Idaho to Alaska: An Epic Migration + Searching For Salmon Along The Way

Endangered sockeye salmon in Redfish Lake — 900 miles inland and 6,500 feet above sea level. © Emily Nuchols

EP has joined up with Save Our Wild Salmon to tell the story of the Snake River’s one-of-a-kind salmon — a group of fish that swim further and climb higher than any other salmon in the world.

We first started work on a film for Save Our Wild Salmon a couple of months ago in California when we talked with depressed fishing communities bearing the brunt of a second year of fishery closures. They told us of salmon that used to swim

Trip Jennings and Andy Maser hang tight to get the perfect shot while fishing in Alaska. © Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky

in their waters — most from the signature rivers of their state, but some from a place high in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. The migration of Snake River salmon is epic to say the least, but the true power of their journey is told by the people they meet along the way.

We’ve since traveled upriver, interviewing Oregon’s Chief of Fisheries, Ed Bowles at the base of Bonneville Dam on the mightyColumbia, fishing with the Nez Perce Tribe at Selway Falls and then to the heart of the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho — spending days filming on Marsh Creek, the Middle Fork and Redfish Lake. We witnessed these fish make their final journey home.

“Salmon are a species that connect everyone. Fishermen, tribal people, communities from Idaho to California to Alaska,” Eric Jordan, a commercial fishermen in Sitka told us on our last day of filming.

And now as we’ve wrapped the final shoot with a commercial fisherman here in Sitka, Alaska it is clear that the story we’ve set out to tell is about so much more than a fish. They are an American icon, the lifeblood of our communities, an integral part of our fishing heritage and the epicenter of our salmon economy. Our natural world — rivers, forests and wildlife depend on wild salmon for their very existence. Without them, our world looks very different.

Fly fishing for Cutthroat trout on the Middle Fork with Idaho native and salmon advocate Alyssa Troy and her father Jerry. © Emily Nuchols

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~ by epicocity on August 24, 2010.

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