Lyle Wilder

THE CATCH: Sockeye Salmon
"I’m really carrying on the family heritage."

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED FISHING?

My mom grew up set-netting salmon on Bristol Bay, and my dad got into the air taxi business the same time he started out as a commercial fisherman, and he taught me how to do both when I was a teenager. Now he and I operate Lake & Peninsula Airlines together, and I also fish for salmon in Bristol Bay. So I’m really carrying on the family heritage.

WHO DO YOU FISH WITH?

My wife, Heidi, is my crew, along with one other guy on our 32-foot boat, Maggie.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT FISHING?

It really fits in well with the Alaska mentality: being an individualist, being your own boss, long hard days of work with a paycheck at the end.

WHAT’S THE SUSTAINABILITY SITUATION IN BRISTOL BAY?

Alaska Fish & Game has done such a wonderful job. It’s an amazingly productive fishery. Alaskan natives have been watching out for the resource for thousands of years so we also have that history to rely upon. Subsistence issues are really important for all of rural Alaska.

WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO FISH COMMERCIALLY?

Get a mentor. Find an old guy to follow around. That’s the way it’s worked in our family for three generations.

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