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I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin where I attended the University of Wisconsin. While still a youngster, I discovered fishing and hunting and other outside activities. These activities eventually led to undergraduate and graduate degrees with studies that focused on fish biology and ecology. After living and working in various parts of the country—from Montana to Maine, southern and northern California, Illinois and Utah—and getting married, too, I arrived in Alaska in 1980 to begin a job as a fishery biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. I retired after a career of more than 22 years.
Work related travel transported me to many interesting parts of Alaska, but hunting, fishing, camping and other recreational travel took me to other locations and experiences. Meanwhile, writing skills were developed.
Most of my writing has fallen into three categories. First, of course, was work related technical writing for professional reports. Next is letter writing. These letters just sort of happened, partly to share a particular experience or trip in Alaska and partly out of boredom. Many Alaska activities involve waiting. Alaskans routinely wait for tides and weather to change and we often need to wait for airplanes and boats to arrive or depart. Most people pass their waiting times by reading – usually, with a paperback. I often passed the time by writing a letter to describe that experience and share with relatives and friends and the letters were often copied and sent. Finally, I have written a column entitled FISH TALK for the monthly newsletter of the Alaska Fly Fishers. FISH TALK discusses various aspects of fish biology, ecology, and life histories in a nontechnical language.
So there you have it. My favorite topics to talk about are Alaska and fish. And, not surprisingly, these two topics became the topics for my two books. In fact, the first book, Letters from Alaska, The Inside to the Outside, subset of letters I have I have written over a period of nearly 30 years of travel, mostly in Alaska. Each chapter is one letter so each chapter is like a nonfiction short story that describes a particular Alaska experience in a particular time and location. Actually, each chapter includes a big dollop of Alaskana because in a second part of each chapter some small aspect from the letter is expanded and explained in great detail.
The FISH TALK articles provided the genesis and language for the book, Fishes of the Last Frontier, Life Histories, Biology, Ecology, and Management of Alaska Fishes. Thus, it includes detailed scientific information about Alaska’s fish . . . presented in nontechnical, common, everyday language.
I still live in Anchorage with my wife, Karel, where we raised our son and daughter.