July 9, 2019
We arrived in mid May 2019 to the normal routine of cold mornings and warm afternoons and that continued through May 31. The first couple days of June it rained here in Alaska’s Bristol Bay area, but it has not since then. Our river height is lower than I’ve ever seen it because its water is derived from tributaries and streams that flow to the Nushagak. No rain, no cooling waters. No cooling waters with ambient temperatures of 85 degrees for 18-19 hours means very warm waters. Warm river waters means no oxygen in the water for the fish to breathe, meaning the fish suffocate.
The environmental impact is that the Alaska Department of Fish & Game has taken the extraordinary stance that they will protect the king salmon that are headed up river to spawn. Today, an executive order was released that states that starting 7/10, for the remainder of the king salmon season (the season ends 7/31), all king salmon must be released. This protects the river for future generations of wild Alaskan salmon.We will fish the same program that we always do, and we will modify the program where it is possible to do that; but less fish will be packed out by our clients. Fishing is fun, catching king salmon is a privilege, keeping them is out for now. The weather forecast shows rain soon, let’s hope that cools the river and draws in the fish.