Once in a blue moon you meet a person whose life is engulfed by their passions and consumed by the pursuit of their dreams. When you meet them, their immense and often intense commitment to their lifestyle, radiates and inspires a desire to seek out your own goals for your life. Kate Crump has this passion and desire, committing her life to the sport of fishing and often helps protect it when it matters most.
Kate Crump is the owner and founder of Frigate Adventure Travel who with her husband Justin pursue a life on the water as fishing guides. The couple split their time between Bristol Bay, Alaska and the Oregon Coast. Recently, they moved back to Bristol Bay as the king salmon run kicks-off the season every June. She is currently one of the few guides in Bristol Bay and the only female guide on Oregon’s north coast for winter steelhead.
But Kate’s journey as an angler started much earlier. Raised on a farm in Virginia, Crump always had a longing to feel the ocean breeze and see the abundant forests of the Pacific Northwest. She packed her bags after turning eighteen and headed to the Pacific Northwest to find the home she was looking for. “It just reverberated within me in such a powerful experience that I knew this was the place I needed to call home and it’s interesting because I feel that same way today.”
Shortly after moving to Washington, some of her friends took her salmon fishing and she immediately knew this was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She became addicted to fishing and searched for positions in the industry to get her foot-in-the-door. Crump found that opportunity working at a tackle store in Bellingham, Washington where she learned the knowledge and skills of the trade. “It started my career in fishing.
I had seventeen grandfathers, all these old, retired guys that fished who were eager to teach me and show me.
My boss was a great fisherman who took me fishing and taught me a lot about salmon and steelhead. I met all these great people that wanted to help me and it was really powerful to be supported by complete strangers that wanted to be a part of my journey.”
Kate’s own journey has ingrained the belief that fishing is personal and subjective to each person’s own journey in the sport. “Fishing is fishing to me; it doesn’t really matter to me how you do it as long as you do it with respect and care. I don’t think there is one right way to do it, I think it’s very personal and almost religious.”
Fast forward a few years and a few miles north, Kate moved to Bristol Bay, Alaska to continue pursuing her passion of working in the fishing industry as a fishing guide. Like many of us, she had friends and relationships built through the industry that were able to help her find her a job in the Last Frontier. It was fate that Crump would find a position working for Nancy Morris Lyon, the first female fishing sportfishing guide in Alaska who’s operation is based out of Bristol Bay.
“This is what I was born to do and it made me who I am today,” Kate said reflecting back on her time under Lyon. Since then, she has gone on to start her own fishing guide company, Frigate Adventure Travels and has guided for winter steelhead in Oregon and summertime salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska for eleven seasons.
Kate’s profile and recognition as an angler rapidly increased after being featured in the COSTA Sunglasses SLAM video in earlier this year. This COSTA video highlights women in the fishing industry who all come from different fisheries and backgrounds. The anglers head to the Florida Keys to attempt the rare feat of a backcountry slam (catching a bonefish, tarpon and permit in one day on fly fishing gear). Crump walked away as the only angler to accomplish this task and was overjoyed at the opportunity.
“I’m undeniably super-proud to have caught the slam in Costa’s SLAM video. The conditions were tough, the idea was crazy, and the guides were all super talented and experienced. It would have been easy to feel like the underdog and intimidated. I had never caught a permit or a tarpon. I had only fished for permit one other time and I broke it off. So, I showed up with the intention of being a fisherman going fishing and I brought my game and it was an incredible thing. Those moments remind me of all the work it took to get there; to a place of confidence and experience and skill.”
It is no surprise from her accomplishments as an angler and a business owner, that she has been recognized by Wildlife Enthusiasts Magazine as one of the most influential women in the sport of fishing. When asked about the accomplishments she’s most proud of, Kate said, “It is no small thing to be one of the few guides in Bristol Bay, Alaska who is female or the only female guide on Oregon’s north coast guiding for winter steelhead (and like one of three in the state). And to be representing the sportfishing community with respect and kindness. Those are accomplishments and worthy of me recognizing those.”
Since then, Kate has been advocating against the proposed pebble mine, which could lay waste to one of the last places on earth with a bountiful and sustainable harvest of wild salmon in Bristol Bay. “With the proposed Pebble Mine in the region, we very well could repeat the mistakes that occurred on the East Coast and up and down the West coast.” The proposed pebble mine would entail mining a pit over a mile long, a mile wide and 200 meters deep, destroying nearly 3,500 acres of wetlands, lakes, and ponds and 81 miles of salmon streams. For more information and to the support the cause against the proposed pebble mine, head to this website.
We thank Kate for her time and wish her all the best up in Bristol Bay. You can visit their fishing guide business, at Frigate Adventure Travel.