What You Need To Know

  • The region accounted for 44 percent of the world’s sockeye harvest over the past 25 years. The 134-year old fishery produced its 2 billionth salmon in 2016.                                                                     
  • Eskimos, Aleuts, and Athabascan Indians used this area of the Naknek River during the past 6,000 years. There are numerous archeological sites, hunting camps, old villages and evidence of use along the river and its tributaries. Old Savonoski, on Savonoski River at the east end of Naknek Lake, and New Savonoski and Paugvik on the Naknek River are all abandoned village sites.

  • Today there are 6 canneries along the Naknek River and commercial fishing still plays a primary role in the economy of the area.

  •  The most lasting legacy of the Russian era is the Russian Orthodox religion. The first chapel was constructed in the 1870s. A tiny later chapel can be found behind the Bristol Bay Borough building surrounded by a small cemetery with the distinctive Russian Orthodox crosses.

  • A commercial development in Bristol Bay that had a greater and more lasting effect on the people of this region than fur trade was the salmon fishing industry. In the Naknek River region commercial fishing began in when salteries were established a short distance above the river’s mouth. In 1894 the first cannery was constructed.

  • The original village at Naknek went through various names as recorded by the Russians after they arrived in the area in 1819 (1821—”Naugeik”; 1880-”Kinuyak”; and finally Naknek as named by Russian Navy Captain Tebenkov).

  • Russian Exploration of Bristol Bay may have occurred as early as 1791.

  • King Salmon Air Force Station was a continental defense radar station built to warn the United States Air Force of an attack by the Soviet Union in Alaska. Gaasland & Company was awarded the contract to construct the radar site on 12 April 1950. Construction was completed the following year, costing approximately $3,667,372. King Salmon Air Force Station was closed in 1993, and is currently in Caretaker status.