A busy, successful season for the F/V Ava Jane! 

“Patience is the word of the year.” 

In case you didn’t get a chance to catch up with Steve and the F/V Ava Jane at this year’s Fishtival celebration or you’re one of our awesome online customers who couldn’t make the trip, we wanted to give you our Wild for Salmon take on the Bristol Bay season aboard our summer home, a 32’ gillnetter in Bristol Bay, Alaska. 

Ava Jane BBThe Kurian family aboard the F/V Ava Jane in 2018. 

“Patience is the word of the year,” said Captain Steve as he reflected on this year’s Bristol Bay salmon season.

Many of you who fish for fun may be familiar with this feeling, but on the commercial grounds sometimes it feels like it all happens at once and that no patience is required. This year, which was “hot, dry and flat” according to Captain Steve, that was not the case. Instead, Steve and the crew aboard the F/V Ava Jane dug deep and steadily picked their way through the gear towards a successful season. 

Steve Selfie BB

Captain Skills, check; selfie skills, well....Visit our Instagram page for more fun summer content. 

Most bay fishermen enjoyed a lack of rough weather this year, but the fish follow those patterns as well. If the Bering Sea blows a strong wind into the river system, the fish certainly come with it. When there’s a light, consistent breeze, the fish make their way to their spawning grounds upriver from the fishing districts as always - just at a bit of a slower pace. As the Alaska General Seafood - Naknek beach boss put it on the final KDLG Fisheries Report of the year,

“It was a great season," Stewart said. "Record number of fish, very steady, not the [...] big waves of fish like usual.“
That was the experience on the Ava Jane this year, which served the new guys very well. This way, there was a bit more time to learn the ropes and get their sea legs.
2019 WFS crew

From L-R, Steve Kurian, Sorren Green, Matt Korzenaski, Logan Martz. This year’s crew aboard the F/V Ava Jane was mostly what we call “green” crew or “green horns.” Some of our local customers will recognize Matt from the back of house at our Bloomsburg store; Sorren and Logan came up to AK for their first time this summer, both from PA. 

The crew at Wild for Salmon is grateful for the fish that came through and for the lack of weather that can make it all a bit more difficult. Additionally, the crew is thankful for the community of Bristol Bay who supported this team once again when the boat had a brief, but significant electrical breakdown. Yet again, patience was the word of the year. The boat was towed into Naknek by another member of the fleet (a tender) and fixed within just a few days; thankfully, this occurred early on, and she was floating and steering well on June 26th.
Check her out back in the water here

On a bay-wide level, the returns of sockeye are encouraging for ocean health. The Bristol Bay watershed saw a total run of 56.3 million salmon return to the river system this year. The harvest (the chunk fishermen get) was the second-largest on record, distributed in five river systems and closely monitored by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Again, this year saw another strong run in a world of much uncertainty. The weight of Pebble Mine, and the disappointing summer news about backroom (or Air Force One) deals, certainly weighed on the summer, but Steve was encouraged by an uptick in mobilizing around the issue in the community - noting more t-shirts, flags, and stickers rocking the bold “No Pebble Mine” logo. 

WFS Fishtival 19

The Wild for Salmon team at 2019's Fishtival celebration at our storefront in Bloomsburg, PA. 

 Thanks to all of you who rock that messaging here, around Bloomsburg, PA and beyond, and for following along with this issue via our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. Thanks to all of you who celebrated the end of the season and welcomed home our crew at Fishtival in August. Keep an eye on our social as we share more about our summers living by the wind, tide and fish! 

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