What is an Ouzel?
Permanent Ranger Don C. Fisher
An Ouzel is another name for a bird called the American Dipper. Well known to river runners all over the US. It’s a hardy slate-grey bird that lives only around clear, clean, swift moving water. It feeds underwater on fish and aquatic insects and builds its nest behind waterfalls. You see them swimming down the biggest rapids, flying into the most remote rivers, reaching places no other birds dare to enter. Imagine this! Most of Alaska’s Ouzels live in Alaska even in the winter!
Why is a float fishing trip best?
1. The fishing is better on a wilderness float trip because we follow peak Salmon runs across the state. We offer you the best fishing river at it’s peak. We aren’t confined to one geographic area.
2. You have increased fishing time. You couldn’t be any closer to the fishing. We camp at hot fishing holes. At 5 o’clock you don’t have to stop fishing like when you go to a lodge. Many die hard fishers join us for this reason alone!
3. A raft can cross or hold in water that stops a pair of chest waders cold. We can put you on the hot fishing holes, one after another all day long.
4. You can present your hook to a fish in the most effective way from a drifting raft.
5. Our rafts give you a huge range. We go where jet boats and airplanes can’t. We float about 10 miles a day, just the right balance of drift fishing from the boat and wade fishing from the bank. We stop at hole after hole, all day long. It is impossible to just wade the enormous area we cover.
6. Solitude. This quiet way of traveling offers more opportunities for relaxing and seeing wildlife in it’s natural surroundings. Our trips take you on a journey through the most wild and beautiful country in Alaska!
7. The “experience” shared by a group of people on an adventure through remote, breath taking wilderness is something that you will remember forever. Many of our guests re-join their new found friends on other vacations with Ouzel. 70% of our guests each year have been with us previously.
What are your trips like?
We have complete moveable camps. Our large KITCHEN TENT affords us shade and shelter. In late September & October it’s heated. We have folding directors chairs with back rests in camp & a dinner table. During the day you can sit in these chairs in the raft. We camp right at great fishing holes. It’s a wonderful way to see the country, wildlife, fish and enjoy the wilderness in comfort. We have portable shower for your use. Each night a toilet is set up outside camp.
Our guides are there to help you get the most out of your vacation. They do the cooking and camp chores. Our oarsmen have experience on white-water as well as calm rivers. They are skilled fishermen and can help you with knots, flies, casting, spinning and where and how to fish. Many of our guests are expert fishers and don’t want much help. Our guides can hike with you so you can photograph and learn about the flora and fauna.
We serve fresh meats and vegetables cooked in dutch ovens on gas stoves and over fires. Sumptuous meals like char broiled steak, spaghetti, fresh broiled salmon, turkey and mexican food are served family style for dinner. Breakfasts offer a variety of things: pancakes, hot cereal, fresh fish, bacon, eggs, coffee and juice. Lunches are sandwiches, chips, and candy. We serve hors d’oeuvres before dinner. Please make special requests 1 month ahead of time.
What kind of equipment is used?
We provide several kinds of high quality tents for your sleeping comfort: North Face, REI and Cabela’s. They are roomy expedition quality tents and are extremely water & wind proof. You stay dry and warm in them. We provide waterproof bags for your personal gear. We also provide self-inflating sleeping pads. We don’t provide sleeping bags. Our SOTAR rafts are American made in 14, 16 and 18 foot lengths. SOTAR rafts are the best professional quality river rafts. These comfortable rafts are oar powered by our experienced guides. We use aluminum boat boxes rowing frames and large ice chests. You fish from these oar powered rafts with skilled oarsmen drifting you through beautiful holding waters and scenery. Communications: We go into remote wilderness on our trips. In case of emergency we carry hand held aviation radios or satellite phones. We can talk to overflying airplanes to ask for help if needed. You can get your Alaskan fishing license at many drugstores, sporting goods or convenience stores. You can order online from Alaska department of fish and game from a link on our website. Waders: This is really a matter of personal choice. Simms Gortex waders are the top of the line.
Do you Offer any new trips?
Yes! Every year we like to explore a new river. Alaska and Kamchatka have places you can explore where no-one can be seen. We have found that the further off the beaten path you get, the better the fishing is. You also see more animals and less people. We have floated over 46 rivers in Alaska and 15 in Russia. We normally arrange exploratory trips at our past clients requests, but any an join in. Remote river explorations cost may be higher due to additional air freight and logistical costs, but the payoff is yours in excitement.
Photography Safaris are a reward to loyal clients who want to experience other places in the world. We will also organize fishing trips to other countries.
Where do you Operate?
We operate on many Alaska and Kamchatka Rivers. In Alaska we are licensed and have permits for these areas. Aniakchak National Monument, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Church National Forest, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Katmai National Park, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, Wrangle St. Elias national Park, Lake Clark National Park and Yukon Delta Wildlife Refuge.
In Russia we will organize trips to most parts of Kamchatka and the Russian Far East.
Photography safaris can be organized anywhere, but our experience is Alaska, Russia, and Africa.
What are your trip policies?
Ouzel Expeditions will not be responsible for additional meals, lodging or other expenses due to delayed flights, weather or other delays. We will not be responsible for natural acts such as but not limited to: weather, storms, rain, floods or salmon run timing. We reserve the right to change the trips itineraries and to change the river at our discretion.
Ouzel holds the right to limit the minimum number for clients on a trip to 4.
In Alaska a complete refund (minus $100 per person service charge) will be given if written notice is received by us more than 60 days prior to your trip’s departure, or you can apply your deposit to a future expedition. 60 days or less prior to your trip’s departure no refunds or credits will be given. After trips completion no refunds or credits will be given for any reason. Trip Insurance from Travel Guard International is available and we encourage you to buy it. In Russia we do not give refunds for any reason.