Community showers that might have hot water, basic electricity powered by a generator (so don’t forget to fill it), bears that prowl through camp at night, and sleeping in a wood and tarp tent for six months – these are just a few things that ensure that the guides up at Alaska’s Naknek River Camp never have a dull moment.
After spending last summer with this crew we couldn’t help but be impressed by their passion and dedication for what they do… and the sheer insanity. Get to know a little more about the guides that really make Alaska tick.
Flylords: So, tell us, who is Kam?
Kam: I’m 27 years old, I’m from Grand Rapid, Michigan. I’m a seasonal drunk and a full-time fly fishing guide.
Flylords: How did you end up in King Salmon, Alaska?
Kam: Well, my roommate and long-time friend Max convinced me. I graduated college, had a captain’s license since 18, and he said “You should come up to King Salmon to guide” and I told him that was stupid and he said “You would enjoy it thoroughly” and I did and I’m still stuck here. I got my captain’s license because I wanted to drive boats and do charter fishing back in Michigan.
Flylords: What does a typical day look like for you?
Kam: I wake up, I try to sober up a bit, I puke in a trash can, I go out and get my cooler and put it in my boat, hope it’s packed and then I try to get my clients (who are usually old and incapable) into the boat and I help them gingerly into the boat, give them a safety speech, then we go out on the boat and attempt to fly fish for some type of species. We’ll get back to the dock eight hours later, nine if I’m feeling nice. We’re really doing the Lord’s work out here.
Flylords: How do you prepare for a season in Alaska?
Kam: I bring a bunch of booze usually 6 or 7 cartons of cigarettes, a decent amount of flies, tie and buy a bunch of flies get my head right and go to usually three or four strip clubs before coming up.
Flylords: What’s one thing you wouldn’t hit the water without?
Kam: Rain jacket, I hate the water.
Flylords: Where do you live in the off-season?
Kam: Between Grand Rapids and Baldwin, Michigan.
Flylords: What occupies your time in the off-season?
Kam: I guide the Pere Marquette River in Baldwin for wild salmon, trout, and steelhead. There is no off-season for a man like myself.
Flylords: Do you guide anywhere else? If so, how is that different from guiding in Alaska?
Kam: It’s not different at all, it’s way easier. The fish are dumber and there’s more of them. People are shittier fishermen though.
Flylords: What is your favorite fish to target in your own backyard?
Kam: Brown Trout. They’re very smart, wiley, they learn and you can hunt them. They get to large sizes and they will stay in the same areas and you can target them, or specifically target one trout.
Flylords: If you were a fly or streamer pattern which would you be?
Kam: Mouse. You don’t get eaten as much and fish will miss.
Flylords: What’s your favorite part about being up in Alaska?
Kam: Getting drunk every single day.
Flylords: What do you miss most about home?
Flylords: What is your favorite AK memory?
Kam: I limited five people on silvers by 11 o’clock my first year. You’ll have that on those big jobs.
Flylords: Final Thoughts?
Kam: Can I go home?
Follow Kam’s hunting and Pere Marquette fishing on Instagram @kamzemites