Our Story

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The Pearson Family

What happens when two young dreamers make their way North to the Future and meet in a small town Alaska tackle shop? A love story, a company, a family, and big plans for the future are born! We have been so blessed and are appreciative and grateful of the fact that we've had the helping hand of many wonderful Alaskan old-timers along the way. Many have since left this earth, but we thank them for all they have taught us, done for us, and been to us. We couldn't be here where we are today without those wonderful people.

Below you will find some photos and a timeline of the last decade or so of us living the dream. We know you have many choices when it comes to hiring a guide for the Kenai, so we'd like you to see where your hard earned dollars go! When you support our business, you support our family directly, and we thank you for that.

Howard Mulanax

Howard took us under his wing and got us started in the business. He was a generous and kind man. We think of him every day.

 

Terry "Chief" Hook

Chief had the biggest heart around! He gifted us an entire winter in his cabin as his wedding present to us. We miss his smile.

 

Ludwig "Babe" Osowiecki

Babe gave us our start with a place to put the shop. He was one of the most generous, hard working, and faithful people we've ever met.

 

Rev. Willie Johnson

We learned so much from our years spending Sundays at Willie's chapel- sourdough, how to take native sauna, love, faith. Here he is about to marry us.

 

Rookie Year

Here is John his first year guiding for Howard in 2001.

 

King

John and a Kasilof King Salmon, May 2002.

 

Guiding Shirtless

John guiding 2002, no shirt. Why doesn't he do that anymore? This is right around the time we met.

 

Tying the Knot

Here we are on our wedding day, tying the knot just hours after we tied the knot, August 4, 2003.

 

Dolly!

The start of our first AK winter, a November Dolly Varden caught with brother Adam.

 

Ta Dah!

Our wall tent shop is going up! Here's to the tent city of Nome, turn of the century.

 

Road Signs

Heather painting the first signs. We still have one on the shop today.

 

Home Sweet Tipi Home

John in the tipi we bought from Chief and our humble domicile for 3 summers. Simple livin'!

 

Fishing Date

John and Heather enjoying a day off together on the river, August 2004.

 

Baby Monica

This is probably Monica's 4th or 5th trip down the Kenai, July 2007.

 

Hello Fishy

Monica is not too sure about this meeting with Mr. Rainbow, summer 2009.

 

Billy's Big Boat

Monica, age 2, lands her first big rainbow with the help of our friends Billy & Dusty of AK Troutfitters. She called it "Billy's Big Boat" over & over.

 

Anniversary Hike

John packing Monica up Cecil Mountain for our 6th wedding anniversary, August 2009.

 

Tie Me Up! Tie Me UP!

John remembers Monica was a bit impatient on this trip for her rod to get tied up. Daddy, tie me up!!!

 

Winter Fun

Monica, Heather, and baby Cecilia in the belly, skiing out for a couple nights at the Barber Cabin on Lower Russian Lake, December 2011.

 

Little Ladies

Cecilia doesn't seem thrilled this day on the river, spring 2012.

 

Jon Boat

The ladies love ripping up the lake with their dad!

 

Doubles!

The little ladies were so excited that they had landed doubles, June 2014.

 

Family Portrait

A classic drift boat family photo, June 2014.

 

Thanksgiving Dinner

Here we are cooking our Thanksgiving turkey the old way, by fire & on the spit. Barber Cabin, November 2014.

 


John has been a fishing enthusiast since he was big enough to cast a rod. He grew up fly fishing the fine western mountain streams of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico & Wyoming for trout and hitting up some sturgeon fishing in Washington, as well as some good old pike fishing at a favorite family spot in South Dakota.
John started planning his trip to Alaska as part of his 5th grade class project. After graduating high school, he and his best friend Adam packed up a truck and hit the road. As soon as he crossed the bridge at Kenai Lake he felt the tug of the Kenai River on his soul and a feeling of home. Within a couple days, he had fished the river, made new friends, and landed a job guiding for a local outfit. The next summer, he met his bride-to-be while buying some tackle.

