“Fish guide wanted for an Alaskan fishing lodge. Must be under 200 pounds, expert fly fisherman, and know their way around a helicopter.”

That was the rumor going around the fly fishing community in Michigan in 2013. It just so happened Doc Ryan fit the weight limit, had fly fished with his Great Grandfather ever since he was 5 years old, and just completed Sweetwater, a guide school many of Talaheim’s fish guides have hailed from. And about the helicopter requirement? Well, Doc also served six years in the army as a medic in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where he often traveled in helicopters.

To say Doc was a shoe-in would be an understatement. He now leads Talaheim’s guide program, and we hope he does so for the next ten years.

Doc’s favorite part about guiding is the meaningful human interaction. “Since the trip lasts a week a long form conversation inevitably transpires. Some of our guests have saved their entire life for this trip, it’s pretty special to be part of that experience. There hasn’t been one Talaheim guest that I haven’t had a meaningful conversation with.”

In fact, Doc now calls many guests’ friends. He’s traveled and visited them on the off-season; they’ve become an extended part of his family.

When asked about why he continues to come back to Talaheim he credits the atmosphere. “We’re a very cohesive staff. We come from a variety of different places and have varying backgrounds, but together we just work. It’s rare to find the kind of staff retention Talaheim has. It speaks volumes.”



In Michigan. I’m a security professional by day, but on my off time I like golf. I play a lot. I also like to read. Mainly nonfiction about wilderness experiences, or history, or books that have a scientific edge to them. One of my favorites: Empire of the Summer Moon about the early Native Americans in the United States.
Doc was a name I was given in the service. I was a medic so that’s how I was branded and it just stuck. Not many people know my real name, so good luck getting it out of me.
The shore lunches – everyone had their own hillbilly trick. This one guy wrapped his salmon filet in tinfoil and doused it in Coca-Cola. It caramelized the fish and was delicious.