The Crimson Wave: Sockeye Salmon, Rainbow Trout, and Alaska's Bristol Bay

By Bill Horn

The word “Alaska” conjures visions of jagged icy peaks, smoking volcanoes, vast crimson tundra, sweeping blue rivers and lakes, shaggy brown bears, bush airplanes and pilots, remote Native villages, flashing rainbow trout, and rivers teeming with crimson salmon. These visions are realized, on a stupendous scale, in southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. Each year 60 million or more wild salmon pour into the Bay to fight their way upstream past nets, anglers, bears, swirling rapids, and cascading waterfalls in lake and river systems with magical names—Iliamna, Kvichak, Naknek, Alagnak, Becharof, Egegik, Nushagak, Togiak, and Ugashik.

Sport anglers travel to the region to pursue all five species of Pacific salmon, dolly varden and arctic char, grayling and giant rainbow trout that provide unmatched thrills on the end of a line with their explosive runs and twisting leaps. This unparalleled fishing—driven by the salmon—makes Bristol Bay the place of fly fisher’s dreams.

In this book, author Bill Horn provides a detailed and compelling account of the natural history and life cycle of these fish as well as a glimpse into the culture, management, and politics that are part of the sockeye salmon story. It also offers essential information for anglers planning a trip to the region, including best times of the year for fishing, strategies and fly choices, and planning your trip. 4 B/W & 1 color plus, 132 color photos. 7.75 x 0.66 x 9.36 inches, 132 pgs


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Bill Horn
is a mostly retired natural resources/wildlife law attorney whose career focused on natural resource management and law as well as fish and wildlife conservation. As Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks in the Regan Administration, he played an active role in the early stages of the Everglades restoration program and elevated fishery programs within FWS.

As a private attorney, his clients included the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, and Trout Unlimited, among others. Horn has long been active in private sector conservation. He has served on the board of directors for the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Trout Unlimited.

He has chased bonefish, tarpon, and permit for over forty years in the Keys, Bahamas, Hawaii, and Mexico. His articles have appeared in American Angler, Florida Sportsman, the Angling Report, the BTT Journal, Fly Rod & Reel, and the Pointing Dog Journal. His first book, Seasons on the Flats, was published by Headwater Books/Stackpole in 2012. Horn lives in the Florida Keys (Marathon) and Teton Valley, Idaho.


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