EPIC Angling & Adventure Origin - Alaska Fly Fishing Trips

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EPIC Angling & Adventure Origin


Now that EPIC has a new owner, we thought it was important to maintain the some of the original history…

EPIC Angling & Adventure was created in 2004 when Rus Schwausch took over Alaska Wilderness SAFARI from the original owner after guiding for a few seasons. The SAFARI camp had already been established in its current location since 1993, but there was an interesting series of events that occurred before he actually became an Alaskan fishing guide.

Getting dropped at headwaters of remote Alaska river

In 1995 Rus and 2 friends boldly embarked, with all their own gear, upon a 100 mile unguided float trip in southwest Alaska. He’ll never forget the moments after the floatplane dropped them and their gear off, turned and quickly headed back to town due to the worsening weather conditions… After the plane had disappeared out of sight, it was “the quietest quiet he had ever heard.”

This trip was supposed to be a once in a lifetime deal, but they had such a great adventure, they vowed to return and do it again. And so they did…

During the summer of ‘97 in Alaska, while continuing to work as a design engineer in Austin, TX, Rus made a plan (as any engineer would do). That fall he moved out of a new, spacious apartment into a small 8’ x 10’ room of a friend’s house (thanks again, Blake!) where rent was cheap so he could pack away some money… with a purpose, of course.

In 2001 he landed a guide job at Alaska Wilderness SAFARI, quit his regular day job, but continued engineering consulting work while back in Austin.

The first unguided float trip in Alaska made a lasting impression. This is trip #2 with Blake on the oars, Rus in the back.

During his first few years at the SAFARI camp, he had the good fortune to apprentice under J.W. Smith, who was 25+ years his senior but could still out work and out walk any guide in camp. J.W. was as tough as nails, and was harder working than anyone he had known (except perhaps his own father), and he learned valuable lessons of tenacity and customer service while working with and for him.

Then the day came in 2003, albeit sooner than he expected, when J.W. declared he was “tired of this sh*t!” And so a new opportunity was born for him… he started EPIC (he already had the idea for the name) and took over the camp the following season.

After finishing the 2022 season, that’s 24 summers adventuring and fishing in Alaska, all stemming from that single unguided float trip back in ’95… will remote Alaska infect your soul, too?

Posted in All Posts, Off the Wall