Produced, filmed, and edited by Jason S Ching 2019
From the Filmmaker:
At every stage of their lives from eggs to adults, sockeye salmon of Bristol Bay, Alaska have endured being hunted by a long list of predators including birds, fish, marine mammals, and people. Nearing the end of their long migration at a precise location where they emerged several years ago, the salmon gather to spawn but first they must escape the last chase.
One of the most compelling stories of the wild sockeye salmon of Bristol Bay, Alaska is of their sacrifice. These salmon are an incredible driver of nutrients supporting an endless list of characters across freshwater and marine environments. It is because their populations are managed, their lives respected, and their pristine ecosystems are studied and maintained that these salmon populations remain as productive as ever and able to sustain life so many including brown bears and freshwater seals of Iliamna Lake.
Walk among the great Alaskan Brown Bears as they forage throughout the sedge grasses. Enjoy this immense and peaceful area - just you & the bears. And on your way there, be prepared to lose count of the bears you'll see from the helicopter. This excursion includes a beautiful mountain, coastal and glacial flight see on your way to see the bears!
"My first bush flight in Alaska gave spark to what would become a passion for flying and remote adventures only accessible by aircraft. To me, the grandeur of Alaska, the thrill of flying and the unique wilderness access is a combination that has no match on Planet Earth. Over 10 years later, we've built a successful business around the "fly out" experience. Enjoy this reel of some of our flying adventures throughout Alaska."
In this modern day, it is truly inspiring to fish and adventure in places that literally have not changed in the past 50-100 years. The salmon runs remain strong, there's been no added fishing pressure, and absolutely no human development. That's what most of us long for. Bristol Bay Lodge is lucky enough to operate two such remote camps as a part of their fly out fishing program in Southwest Alaska. And. . . . this is one of the last best places to target King Salmon on the fly rod.
The salmon runs of Bristol Bay are by the numbers jaw dropping. Watching these fish flood the wild rivers in the region is simply mesmerizing. We made a salmon reel from years of filming in Bristol Bay. Enjoy and consider a donation to help stop the proposed Pebble Mine.
The road to extinction is paved with good intentions.
Artifishal is a film about people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them. It explores wild salmon’s slide toward extinction, threats posed by fish hatcheries and fish farms, and our continued loss of faith in nature.
Protect Wild Fish
Tell decision makers to stop wasting money on failed plans and invest in science-based solutions to save endangered wild salmon and orcas: Stop hatcheries, reduce harvest and remove dams.
Fly fishing and adventure go together like pizza and beer. By nature, an adventure is not defined by some pre-canned success story. Adventure is defined by an unknown outcome. And, as it turns out, the Alaska wilderness is a perfect canvas for genuine adventure and the unexpected. In the words of one of Alaska’s great explorers and bush pilots Paul Claus, “Everything here is bigger, larger, harder and tougher than it looks. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or how great shape you are in, if you come here, you’ll contend with the Alaskan factor.” For this group of anglers, that’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
The goal of this expedition was simple – to use packrafts as a tool to explore and fish an extremely remote and braided river system, much of which is not accessible with larger rafts. The simple and no frills nature of packrafting offers the ultimate in flexibility and mobility. In climbing, they call it going alpine style – lightweight, fast, efficient. For an angler, this means accessing countless small channels and mouse-eating trout without the worry of dead ends, portages, and extra baggage.
This trip was not a first descent on an unnamed river. It was not some epic of mankind’s quest through the uncharted. But, after going 100 river miles without seeing another human soul, it felt like it. To revel in the unknown is the greatest thrill for an angler. And when it’s all over, the fishing, the adventure, and the solitude all culminate into a shared experience with the company you keep.