Located at the northeast side of Bristol Bay in Southwest Alaska and home to the world’s richest sockeye salmon fishery, the community of Naknek is all about fishing.
ABOUT NAKNEK (YUP'IK: NAKNIQ)
Accessible by road from nearby King Salmon, Naknek sits on the north bank of the Naknek River. The village comes alive during the red salmon run from mid-June to the end of July. Almost 70 percent of the world’s sockeye salmon is caught in Bristol Bay and Naknek is home to six salmon processors. Thousands of people flood the area during the fishing season, sending millions of pounds of salmon down the road to King Salmon, where jets whisk away the fresh fish to restaurants and markets across the country.
THINGS TO DO
The excellent fishing near Naknek isn’t just for commercial operators – several high-end fishing lodges offer guests the opportunity to fish for some of the pink, king, silver, and sockeye salmon as well as fly fish for rainbow trout, Arctic char, and grayling. Most of these lodges are all-inclusive and provide guides to help you get to the very best fishing spots. Charter boat operators based in Naknek offer salmon and halibut day fishing trips in Bristol Bay as well as marine wildlife excursions from the village. Several lodges and B&Bs are located along the Naknek River between King Salmon and Naknek.
In town is the Russian Orthodox St. John the Baptist Chapel which was constructed in 1886 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Naknek is also home to the Bristol Bay Historical Museum, featuring archaeology, history, and Alaska Native culture, documenting the town's history as one of the largest commercial salmon fishing and canning headquarters in the world. The museum building is the original Fisherman's Hall, an early meeting place for fishermen.
The abundance of salmon attracted Yup'ik and Athabascan people to the region more than 6,000 years ago and Russian traders by 1821. The first salmon cannery opened on the Naknek River in 1890, and by 1900 there were 12 canneries in Bristol Bay.
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