The Atlantic salmon is known as the King of Fish. In the hierarchy of the river’s hidden world, it is top dog — swift and powerful, unpredictable and elusive, a sleek, stunning manifestation of nature’s grand design. Throughout the history of angling, for all who cast a fly, Salmo salar has been a shining prize. But for some, the salmon is more. For some, the Atlantic salmon is an object of obsession whose draw is so complete as to haunt every waking thought and fantasy. These most avid and passionate anglers are called “salmon junkies.”
The last stronghold for wild Atlantic salmon lies in a remote corner of northwest Russia. Here, above the Arctic Circle in a vast and largely inaccessible land, a network of rivers remains largely intact — free from power dams, fish hatcheries and other interfering inventions of the developed world. Here, salmon exist as they have for millennia, each year returning from the sea to create a new generation. Similarly, each year from May to October, dedicated salmon junkies from the world over gather along these rivers to leave modern life behind, to live simply on the taiga and to pursue the King of Fish.
But the call goes beyond sport and relaxation; the exercise is not merely escape or privileged leisure. To be a dedicated salmon angler today, in the throes of the 21st Century, is to make a statement. For many, salmon angling has given birth to an environmental perspective and has enlivened a fight for cause. To search for wild salmon is to also champion the future of wild salmon and the health of the places they live. It is to foster and encourage efforts to preserve nature’s richness and its many wonders for our descendants.
We are Salmon Junkies is a mind-blowing, 60-minute ride into a world of Steffen Juhl, one of salmon angling’s most compelling characters and a bona fide salmon junkie. The film follows Juhl’s seasonal “lifecycle” and in so doing offers a fascinating look into an international subculture united in pursuit, protection and celebration of the iconic Atlantic salmon.
For anglers of all stripes — for anyone who cares about the future of Earth’s last wilderness places and their free-roaming inhabitants — for anyone enthralled with the magic of the natural world — We are Salmon Junkies is a must-see film.