This year’s honoree has deep roots in the guiding, lodge, and fly-shop industry. Lonnie Allen grew up in St. Anthony, Idaho, on the banks of the Henrys Fork. Her grandparents, Fred and Berta Lewies, homesteaded and started the Warm River Inn and Rendezvous Dance Hall in Warm River in the 1920s. Her parents, Harry and Lillian Lewies, operated the business beginning in the late 1940s, then transitioned the company to a dedicated Orvis-Endorsed Lodge in 1974. Lonnie spent the summers of her youth working at the family business learning all aspects of the profession.
In 1987, Lonnie purchased Three Rivers Ranch from her parents and became the third generation to own and operate the property. Over the years, she transformed Three Rivers Ranch from a modest fishing camp into the premier lodge it is today. Her hard work, dedication, and attention to every detail might best be described as a relentless pursuit of excellence.
During her first season, she welcomed just over twenty guests. Since then, the business has grown with a current capacity of twenty-four guests per week. The Ranch employs thirty fly-fishing guides and operates four full-service fly shops in Ashton, Island Park, Driggs, and Boise. Lonnie is licensed to fish in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Wyoming (including Yellowstone National Park), and is co-owner of her own award-winning tequila brand, Volans Tequila. In 2018, Lonnie was appointed by Idaho’s Governor, Butch Otter, to represent Southeastern Idaho’s Region 6 on the Idaho Travel Council, the body that oversees Idaho’s $4 billion tourism industry.
Of all the hats Lonnie wears at Three Rivers Ranch, one of the most important is hostess. She has sat down to dinner with her clients almost every night for over 30 years. Lonnie truly enjoys getting to know each of her guests. Over her 33+ year career, she’s hosted dinner nearly 4,000 times. Imagine how many fly-fishing stories she’s heard!
Lonnie’s generosity is boundless. Every year, she donates the entire ranch for a week to Idaho2Fly, an organization that supports men with cancer. She also donates the ranch for a full week to Higher Ground, an organization that uses recreational therapy for wounded and disabled veterans. She is an avid supporter of many great causes that support the environment and people with disabilities. Lonnie’s career in the fly-fishing industry spans over three decades. Her willingness to be innovative, take risks, build and nurture relationships, help her community, and protect and promote the preservation of resources are just a few of the reasons that we are proud to name her this year’s recipient of the Orvis Lifetime Achievement Award.