Every year, as my Alaska fishing season comes to a close, I can’t help but get a little blue. All summer long I'm surrounded with Alaska fishing guides, employees, king salmon fisherman, etc, and suddenly I’m here with just my two trusty labs. The three of us stay at the Alaska fishing lodge all fall to complete projects and shut down the buildings for the winter.
This year, I feel like General MacArthur after WW11. Here is a guy with a great war machine all ready to kick someone’s butt, only to arrive late. The war ended suddenly with only two mighty explosions. In this case, my "explosions" happened after my Alaska fishing season. Our past summer was wet, which made the rivers high, which subsequently made the fishing season not up to normal Alaskan fishing season standards… this was a problem we Alaska fishing guides complained about state wide. By the end of August, the weather had finally cleared up, the waters came down to normal size, my wife’s flowers suddenly all bloomed, and the grass grew greener than ever before. All this came to be and no war/anglers. Another Alaska fishing season over...
I can’t believe I’ve been running our Alaska fishing lodge for 34 years now. Where did all the time go? My years have consisted of fall months full of upkeep and fishing lodge improvements, then winters filled with hopes of bookings, followed by spring sales and then the Alaska fishing season is upon us once again... a few months of intense long days of work before I'm alone again with my labs.
It's amazing to think about the years of fishermen that have visited our streams. And over those years, our streams continue to produce large Alaska trout. And those large Alaskan trout continue to feed off of our large Alaskan mosquitoes... I take solice in the fact that some things never change. And then there are the things that do change-- such as the addition of sore body parts. Thirty four years ago we started with just a couple wall tents and a small airplane. It's no surprise that I look around at what Talaheim's Alaska fishing lodge has become and I see my sore body parts painted in the many buildings, air strips, and gravel cleared. But even through the aches and pains, it's still easy to be thankful.
This year was a bad year for airplane accidents in Alaska, mostly due to pilots pushing Mother Nature's boundaries. Alaska's past Senator, Senator Stevens, was one victim among many. As always, in the fall, I give thanks to my Creator for another safe fishing season. I look back on our blessed history and am very grateful that we’ve never had a client seriously hurt. Only one broken leg in 34 years of business. As the time slips by, I also give thanks for my own health and hope for many more years of solvent Alaska fishing seasons.
Like many people in business today, the present economic situation leaves an air of uncertainty, and we're feeling it in the tourism industry. So I want to give a very special thanks for the folks that came to Talaheim Lodge these past few years, despite the economic crisis. We surely enjoyed all of you, and I hope you enjoyed the time with us.
Finally, as I sit here with my two labs and an Alaska fishing season in full bloom--albeit late-- I look around at our helicopters, boats, planes, my beloved tractor, the fishing lodge, guest cabins, and the beautiful flowers and I can't help but get a little excited for the next Alaska fishing season, and a chance to do it all over again.
But while I wait for that season... I might as well take my labs fishing. There's great fishing to be had, no need to waste it.
Mark Miller, owner of Talaheim's Alaska Fishing Lodge