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Over the years, we have received nothing but rave reviews about Painter Creek Lodge, way out on the Alaska Peninsula 100 miles south of King Salmon. And with good reason. The lodge is located on a rare parcel of private property surrounded by more than four million acres of federal wildlife refuge. The lodge’s home water is a 50- mile stream and river system that drains into Bristol Bay and supports a worldclass fishery. There is no other access to the system, making it, in essence, a private fishery. The vast majority of Painter Creek clients report never seeing another angler.
On the other side of the ledger, the lodge and its owner, Jon Kent, have had their share of adversity. First, there was a volcano back in 2005 that dumped millions of gallons of highly acidic water into Painter Creek, forcing a complete closure for a while. Then, in the winter of 2011, a bear broke into the facility during the off-season, causing so much damage that the doors had to be closed again in 2012. And it has pretty much remained that way ever since. All the while, for the last half dozen years, Kent has been trying to find a compatible and competent owner to buy Painter Creek and possibly keep him and his wife on for a while to ensure a smooth transition. If you are a Painter Creek client, you already know all this and have been fretting about it for a while. Well, you can stop worrying, Kent tells us in recent e-mail.
“Thought I’d bring you and your readers up to date on developments at Painter Creek. I’ve reached a tentative agreement with a new owner/operator for the lodge, and I have started taking bookings for this coming season that will run from mid-August through September, prime silver time. Next year (2015), we will be open through September, taking eight guests a week. Intermediate plans call for the addition of fly-outs to some great nearby destinations. I know there are a lot of Painter Creek fans among your readership who have been anxiously awaiting news of a resumption of service at Painter Creek. I’ve been in touch with a lot of them already. Our Web address is the same as always: www.paintercreeklodge.com. Clients who don’t know about the lodge can read up on us there. My direct email address is [email protected].
“I will be staying on at the lodge for a couple of years to help with the transition and to pass along what I know about the fishery and the facility. As you know, Painter Creek has had a great run the past 30 years, providing a quality angling experience for lots and lots of great guests. I’m confident that the new owner will carry on in the same spirit I did and provide the stewardship that this amazing resource deserves. Our fishery has remained essentially unchanged since we opened in 1983 and is still, in essence, a private river system for the enjoyment of our guests. Hard as it is to believe, I have never seen another angler on Painter Creek in 30 years, and very few on any of the waters we fly out to. That’s something that’s become rare indeed in Alaska or anywhere else. Painter Creek is a special spot, and I must say that for the two years we’ve been closed, I’ve had some spectacular fishing . . . all to myself.
“At any rate, that’s what’s happening at Painter Creek. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of old guests, and many more new ones. I’ll keep you posted.”