Featured Fisherman – Dennis Magnuson

Published: Friday, 26 February 2016 11:49

Dennis Magnuson holding a Copper River King Salmon

Many of you folks watch reality shows on TV about Alaska.  Unfortunately most of them are really a fraud.  Totally bogus. This is a short piece about an old friend of mine who is the real deal.

Meet Dennis Magnuson from Seward, Alaska.  Dennis, like many of us came to Alaska from somewhere else. Born in South Dakota, the call of the North tugged at Dennis as a young man just 19 years of age.  Dennis found himself on the road to Alaska and landed in the fishing town of Seward looking for adventure. After what started as a stint working in a shore based fish processing plant, a local fisherman heard there was a young man with exceptional mechanical skills there and he was offered a job as a “greenhorn” deckhand on a Halibut longliner. That job turned into a 10 year opportunity to go to the Bering Sea and Fish King Crab during the heyday of the fishery that many Americans now watch on the TV show “Deadliest Catch”.

Dennis above working his Gillnetter in Eshamy Bay in Prince William Sound.

I have known Dennis for over 25 years. It is fair to say he is like a cat with 9 lives. This 50 year old bachelor is a veteran fisherman of multiple Alaskan fisheries; from king Crab in the Bering Sea to most recently  Gill netting on the Copper River flats for our beautiful sockeye and King Salmon, Dennis has forgotten more about fishing than most people learn in a lifetime. Dennis has literally fallen overboard in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska at night and lived to tell about it,  tumbled down mountains while “having fun” on four wheelers (compound fracture of the tibia),  and managed to not blow himself up while plying his skills as a welder working on fuel tanks and other Marine fabrication jobs. There are plenty of other Dennis’ stories that I can’t write about….He can fix and build anything – mechanical or otherwise. These skills have helped him to survive on the high seas and to become successful in his fishing pursuits. When you are out on water in the remote waters of Alaska it requires a cool head and a large degree of “self Rescue” ability. Dennis definitely possesses these traits. The amazing thing about this guy is his self deprecating and humble demeanor. Additionally, Dennis holds multiple US coast guard ratings and certificates, including a 100 ton and USCG masters unlimited. Meaning he can captain very large vessels in most parts of the world. Dennis has delivered fancy mega yachts and large vessels to exotic ports for the wealthy owners that need qualified people to do the job.

Dennis is especially partial to the Salmon Gillnet Fishery in Prince William Sound. Similar to a Midwestern farmer, he gets joy from harvesting his resource – in this case, the bounty of the sea, in a beautiful place, and being part of bringing such a nice, wild, healthy, and sustainable resource to people all over the world. The care and attention to detail he takes in harvest and handling are what make your fish from Virgin Bay Seafood exceptional quality. So next time you eat some  delicious Virgin Bay Salmon Raise a Virtual Glass to our friend Dennis and the many other exceptional Alaskan fisherman that work our waters to bring you this beautiful bounty from our Ocean!