June 17, 2022

2022 Bristol Bay Preseason Q&A with Captain Steve

Before Captain Steve hops on a plane to Alaska to kick off his 20th season of commercial fishing for Bristol Bay salmon, the Kurian Fisheries Marketing Team sat down with him to get his take on how he’s feeling about what lies ahead.

From his process of shipping home-butchered meat to Alaska for the crew, to what his plans are for the Kurian Family's visit at the end of the season, it seems Captain Steve has a lot to look forward to for the Alaska salmon season of 2022!

KF: Are you excited to head back to the bay for your 20th season of commercial sockeye salmon fishing in Bristol Bay Alaska?

SK: Yes, I’m definitely excited to go. Now that everything feels anchored here [in Bloomsburg] I can feel excited about the season. I did the math and it’s been 800 days roughly that I’ve been living on a boat. That’s 2.2 years. And we’re going to see the biggest run on record… I mean yeah, it's a love.

KF: What's the plan for feeding the fisherman crew this year? More home-smoked meats and backyard-sourced bacon?

SK: Yep, we butchered two hogs, so plenty of bacon, plenty of homemade sausage and hot Italian sausage, elk sausage with 5% beef fat... All from the Kurian household.

KF: How do you ship all of that up to Alaska?

SK: We flew 80 pounds up in a cooler when I made a trip up in May to do some engine work, and another two will go up for this trip. One cooler went with Matt and one cooler will go with me. The Fleet has its own freezer and we put small boxes with our name and boat name on it. We call during the season and they send it [on a tender to us].

Stacked coolers, a blue duffel bag and a black backpack, next to photos from inside a chest freezer of a pack of bear meat and elk meat.

KF: How are you feeling about this year's record-breaking sockeye salmon run?

SK: I think it's going to be tiring…and I'm excited (said with a small laugh).

KF: Do you know yet which Bristol Bay district you'll be fishing in - if you're even willing to tell us?

SK: Fisherman strategy is to keep quiet where you’re going, but no, I don’t know where I’m going. Wherever the fish go.

KF: How will you be supporting No Pebble Mine this season now that we're in another key chapter of keeping hard rock mines out of the Bristol Bay region?

SK: The Ava Jane crew will of course be flying a Pebble Flag, while the on-land team continues to spread the word to our audience about the comment period through July 4th. I know there’s going to be a lot of resources in the Bay this year for fishermen too.

KF: Anything you're particularly excited about for this year's Bristol Bay sockeye salmon season?

SK: Definitely Jenn & the kids visiting at the end of the season! I can't wait to get the kids picking fish for the first time. Last time they were on the boat in Alaska was four years ago, around 2018. The kids were a little too little to take it in, Ava being five years old and Tommy just two. I’m also excited to have Jenn aboard. It’ll be good to have the best deck boss ever back!

KF: Are the kids already chomping at the bit waiting to come up to Alaska?

SK: I think they are a little more focused on summer break right now, but I know they are excited to see dad. Traditionally our communication is just a phone call every other day to check in. In Naknek you can Facetime, otherwise it’s just calls.

Steve and Jenn Kurian with their children, Ava and Tommy, standing in front of a float plane in Bristol Bay Alaska 

 You can follow along with Captain Steve's adventures in Bristol Bay as he and the crew commercial fish for sockeye salmon this summer through our YouTube channel, Kurian Fisheries. Subscribe for the latest videos on updates from the boat, cooking recipes, DIY tutorials, salmon FAQs and other educational content!

Tags: Alaska|bristol bay alaska|commercial fishing|Pride of Bristol Bay|Sockeye Salmon