About the Rollmans
Trevor was born with a cork-line in his hand. In June of 1977 when he was only a week old, he rode on his mom's lap in the family's 4x4 pick-up fifteen miles up the bumpy beach to the fish site. Another summer of hard work set-netting for salmon was ahead of them. Growing up on the beach and learning the trade with his family developed a deep love of the commercial fishing lifestyle that has kept him coming back to the fish site every summer since.
Forty years after that first trip up the beach, Trevor and his own young family started Rollman Family Salmon - but the story and tradition of commercial fishing in the Rollman family begins further back.
It was the summer of 1969 when Bonnie and Tom hit the Alaska Highway with Tom Jr. in the back seat in an apple crate and sister Suzy on the way. Dad had been promised a teaching job in Anchorage if they could get just get there - over 2000 miles of dust and bumps. Arriving with only coins in their pockets, one of their first meals was a chum salmon given to them by a generous angler at Bird Creek. Little did they know the significant role salmon was soon to play in their lives.
After that first winter teaching, Dad jumped at the opportunity to buy a fish site, sight-unseen. The living conditions were tough for Mom and the kids, and Dad soon learned that the sites he bought left a lot to be desired, but he and my uncle learned how to fish that summer from the "school-of-hard-knocks" and Mom kept the home-fires burning. When the season ended and a much more desirable neighboring fish site came up for sale they scrambled to scrape together the resources and made the purchase: A beautiful piece of oceanfront land with a simple cabin at the mouth of Seven Egg Creek. Fishing summers and teaching winters would become a family tradition and pattern of life for decades to follow.
Through the '70s and '80s, every summer Mom and Dad raised us kids on the beach, teaching us to pick fish, drive old trucks and steer tiller-handled outboards on wooden skiffs. While learning how to harvest food for the planet, we also learned how to grow vegetables, cut firewood and hunt moose. We hauled drinking water from the creek, baked bread in a wood cook-stove and used kerosene lamps for light. I cherished growing up in "the bush", close to the land and water. I knew that one day, when I had a family, I wanted to raise my kids on that same land where they could learn the same values of hard work, resourcefulness and self-responsibility I had.
Salmon paid for my first pick-up when I was sixteen and put me and my siblings through college. Every spring my brothers and I returned to Alaska, joining our dad to harvest the provision of the ocean that would help us through the winters. As each of us married and began families of our own we each branched into our own fishing ventures, and fishing continued to provide.
In later years, while my brothers successfully diversified their fishing interests in Bristol Bay, Adria and I focused our summer efforts at the original Cook Inlet fish site at Seven Egg Creek, and in 2017 we began Rollman Family Salmon.
Direct marketing our catch had always been a dream, but now the move to add value to our catch had become somewhat of a necessity -- I was quitting my teaching job, we were selling our house in Wasilla and moving to the fish site to stay for the winter!
We weren't sure how starting a new business would go, but not long after posting flyers around town and starting a Facebook page, orders started coming in. A few weeks later we were making our first trip to the Friday Fling to meet up with our new customers! The inaugural season would be a success and supported us nicely through our winter off-the-grid.
Since then every winter has looked different for our family, but in keeping with the age-old pattern, summers at the fish site remain our anchor and the sole means of God's provision in our lives.
Each new year we look forward to spring and enjoying our summer life together as a family in the bush, setting the nets and harvesting the bounty. We look forward to our customers' friendly familiar faces and filling their coolers with fish at the Friday Fling. We look forward to booking freight flights for our salmon to land in places like Minneapolis and Boston. We look forward to the simplicity of steering tiller handles and driving pick-up trucks on the beach, and picking each fish with care, knowing it will be deeply appreciated by another family, like ours.
Thanks for being a part of our story!