SAO Pages

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jet Lagged Confessions - Alaska Style Part 4

In the last installment of "Jet Lagged Confessions," I said that I would move onto fish and fowl, but that is going to have to wait as I forgot a few more fish.  So, bear with me (no pun intended) as we look at a couple of more fish topics.

One thing seems near certain from my experiences in Alaska and that is that there are Rainbow Trout in just about every stream and river an angler can find.  Now, that may not be the absolute truth, but is often the case.  In earlier blogs, I highlighted some of the slob bows that call the Naknek River home  during select seasons of the year.  In this blog however, we are going to look at the bows caught in some of the smaller streams of the area.  Each river seems to have its own unique kind of bow....some silvery, some peppered, some in between....each one unique, or so it seems.

Good friend Jim Barger fishes the flows of the famous Brooks River.  He is
joined by a regular who knows his way around the place like nobody else.
 Jim comes up with a fish while guide Eric assists.  Everyone else just watches for bears.

The Brooks River is just one of a bunch of rivers loaded with Rainbows and this year the river was on fire!  Big bows and lots of them were to be had.  Most beaded, but those who came prepared absolutely killed them on the swung flies!

SAO guide/host Ben Barger holds a solid Brooks Bow as Eric (NRC Guide) looks on.

SAO guide/host Patrick Robinson poses with a nice Brooks River
Bow that took a swung fly...loads of fun on a 5wt for sure.
The fish don't get much nicer than this on the Brooks River.  Way to get it done Ben!
 The bows aren't just limited to the Brooks, but can also be found in a myriad of other streams in the area.  Below are some bows caught in small stream off of Naknek Lake.

Leif with a solid Rainbow Trout
Jim Barger poses with a healthy Rainbow of his own.
Leif shows how beautiful these fish can be with the "leopard" spotting that some
fish have!  This was the prettiest fish of the day no doubt!
Along with Rainbows, many of these streams have healthy populations of Arctic Grayling.  Notorious for the spectacular dorsal fins they display, they are very willing to take beads, streamers, and are even a willing taker of dry flies!

Ok, so it's time for my confession....I know that many people are annoyed with catching these fish because it keeps them from the Rainbows that lay around them, but I must confess that I love fishing for these fish!  I am one who loves the beauty of fish.  That means that I want to catch all the species I can just to see the beauty they each contain.  Therefore, I must say that I love catching these things....especially on a dry fly!

The day we went to a small creek off Naknek Lake, I opted to take the days warm up to throw dries for these beautiful fish and came up time and again with Arctic beauties!

Patrick shows off a dry fly caught Arctic Grayling.
The boys show off a nice triple fish moment with a Grayling right in the middle.
Leif hits a slob of a Grayling on a bead...everything eats beads in Alaska!
A close up of one of my Grayling....pretty fish in their own right!
Ken shows off a very nice Grayling caught on a small creek in the middle of nowhere Alaska. This place was a goldmine for both the Arctic Grayling and Char!
Jim and guide James Johnson share a very nice Grayling moment in the rain.
 Fishing the small streams of Alaska is always exciting and dull moments are seemingly nowhere to be found.  That is part of what I like about going to Alaska!  The small streams are nearly endless to choose from.

If you want to see some underwater video of these fish in film we shot last year, go to our "Hosted Trips" page and watch the Contact Creek will know these little fish when you see them underwater for sure.  I like to think of them as the sailfish of freshwater....albeit a bit smaller.

Until next time, tight lines...and remember to find the beauty in each fish!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jet Lagged Confessions - Alaska Style Part 3

 Well, it's been a busy fall season and now that the holidays have arrived, I am going to finish up some blogging that slipped out of my schedule a couple months back.  Let's see, where were we?  We covered my love for Arctic Char, the fun of Alaskan Rainbow Trout, so let's pick up with part 3 which is all about the Silver Salmon.....and although it is one day late, I will reiterate the words of my UK friend Wayne who said, CO HO HO Merry Christmas!  I do hope each of you had a great day with friends and family and are getting some nice down time.

