Back to the Bay

A Project to Celebrate the Fishing History of Bristol Bay


For 66 years, the salmon of Bristol Bay were harvested from sailboats- double-ended wooden gillnetters manned by two rugged fisherman. That all changed in 1951 when the Territory of Alaska allowed powered boats to fish the waters of Bristol Bay.

To commemorate this transition- in addition to our bounty of wild salmon and the longevity of the Bristol bay commercial fishery- the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust will sail one of the last remaining sea worthy Bristol Bay double-ended sailboats from Homer back to Bristol Bay.

Originally, this voyage was scheduled to start in July of 2020 but had to be pushed to 2021 due to unforeseen circumstances. It's no little trip but a great adventure as you can see from the map. The wooden gillnetter will start its journey in Homer, sailing the Cook Inlet to Williamsport. From there, it will be trailered and trucked across a dirt road, passing over a mountain and a few rivers, to be launched again in Illiamna Lake. The double-ender will sail the lake to the Kvichak where down river it will end its journey in the fishing community of Naknek. With luck, it will arrive during the commercial fishing season and be part of the celebration honoring Alaska's clean waters and healthy salmon.

Once there were thousands, now there is one.