The Book of History on Alma’s Lodge
“A fly fishing tale” tells the story of how Alma Kunz began guiding fly fishing trips in 1920 and built what is now known as Teton Valley Lodge in 1938. The lodge has and always will be a fly fishing camp. It has been a place to come and get away from the tribulations and toils of the world.
As you float down the majestic rivers in southeastern Idaho, watch the wildlife and attempt to catch and release the noble trout, your cares – if only for a moment – will drift away. Alma was a simple man with simple need. His life was filled with joy because of his family, his religion, his clients and his passion for fishing.
Guide, Steward, and Author John Pehrson
John Pehrson guided for Alma Kunz beginning in 1961. He owned and operated the lodge with his partner Randy Berry from 1973 to 2003. Since 2003 it has been owned and operated by the Berry family.
John learned early on that no matter who owns Alma’s lodge, and no matter by what name it is known, it will always be Alma’s Lodge. The owners of the lodge are only stewards of the lodge on behalf of Alma Kunz. John hopes you will enjoy this history of Alma’s Lodge and the legacy that it has left to all of us who enjoy casting a fly.
Now available for purchase in black and white or in beautiful color on Amazon. Find the book here.
An Interview with author, John Pherson
One of our team members, Daryl Butterfield interviewed John about his book. The below is Daryl’s account of that meeting.
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with John about his book and the adventures that inspired him to write it. Through that conversation, I found that this was one of those stories that had it all, great history of legends in the fly fishing industry, friendships that lasted a lifetime along with the tragedies that accompany life in love and business. Life happens, things begin, end, and begin again. There are things that remain a constant in this story, the legacy of Alma’s Lodge and the love of fly fishing that has brought thousands of people together for over a hundred years and continues to do so.
Take the time to read this book and you will get a feeling of how it was and still is to be part of that legacy. The following conversation cannot even begin to explain the story of “A Fly Fishing Tale” only John’s words can bring it them to life.
John felt he was the only person who could write this book and had an obligation to tell this story. It’s a story of the outdoors, fly fishing, love and friendships, loss and faith, tradition and hope.
It started for him when his father George became friends with Alma Kunz in the 30’s. Alma had been guiding fishing trips in the area since 1920. By 1938 Alma constructed the first building on the property of what is now Teton Valley Lodge.
John’s father taught him to fish at a very young age and he absolutely fell in love with it. Every summer John’s dad would be at the lodge fishing with Alma and it seemed very alluring to him. He wanted to go on these fishing trips so bad and after a lot of kicking and screaming eventually has was able to take part. It was the biggest thrill for him to be part of them. John began to fly fish early on and from there nothing held his interest like it.
George got Alma to agree to have John come up for a summer to work and that’s when it really all began for him.
He was 12 years old his first year working at the Lodge. That’s when he met and quickly became friends with Randy Berry. Randy had already been a guide at the lodge for a few years. Those summers were spent guiding, fly fishing, tying flys and learning from Alma integrity, responsibility and patience.
A few years had past and Randy had joined the Navy. One summer while on leave John introduce Randy to Alma’s grand daughter Sandy and they fell in love. During that time John had become a head guide and continued in the tradition of Alma Kunz. During this time Alma fell to illness and passed away in 66.
After the loss of Alma, John was summoned to Norway on a church mission for two and a half years. While John was in Norway and Randy in Vietnam they always corresponded and talked of the dream of going into the fishing business together.
Soon after Randy returned from the Navy he married Sandy. John returned from Norway and shortly after married his love Christy and they’ve been married now for 45 years.
During those years Alma’s son Lyle and business partner Ted Hardy owned the lodge which at that time was called Teton River Lodge.
John and Randy persued their dream by starting their guiding business.
By the early 70’s their business was expanding and for a little while they partnered up with Teton River Lodge to host their clients.
Eventually the two of them had an opportunity to buy the lodge from Ted at which point (July 15, 1973) John and Randy took over and opened Teton Valley Lodge and continued their part of the legacy of Alma Kunz.
As word got out the place filled up. Every night after fishing people would sit down around these long tables eating great meals and sharing stories of the days fishing. A tradition that continues until this day.
They built up the business at the lodge to what it is today where clients are treated like family and many have been coming for generations.
Randy has passed away and John has since sold his portion of the lodge to Randy’s sons in the early part of the 2000’s. Now Brian Berry and his family operate the lodge and have continued in the tradition that has been Alma’s Lodge.
Read the full story of Alma’s Teton Valley Lodge in John’s book, available now.
– By Daryl Butterfield