Every business is defined by the people involved. A lodge is a universe unto itself, the individual personalities, strengths and weaknesses will define the entire experience. Many lodges are “managed” by someone other than the owner. While this can work, it often results in a lodge lacking in personality and attention to detail. No See Um Lodge is owned and operated by the Holman family; John and Kari. They not only oversee all aspects of the business but also are actively involved in a way very few owners are not. John is one of our daily pilots and guides who provides an experience beyond that of the typical owner. Kari oversees all domestic operations and personally shops for our kitchen. Our hands-on approach ensures that every guest receives the world class trip we are famous for providing.
Fishing guides are a critical element in any fly fishing lodge because they spend the most time with our guests and in the end, can make the difference between a good trip and an exceptional trip. All our guides are highly experienced, professional fishing guides. Most return to us year after year and guide in other areas during the off-season. Professional guiding isn’t only about catching fish, it’s about being a great guide. A guide that knows how to read people and can adjust his approach based on experience and personal preference. Many anglers desire a full time, one-on-one approach, while others like to be left alone. The choice is yours. We have over 30 different rivers, creeks and streams in our fishing area. It takes years to learn each of them because they are constantly changing throughout the season. We have found that it’s experience that makes the difference between fishing and catching.
The saying goes “there’s old bush pilots and there’s bold bush pilots-but no old, bold bush pilots.” Alaskan bush pilots are definitely a different breed. The lodge beaver pilot is commander of his vessel, no copilot to help make decisions, it’s all on him. It takes skill, impeccable judgment and unwavering resoluteness in dealing with Alaska’s unforgiving weather. A great bush pilot quickly identifies weaknesses or danger, thoroughly thinks through options and chooses the safest one. He’s always watching the wind and sky, waves and currents. He’s part pilot, sailor, meteorologist and entertainer. After all, this is all about having fun and relaxing.
No See Um Lodge pilots are also fishing guides. This is a very special breed of bush pilot as he not only has the previously mentioned qualities but needs the skill and temperament to guide. This combination of skills and talents is very hard to find and typically takes many years and thousands of hours to learn. All our pilots are commercially licensed, instrument rated and highly experienced.
At No See Um we take our food seriously. While fishing is always the primary reason for coming, the food is critical to happy, return clientele. Our chef must have a wealth of training and experience as he’s expected to plan, order, prepare and serve gourmet meals consistently, doing so 300 miles from the grocery store. Our guests are used to a high standard and we continually strive to do even better. Homemade breads and rolls, custom dessert creations, Alaskan favorites such as King crab and salmon-Our chef is a master at them all!
In 2016 we are excited to welcome a new chef to our team, Chef Shawn Martin. From private chef to Michelin star restaurants Chef Shawn’s career spans 20+ years. He started his cooking while in college while attending Colorado State University. After graduation with a B.A in Journalism he chose to pursue cooking instead of writing. Moving to Reno Nevada he went to work for the El Dorado Hotel and Casino in order to get his first real cooking education. Five years later, opportunity came knocking from the direction of Alaska and he made his first journey there. After a summer he went back to the main stream for 15 years where he lent his skills to Majors Hotels as the Renaissance, Four Season, and J.W. Marriot, culminating in an Exec Chef position with Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants Chicago. He has also handled events for Major League Baseball, the Clinton’s and the PGA Tour. Shawn now splits his time between Alaska for work & Washington for home. With an occasional venture to the Bering Sea and culinary travels around the globe he continues to learn new and exciting techniques to bring to the lodges to better food each season.