William Michael Fitzgerald, founder of Frontiers International Dies
William Michael Fitzgerald, founder and owner of Frontiers International 1938 – 2013
It was sad news to learn that Mike Fitzgerald, a great friend of the wild Atlantic salmon, has passed away. He was an extraordinary man, kind and thoughtful yet more than capable of meeting the demands of his remarkable business career. He built up the prestigious travel company, Frontiers International, to the very highest standards. Under his guidance it became an acknowledged world leader in outdoor activities, especially in providing stellar opportunities for fishing, hunting and wilderness travel.
I met Michael and his father in the early 1970s when they were in search of the world´s best salmon rivers. In Iceland, not surprisingly, they selected the Queen of our rivers, the Laxá in Adaldalur or Big Laxá, my own favorite. For a great many years I was privileged to meet Mike on the river banks to discuss the mysteries of this watershed where every cast is both a challenge and a joy.
He was always soft spoken but his views and knowledge were always expressed positively. Gradually our relationship evolved until we became partners in the field of conservation and worked together to protect salmon habitats throughout the North Atlantic in Russia, Norway, Greenland and North America.
My fondest memory of Mike takes me back to a day in the 1980s when we decided to go up to the Laxa Valley and I became his guide for a day’s fishing for the majestic brown trout that thrive up there. It was a sunny and a most beautiful day. We talked about the challenge that the brown trout poses, the need to preserve waters and our culture of angling. His happiness and joy were infectious and I learnt to love his simple, honest and clear answers to almost every question. I am sure it made me a better person.
Mike Fitzgerald loved Iceland and brought thousands of angling visitors to the Laxá. Above all, more than anyone else, he developed the positive image and high esteem that Iceland enjoys amongst fine fishermen the world over. His great company is now run by his wonderful children who have inherited his flair for working with people in a way that follows his gentle and enriching approach to our special world of fly-fishing. Mike was extremely well liked by everyone and I can safely say that everyone in Iceland regarded him as a partner and a true friend. Our thoughts are with the Fitzgerald family.