Instructor Lee Kuepper leads a two-handed spey fly fishing clinic at Soldotna Creek Park on Saturday, May 13. (Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)  Instructor Lee Kuepper leads a two-handed spey fly fishing clinic at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska on Saturday, May 13, 2017. (Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Instructor Lee Kuepper leads a two-handed spey fly fishing clinic at Soldotna Creek Park on Saturday, May 13. (Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion) Instructor Lee Kuepper leads a two-handed spey fly fishing clinic at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska on Saturday, May 13, 2017. (Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Summer prep with fly fishing clinic

There’s no time for training once the summer fishing season is in full swing, so Lee Kuepper of Double Haul Fly Fishing took the opportunity to lead two fly-fishing clinics on May 13 in Soldotna Creek Park.

“During the summer, not too many events like this happen because everyone is out fishing,” Kuepper said. “The class went great, except for a little bit of rain which is to be expected with spring time in Alaska.”

The clinic was put together by the Kenai Peninsula Chapter of Trout Unlimed and the Soldotna Parks and Recreation Department and consisted of a morning lesson in single hand casting and an afternoon lesson in two handed, or spey, casting.

“Single hand is the more traditional fly fishing, where you’re actually forming a loop. … In the first clinic we focused on really fine tuning the small steps that you’ll need for a great cast,” Kuepper said.

During the second clinic, the class focused on spey casting, which Kuepper said is completely different.

“It’s usually done with a longer rod and allows you to cast further with minimal effort because the lines are heavier and longer, as are the rods,” Kuepper said. “It’s a specific technique that has definitely caught on in Alaska and can be used in various situations.”

Spey casting is particularly effective early in the fishing season and later in the season when the water levels are lower, Kuepper said.

As the fishing season in Alaska revs up, Kuepper said he is hopeful.

“We’re just hoping the fish come back as they have been,” he said. “Every year is a little bit different on the Kenai, but for the most part the fish all act the same.”

The clinic was offered as part of the Soldotna Parks and Recreation’s Community Schools program, which promotes lifelong learning through recreational, education and cultural activities throughout Soldotna.

“We teamed up with Trout Unlimited and Lee to offer this clinic for the second time,” Joel Todd of Soldotna Parks and Recreation said. “It gives people the opportunity to work on skills locally.”

Kuepper is a certified fly casting instructor through the Federation of Fly Fishers and has been teaching fly fishing students throughout Alaska for over ten years. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Kenai Peninsula Trout Unlimited chapter.

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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