Bristol Bay Bulletin

Fish ho! Time to head north!

Posted by : Wild For Salmon   /  

Here in Bellingham (Hi! It's Elma), the waterfront is a bustling place to be. During the last few weekends, many folks have driven up and down the Washington coast, preparing their load of materials to go up on the few barges that land in Bristol Bay, a region notably excluded from the road system. From Pennsylvania, the Kurian’s food order was delivered to the Seattle harbor and loaded onto the barge, full of lots of bulk quick meals plus some home-prepped PA agriculture goodness.  The Ava Jane crew will next see it in Naknek, Alaska, the boat’s winter-home.

Ava Jane in NaknekSteve took a quick May trip to Naknek, AK to prep the boat before coming home for the first days of summer with the kids. The boat is looking good! 

The overall state forecast for wild Alaska salmon is exceptional: experts predict a catch of 213.2 million fish statewide. Bristol Bay will see a strong return of fish. Because the 2018 season broke records -- the sockeye salmon harvest was 10% above predictions and the largest seen on record -- 2018 would be a tough year to beat. Experts are still predicting historically large returns following a banner year and are hopeful that the King Salmon will be highly protected throughout the harvest. Most importantly, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game predictions expect “all [Bristol Bay river systems] to meet their spawning escapement goals,” meaning that the health of the overall run and ecosystem is looking sustainably strong. The impressive forecast of 40.18 million sockeye returning to Bristol Bay in 2019 is 16% above the average run (1963-2018).

No matter the forecast, the pre-season work remains the same. Fishermen all over the country are looking at their notebooks from last year, trying to make sure they’re ordering the right parts and deciphering what their scribbles, written in a busy, sleep-deprived July mean exactly. Captains are busy confirming their summer company, in the form of just two to three crew members who must be fast-learners and not get seasick. They are reading the forecast, plugging in numbers, and dreaming about where the first set will be. Likely, as Steve is, many  are also trying to wrap up the winter work and cherishing family time, which will be sparse in the summer months.

Steve aboard boat

At Wild for Salmon, Steve is prepping the office for his departure, fishing with the kids in the PA backyard, and taking advantage of the local signs of spring.

 

 

In 2019, the crew of F/V Ava Jane will be:

Sorren Green

Hometown: Bloomsburg, PA 

How many seasons in Bristol Bay: 0

Seasons on the Ava Jane?: 0

Looking forward to...seeing Alaska and the challenge of the work!

Won't leave home without...my Bible!

 
Logan Martz

Hometown: Danville

How many seasons in Bristol Bay: 0

Seasons on the Ava Jane?: 0

Looking forward to...making money and living in the outdoors and wild place that is Alaska!

Won’t leave home without...my phone (to call my family!) and positive mental attitude, a commitment to why I’m there, and love for my family to keep me in check.

Matt Korzenaski

Hometown: Selinsgrove PA

How many seasons in Bristol Bay: 3, all aboard the Ava Jane

Looking forward to...a strong, safe and successful season.

Won’t leave home without...kissing my family goodbye for the next month and a half!

 

 

Remmington Brandel is on-call to join the crew on the boat during what Bristol Bay folks call the “peak.” The fish often run in large schools, sometimes the bulk of the forecasted 40.18 million fish return in just a few days, which means...the crew could use an extra hand.

 

Hometown: Decorah, IA

How many seasons in Bristol bay: 4

Looking forward...making money and warm weather!

Won’t leave home without…extra contact lenses, glasses don’t work when working on the boat!

 

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