The Life of a Susitna Fishing Guide: The Adam Cuthriel Story

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Adam Cuthriell, owner and fishing guide at FishHound Expeditions, leads a sport fishing team that operates on the Susitna River. Cuthriel has been a guide since she was 20 years old.

To be honest, as cool or cliché as it sounds, doing this job has been my dream since I was 14 years old. My buddies and I started fishing in our early teens and got into it and saw all the Alaska fishing videos. And we were always talking like, “Ah, it would be so cool to go out there and start a guiding service and fish in Alaska and fly in planes and helicopters.

He earned a degree in outdoor education and leadership from Colorado Mountain College, where he is from.

I had a great guiding job there, but I had always dreamed of Alaska. And when I was 30, I was like, “Man, if I don’t do this now, I probably never will.”

He came here with friends and never left.

I like to joke around with my friends, it’s like Colorado on steroids. Everything is bigger, everything is wilder.

Fishhound runs private day trips here in the Mat-Su Valley on the Parks Highway river system. They also conduct multi-day expedition trips, which can be as short as two days, one night or as long as ten days and nine nights.

When we started it was me and a boat, and now I have ten guides, 17 boats and four locations.

Cuthriel is still in awe of the Alaskan wilderness.

Each time, just the deeper appreciation I have for these wild places. I mean these are dream trips for most of our customers. You know, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And I can do it for my job. And just to see those wild places and those big fish and wild animals, but to experience with our guests that awe of being able to be a part of that and to see that experience in people.

He says he never tires of being where no one else is, surrounded by crystal clear water and an abundance of fish. His business is to show customers how much FishHound cares about ethical fishing, river conservation and the environment.

And the cool thing about fishing, fly fishing, is that it’s a blood sport. It’s what we use to feed ourselves. But with modern technology and proper handling, you can catch these fish and experience them again and again and again and again.

Cuthriell appreciates the dynamism of Alaska’s rivers – how they freeze, thaw and change with each season. He explains that it’s a nice contrast to the rivers in Colorado, which are mostly tailwaters or rivers controlled by the flow of dams.

He has a special appreciation for the drainage of the Susitna River.

Such a unique river drainage, found few other places in the world, it really needs to be cared for and enjoyed.

There’s also a monetary value to protecting the rivers we recreate on, Cuthriell says. Fishing tourism generates millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs for the Mat-Su Valley.

Cuthriell thinks if everyone went out and experienced a FishHound expedition, more people would be willing to fight for the river.

For KTNA, I’m Nell Salzman.

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