Name of guide service/lodge: Frigate Adventure Travel
Number of years guiding: 9 in Alaska, 5 in Oregon guiding Steelhead
Number of years guiding on the Naknek: 9
How did you first get started fishing? My first real start into fishing was on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Some friends let me tag along to fish for coho salmon on a remote stream lined with giant trees. I caught nothing yet felt more in the moment than I ever had. I’ve been fishing hard ever since that day.
What or who inspired you to become a guide? Nanci Morris-Lyon. At the time I started fishing, social media didn’t exist as it does today. Finding female fishermen who would chase steelhead in the rain and cold or spend all day fishing for salmon was extremely difficult. I read so much about Nanci, who was legitimately guiding and running a long- standing, successful operation in Bristol Bay, and I found in her the female role model I needed in my pursuit of fish and adventure. My friend Dan worked for her a few summer seasons and basically vouched for me so I could get my first guide job with her. I ended up as head guide for several years until my boyfriend Justin Crump and I wanted to start our own guiding service on the Naknek.
What was the hardest part to learn or get used to? In the beginning it is difficult to realize that what your guests want and what you want out of the day may be two different things. I’ve been with people who want to cast small dry flies to grayling while 30-inch rainbows lurk just beyond those grayling. It’s my job to let that be okay and make sure it’s all about the people’s time on the water and what makes them happy. I’m just there to facilitate their best possible experience and take great care of them.
What is your most epic moment(s) on the Naknek? It feels pretty epic to run upriver in a jet boat knowing the river is wild; home to bears, eagles, osprey, beavers, fox and all five species of salmon, giant rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and small grayling. And that every day brings a new experience that I’m sharing with guests and friends. I’m not sure it gets more epic than that.
Do you think there are any additional challenges or opportunities being a female guide? Honestly, the challenges are pretty obvious, as it is a male-dominated profession and there is a wide range of ego involved with being a fishing guide. I’ve heard plenty of naysayers and I think in most circumstances it’s best to just worry about what I am doing and pay no mind to anyone else. I also think that you are under much more scrutiny as a female guide and that’s a lot of pressure. But the opportunities are also so great as a female guide. We’re generally nurturing as a gender and people truly appreciate that I sincerely want to take care of them during the day.
Finish the sentence “If I knew then what I know now, I would...” have headed to Alaska sooner! I love being a fishing guide in Bristol Bay!
What is your favorite part of being a guide? Being on the water every day with people who appreciate the experience and the depth of the moments.
What is your specialty for guiding? What do you excel most at? I believe I excel most in taking care of people. I’m good at helping beginners and intermediate anglers to feel comfortable and open to direction and thus advancing their skills at a pace they are comfortable with.
Who is one of your most memorable guests and why? A guest named Alan who has become a father to me. We’ve fished many different places together and through our river talks he’s taught me so much about life, love and family. I’m a better person knowing him.
Where do you see your career headed within the next 5 years? I see Justin and me continuing to grow our brand and business and increasing our guest list to include hiring other guides helping us.
What else would you like us to know? The Naknek is a special place, it is important to treat these fish with the utmost care. Only experienced catch-and-release fishermen who can handle fish properly should attempt to go unguided. Hiring an expert guide not only helps ensure the longevity of these incredible fish, it also helps ensure your experience is everything you wanted.