On a sunny day last August, I was fishing a Bristol Bay river with friends visiting from Colorado. They wanted to catch their limits of wild salmon to bring a literal taste of Alaska home with them for Christmas gifts and to enjoy throughout the winter. Already having a freezer full, I just wanted to catch some big rainbows.
“No problem,” our guide said.
Sure enough, 8 hours later my friends’ freezers were stocked, and I’d caught a few of the beefiest, most colorful trout I’d ever laid my eyes upon. It was the best day of my summer, and a wholly average day in Bristol Bay.
When people describe Alaska as the last vestige of thriving wild salmon in North America, what they often mean is the Bristol Bay region is the last vestige of thriving wild salmon. For a state whose reputation often rests on its abundant wild salmon, Bristol Bay was the only region to meet all its escapement goals, including for Chinook, last year and is the only region expected to do so again in 2019.
Bristol Bay’s nicknames – “salmon country” and “fishing mecca”- were imparted for good reason. Each summer anglers’ eyes grow wide with 62 million sockeye returning to the region last summer alone, and trophy rainbow trout, clowned up Dolly Varden, and alluring arctic grayling growing fat from a buffet of salmon eggs, flesh, and fry.
Meanwhile, the proposed Pebble mine is closer than ever to becoming a reality and threatens to end it all.
Though many lower-48 anglers may assume the ill-conceived mine is dead, the change in political climate over the past few years has breathed new life into the project. Federal regulators are now fast-tracking […]