).

High desert monsters

Chasing mammoth brown trout on Patagonia's Rio Limay

Sometimes when we fish with friends, we foster an unspoken, cordial competition. You know, the “first fish, most fish, biggest fish” thing. Being successful at fly fishing means you’re likely doing something right—it’s a technical craft, for the most part, and doing it well is usually important to success. It feels good when you’re doing everything right, when you’ve put together a diverse set of elements into a single successful act, and it’s nice to measure your good fortune against others, particularly if they’re solid anglers.

fly fishing dorado mahi mahi
Captain Scott Hamilton lurches to wrangle a mahi mahi that was lurking in unexpected waters (photo: Chad Shmukler).

A never ending horror story

Exploring the blue green waters off the Palm Beach coast

Paul steadies the wheel from the starboard side of the boat while Captain Scott Hamilton hand ties leaders for our 12 weight rigs as we idle through the no wake zone of Palm Beach’s busy harbor. We’re flanked by countless other fishing boats, day cruisers, dive boats and yachts. As we emerge past the jetty’s point and step up to speed, we can see the earliest of beachgoers staking their spots for the day, the busy Florida town’s high rises looming behind them.

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