Getting back to Alaska, each year we head up to the Bristol Bay region Silvers are a targeted species but more so in August than in September.  This years trip was scheduled for September so big trout were the target, but much to our surprise, when we arrived, their were still fresh runs of Silvers coming in every day.  Not wanting to miss out on this fun, we decided to give chase and hunt down these anadromous beasts that were pulsing in with each tide.  As luck would have it, they weren't hard to find and were very willing to play!

Good friend and client Bill gets on the board with an average size fish.
Bill and I had a chance to spend some good time together on the water while there in Alaska, and much to our pleasure, the fish were often times liking our presentations.  Bill is always a great comrade to fish with as he doesn't take things too seriously.  Don't misunderstand that to mean that he isn't serious about his fishing, because nothing could be further from the truth.  He is however willing to laugh at himself and others when necessary and be thankful for the grab that didn't go his way.  That being the case, we had a couple of stellar days together and this is a just a few shots from that time.

SAO Guide/Host Patrick Robinson holds a colored up Silver Salmon on Big Creek.
Bill with a nice chrome fish to take home.  Hot pink always seems to do the trick!
A nice buck Silver Salmon poses for a nice shot with Patrick.
A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work....but a good day fishing is even better!
We weren't the only guys to get out after the Silvers while there on the Naknek River system.  Whether it was us, other lodges, seals or bears, everyone had taken notice that Silvers were still pulsing in and found time to go after them.

SAO Guide/Host Ben Barger hammered a very nice buck on his day up Big Creek.
Leif was a great guy to fish with and the fish thought so too!  Many fish were caught like this one...including the seal slash (see tail area).  But we weren't picky at all.
All in all, the week or two I was there in camp the Silver fishing was surprisingly good.  In fact, it was phenomenal!  Of all the clients in camp, I don't think anyone went without catching at least a couple silvers with numerous guys catching several limits (5 fish daily) throughout the week.

It just goes to show you that these fish don't run based on the calendar pay attention to your lunar/solar charts and other reports, because that could just make your "normal" week in camp look a little bit different than it normally does and that is the beauty of Alaska...there is always a surprise in store!

Next time we will look at a few different topics from fish to fowl and everything in between.  For those interested in hitting Alaska with us, we are making our return in September of next year on the same week as we have been several times previously.  We didn't make these dates public until just a few days ago via Facebook due to our high rebook rate.  If you are interested, we are heading back to Naknek River Camp for the week of September 7-14, 2012.  Email Patrick Robinson at for more information on how you can get on the team for this awesome trip.

To see some video of past trips, go to the "Hosted Trips" page.  If that doesn't get you excited I don't know what will.

Tight Lines,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blog Land Gives Way to Facebook

Lately we have had a lot of people reaching out to let us know how much they miss our blogging.  Well, quite frankly, with a growing business, growing families, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Greg and I have had a hard time making it a priority.  That being the case, we have been using the avenue of Facebook to keep regular updates and photos coming to you our clients and friends.  Often times our guides are posting multiple times a day while on the water with clients.  Check it out here:  Steelhead Alley Outfitters Facebook Page

If you haven't "liked" Steelhead Alley Outfitters on Facebook, you will want to do so for more than one reason.  Not only will you get the blow by blow from our time on the water, but you can get in on some great custom tied fly giveaways that Greg has been doing as of late.

Very soon I hope to resume my Alaska highlight blog series and share a bit more about our great trip a couple of months ago to that great frontier.  Until then, keep your eyes on the weather, keep your fingers crossed for some precipitation and fresh fish and hopefully we will see you on the stream soon.

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy's Fury Is Upon Us!

Hurricane Sandy's Effect along with a winter like storm take it's hold on Lake Erie's shoreline this evening.

Our Steelhead season is in full swing, but temporarily on hold due to the "Frankenstorm" as it has been called that is making landfall on the eastern seaboard as I type.  Sandy's far reaching rain bands are already upon us and anywhere from 1-5 inches of rain has been mentioned on the news channels I have been watching.  This is sure to bring some change to our riverscapes!

