There is no man alive more "fishier" than Heath Lyon.
As their last, affirmed goal salmon swim as hard as they can to the rivers of Bristol Bay each hoping to meet the man, the legend... Heath Lyon.
He is an extraordinary fisherman, coach and father, and an example for the community.
What he is not, is a man of many words.
He has been fishing in Bristol Bay since 1991 and has learned every turn, every rock, every cut bank of every stream, making sure it has not changed and he can still catch old “Joe” that has been there the last ten years. If Joe has left, he hunts him down. Some call him the fish whisperer, we just call him the best.
Nanci Morris Lyon
Nanci has been guiding sport fisherman in Alaska since her early 20s. It was fish that brought Nanci up north, but it was the small town feel of King Salmon and the Naknek River that held her here.
Nanci and her husband, Heath Lyon, are the owners and operators of Bear Trail Lodge. You will often see their daughter, Rylie, in and out of the lodge between her academic studies.
It is the rich sense of purpose, keeping the fishing sustainable and enjoyable for families, that sets Bear Trail Lodge apart.
Families are not only welcome but encouraged to come.
After years of learning from the Bristol Bay environment and its people, Nanci passes her knowledge on to future generations and is the lead instructor and one of the original founders of the Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy.
She seeks to hire local Alaskans whenever possible and provide each guest with a glimpse into her wild Alaskan life.
Rylie is one of our younger guides who has been working for us as a successful fly out guide for the past two years. She has completed the Bristol bay guide academy and has now acquired her Coast Guard license an endorsement that allows her to run a boat on the Bristol Bay waters.
Rylie was born and raised right here in Bristol Bay. She graduated in 2017 from Bristol Bay High School as the class valedictorian.
Having been born and raised by two fishing addicts in Bristol Bay she has a wide knowledge of the areas and its waters. Rylie currently is going to college in Washington where she is studying for a business degree, while playing basketball for her school, who recently brought home the 2017-2018 Northwest Athletic Conference championship.
Heidi was born in Williams Lake, Canada and moved to the United States as a child.
She spent her youth fishing all along the rivers of America’s northwest.
When Heidi was 18 she joined the United States Air Force (USAF). The USAF is what ultimately brought Heidi to Alaska after being stationed in the Middle East.
During her career, she served with some of the most remarkable men and women that our nation has the privilege to call the United States military. However, she was thrilled to trade sand for streams.
Heidi’s guiding season is from May until October in Bristol Bay, Alaska. In the winter time, she lives in Wasilla, Alaska with her family.
Her winter months are filled with running “Wild on the Fly,” a custom fly rod studio which builds functional, hand crafted fly rods for avid anglers.
Additionally, Heidi is on the board of many philanthropic and socially responsible endeavors striving to enrich her community.
Heidi works with her local Trout Unlimited chapter on legislation for environmental projects to keep the waters clean for generations to come.
Reuben is from New Stuyahok, which is on the Nushagak River in southwest Alaska. He's been fishing that and the Mulchatna River most of his life.
He caught his first rainbow trout when he was three with the aid of his father, Randal, off the beach in New Stuyahok and was hooked ever since. His dad also is a fishing guide and has been perfecting his craft of chasing kings and silvers on the Nushagak for 25 years, sharing his knowledge with his son along the way.
Reuben has been running his own boat on these rivers and many of their tributaries since he was 12 years old, chasing both fish and game.
He grew up, and still practices, living a subsistence way of life, which is very important to him. Reuben commercial fished in Nushagak Bay for sockeye salmon during jr. high and high school, and after completing high school, attended Washington State University for two years before transferring back to Alaska to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
After completing the first two Bristol Bay Fly Fishing Guide and River Academies instructed by Nanci Morris Lyon and being told by Nanci he had a job working for her if he wanted, he decided to give it a try.
He's been working for Nanci at Bear Trail Lodge since 2011 and feels the lodge is like an extended family.
Reuben says, “Working for Nanci has been a blessed experience, and I believe that I am a better fisherman and guide than I ever could have been on my own. I respect everything that she does for us at the lodge.”
Kvichak (Kwi-jack) is a lifelong resident of Naknek, Alaska. His family dates back several generations in the Bristol Bay region.
Kvichak’s childhood was spent along the river beds of Bristol Bay.
The Aspelund family is renown throughout Alaska for their cultural background and continued support of the responsible growth of the Last Frontier. They are active members of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation and strive to bring a balance of educational opportunity and preservation for our lands to those who live in and those who visit Alaska.
In 2013, Kvichak graduated from the Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy, taking his natural aptitude and turning it into a skill he can share with others. The academy is hosted by the industry’s top leading professionals to provide the skill set necessary to become a world-class guide.
Unique to this particular school is that it enhances the knowledge of those participants who have already spent 16-20 years living in the wildness of Alaska.
Tim Helvey, a U.S. Air Force veteran, has been guiding in Alaska for more than 20 years.
Originally from Forks, Washington, he came to Alaska for the first time on a fishing adventure with his dad. Want to guess where he fished? That’s right—Bear Trail Lodge! Tim fell in love with the fishing, the community and his future wife, and he’s been “hooked” ever since.
After teaching and coaching careers in Bristol Bay, Ninilchik and Anchorage, Tim now resides full time in Eagle River, Alaska, where he is the principal at Eagle River High School. He continues to be an active community member, spending countless hours (and days, and weeks and months) developing and assisting youth education and sport programs.
When he’s not fishing or at the school, he enjoys hunting, brewing his own beer and hanging out with his two young boys. If you like hunting stories, ask him about his recent bison kill or the first moose he got with his bow. If you don’t like hunting stories…do NOT bring this up. You’ve been warned.
Josh grew up in Western Oklahoma chasing bass and crappie. When he was 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and spent 11 years there, which led him to Alaska.
During his time off, Josh cut his teeth on Alaska fishing in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. After fishing in that majestic area, Josh wanted to give back so he started guiding. Josh’s passion is showing people new places to fish and revealing to them the intricacies that can only be found in the frontier country of Alaska. Josh is also an accomplished fly tier and spends some of his spare time developing new flies. He really enjoys tying flies and can often be found at the bench, putting another new fly together for a guest.
Josh spends his time in the winter as a Washington State Air National Guardsman lives in Wasilla Alaska and spends time with his wife Carrie and their two Labradors, Wallace and Artemis.