|cross sound and the fairweather fishing grounds|
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Cross Sound lies at the northernmost entrance of Alaska’s Inside Passage, a
thousand-mile maze of rocky mountainous islands, interspersed with
hundreds of miles of deep glacier-carved saltwater fiords, bays, and
channels. The islands of southeast Alaska are drained by
thousands of small streams, while larger rivers drain the snow-covered
mountains of the mainland.
The cold clear waters of these streams support runs of Pacific
salmon. In the late summer and fall, these streams swarm with
spawning adult salmon. In the spring, the offspring of these
salmon migrate downstream to feed, first in the shallow protected
estuaries, and then in the open ocean.
These salmon runs supported Alaska natives for thousands of years. On
a commercial scale, salmon fishing took hold in southeast Alaska in the
late 1880’s, with the development of canning. By the early 20th
century, a commercial fishing fleet was harvesting salmon runs
migrating through Cross Sound.