We still have some availability for anyone wanting to get out for some Steelhead this fall.  The rest of the season is going to be fun as the rains coming down are bound to give the Alley a brand new look.  We are keeping fingers crossed for nice pushes of fish and fresh holes to hold them.

Greg is back in the saddle and is back at the helm of the ship.  He can be reached at 419.466.9382 or at if you want to book a trip, order flies, or just check on conditions.  Please note that at this moment, 15,000-20,000 people are without power in our area and they are saying that many of us are soon to follow.  Power is expected to be out for a couple days if it goes, so please bear with us if we are bit slow answering phone calls or returning emails.  We will do so as soon as the storm passes and things start to dial back in for life, liberty and the pursuit of Steel!

Be safe and we will be back soon with a nice Steelhead Blog.

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cranking Up!

The fish are coming in with every push of water and the guys are out getting their early season fix.  If you are interested in getting out for a day on the water, give us a shout soon as the calendars are filling up early this year.

Here are a few snapshots of fish from the boys in the last few days.

Brett put a nice slab of chrome in the net.

Brett poses with happy clients and beautiful water!

Michael Decoteau got this beauty yesterday while scouting around the Alley!

Tim Hess crushed this bruiser on the swing these fish!

If we can help you in any way, please don't hesitate to give us a shout.  Also, please note that Greg is out of reach for the next couple of weeks so that means I am taking the helm of the ship.  If you have any questions pertaining to fly orders, steelhead trips, current conditions, etc, I can be reached by phone or email at 419-348-7199 or  Please keep in mind that I may not be able to answer my phone due to being on the water with clients, so please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as I am able.

Thanks for your dedication to the SAO team!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jet Lagged Confessions - Alaska Style - Part 2

Alright....the next confession in this blog series is that I love the colors of Alaska.  From the sky to the water to the tundra and the trees, the state of Alaska has some really cool colors.

I have been privileged to see some really spectacular sunrises and sunsets in my time, but Alaska seems to take the cake for the most breathtaking of them all!  This photo is one I snapped at daybreak and other than cropping it, did nothing to edit it for this blog....Simply amazing colors are seen regularly!

The view from my front porch looking out across the Naknek River.

The other confession I have is one my good friend Greg would wholeheartedly agree with and that is that I have a fly fishing love affair with Char....not just Arctic Char either.  I just absolutely love Char  and love chasing them wherever they can be found!

Although I didn't spend time this year getting really good photos, we did get some that bring back some great memories.  I did get a bit of video with my GoPro too, but don't have the time to edit it down right now, so the photos will have to do.

Jim and brother Bill show a beautiful Char on their return trip to Alaska 

An Alaskan Char ninja sighted on the Ugashik Narrows.

Ken holds a colored up Char at the Narrows.

SAO guide Ben Barger cherishes a moment with his father Jim as a beautiful Arctic Char graces their presence. 

Ben Barger and Hunter Johnson take time for a snapshot.

Ken holds a really nicely kyped Arctic Char on a jewel of a creek. 

In closing I must confess that yes, there is more video, but you will need a bit of time to watch this clip as it is around 12 minutes in length.  While it isn't a total Char piece, it does have the prettiest Char I have ever photographed or filmed without a doubt!  Again, this is an excerpt from the full length piece we edited down from last year's trip, so enjoy!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jet Lagged Confessions - Alaska Style - Part 1

 Just a few short days ago, I returned from one of my favorite places on earth...that being the great state of Alaska.  My first confession has to be that I absolutely love that place.  I think I could spend the rest of my days traveling to that place and always find something new to do.  This was my third trip hosting anglers to this majestic place and yet again, I found plenty of new adventure in this awesome place.  For many others it was all brand new and so were some of the smiles!  Here are a few of the big Alaska Rainbows caught on the Naknek River.

Bill Lewis and guide Kyle show off a decent Rainbow on the Naknek

Jim Barger and guide Wes show off the big Bow of day one at Naknek River Camp

Leif Birnbaum holds a healthy Naknek of many!

