While working as an architect in the Minneapolis area, a career Scott held for 33 years before becoming a fishing guide, Scott Thorpe would rip out magazine articles about fishing lodges and store them in a manilla envelope he referred to as “Plan B.”

Scott had been fishing ever since he was a kid in the Lake Superior tributaries, but had never been a fishing guide, nor had he been to Alaska. So when it came time to retire and pursue Plan B, Scott enlisted in a guide school in Montana then opened his manilla envelope, and there was Talaheim’s Sporting Classics magazine article.

He sent resumes to seven Alaskan lodges and after talking to Mark, settled on Talaheim. “It just seemed like he had the best program,” Scott said. “But then again, I have no other reference. Talaheim is the only Alaskan lodge I’ve ever worked at. I never saw a reason to leave.”

For 12 years, Scott was the head fishing guide at Talaheim during the summers and in the winters, he’d guide guests in the Lake Superior tributaries. But today, Scott had moved onto Plan C: Still fishing, but now the main person I guide is my wife.

Scott does, however, return to Talaheim for hosted trips. “It’s a hard place to get away from,” Scott said. “I remember my first day there, I was driving the boat down river and I turn the bend and there was the Alaska Range. I looked to the left, and there stood the Beluga Mountains. I thought – holy smokes, this is some office!”

Scott’s favorite part about guiding is the people. “The service industry can be tough, but when it comes to fish guiding, you’re working with people who are on vacation. Over the last 12 years I’ve guided 80-90 clients per year– that’s over 1,000 clients– and there’s only a handful of people I didn’t enjoy. What other career can you say that about?”



I learned something interesting while guiding George, the Frenchman who came to Talaheim 8 times. He liked to tie on his own spinners, by the time he had picked one out and got it on, we’d been on the bank for 45 minutes. He’d then make one cast and bam! He’d wrestle with that for a good 20 minutes then take a nap. Then 45 minutes later he’d wake up and then take another 45 minutes to decide which hook he wanted this time. But on the first cast, he’d catch another. My lesson learned: you have to let the water rest. Give those salmon 45 minutes and they’ll forget their friend just got caught. But if you keep casting and casting, they’ll just lock right up.
After a good days fishing when Mark has just picked up the guests and I’m alone on the sandbar for 20 minutes, waiting for my ride back to Talaheim. There’s nothing like being alone in the wilderness. I never grew tired of it.
I think people appreciate that it’s a well oiled machine. The guides are professional, the pilots are first class, the fishing continues to excel year after year. It’s an expensive trip, but clients feel like they’re getting real value. They’re expectations are not only met, but exceeded. And I think that’s what makes Talaheim a success.
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