Egegik, Bristol Bay

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Egegik, Bristol Bay

by | Dec 14, 2018

Egegik is a small village on the south bank of Egegik Bay on Bristol Bay, about 69 miles (111 km) southeast of Dillingham and 37 miles (60 km) south-southwest of Naknek, Alaska. The name was first published in 1835 as Ougagouck by Admiral A. J. von Krusenstern of the Imperial Russian Navy. In 1888, it was shown as the Ugaguk River by U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and in 1915 as Egegik River by mineral surveyor G.A. Parks.

The settlement of the Bristol Bay region first occurred over 600 years ago. Historically, local people would travel each year from Kanatak on the Gulf of Alaska coast through a portage pass to Becharof Lake, and from there they would hike or kayak on to summer fish camps on Egegik Bay. Yup’ik Eskimos and Athabascans jointly occupied the area, and Aleuts arrived with Russian fur traders between 1818 and 1867. In 1895, an Alaska Packers Association salmon saltery was established at the mouth of Egegik River, and a town developed around the former fish camp. During the influenza outbreaks beginning in 1918, natives from other villages moved to Egegik in an attempt to isolate themselves from the disease. During World War II, men from Egegik were enlisted to help build the King Salmon airport, with many subsequently serving in the Aleutian War.

The Egegik community is a major commercial Pacific salmon fishing area. Pink, chum, sockeye, coho, and Chinook salmon are caught by drift net commercially in Egegik Bay and at the mouth of the Egegik River. The economy is based almost entirely on commercial fishing and fish processing that provides seasonal employment from May to August. The population swells from a hundred year-around residents to several thousand fishermen and cannery workers during the commercial fishing season. Five onshore processors are located on the Egegik River and numerous floating processors also participate in the Egegik fishery. Read more here and here. Explore more Egegik here:

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