Alaska Holiday High School fly tying material drive

The egg sucking leech, a staple for every Alaskan’s fly box – Photo: Jenny Weis

This holiday season give the gift of learning, opportunity and fly fishing to Alaska High School Students!

For the past 8 years Tim Lussow, a biology teacher at Colony High School, has helped expose the world of fly fishing to hundreds of students through a uniquely designed course called, “Alaska Wildlife.”

“Alaska Wildlife” offers valuable information for the next generation of anglers. Fisheries are the foundation of the course, and students are lucky enough to tie flies throughout the duration that are relevant to the current topic of discussion. Students learn the salmon life cycle while tying flies that mimic different stages of life for salmon including alevin, smolt and flesh flies. The appeal of rainbow trout and the mysterious allure of steelhead are discussed while whipping up glo bugs. And the inevitable conflicts of humans and bears and other wildlife are talked about while tying bright streamers for Coho. Students also dive into important conversations about fisheries conservation while discussing controversial development proposals in Alaska, like the Pebble mine, that threaten fish habitat.

In light of the current fiscal climate, Colony High School’s Alaska Wildlife class is in jeopardy and needs YOUR help. Below is a list of items needed to keep the fly tying class alive. Please consider picking up an item or two and delivering it to the Trout Unlimited Alaska office in person or by mail (3105 Lakeshore Dr Suite 102 B, Anchorage, AK 99517) by December 31st, 2016. For your convenience doantion stations are also located at local fly shops including Mossy’s Fly Shop, Mountain View Sports, and 3 Rivers Fly & Tackle.

Holiday Wish List

  • #6 Egg hooks- bulk hooks would be best, we go through lots
  • #8 Streamer hooks- always go through lots
  • #6 streamer hooks- bulk
  • Flesh fly marabou- White, pink, tan, salmon
  • Medium or small (not micro) pink chenille for egg flies- all shades of pink eggy material
  • Purple or black marabou- egg sucking leeches
  • Purple or black medium chenille
  • Purple or black saddle hackles
  • Thick thread- 210 denier or thicker thread- white, pink, black
  • Glo bug yarn- all colors
  • Bucktail- Various colors
  • Mylar tubing small silver, transparent
  • Scissors, bobbins and inexpensive vises

Reflecting on the past 8 years of teaching his Alaska Wild class, Tim Lussow said, “Since we started fly tying, I have inspired students to become fly tiers, fishermen, and fisherwomen. Each year students tell me they ask for fly tying kits for holiday presents and their birthdays. Fly tying has become the one most popular activities in one of the most popular classes at the Colony High School.”

Two students from the Bristol Bay Guide Academy show off their freshly tied dry flies – Photo: Jenny Weis

With your help fly tying, the world of angling, and the importance of conserving Alaska fisheries will continue to be introduced to 180 students a year at Colony High School and help to inspire the next generations of Alaska fly fishermen and women.

Please contact Eric Booton at with questions or inquiries.

Eric Booton is the Sportsmen Engagement Organizer for Trout Unlimited Alaska and the Conservation Chair for the Southcentral Alaska TU Chapter.

By Eric Booton.