Steve Toth, a retired municipal worker who has lived for four years in Kenai, ties a fly at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center's Saturday market last week. Toth said the simple flies he makes work for most of the fish in the Kenai River.
Photo by John Hult
Name: Steve Toth
Occupation: Retired service manager, now a wood carver and flytyer (vendor at Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center each Saturday)
Employed this way since: 2002
“I tie (flies) for my friends, but if people want to buy them, I sell them. I also use them on my clocks.”
Alaskan since: 2002
Arrived from: Clinton Township, Mich. “I’ve been coming up fishing for about 18 years. My wife and I both like the weather up here. We were from Michigan and there’s just too much heat and humidity down there. I like the country, too, and the fishing can be great. I just like fishing anywhere. You’re not gonna catch fish every time you go. That’s where that old saying comes from they don’t call it catching, they call it fishing.”
How much time do you spend carving these fish? “Right now, not much, because I’ve got a decent enough stock. The week before last I made 11 or 12 and it took me a couple of days”
Do you exhibit in other places? “Not really. We used to do the high school during Thanksgiving, and I would work at a friend’s shop (Johnny T’s Alaskan Carvings) in Kenai Landing last year. I worked the shop while he did chain saw carving during the week”
What are the challenges of your work? “Trying to make something that people want.”
Is that kind of a crap shoot? “Well, you never know. In other words, I don’t do it because I’m gonna make a living at it. I’m actually trying to make something the visitors can take back from Alaska that’s reasonably priced.”
What’s the most interesting part of your job? “What I enjoy the most is just the people coming in. That’s one of the reasons I tie flies here, because it gets people into the booth. You get people from all over the world here.”
Do they ever give you fly-tying advice? “No. I’ll show people if they want to know. My flies are fairly simple. They’ll work for rainbows, they’ll work for kings, they’ll work for ... well, reds, it doesn’t make much difference, they don’t hit much of anything anyways.”
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