Living the life that you love does not shield you from loss. Fishing the remote waters of Alaska’s Alagnak River is a dream job for Russel Owen, but that dream has come at a cost. The life of a guide is not a normal life, but what he has learned from fishing has shaped him into the man he has become.
For Owen and other guides, their job as a guide is to give the fishing trip that people want. This means that they have to be knowledgeable and aware to deliver an experience for all of the people that come to take the trip. This doesn’t come without long hours and days logged. Russel Owen has been guiding on the river since he was a teenager.
For many people, the trip on the river is a one time spectacle. It is truly something to be excited about and enamoured by, but for fishing guides, this trip is just another Tuesday. Fishing and river guides understand that for a trip to be successful and exciting, they have to understand the river and its currents and its fish. Understanding the river is paramount for having a good trip.
“Missing a day here is like missing a week or month somewhere else”. So Owens understands how much planning and work goes into making somebody else’s experience breath taking. The job has not come without hardship though.
Much of what Owens now knows came from trial and error over the plus decade that he has been giving tours on the river. According to Owen, this job is taxing on your everyday life and relationships. It requires you to be absent from home and people for long periods of time, and often times relationships cannot survive the strain. In some cases it leads to separations and divorce.
Through it all though, there are rewards. For Russel, and guides like him, there is no such thing as a normal job. It’s suffocating to even consider and think about. Miserable. And even still, there is nothing like seeing the look on one’s face when the trip is over. That is the greatest reward of all.