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Alaska Rainbows, Fly-Fishing For Trout, Salmon & Other Alaskan Species - Larry Tullis

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Reviewed by Terry Lawton

Organising a trip to Alaska could provide the best fishing of a lifetime, but you need to know when to go and what fish you want to catch, and how. Larry Tullis has written a book on fishing for Alaskan rainbows and associated species that will be very useful for anyone planning a visit.

For anyone considering their first expedition to Alaska will find a lot of very useful information in Larry Tullis' guide to fishing, primarily, for trout along with the other species mentioned in the title. The book has two useful charts, one of the fishing seasons and the other a fly pattern guide. With these two charts you can work out when you want to go, based on the fish that you want to catch and, perhaps, more importantly how you want to catch them. Do you want to fish egg patterns or artificial flies? The book covers fish that are likely to be found in or near rainbow trout waters as well as the Russian rainbows of the Kamchatka Peninisular.

I can well imagine that some of the more squeamish might be put-off by the sight and smell of thousands of dead, dying and decaying salmon. As Tullis wrote: 'The dead salmon might stink and many people don't understand the seeming waste. Actually, they represent nature's grand design. If salmon didn't die and fertilize the river with their own bodies, the rivers they spawn in wouldn't be able to support their own offspring in the future, because of the sterile nature of many Alaska watersheds.' This accounts for the popularity of egg and flesh pattern flies. While Alaska may not have the most prolific of fly hatches, Tullis maintains that there are big hatches at certain times and in certain places and that most streams have hatches of mayfly, caddis, midge, black fly and stonefly hatches.

An indication of one of the dangers that could be encountered - bears - is highlighted by one photograph of the author packing a useful looking pistol on his right hip! But as Tullis advises, keep away from bear and if you do see one, let it know that you are there by shouting or waving at it. And whatever you do, try not to surprise one. He also has plenty of advice for dealing with other animals including moose which he maintains can be more dangerous than bears as they are unpredictable.

There is a very useful final chapter, Resources, which details other books to read, maps, lodges and outfitters, air-taxi operators and state-wide resources. Unfortunately for non-American readers, there are no e-mail address or website URLs - more work for Google, I guess.

'Something about the Alaskan experience gets into you and you can't shake it. Maybe it's something that is always in you, seeking an avenue of escape. It motivates you to buck up, take the plunge and never look back, except at the good things, the good friends and the great photos.' Alaska can also provide some bonanza fishing, for example in one day Tullis caught five different types of salmon, plus char, grayling (catches of up to 100 fish a day, on dry flies and nymphs, are possible) and rainbow trout. I wonder how many places there are where you could do that?

Alaska Rainbows, Fly-Fishing For Trout, Salmon & Other Alaskan Species by Larry Tullis, published by Amato Publications, Inc at $19.95. 79 pages paperback.

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