Some fishermen don't like bumping elbows with other anglers, but students in an upcoming Kenai Fishing Academy course may not mind sharing the water with one of their own.
Jon Van Zyle, official artist of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and a member of the Iditarod Hall of Fame, signed up as a student for the fly-fishing session of the academy, being taught at Kenai Peninsula College today through July 27.
"We're looking forward to having him," said Gary Turner, director of the college.
Turner said Van Zyle is an avid angler who will blend his two passions during the course.
"He will create two to three field sketches while he's fishing that will be donated to the Kenai Fishing Academy for future fundraising purposes," he said.
Turner said the numerous field trips during the course should provide a good medium for Van Zyle to work with. He said Upper Russian Lake, the upper Kenai River and the Russian River are a few of the scenic locations students will sojourn to in the pursuit of salmon and trout.
To further celebrate Van Zyle's attendance, Turner said KPC will exhibit some of Van Zyle's well-known paintings and prints during a weeklong show at the G.L. Freeburg Gallery, to run concurrent with the fly-fishing session.
An opening reception and talk by Van Zyle will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. today at the Kenai River campus. The exhibition will include original works and prints by Van Zyle with Iditarod and fishing themes. A limited number of signed Van Zyle "Fishing Alaska" prints will be for sale with proceeds benefitting the campus' Student Art League.
Turner added that Van Zyle will provide fellow students in the fly-fishing class with one of his popular prints and talk to them about his painting and adventures.
Rylee Nelson, 18, of South Dakota, up visiting family in Kenai for the summer, has signed up for the session and said he is looking forward to attending with Van Zyle.
"I was pretty pumped to hear he was in there. I've always been interested in drawing and painting, so I'm looking forward to talking to him. It seems like a cool opportunity," Nelson said.
For more information about the Kenai Fishing Academy, visit the KFA Web site www.kenaifishingacademy.org or call 262-0330. To learn more about Jon Van Zyle, visit his Web site at www.jonvanzyle.com.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at email@example.com.
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