Questions with a Captain: Austin Conrad

An unscripted & uncensored peek into the minds of Alaskan guides.

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 Austin? 

Austin: Austin is a guy from West Virginia and Virginia who made the mistake of coming up to Alaska. Haha. I don’t mean mistake. I’m just a guy who rolled the dice to come up to Alaska.

Flylords: How did you end up in King Salmon, Alaska?

Austin: I met some dudes through another job that I have that recommended that I come to NRC and then I chose to come here. Just word of mouth and I heard great things. 

Flylords: What does a typical day look like for you?

Austin: Oh man. You wake up super early and no matter what happens you put on a good face and show people a good time. It really varies, from different water types to different rivers themselves. A lot of managing people, it’s a lot of fun. Especially in a not-so-safe environment. 

Flylords: How do you prepare for a season in Alaska?

Austin: Well, I didn’t. Haha. And I feel prepared not preparing. There’s so much shit I didn’t know. I prepared the best I could and I had some good help from people that have already been up here and this is my first year so I tried my best. 

Flylords: What’s one thing you wouldn’t hit the water without?

Austin: Definitely water. Hydrate or die! 

Flylords: Where do you live in the off-season?

Austin: In Roanoke, Virginia. I’m from West Virginia but live in regular Virginia. 

Flylords: What occupies your time in the off-season? 

Austin: Guiding for trout in southwest Virginia and F3T. Hanging out with loved ones. I work on the road crew for F3T and will continue to do so in some capacity. We get to go put on live film tour events around the country. 

Flylords: Do you guide anywhere else? If so, how if that different from guiding in Alaska?

Austin: I think it’s way different. We don’t have the luxury of just going home and decompressing. Not that I think it’s bad here, we just decompress in a different way here. I have never guided in a capacity in which I have lived amongst the people I work with, so that’s definitely different. You know, you’re kinda at the whim of the schedule and you aren’t able to make too many audibles like you can back at home. You’re really just forced to send it! 

Flylords: What is your favorite fish to target in your own backyard?

Austin: Brown Trout. They eat a streamer really well. 

Flylords: If you were a fly or streamer pattern which would you be?

Austin: Drunk and Disorderly. For both effectiveness and name. 

Flylords: What do you miss most about home?

Austin: My fiancee Abby, my dogs, sleeping in a comfortable bed, being able to shower whenever I want, being able to drive a car whenever I want. Watching a Netflix show. All the things I used to take for granted. 

For a peek at the fisheries in Virginia and West Virginia, follow Austin on Instagram @laketroutlarry

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