The Bait Shack at Ship Creek was founded in 2011 by U.S. Army veteran Dustin Slinker. A Bronze Star awardee and Purple Heart recipient, Dustin served as an Airborne Scout from 1998-2011.

An avid fisherman and outdoorsman, Dustin fell in love with Alaska when he was stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in 2006.  

Between combat tours and his military training schedule, Dustin’s favorite escape was fishing the banks of Ship Creek. Only 10 minutes from his home in Anchorage, Dustin could conveniently dash to the creek at 6am, catch a king salmon, and make it home before most people in Anchorage had poured their first coffee.

Dustin grew up fishing in Indiana, casting his first line at age 4. His dream was to someday own a bait shop. When he saw the prospect of acquiring the Ship Creek bait shop right when he was thinking about transitioning out of the Army, it was the perfect opportunity to pursue his lifelong goal.

The shop has passed through several owners since 1993. Dustin approached the acquisition with an entrepreneurial spirit, developing a new business plan and creating a logo and brand for the shop, which he named, “The Bait Shack.” Dustin upgraded fishing equipment, tackle selection, and the shack itself. Dedicated to the Anchorage community as well as Alaska tourism, he became a member of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership and Visit Anchorage.

Today, thousands of people from around the world visit The Bait Shack every summer. In addition to tourists, The Bait Shack has become a favorite of airline pilots and seasonal workers. Military service members have also become regulars at the Shack, and fishing with Dustin has become a new Alaska military tradition.