Michael Bales, Head Guide
US Coast Guard Licensed Captain Michael Bales has fished and guided waters all over the world, including Europe, Georgia and the Rocky Mountain West. The native Floridian has been a professional fly-fishing guide for years, guiding for Halibut, Steelhead, World-Class Rainbow Trout, and all five species of Pacific Salmon. He’s an expert at operating jet boats, float rafts, drift boats and more. Mike divides his time between Alaska Rainbow Lodge during the summer, and HotFish Charters – his Florida guiding service – during the winter.
Captain Mike is also a member of Florida’s Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), the Florida Guides Association (FGA) and the Merritt Island Wildlife Association.
Nigel Barrow started his guiding career in 1974, when he left his home country of England and journeyed to Campbell River, British Columbia; the home of Roderick Haig Brown. He spent his summer there and wintered in New Zealand working on big game fishing boats in the Bay of Islands. In 1986, he migrated to the US to skipper an expedition yacht that would take his fishing travels from Mexico to Alaska and beyond.
Nigel has been working with Alaska Rainbow Lodge for the last eight years. He spends his early winters back in the UK, working with game bird shooting, and his late winters in warmer climes like Panama, guiding light tackle and fly inshore. His experience in the fishing charter and guiding world is too extensive to list, so we’ll leave it at that!
Jose Marti grew up in California and earned a degree in fisheries biology from Humboldt State University. After graduating, he worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service as an observer on commercial fishing vessels fishing out of the Bering Sea of Alaska. In 1996, Jose visited Chile, and by 1997 he was fulfilling his life’s passion as a guide in southern Patagonia, while during the summer months he returned to the US to work as a fisheries biologist in the Bering Sea of Alaska.
In 2008, Jose came to the Bristol Bay region of Alaska to work at Alaska Rainbow Lodge. He now teaches fly-fishing and guides fly-fishing trips year-round.
Mike Dragon has seven years of guiding experience, beginning with four years in his home state of Ohio and followed by three years here in Alaska. He joined Alaska Rainbow Lodge in 2011.
The quintessential angler, devoted to improving his own skills both as teacher and fly-fisherman, Mike lives in an endless summer, spending June through September guiding in Alaska, then crossing the equator to fish in the Chilean summer the rest of the year. After years watching these rivers, Mike reads the water like a book, and has the uncanny ability to see fish where others cannot.
For Tim VanGessel, guiding is a lifestyle; not a job. Born in western Michigan, Tim grew up chasing Steelhead and Salmon on the Grand River. He soon dedicated his life to feeding his fishing addiction and his passion for guiding.
After a couple of years in Montana, Tim returned to Michigan to live on the Muskegon River, where he’s had a guide service for the past 14 years. Tim has spent his last six summers guiding in Alaska. In the winter months, you can find him chasing Tarpon, Bonefish and Permit in the Florida Keys from Big Pine to Key West.
Ian Meader joined Alaska Rainbow Lodge in 2010, bringing six years of Colorado guiding experience and more than 2,500 miles on his hard boat and framed rafts. An expert in wading as well as float trips, Ian has helped improve the skills of clients at every level, from seasoned anglers to those picking up a fly rod for the first time.
Ian holds a captain’s license and is a Fly Fishing Federation certified instructor. Guiding in Alaska was a personal goal of his – now that he’s here, his goal is to teach someone else how to enjoy this beautiful sport every day.
Born and raised in Montana, Caleb Lockyer started his fly-fishing endeavors on the famous waters of southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho. He has lived and fished in many western states, and recently graduated from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado with a degree in environmental studies.
During the winter months, Caleb spends as much time as he can stealheading on all the great rivers near his home in Bend, Oregon, while during the summer, he embraces the guide lifestyle on the Kvichak River at Alaska Rainbow Lodge.
Northwest Minnesota native Anthony Bacon cut his teeth as a guide at Brooks Lodge in Alaska, and two years ago joined Alaska Rainbow Lodge. Anthony’s favorite rivers in the region are Brooks River for its gorgeous falls, and Margot Creek for its seclusion and wildlife. His favorite fish to pursue in Alaska are Alaska’s huge Wild Rainbow Trout – for their mean attitudes. He loves a fish he has to fight.
When he’s not guiding in Alaska, Anthony returns home to Minnesota to work on his gunsmithing apprenticeship. He also spends a lot of time hunting, shooting and ice fishing.
Born in the north of Chile, Juan Lange has been fly fishing for 24 years and guiding for 18 years in the Chilean Patagonia. When he’s not fishing with us at Alaska Rainbow Lodge, Juan guides with Felipe Carrasco for Black Trout Outfitters in Chile.
Juan is everything you want in a guide. His decades of experience make him a sight-fishing expert, his hotel management degree makes him an intuitive host, and his talent with photography ensures his guests go home with the best fish pictures. He has managed two famous lodges, and even developed logistics for King Salmon fishing on the Rio Puelo. An instrument pilot in Chile, Juan is also pursuing a commercial pilot’s license.