At Talaheim’s Alaska fishing lodge, there are two flies that typically take the limelight: the Dolly Llama and the Battle Creek Special.
When the midnight sun casts its orange glow on another spectacular day of fishing and you’re forced to burn a timeout until tomorrow, there’s no better script after a great meal than whiskey and fly tying.
The Dolly Llama imitates a young salmon juvenile, or sculpin, and true to a young bucks form, is tied with a rabbit strip, a heavy cone head, and a stinger hook. While the rabbit strip can be tied in a variety of colors, we use olive and white because these Dolly’s tend to attract the real pretty ladies– the Dolly Varden and Rainbow Trout. Similar to a boy’s night out on the town, we typically pair an angler with a wingman: one works the Dolly, the other a mouse pattern. The mouse might attract one out of every ten fish–patience allowing for sensational scores–while the Dolly’s distract the bulk of the fish with their attracting colors. After a few successful runs and hook-ups, our team swaps turns.
Named after a river in Alaska, the Battle Creek Special is a very versatile attractor. Clad in white marabou tail and a fluorescent orange collar, with a hot pink shell and white hackle palmered body, it can fish dead drift as a piece of flesh in one cast, while stripped as a streamer in the next. Burning up more than a hundred of these beauties per season, the Battle Creek Special has been the top scorer with Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden for the past several years at Talaheim Lodge.
Now, onto a fly’s perfect mate: the booze. Every now and then, guests grace Talaheim with their favorite bottle of scotch or whiskey, smuggled carefully into the Alaskan wilderness in overstuffed duffle bags. Besides a few classic Scotch blends such as Famous Grouse or Johnny Walker Red Label, our staff has been treated to several very special single malts such as a 14-year old bottle of Oban from the rich and flavor camp, and a bottle of the finest Islay malt, Lagavulin 16, a smoky counterpart to Oban’s floral’s. Then there was the apple pie flavored whiskey that was easy on everyone, and the magnificent 12-year old Balvanie Triple Cask.
Nothing beats fly making, chased by a little moonshine, as you wait for the midnight sun to rise again and mark another day of incredible fishing memories.