In August, I traveled to Alaska to fish the coho salmon run on the Egegik River, near the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge. After wrangling fish each morning, my buddies and I indulged in shore lunches prepared by Ray Wainright of the Becharof Lodge. Our favorite meal of the week? Wild-salmon chowder. Wainright was kind enough to share the recipe with me. Not only is the meal delicious, but it’s also easy to make—two qualities that are often mutually exclusive in the backcountry. I’d stick with salmon, but cod or halibut would work in a pinch.

What You Will Need


Serves 4

4 cups wild salmon

1 lb. chopped bacon

1 large onion

1/2 cup flour

1/2 gallon water

1 cup dry milk

1/2 cup instant potatoes

Salt and pepper

2 cups of mixed corn and peas


  1. Catch a wild salmon and fillet it, removing the skin and bones. Then, trim the fillets into 1-inch strips and cube.

  2. Make a roux by sautéing 1 lb. chopped bacon and 1 large diced onion on medium-high heat, and then add 1/2 cup flour. Let the roux cook for 3 to 4 minutes, so that the flour and sautéd bacon and onions are well mixed.

  3. Add 1/2 gallon water, 1 cup dry milk, 1/2 cup instant potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and 2 cups of mixed corn and peas. Whisk the mixture until thickened, which should take 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Make sure the mixture has a good consistency, then add the salmon, and let the combination simmer for 5 minutes. Take the chowder off the heat and serve.