On the Water in Alaska, Where Salmon Fishing Dreams Live On

By Colin Arisman.

My camera lens is pressed against the window of the small floatplane as it flies below a thick ceiling of clouds. The mist clings to the hillsides of a temperate rainforest that descend steeply to the rocky coastline of southeast Alaska.

The plane banks, and a tiny village comes into view. A scattering of houses are built on stilts on the water’s edge. We circle and I see fishing boats tied up next to a large dock and a floating post office. The pilot throttles down and the pontoons skim across the glassy water inside the bay. We taxi to the public dock and I step out in front of the Point Baker general store.

Life along the Alaska coast is economically and culturally dependent on fishing. Each summer, millions of salmon — after maturing in the ocean — begin their journey back to the rivers in which they were spawned. Fishermen, along with whales, eagles and bears, share in the abundance.

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