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Home Derby Info Derby Dedications

The 76th Golden North Salmon Derby is dedicated to:

Mike Erickson

by Doug Larson
Mike Erickson

Mike Erickson cares about community, he cares about family, he cares about friends, and he cares about the underprivileged and those in need. In short, Mike Erickson cares about people, and he finds great joy and satisfaction from helping others whenever and wherever heís able.

Born in Kent, Washington, Mike moved with his parents and brother to Petersburg when he was 12. Growing up, he enjoyed fishing and hunting with friends and family, and he especially enjoyed fishing for trout and salmon. His father, a commercial troller, had Mike out on the fishing grounds when Mike was just a teenager. When not fishing commercially with his dad, Mike was tromping along local streams in search of cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden char.

Mike married Petersburg-born Bonnie White and the couple had two sons, Jim and Jared. In 1981 Mike and Bonnie left Petersburg and moved with their sons to Fairbanks where Mike worked first on construction of the Alaska pipeline and later built roads and airports in communities along the Yukon River. He forged many friendships with locals along the Yukon and has maintained and cherished those friendships over the years.

With Mikeís aging mother living in Juneau, and with his roots in Southeast Alaska, Mike and Bonnie moved to Juneau in 1993. Mike embraced his early years in Juneau serving as caregiver to his mom and sharing memorable fishing outings with her. With their Scandinavian heritage, Mike and his mom enjoyed catching yellow eye rockfish, which they made into one of Scandinaviaís infamous delicacies, lutefisk!

It was during these early years in Juneau that Mike got interested in recreationally fishing for shrimp. He invested in a trawl and on weekends headed up Taku Inlet in search of the crustaceans. He recalls with a chuckle the number of sets he made before finally catching a single shrimp. Persisting, he eventually found the magic formula and became quite successful. With more shrimp than his family could use, Mike decided to find an outlet for selling his surplus and hopefully covering the cost of his outboard fuel. Ultimately, Mike decided to investigate creating his own seafood processing business. This eventually led to his creation of Alaska Glacier Seafoods. So why this name? Well, it turns out Mike had a friend in Petersburg who had created a business he named Alaskan Glacier Seafoods. As that business changed names, Mike asked his friend about using the name for his own business, with the minor modification of changing Alaskan to Alaska. With his friendís blessing, Alaska Glacier Seafoods (AGS) was created in Juneau in 1995. His oldest son, Jim, and friend Kristie (now Jimís wife) joined AGS in Late 1995. Mikeís youngest son, Jared, went on to dental school and is now a dentist in Juneau.

Mike & his granddaughter, Bergen,
riding bikes to Alaska Glacier Seafoods.

As AGS became established, Mike reached out to the Territorial Sportsmen, Inc. (TSI) to see about the possibility of buying derby-caught salmon. Not only did Mike offer to buy the fish at top dollar, but he also committed to cleaning the fish, something TSI had previously had to find volunteers to do. With Mikeís generous offer, AGS became the official fish buyer for the Golden North Salmon Derby in 2010. Over the years, Mike, his son Jim, and their staff have continued to pay top dollar for derby fish. They have also provided hundreds of totes of ice for anglers to cool and preserve their fish, and tenders for anglers to drop off fish at remote outlets on the derby grounds.

While Mikeís generosity to the derby would be noteworthy in and of itself, it doesnít stop there. Diagnosed with cancer in 2010, Mike spent several months in Seattle undergoing treatment. While there, he met children similarly undergoing cancer treatments. He was touched and has not forgotten the images of those children and their courage. In 2015, Mike turned his commute to work into a way to raise money for children battling cancer. From February to November 2015, Mike biked the 12 miles from his home to work and back, and with help from 29 contributors, mostly fishermen, he raised nearly $8,000 for Juneauís Cancer Connections. Incredibly, during those 10 months he biked 1,533 miles!

Over the years, Mike and AGS has formed close personal and working relationships with Costco, who is among their largest buyers. Mike is grateful for and proud of his relationship with Costco, the second largest retailer in the U.S. He credits integrity and reliability as the key ingredients to the long and healthy relationship. Since 2010, Mike has participated with Costco in its annual Golf Classic. All proceeds from the Classic have gone to Seattle Children's Hospital. The effort has raised over $11 million in the last year alone.

In 2020, with the Alaska Marine Highway System unable to provide regular and reliable ferry service to outlying communities, Mike and his staff voluntarily loaded one of their boats with food and other household goods and, free of charge, transported them to Angoon. ďI felt fortunate to be able to help friends, and thatísí what friends do for one another,Ē Mike says matter-of-factly about his generous outreach.

As for AGSís support for the Golden North Salmon Derby, Mike considers it a privilege to assist with what he calls ďa great community activity where friends and families can have fun together while raising money for a great cause.Ē ďItís all about community,Ē Mike says, ďitís great for relationships, its great for economy, itís great for Juneau, and Iím happy to contribute!Ē

It is with deep respect, admiration, and gratitude that the 2022 Golden North Salmon Derby Committee dedicates its 76th annual derby to Mike Erickson, a man of integrity, honesty, generosity, and caring. Thanks Mike!

 
 
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