Back to the Bay!

Across the world, many call themselves fishermen; you, dear WFS customer, may even use this word to describe yourself. There’s the fisherman who ties the fishing line to their big toe and falls asleep under the hot summer sun with a cooler not too far away. There’s the one who’s rod and reel live in the back of the truck, who sees opportunity in each tide switch and ripple of current. Then, of course, there’s the fisherman: The Old Man in the Sea type, The River Runs Through It type, the fishing-till-you’re-not type, the patient in a river but anxious on the bank type...the 6 weeks on a Bristol Bay gillnetter followed three weeks later by six days up a Bristol Bay river type. One might say, the Steve Kurian type.

Steve with a big sockeye on the bank of a river that feeds into Bristol Bay

It takes a special kind of person, and really a special kind of fisherman, to find joy in damp waders and bone-cold foggy mornings. True. More notably, however, it takes a special kind of place. For the WFS team, that place is Bristol Bay. Steve has spent the past 14 years on the commercial side of this fishery, earning a living and building a business around the delicious and nutritious sustainable resource that makes a home there: the Wild Alaska Salmon. He spent the last week of August discovering that the commercial harvest is not enough--not enough for the fishermen in him, but more importantly not enough to fulfill his appreciation for Bristol Bay.


A "jumper" making its way upriver, against the current, to reach a fresh water river bed and spawn.

In this recent trip, he described a new understanding of Bristol Bay’s salmon. During sixty miles on a pack raft floating the--Get This!--the Good News River, Steve discovered spawning salmon--all fives species looking almost unrecognizable from the ones he brings aboard his gillnetter out in the bay. Salmon are anadromous fish and change look and shape as they reach fresh water and prepare to spawn and then die. He described the awe of witnessing this natural phenomena from beginning to end, where a king salmon had beat its tail so hard against the river bed making its way upriver that its tail had turned white. He described the humility of watching a brown bear run from a gray wolf, speeding away at 35 miles an hour, as they can do.

The pack raft set up along the Good News River.
All this is to say that we are honored to bear witness to this wild place and to call it a home of ours. We believe in treading lightly, strictly following Leave No Trace rules, but also in getting to know this place we harvest our fish from and learning how to responsibly enjoy it and share it with you. Salmon is not its only economy; there are many hardworking men and women who work hard to bring others straight to this beauty and wildness. Consider a trip to Alaska. Learn more where your food comes from. Learn for yourself why we gush so generously about this place. Demand the protection of native species and wild places.
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