TU Business Spotlight: Crystal Creek Lodge

There are a lot of great things about working for Trout Unlimited. There are even more great things about working with TU Business members. But the best part is the people you get to know. The people who support conservation, the ones who go the extra mile in everything they do—they’re the ones who make a difference. Take Dan Michels, for example.

Dan is an owner, manager, chief bottle washer, poet, philosopher, humorist (bad) and visionary at Crystal Creek Lodge in King Salmon, Alaska. He oversees operations, hosts, flies one of the aircraft, and guides at the lodge, too. Dan is originally from Minnesota, where he lived the outdoor life from a young age and obtained his college degree from the University of Minnesota. He helped build the original Crystal Creek Lodge in 1988 and at that time began guiding in the Bristol Bay Area of western Alaska. Dan says: “What originally began as a summer adventure has become a life’s work.”

That life’s work is focused around giving people the experience of a lifetime fishing for salmon, arctic char and rainbow trout in one of the wildest places on earth. It’s about great people, great fishing and world-class accommodations. But it’s also about doing the right thing. It’s about a conservation ethic, the desire to perpetuate a legacy of clean water and wild fish in the Bristol Bay area. Crystal Creek Lodge, with Dan and co-owners Alex and Heather Oberholtzer, has been a tremendous supporter for our work there.

They’re proud of that work, and it shows. They go out of their way to engage their guests in that work because they know it’s important. It’s big stuff. But it isn’t just the big things they do. It’s the little things, too. Dan and I have been involved in a program, along with Orvis and Costa, to help guides give up single-serving bottled water to reduce the amount of plastic we use. They now have a sign at the lodge that invites guests to use reusable water bottles and fill them from the well at the lodge. That’s commitment. That’s attention to the details and the small things that make a big difference. That’s Crystal Creek Lodge. And that’s why we’re proud to have them as part of the TU Team.

Crystal Creek Lodge

Dan Michels

King Salmon, AK 99613

(907) 357-3153


By Walt Gasson.