About thirteen years ago we had a friend come to visit, she brought along with her a guy named Mike, who had always dreamed of Alaska and was thrilled to be here. While we were visiting, my phone rang and it was a satellite call from the lodge owner I guided for...he had had a guide quit and was in a bind. Mike had guided steelhead in Oregon, and to make a long story short Mike took the job and lived his dream for over a decade. He started as a fishing guide at the lodge and over the years guided for moose, caribou and brown bear as well as fishing. He guided out of Fishing Bear lodge in Wood-Tikchik park and was a great guy. Mike lived to fish, and when he wasn't in Alaska he was an avid steelheader in Oregon, fishing every chance he had. About a year and a half ago we got word mike had lost a battle with the "big C", and his time here had been the best in his life.
Mike had no family, his family was his friends and co-workers. On his passing his friends put his ashes in a number of small fish shaped envelopes and sent them to all the friends he had in places he had fished.
Mike sat on our table for a year, but today we took him for his last trip on Cook Inlet. We clipped his "fish" to a downrigger ball below our bait and flasher and lowered him off the bluffs on a beautiful winter day.
5 minutes later we hooked and landed the biggest fish to come over the rail on the Blackfish, a dime-bright white-fleshed 30 pound king.
Good job, Mike. We miss you.