Intricate Bay Lodge, AK Update
It was 1994, the first week of my senior year at Montana State University in Bozeman. My future was just as uncertain then at any time in my young, wondering life as it ever had been. I knew that I was going to graduate with a degree in Wildlife Biology and that graduate school was next on the list. I don’t recall being too excited about either of those two events at that stage in my life. However, my dad – being a perceptive father – knew that my love for life on the water was what I was searching for and that continual exposure to that world was like peeling an onion for me, each new layer bring awe and purpose to my life. Dad invited me to Alaska with a few of his friends that last week of August 1994 and my life changed, once again.
At the ripe old age of 23, I finally had gotten to that point in life where I realized that my parents actually know something! The crazy part of that trip for me was that my dad realized that I actually know something too. Sure, we caught a bunch of fish, flew around Bristol Bay, saw bears, moose, and watched the sun never quite set. The fishing and the tugs were amazing, but it was all of the stuff “in between” the fishing that I remember today. Those moment spent “in between” fishing made me realize my that dad respected me, loved me, and hoped only for my happiness and success. I realized that my dad was proud of me and began to understand gratitude, as I never knew before.
Alaska is a special place to me. Pivotal moments in my life, both angling and personal, have happened here. The size of the country is awe inspiring, the isolation leaves one with nothing other than the moment, and there is a peacefulness amongst cold water that makes me feel at home like nowhere else.
My family arrived at Intricate Bay Lodge at the mouth of the Copper River off Lake Iliamna in the Bristol Bay region. We are here for a week of fishing for Rainbows and Silver Salmon, and some “together” time too. Mom, Dad, my wife, two uncles, my sons and one of their friends. What a lucky man I am to have such an amazing family and to live such an amazing life! Fly Fishing has done that for me and I am excited to share my joy for the sport with the people dearest to me in this most special of fly fishing destinations.
I fished with Matty yesterday, Matty is my ten year old son and a precocious fly angler like none that I have ever met. He wouldn’t quit jabbering yesterday, at all. Between the fish making runs, bears running around him and grabbing Sockeyes, and the occasional 10-pound Sockeye running downstream with him attached, sensory overload seemed more apt of a description than anything else. I shivered at his excitement and sense of wonder as I recalled my first days on an Alaska stream with my dad over 20 years ago. The hope is that someday he too will shiver with excitement as he watches his kids run up and down a river, avoiding charging Brown bears with fish tight to their lines too.