The Beginning Fly Fishing Class at Kenai Peninsula College, tying some flies in preparation for their field trip. (Photo courtesy Dave Atcheson)

Tight Lines: A variety of fish-related activities to carry us through the winter

Ice fishing may be at its peak right now, and there are always a handful of hardy fly fishers hitting the unfrozen sections of Kenai River throughout the winter, but there are also a wide variety of other fish related activities going on. Many of these are educational or community-based and don’t require layers of clothing or rewarming frozen digits, and most are fun and informative.

Trout Unlimited Kenai Peninsula Chapter

Trout Unlimited (TU) is a national organization of fishers, made up of more than 400 local chapters that span the entire country. There are chapters based in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Southeast. The Kenai Peninsula Chapter has been active in the community for about five years and will be hosting a general interest meeting, open to both TU members and the public, on Monday, February 27, at 6 p.m. at Kenai River Brewing. They are encouraging anyone interested in fishing to attend and learn more about the organization.

The current cadre of board members, many of whom have served on the board for several years, are hoping to see some new faces at the meeting. “We’d love to see some folks show up that want to get involved in the community,” said current chapter president, Brendyn Shiflea.“There’s been a core group of us on the board, and we’ve had a great time but are looking for some new blood, some new energy, to carry on. It’s also a great opportunity for those who love fishing to meet like-minded people.”

Chapters are required to have four meetings a year and hold a fundraiser. “Traditionally,” says Shiflea, “the chapter has focused on fun and education, organizing casting clinics and fly tying clinics, as well as hosted the annual Fly Fishing Film Tour.” The Kenai Peninsula Chapter has also invited a variety of guest speakers to meetings, who have discussed diverse topics ranging from kayak fishing to ADF&G tagging projects.

“Even if folks don’t want to sit on the board, if they just have one project they’d like to spearhead,” says Shiflea, “whether it’s a kids fishing class, or a habitat project, a film night, whatever it is, we’d really encourage them to come to the meeting.”

Also presenting at the meeting will be Austin Williams, an attorney with TU Alaska, and board member of the Southcentral Chapter. He will be talking about the Stand for Salmon campaign, whose goal is to strengthen Title 16, which deals with habitat permitting on salmon streams in Alaska.

Kenai Peninsula College Beginning Fly Fishing Class

For those who have always thought they might be interested in a crash course on fly fishing, Kenai Peninsula College offers a one-credit Beginning Fly Fishing class designed for either those new to the sport or to fly fishing in Alaska. The class meets on Tuesday nights, starting in March, and runs for six weeks. There are a variety of classroom sessions covering everything the beginner needs to know, from selecting the right equipment to tactics for fishing local lakes and streams, fly selection, ecology, and casting. A Saturday field trip to the Kenai River is also planned, allowing students to put into practice what they’ve learned in the classroom. There are a limited number of seats and registration is currently open.

For more information contact Kenai Peninsula College at 907-262-0330.

Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership Science Symposium

The Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership (KPFHP) was established in 2010 and is one of 20 national fish habitat partnerships across the nation. It is made up of over 20 local organizations, with this being the third science symposium they have put on.This year’s event, which is open to anyone with an interest in science and fisheries, will be held at the Sterling Community Center on April 5th and 6th, with the theme of: “Home is Where the Habitat Is.”

“This will be a great opportunity for people to see what’s going on in the science world,” says Jack Sinclair, Executive Director of the Kenai Watershed Forum and KPFHP Coordinator. “It will also be a chance to ask questions of the experts, who will all be gathered in one place.”

Topics will be wide-ranging and include fish habitat, fish passage, wetlands, and watershed assessment and mapping, as well as a look at the effects of climate change on our fisheries. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Ian Dutton, who founded Nautilus Impact Investing in 2015. Nautilus is currently partnering with private investors, philanthropists, and government organizations on fisheries research and management, climate adaptation, biodiversity and indigenous community conservation and development projects.

All sessions are free and open to the public, although registration is required before April 1.

For more information go to contact Jack Sinclair, KPFHP Coordinator, at or call 907-398-7497.

Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing’s Annual Ice Fishing Derby:

This annual ice fishing derby runs through the end of the month, with many prizes awarded throughout.

More information: Call 907-262-4655 or visit

Dave Atcheson’s latest book is “Dead Reckoning, Navigating a Life on the Last Frontier, Courting Tragedy on its High Seas.” He is also the author of the guidebook “Fishing Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula,” and National Geographic’s “Hidden Alaska, Bristol Bay and Beyond.” For more info:

Tight Lines, the Peninsula Clarion’s fishing page, publishes on the third Thursday of the month through April and will return with weekly fishing updates in May. Have a favorite fishing photo to share or a fish tale to tell? Email

A successful student, participating in Beginning Fly fishing class at Kenai Peninsula College. (Photo courtesy Dave Atcheson)

Jimmie Miller and Jeremy Malloy are tied for the lead in the Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing ice fishing derby with 7.66-pound Lake Trout. The derby continues through the end of the month.

Jimmie Miller and Jeremy Malloy are tied for the lead in the Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing ice fishing derby with 7.66-pound Lake Trout. The derby continues through the end of the month.

More in Life

Courtesy Photo | Sydney Akagi Photography for Lily Hope
                                Elizabeth Hope holds up the Chilkat Protector Mask at a ceremony.
Weaver donates ‘Chilkat Protector Mask’

It will enter Sealaska Heritage Institute’s permanent collection.

Members of Mavis Muller’s “BEE the change” art project pose for a drone photograph on July 5, 2020, at Muller’s home in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by John Newton)
Artist organizes ‘bee the change’ project

“I like to refer to this kind of group activity as the art of activism, or ‘artivism’ for short.”

Kachemak Cuisine: Celebrate the Fourth Alaska style — with salmon

We don’t usually do things in the traditional manner up here on July 4.

Rhubarb pairs well with sweet fruit like strawberries, and work well in desserts like strawberry rhubarb crumble, June 1, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
                                Rhubarb pairs well with sweet fruit like strawberries, and work well in desserts like strawberry rhubarb crumble, June 1, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Bottom-of-the-freezer berry crumble

I’m convinced it’s impossible to mess this one up.

A campfire can be seen at the Quartz Creek Campground in Cooper Landing, Alaska, in May 2020. (Clarion staff)
‘Real’ camping

For those not familiar with it, “glamping” is glamorous camping.

Bacon is prepared on a fire pit, June 19, 2020, in the Copper River Valley, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Eating from fire

My attitude toward camp cooking is that you can eat pretty much anything you would eat at home.

Irene Lampe dances a robe for its First Dance ceremony at the Sealaska Heritage Institute on Monday, June 22, 2020. (Courtesy photo | Annie Bartholomew)
Weavers celebrate new robe with first dance

The event is part of a resurgent trend for traditional weaving.

Kalifornsky Kitchen: Summer traditions

Over the years, a paella feed has marked momentous occasions, like moving or birthday parties.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Looking in the rearview mirror

I stepped through a time warp last week.

Most Read