Steve Larsen Catch Magazine

A Guide’s Eye In Bristol Bay

A guide’s summer return to Alaska’s Bristol Bay parallels the annual salmon run to the region’s mighty rivers. The homecoming is welcomed by familiarities of seasons past, rushing through our senses, inspiring nostalgia and alertness. Our past experiences freshly evoked, we grow keener to the changing environment, the waters, the wildlife, the fish, the weather, the light – everything. 

After some seasons, a guide will see beyond the theatrics of the rainbow trout and the novelty of flying in bush planes. The small things become more evident, the enormity of wilderness is realized, and the magic of Bristol Bay surfaces in our hearts and pumps through our veins. 

A passion stirs, and we say, “Bristol Bay is worth the fight.” 

Great fishing with a better backdrop – a view of the Kulik Spire in the Wood-Tikchik State Park.
A bull moose sighting from the air, galloping through a familiar marsh.
Lady angler surprised by the leap of a 25 lb king salmon in the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge.
Bears and humans together, fishing in harmony and enjoying one of the great fisheries in the world – Bristol Bay, Alaska.
An Alaska brown bear and her two cubs aggressively descend on hundreds of sockeye salmon on the Brooks River in Katmai National Park.
The much anticipated aerial show from Alaska’s aerobatic coho salmon.
A glimpse of Bristol Bay’s Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. Look close, and you can see a group of fishermen working this section of river.
The vastness of Bristol Bay revealed as the verdant landscape collides with the waters of its namesake.
Part of the fly fishing adventure at Tikchik Narrows Lodge is the flight to the fishing destination. Six adventure seeking anglers riding in a 1956 De Havilland Beaver float plane get the opportunity to witness one of the great caribou migrations of the North.
An explosive Coho salmon rockets into the air in an attempt to release himself from a very excited angler.

Contributed By

Steve Larsen

Steve Larsen grew up in Seattle and departed for Alaska in the early 80’s to pursue a seaplane flying career on Kodiak Island. After flying for 12 years on Kodiak he started looking at the lodge flying business. A perfect fit for Steve awaited at Tikchik Narrows Lodge – a new adventure and more time for photography. 


Steve has accumulated over 19,000 hours and 30 years of flying in SW Alaska, The Alaska Peninsula and Bristol Bay. This will be his 20th season at Tikchik Narrows Lodge. 95% of his flying is in a Dehaviland Beaver – a great platform for aerial photography.

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