Every summer, dozens of young men make the pilgrimage to Alaska to try their hand at one of the most physically demanding professions around: salmon fishing the pristine waters of Bristol Bay.
It’s a one-month season full of long hours, heavy hauls and soggy gloves, but those are some of the things Ryan Cruze fell in love with when he took his first fishing trip in the summer of 2008.
“My friend had been fishing up there his entire life and, when he took control of his own boats, he invited me up,” Cruze said. “He knew I could handle the work, and we spent the summer operating two net sites for Sockeye salmon.”
Operating out of Nugashak Bay — an area that plays home to the world’s largest salmon run — Cruze and his fishing companions use nets as opposed to fishing line to troll the entrance of the bay’s major tributaries for Sockeye before they return to their natal stream to spawn.
After his second season in 2009, Cruze returned to his home in Denver, CO with 100 pounds of fish for family and friends. The fillets disappeared out of the cooler within days of him stepping off the plane, and people were clamoring for more.
“I couldn’t even hold on to what I had,” Cruze said. “I knew I wanted to invest in something with the money I made fishing, so starting a business to sell the product I was already dealing with made sense.”
After tossing around some ideas and logistics with his girlfriend, Cruze came up with the concept of selling fish door-to-door, and “That Fish Guy” salmon delivery service was born.
“Fishing in the wild taught me a lot about how we as consumers contribute to the sustainability of the area,” Cruze said. “Supporting Alaskan fisherman, as opposed to fish farms, is crucial in regards to protecting the environment, supporting the local economy, and allowing future generations to enjoy the natural resource coming from the sea.”
Although farm-raised fish accounts for 90 percent of salmon sold in the US, it doesn’t come without a price. A 2004 report done by Science magazine found that there were “significantly higher” amounts of contaminants in farmed fish as opposed to those caught in the wild, and some farms even feed fish synthetic pigments to give their flesh the deep red color associated with how wild, fresh salmon should look.
But those in and around the Denver area no longer need to worry about where to look for quality, because a quick call to That Fish Guy is all it takes to get fresh “Red Gold” delivered straight to your freezer.
“Everybody needs a fish guy,” Cruze said. “And, now they got one.”
22.5 pound box ……………300.00 per box
Restaurant cost available
Those interested can call Cruze at (970)485-1123.