Retired Fairbanks Police Chief Dan Hoffman had toyed with the idea of writing a memoir about fly-fishing for years, but it took hunkering down in the pandemic to finally set him into action.
Hoffman’s first book, “An Alaska Flyfisher’s Odyssey: Seeking a Life of Drag-Free Drift in the Land of the Midnight Sun,” is set to be released Aug. 1. Set against the backdrop of a life spent in the latitudes of the Far North, the memoir follows Hoffman’s journey in search of Arctic grayling, rainbow trout and the ultimate truths of life.
Hoffman’s pursuit of a life of drag-free drift borrows from a well-known concept in fly-fishing, “where one’s line is mended as necessary to facilitate a fly’s natural flow with the current, free from external and manipulative forces,” Farcounty Press wrote in a release touting Hoffman’s book.
Hoffman said the phrase is something all fly-fishermen can relate to.
“When you fly-fish, you’re always making adjustments to flow with the natural drift of the river,” he said. He added that the phrase is an “analogy with life, whatever the case may be, we often have to make these small adjustments.”
Hoffman, who has lived in Fairbanks for over 40 years, first came to the area in the summers to build trails for the Youth Conservation Corps. He studied wildlife biology at the University of Alaska and was eventually hired by the Fairbanks Police Department, where he served the city of Fairbanks as an officer and chief of police for 20 years.
During his tenure as chief, Hoffman was appointed by Gov. Frank Murkowski to chair the Alaska Police Standards Council and was subsequently reappointed by Gov. Sarah Palin before he retired in 2009.
Despite the many diverse roles he’s taken, Hoffman said that he’s “always been a fly-fisherman.”
As a boy, Hoffman learned to bait fish in the streams of the Colorado Rockies under the tutelage of his parents. Like many fishermen who learned to fish at the hands of their parents, Hoffman expresses gratitude for the lifelong lessons they taught him. At the age of 12, his family moved to Alaska where he continued to pursue his passion for the outdoors.
Today, Hoffman enjoys fishing around the Kenai Peninsula and seeks out lesser known spots in the Interior. Hoffman said it was difficult to determine how much detail he wanted to include in the memoir.
“You want to share stuff about spots but by the same token it opens it up too much,” he said.
Hoffman said that he chose to use general terms to describe his favorite local fish spots in the memoir.
In addition to the unique perspective that Hoffman brings, he decided early on that the memoir would be a philanthropic endeavor. Hoffman has committed to donating 50% of all profits from the sale of the book to Trout Unlimited in support of their Alaska operations.
Contact reporter Liv Clifford at 459-7582. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMcrime.