Summer session to offer gardening, return of fishing academy

Kenai Peninsula College

Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Local gardening expert Tom Jans will offer two courses in organic gardening during KPC’s summer session. A two-credit class will be offered in June and a three-credit course in July and August.

To register for the classes, go to and click on UAOnline or stop by Campus Services and register in person. The summer schedule can be viewed on the Web site. For more information, call 262-0330.

KPC Fishing Academy

KPC offers students a unique Alaska opportunity by way of the Kenai Fishing Academy. It is the brainchild of college Director Gary J. Turner and this will be the third year the academy will teach the “art” of angling to students who will come from all over the United States and the world. Last year the academy got national media attention and the concept of “learning” to fish effectively is catching on.

There are two programs offered in four, one-week sessions. Two sessions center on bait and spinning casting and two are dedicated to fly-fishing techniques and equipment. Spin and bait casting sessions are offered June 11 through 16 and June 25 through 30. The fly-fishing courses will be held July 9 through 14 and Aug. 6 through 11, but at press time both fly-fishing sessions are full.

Through four half days of class time, students attending learn will fishing techniques from the experts, learning just about everything there is to know about salmon, halibut and trout (the fly-fishing class will focus on salmon, trout and grayling). Students learn about fish characteristics, lure selection, casting techniques and other skills that help increase angling success. In addition, the curriculum gives an overview of the history of the area’s waters, their biology and how to deal with Alaska wildlife while in the field. Students also learn how to filet, smoke, can and freeze the fish they catch.

The fly-fishermen will learn casting techniques from some of the top casting pros in Alaska and get to tie some flies that work particularly well in this area.

During the afternoons and evenings, students and their instructors head out to fish the Kenai or Kasilof Rivers (or both, depending on where the fish are) and fly in to remote areas to fish for salmon, rainbows and/or grayling. The last day(s) culminate with either an all-day saltwater salmon/halibut charter in Cook Inlet or an all-day upper Kenai River drift boat fishing trip, depending on the course.

The Kenai Fishing Academy is largely organized by Dave Atcheson, author of the book “Fishing Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.” Atcheson teaches fly-fishing at the college as a community education course and spent a number of years with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game working on a Kenai River habitat study. He is a contributing editor for “Fish Alaska Magazine” and writes for “Alaska Magazine”, “Fly Fishing Quarterly”, “Outdoor Life” and other publications. Atcheson also serves as the night coordinator at the Kenai River Campus during the academic year.

Other instructors include Tony Weaver, known for his innovative casting techniques and teaching abilities; Bo Ansel, a registered professional fishing guide for 18 years on the Kenai Peninsula and owner of Bo’s Fishing Guide Service; Dr. Dave Wartinbee, the biology professor at Kenai Peninsula College during the spring and fall; Larry Lewis, a wildlife technician with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Wildlife Conservation; Richard Kelso, Tony Lewis, Joe McCullough and Linda Tannahill.

For more information about the Kenai Fishing Academy, visit or call 262-0330.

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.

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