Mike grew up in Montana hunting and fishing with his family. The Wyoming oil fields called him when he was 19 so he moved and began his oil field career. In 1983, the price of oil dropped, big time, and he moved to Alaska to be close to family, who had moved up a few years previous. Early 1984 found him in another oilfield job on the Kenai Peninsula in the Swanson River Field. In 1992, an opportunity to go to the North Slope of Alaska to work in the Kuparuk Oilfield. During his slope off time Mike joined the Kuparuk Fire Department receiving his State of Alaska Firefighter 1, Firefighter 2, Company Officer, and Safety Officer certifications. He was also on the Rescue Team being trained for high angle and confined space rescue, certified by ROCO Rescue. And he was also an EMT 1 volunteering on the Medical Team, as well.
Mike and one of his brothers bought a small river boat and began fishing the Kenai River at every opportunity, catching king salmon most every time out. Mike also bought a little bit bigger boat that would go on both the saltwater and still be Kenai River “legal”. With that versatile boat he was able to hone his skills on the saltwater. Mike now owns his own ocean boat that he uses at every opportunity, that is, when he’s not helping Dan with deck handing and all around utility chores.
Dan and Mike met in January of 2019 when Dan’s son and Mike’s stepson were playing basketball on the same team. In March of that year, Dan invited Mike to go out on the BlackJack for a fun run. Dan was telling Mike about his new boat being built and that he was going to run overnight trips. Mike immediately booked on the GameChanger’s first overnight journey. The trip was fun as Mike’s experience became a big help to a couple of young deck hands that Dan had at the time. Dan remembered those abilities when his steady deck hands, Daniel and Nate both had winter time work to go to. Dan asked Mike to deck hand for him, in late October 2019, for a Construction Convention Charter. 10 guys trolling for winter King Salmon. From then on, Mike has deck handed for Dan during the winter months and even a few occasions during the summer.
Mike now has his captain’s license through the US Coast Guard, has studied at the the Kenai River Guide Academy, and will run Kenai River trips from the lodge.