Host and SAO guide Ben Barger shows off what would be
considered an average size trophy fish for the fall fishery on the Naknek River.

Ken Fugate holds a slob of a Bow on the the mighty Naknek

My second confession is that I have been sitting on a lot of great film from our trip to Alaska last year.  I have been sitting on it because we had thoughts of putting something in the Fly Fishing Film Tour for the coming year, but sometimes the best of plans just need to wait for another season.  That being the case, I thought now would be as good a time as any to start breaking down some of the footage and sharing it with all of you.  So, here is the trailer we put together for the film that we shot last year entitled Tight Lines & Tundra.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did making it!

Until my next confession, tight lines!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bound for Alaska

It's that time of year again and I couldn't be any more excited about the next two weeks!

On descent into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

As I sit here in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, I am once again dreaming of Alaska.  Only this time my dream is going to be realized once again.  Just a few hours from now, I will be graced by the mountains, rivers, and tundra expanses of that great state.

This time around I get to do it with a good friend and fellow guide Ben Barger.  This will be Ben's first trip to the great state and I am excited to experience with him.  Here he shows his excitement.  Ok, so maybe it was a little posed, but we are excited none the less!

Ben Barger puts on his excited face as we look through 
some photos from previous years trips

With ten eager anglers preparing for departure in the next couple of days, we are looking forward to a great week.  Jim Johnson, owner of Naknek River Camp just emailed me this morning and said the Rainbow bite is just about hit full speed, the Silvers are still being caught in good numbers, and Brooks River is fishing better than they have ever seen it!  That is music to my ears and many others too!

Here is just a small throwback photo selection from last years trip.

 Sockeye Salmon...Some say they are ugly, but I kind of like their look!  
Wouldn't mind one of these awesome fish on my wall personally.

 Greg Senyo holds a great Brooks River Rainbow.  There are 
plenty more where he came from!

 Mike Schmidt took this sunset photo while in camp last 
year...kind of sticks with you if you look at it too long.

Mike Schmidt holding a gorgeous Arctic Char.  
I don't know who this photo means more to, him or me? Either way 
you slice it, we won't forget this fish anytime soon!

World-class Grayling Alaska Style!

 Ham hit his first Silver with me on one of our favorite stretches of water.  
They are such suckers for cerise flies!

 Mark slammed this monster Rainbow on the Naknek.  This trip we 
hope to have multiple fish in this caliber to hand by weeks end!

A great Silver came to my hands on this tidal creek.  Not a likely 
place to fish this late in the year, but it was fun in August for sure!

This year we hope for a lot of the same with a few twists.  In the next two weeks, we hope to focus a bit more on a very overlooked fish and that is the Northern Pike.  They are in abundance on the Naknek River and her tribe, but are often overlooked because of the popularity of the Bows and Salmon.  This year we hope to add a few of these hogs to the mix.

A few Northern Pike made it to camp earlier in the season, and 
they have been picking them up like this all summer.  Hope to bag some 
monsters on big flies in a day or two.

Also, another change up is my other passion in the great outdoors and that is bird hunting.  Last year I vowed I would not return to this great state without a gun and I am happy to say that my Benelli was checked at the counter this morning when I left Cleveland.  Ben and I plan to take some time after clients have headed for home to scope out the possibilities for Grouse, Ptarmigan, and the various species of ducks in the area.  If you are up for a world-class cast-n-blast, then keep your eyes peeled and ears to the ground as next year this may be a very good possibility!

Here is a photo I found online of guys hunting ducks on the Naknek River.  
This is one awesome example of a mixed bag!  And just 
think, you could catch a 30" Rainbow in the afternoon too!

Well, that is all for now.  It's time to grab the bags and head for our next gate to catch the final leg of our flight.  To Jim, Wink, John, Leif, Tom, Cindy, Jim, Ken, Don, and Bill, we can't wait to meet up with you in King Salmon.  It's time to get some memories made.  See you soon!

Tight Lines,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters