Explorations Academy Summer FlyFishing Whatcom County class

Explorations Academy is an independent, experiential high school here in Bellingham. Our Summer Adventure Institute offers summer classes that are active, engaging, and fun!

Students can earn high school credit with each of our Summer Adventure Institute classes for additional surcharge. For more information about credits and transcripts, please contact Explorations Academy’s main office: (360) 671-8085.

Details:Summer Adventure Institute Flyfishing Whatcom County class

  • You do not have to be an Explorations Academy student to enroll in a Summer Adventure Institute class.
  • The summer flyfishing class is called “Flyfishing Whatcom County” and is geared toward beginners.
  • The dates for this class are July 7 – 11. The registration deadline for Flyfishing Whatcom County is June 30, 5pm.
  • Students will learn how to tie basic flies, how to cast, techniques, bugs/macro-invertebrates, and more.
  • The class will begin with covering the basics on Whatcom Creek, and then move on to other local streams and lakes.
  • Minimum age to participate is 14.
  • It costs $400 to register. All gear will be provided, except for fishing license. Students must posses a WA state combo (salt and freshwater) fishing license prior to the beginning of class.
  • Financial aid may be available depending on the number of applicants.
  • Other Summer Adventure Institute classes are nature writing, rock climbing, computer animation, and musical improv.
  • To register, participants should contact Explorations Academy’s main office: (360) 671-8085.
  • More information can be found at http://explorationsacademy.org/academics/summer-adventure-institute


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Jeremy Wade Fans: Where to Catch Your Own River Monster

Fans of Jeremy Wade’s “River Monsters” know that monsters are real and, with a little skill and hard work, can be caught. Catching a monster fish can be a ticket to fame. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council recently stated that the biggest fish ever caught and recorded by a female angler was a 907-pound bluefin tuna caught by Donna Pascoe this year, and the sport fishing world has exploded with interest. While many freshwater monsters are currently over-fished, there are still places for the adventurous angler to seek a unique and jaw-dropping trophy for themselves.

Alligator Gar- Trinity River, Texas

The Alligator Gar is known for its long, alligator-like snout and double rows of imposing teeth. The largest freshwater fish in North America, the Alligator Gar can reach 6 feet in length, weigh up to 200 pounds and can trace its origins to the Cretaceous period. Once considered an invasive nuisance, Alligator Gar were targeted by many state and federal game and fish authorities in the United states for elimination, which has dwindled their habitats to rivers in the southern states.

Photo by Clinton & CHarles Robertson via Wikimedia Commons

To catch these monsters, you’ll need a restricted license and a boat that can stride the stump-laden and Amazon-like banks of the Trinity river, as well as a lot of time to explore. The Texas State Historical Association reports that the Trinity River is the longest river with its whole course contained within Texas and stretches 423 miles from the crux of the West and Elm forks to the coast.

Hucho Taimen- Delger Muron River, Mongolia

Taimen are the largest members of the salmon family, a fierce predator known to snatch waterfowl right off the surface of the water. According to National Geographic, Taimen are capable of growing more than six feet in length and weighing up to 200 pounds. Due to the fragile nature of the Taimen’s continued existence, adventurous anglers must practice catch-and-release fishing and use barbless hooks so this monolithic river fish might survive as a species.

Photo by Ojensen via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking to catch the largest salmon in the world, you’ll need to travel overland through Mongolia to the Eg-Ur Basin, which is no easy task in of itself. A wise traveler would plan to bring camping gear as well as a satellite phone if they plan on keeping any contact with the outside world during the long trek.

Giant Freshwater Stingray- Mae Klong River, Thailand

Found through many rivers in Southeast Asia, the Giant Freshwater Stingray can grow to a terrifying 1,000 pounds and measure almost 15 feet in width. Armed with a tail that carries a serrated spike that is often more than afoot long, the Giant Freshwater Stingray is seen as a bringer of bad luck by many locals. Catching one is a tremendous challenge— these giants tend to bury themselves in mud when hooked and can sink riverboats by just pulling a line. Another endangered giant, sport anglers should respect its status and practice catch-and-release fishing, especially as many locals kill the stingray regardless of whether or not it is going to be used for food.

Photo by Barry Rogge via Wikimedia Commons

The Mae Klong river can be reached by road when driving out of Bangkok. The adventurous traveler should consider traveling through the Mae Klong Railway Market while in the area. The Railway Market is built just inches from a railway that the government built right through the center of it, and local vendors sell scores of unique local seafood. They might even have some tips for the visiting fisherman.

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Opening day is coming up on April 26th

The big opener for trout season is coming up in just a few weeks. April 26th marks the opener for most lakes in Whatcom and Skagit county. A large number of lakes are stocked with heavy numbers of trout, and other opportunities are available for bass fishing and more.


Check out our Fishing Access page for a list of lakes to visit: http://www.fishwhatcom.com/lakesrivers/

WDFW has released a list of stocked lakes, showing the number of trout going into each. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/.

And be sure to read up on the regs before heading out. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ and pick up a license at a local vendor or online.

silver lake rainbow trout fly fishing2

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Catch record cards due by April 30th – with or without catch

Please remember to send your Salmon, Steelhead,  Sturgeon and Halibut cards in to WDFW by the end of April. If you fished for these species, WDFW requires the cards to be sent back in with or without catch.

Send your cards to:

600 Capitol Way North
Olympic, WA 98501


And don’t forget to pick up your new license for 2014 before your next trip!

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How to Install Hatches and Deck Plates on Your Boat

To anyone who’s never done it before, installing a new ventilator, hatch or deck plate can seem a bit intimidating. But with the right guidance and tools, this relatively common modification to your boat becomes easy. Let’s take a look:

Look and Measure Twice

No matter where you decide to install the hatch or deck plate, the first thing is to find out what’s on the other side of the surface, whether it’s wiring, headliner material or a light fixture. This is one area where guesswork is out of the question.

Create a tape outline of where you plan to cut and then follow it with a bladeless saw to check for any possible interference, especially around corners. If there is, use a different saw or carefully cut through the area with a hand saw. You also want to make sure that the area does not have too much crown, as the hatch manufacturer specifies a set maximum amount of curvature the hatch can accommodate.

Making the Cut

First, trace the outline with the hatch itself or the supplied paper pattern, making sure it’s squared with the boat’s centerline. Cut any fabric out of the way on the other side before cutting through with a saber saw or, preferably, a hole saw or a circle cutter. If necessary, you can even use a rotary Dremel tool to cut through the area. Afterward, grab a piece of coarse sandpaper to smooth out the edges.

Luke sailboatSealing and Fairing Things Up

After you’ve made the cutout, you’ll have to trim away a small amount – approximately a half-inch or more – of the wood or foam core material. Sand the interior surface and then apply unthickened epoxy to the area. After thickening the epoxy to a peanut butter consistency with silica or fibers, fill the gap around the cutout and wait for the epoxy to cure.

Next, you’ll want to use a straightedge to measure the curvature across the deck, just beyond the cutout. For cutouts with a slight curve, you’ll want to use epoxy paste or fiberglass laminate to build up the deck surrounding the cutout. You can also use a flat-top spacer that mimics the deck curvature on the bottom. Avoid grinding down the crown, as it will only weaken the deck further.

Installation and Finishing

Now is the time to dry-fit the hatch and drill the pilot holes for the screws. Use masking tape to define the perimeter of the hatch, and then coat the area between the mask and cutout with sealant. Be sure to use silicone or a silicone/polyurethane blend for plastic hatch and deck plate frames or polysulfide for metal frames. At this point, drop the hatch over the cutout and tighten it evenly. Be careful not to over-tighten the screws – doing so will squeeze the sealant out by accident.

An improperly installed hatch can cause a variety of problems, especially if it’s not properly framed and sealed. You’ll want your hatch or deck plate to be as watertight as possible. A set of o-ring seals can help prevent water from leaking through by providing the tightest possible seal.

The final step involves allowing the sealant to cure for up to three days. Afterward, remove the excess from around the hatch frame with a hobby knife and remove the masking tape.

Keeping your boat in good shape is crucial to safety and the overall fun you’ll have with your boat. Make sure you’re as well-equipped as your boat by learning proper regulations in your area, including if you need a boating license in certain states.

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Wild & Scenic Nooksack River Green Drinks event this Wednesday

From the Confluence Fly Shop:

Join Green Drinks at the Confluence Fly Shop on February 5th
Please join us for the Wild & Scenic Nooksack River Green Drinks event this Wednesday, February 5th from 5pm – 7pm at The Confluence Fly Shop in downtown Bellingham.  Good conversation, good information, and good beer will all be on tap as you mingle with other river lovers and learn about the exciting campaign to protect the upper Nooksack River basin.  

Green Drinks is a monthly informal gathering and networking session for people who work or are interested in the environmental field.  These events are free and open to the public.  See the attached flyer for more information on this event, or visit www.americanrivers.org to learn more about the Nooksack Wild & Scenic campaign.

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Boating Accessories to Complete Your Water Experience

A boat is just the beginning. Take your watercraft out a few times and you’ll realize that you’re just scratching the surface. Boating gadgets can turn your casual ride into a tricked-out adventure, and the market is rich with forward-thinking devices. Whether you aim to get a more precise location while you’re at sea or document your travels in the water, these toys will improve your boating experience time and time again.

Solar GPS

Photo by Nachoman-au via Flickr

Welcome to the 21st century, when maps take a back seat to electronic navigation devices. A solar GPS system is the modern way to track your location and chart your course. The JT600 Solar GPS tracker runs primarily on sunlight but also features a backup battery pack. It also features two-way voice calls and supports 64 geo-fencing capabilities. Most importantly, the JT600 is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about handling it with too much care as you venture out on the water. After the essentials — basic boating supplies and a boating license — a GPS system could be the most important tool on your boat. A solar GPS system will keep you safe and on course, two of the most important things in boating.

Monster Wakeboard Tower

Photo by Riley Bathurst via Wikimedia Commons

A powerboat is at its best when someone is cruising on the wake behind it. Upgrade your boat with a wakeboard tower. These structures enable you to drag wakeboarders around the lake, and they also serve as place to mount lights, speakers and rod holders. Monster is the gold standard in wakeboard accessories, and its selection of towers ranges from $699 to $1299. For wakeboarders, they are a must. For everyone else, they are a nice addition to consider.

Subwing Flying Machine

If wakeboarding isn’t your thing, explore that water with the Subwing Flying Machine, which closely resembles the wings of a stringray. Attach it to your boat and grab hold for an unprecedented ride through the water. Best experienced in the ocean, the carbon fiber Subwing cuts through water so you can fly over the ocean floor for as long as you can hold your breath. Consider it during snorkling with an adrenaline boost. If you’re looking to add some thrills to your lazy beach day, the Subwing will deliver. Starting at $490, this adventure accessory is will reshape your boating experience.

Sea-Doo Aqua Lounge 6

Sometimes you need to be a little closer to the water. The Sea-Doo Aqua Lounge 6 is like an inflatable hotel. Those plastic lounge comfortably seats six and features a built-in MP3 system, waterproof speakers and plenty of cupholders. When things get tight on the boat, this inflatable oasis will return you to a state of nirvana as you enjoy the water. Sea-Doo is currently running a special on the Aqua Lounge 6 for $409.

Countour Waterproof Camera

Document your wet and wild adventures with a GE high-definition underwater camera. With 1080p resolution and 4x zoom, this camera will capture the finest details of your relaxing time in the water. Use it as you snorkel or record your time on the boat with the peace of mind that your camera can handle inevitable splashes. BHphotovideo.com offers a GE waterproof digital camera for $89.99.

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Nooksack River Recreation Plan Open House Nov. 6th

The Nooksack River Recreation Plan Open House is scheduled for Wednesday November 6th from 6pm – 8pm at the Central Library in downtown Bellingham.

Also please feel free to share your ideas and usage of the beautiful Nooksack river through this short online survey. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/uppernooksack

Upper Nooksack Plan OpenHouse

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Taking the Dog Fishing: Tips for a Fun Trip

A dog is a great companion and partner when it comes to hunting, camping, and many other outdoor activities. Fishing, however, is somewhat of a different story. Whether boat, wade, or shore fishing, it ultimately comes down to personal choice and your dog’s behavior when deciding to take him along. It also depends on whether your dog will be a spectator or a participant. There are a few things to keep in mind when making this decision.

Bass Fly Fishing

Photo by Flickr user OakleyOriginals

Leash Or Training

The motion when casting is very similar to when you throw a ball or some other object for a dog to fetch. An unleashed dog will likely see this and chase not only your hook into the water, but everyone else’s around you. The last thing you want to do is remove a hook from your dog’s mouth, or worse. The easiest way to take care of this is to leash your dog to a nearby tree. Of course, the dog may bark and whine because he or she is not close to you and the action. Others use a remote dog training collar from PetSafe to correct the behavior as it happens. Your dog can then roam free and learn not to interfere when casting.

Be A Polite Owner

Unless you have a private lake or happen to get very lucky, others will likely fish where you are. They are out there to fish and not deal with the noise and commotion of an ill-mannered dog. Though most dogs like water and the freedom of the outdoors, a fishing trip is not the best time to throw toys in the water for him to fetch. The general consensus from forums and personal experience is that most people do not mind your dog being there as long as it does not interfere with their own experience.

Wade Fishing With Your Dog

Some dogs are actually very good at fishing. If you’re going to allow your dog into the water to potentially catch fish himself, know all the different species of fish that are present. Some can actually harm your dog if they ingest the fish’s blood or outer skin.

Salmon Poisoning Disease can kill your dog if it comes into contact with the Nanophyetus salmincola parasite that itself is infected with a microorganism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca. Dogs are the only species of animal that can catch the disease, according to the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Salmon and other anadromous fish (those that swim upstream for breeding) are generally only found west of the Cascades, but exercise caution regardless.

Diarrhea, vomiting and/or general weakness days after catching a fish are some of the symptoms a dog will experience if infected. You should seek veterinary help immediately, as the parasite will kill a dog in as little as 14 days.

The last and best advice when taking your dog fishing is to exercise common sense. Everything else will generally take care of itself.

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Nooksack River Recreation Survey

Do you love the Nooksack River?  Do you like fishing, boating, hiking, camping, and playing in the Nooksack River watershed?  Then tell American Rivers about it.  If you enjoy recreating in the Nooksack River corridor, please click on the link below to take a short survey on what you like to do and where you like to go when you head to the river.  Your feedback will help ensure that we have lots of beautiful places to fish, boat, hike, camp, and play along the river now and forever.  Please pass on to friends and family too! Thanks!!


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