Heather grew up surf casting for stripers off the coast of Virginia and North Carolina and fly fishing in the tiny mountain streams of Western VA. She was raised in a boatyard, spending weekends with her dad and brother enjoying lightly supervised salty days messing about boats, piers, barges, machine shops, fishing, catching crabs, and climbing an old crane at her grandparents' home on Scott's Creek. The love of flowing waters and the sea grew in her heart from a very young age.
A crossroads in life presented itself after graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in Biology and having worked for the VT Stream Team supporting reasearch in stream ecology for a few years. Was it grad school or travel? Travel won and having read Michener's Alaska a couple years before while doing field work in Costa Rica, Heather was inspired to venture north for the destination! Serendipity provided a job in Cooper Landing selling tackle. It wasn't really a job in the field of stream ecology, but close enough!

John and Heather were married in the summer of 2003 by the wonderful Native Alaskan Rev. Willie Johnson in Cooper Landing, rest his soul. Kenai River Float-n-Fish was born the following winter and opened the door for business in 2004. 12 years later we are dreaming big dreams and looking forward to more adventurous years ahead!






2001

John arrives in Cooper Landing and is immediately hired to guide the Kenai by Howard Mulanax, owner of one of our town's orginal guide services, Cooper Landing Floating & Fishing Co.

2002

Heather graduates from Virginia Tech, takes a job at the Gwin's Lodge tackle shop in Cooper Landing.

2003

We tie the knot, celebrate a floating and fishing reception on the river, & spend our first winter in AK at Chief's "Kick Ass cabin" on Kenai Lake. The dream of Kenai River Float-n-Fish is born. A long winter of inspiration includes the study of how Nome was settled with wall tents, plenty of moose meat & whiskey, and a healthy dose of faith. The additional guidance and mentoring from Howard Mulanax is a big help also.

2004

Kenai River Float-n-Fish is founded February 2004. We rent a spot of land from legendary Babe Osowiecki and construct from bought, salvaged, and donated materials a wall tent office. Our life savings are combined and we acquire a shiny new Fish Rite drift boat. We also purchase one Sioux tipi from Chief, which we call home from May-October for the next 3 years to save some scratch. Winters are spent caretaking Howard's cabin.

2006

The family is about to grow! Howard recognizes that a tipi in AK is probably not ideal for raising a little one, so we start the process of buying his cabin.

2007

After a long winter Monica debuts in May. This is the first summer spent in a home with wood walls and roof.

2008

After saving all the pennies, we finally close the deal and become first-time homeowners.

2012

Welcome Cecilia, our little Valentine's Day gift!

2014

In a month's time, we celebrate Float-n-Fish's 10th anniversary, Cecilia's 2nd birthday, and mourn the passing of our beloved friend Howard. We are proud to carry on his legacy.

We realize we've long achieved our original 5 year plan and just finished our 10 year plan. A new dream is born and we start saving for a sailboat and planning for a family voyage.

2015

We put every extra penny in the sailing kitty, take an extended sailing trip on Ressurection bay out of Seward, and celebrate "tiny home living" by building ourselves a summer wall tent so that we can rent our home as a vacation rental.

We buy our starter yacht, "Olive", so that we may become better sailors, teach our children to sail, and get a big step closer to raising our children on a diet of saltwater, self-reliance, and world cultures.






It's nice to meet you!

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John Pearson

John is your enthusiastic and smiling guide! 2017 marks John's 17th year guiding clients on the Kenai River, right in his own backyard. You will appreciate his skill, intimate knowledge of the river and the area's history, ecology, and old-timer folklore, as well as his sense of humor and patience.

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Heather Pearson

Shuttle driver, reservation agent extrordinaire, housekeeper, master gardener, Coast Guard licensed captain, ordained minister, bookkeeper, webmaster, volunteer librarian, Mom. Heather wears many hats and chances are she can help you with what you need! Oh and of course she likes to fish, too.

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Monica Pearson

Born to fish, what else can we say? Monica has mastered the spinning rod, is getting dialed in on the dry fly, learning to be an oarswoman, and is absolutely loving every minute! She looks forward to seeing new faces in the van everyday and is happy to share with you what she is currently reading. Now booking trips with Monica for the 2035 fishing season.

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Cecilia Pearson

Cecilia is our littlest fisher lady. She has a wild heart and a deadly rod! She loves to give the fishies a nice, big kiss before she lets them go. She is both a summertime river fisher and ice fishing master, and is teaching us a thing or two every single day, whether we like it or not!