Greetings from Wasilla

Alex Spies

Hey everyone! Just wanted to give a quick update on some of my happenings up here in Alaska!  I live in Wasilla, Alaska which is part of the Matanuska Susitna Valley—The Valley for short.  We are a quick hour commute outside of Anchorage.  My fiancée Samantha and I moved up here in September 2013 from Hugo, MN.  Life up here so far has been a dream come true and have had the pleasure of meeting some great friends along the way. The beauty of it is we are just getting started on Summer 2 and are expecting our first baby girl on the way in July.  Unlike the dramatic TV shows that seem to be on every channel nowadays we are not “Bush People”…just everyday lovers of everything outdoors.

After getting outfitted with Clam and Ice Armor gear after the Pro Day in the fall, this winter ice season was a blast to say the least.  We put the very best of Clam’s gear to work up here and were rewarded with great memories to last years to come.  Ice started up in November (ate Turkey in the Clam Pro Thermal 5000) and I finally put the blade cover on the Edge auger a few long weeks ago.  I was able to take two nearly 600 mile road trips to North Pole…yes the REAL North Pole, to visit fellow Clam Pro Staffer, Dennis Musgraves.  Dennis, a local celebrity up here for his expertise and travels with the Alaskan Salmon Slayers, invited us up to take on the challenge of landing trophy sized monster Lake Trout and Arctic Char from ‘Hard-Luck’ Harding Lake.  The first trip I was able to land a respectable 27” Lake Trout from 120 feet and followed that up with a 25” Lake Trout and a beastly 31” Arctic Char which landed me my first Alaskan Catch & Release Trophy Certificate.

Apart from the road trips we were plenty busy trying to familiarize ourselves with the local lakes.  If you asked an ‘Old Sourdough’ we live in Meadow Lakes not Wasilla but regardless what it is called you could spend a life-time and not fish them all.  Blodgett Lake and some smaller off-the-map lakes were an early season favorite but as the Still Cold Open Tournament began people started to spend a little bit more time learning new spots on Big Lake--A Locals favorite but a Newbies nemesis.  With many after work hours put-in our efforts started to pay off. A serious kudo’s to the Jason Mitchell Pro Thermal 5000 hub style shack.  It is corny but we were calling it ‘CLAMping’ with how comfortably we were all able to get set-up and enjoy the fishing.  Will even be as bold as to say Best shack on the ice in all of Alaska.  Yes, she was able to enjoy ice fishing while pregnant...complaint free J  Samantha was able to take home 3rd place in the annual Big Lake Tournament with a beautiful Dolly Varden on the opening day. We were able to get an extra inch added to her total score with a safe release—even raced 3 miles back across Big Lake to weigh-in.  If you saw a Nissan Titan with AKCLAM plates on the back at excessive lake speeds, my apologies. Our new friend Joe Bay and his partner Bryson were able to take home the championship at the inaugural ‘Still Cold Open held in Big Lake, Alaska and hosted by Burkshore Marina.  Several other of our new friends that we met in the shack were also to take home a ton of great prizes and raffle drawings from the major local ice fishing derby sponsors.  The ice fishing buzz is seriously just getting started up here.  There are talks of several more derbies and events being planned.  Off-ice I was also able to speak at some seminars at the brand new Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s in Anchorage.  The modern day ice fishing revolution is just getting started up here in Alaska and it is great and exciting to be a part of.  I am already looking forward to this coming winter and can’t wait to continue to turn the ice landscape to Clam blue.

So there is a quick snapshot of this last ice season and as we packed up our gear this April, we Alaskans know that winter will be coming soon enough.  Just have to endure endless summer nights and endless runs of salmon into our rivers to occupy ourselves with in the meantime.  Now is the time to start riding around on the thousands of miles of trails with whatever mode is necessary—it appears we are using our dog Pasha as an entire sled dog team, or he at least likes to pretend he is.

Looking forward to keeping you all updated on our adventures up here, tight lines, and see you all soon!

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Alex Spies
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