Business

Why this Alaska fishing family is in Boise for a few more days, selling its catch

Louie’s Wild Alaskan Seafood in Boise

Alaskan fisherman Louie Holst explains why seafood caught, cleaned and frozen at sea beats any meal not served fresh off of the line.
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Alaskan fisherman Louie Holst explains why seafood caught, cleaned and frozen at sea beats any meal not served fresh off of the line.

Louie’s Wild Alaskan Seafood has become a yearly — but fleeting — tradition in Boise. Each year, fisherman Louie Holst sells salmon and other frozen seafood his family catches in Alaska from a small, portable building along a Boise thoroughfare.

This year, Holst, 44, is posted at 10577 W. Fairview Avenue, near the intersection with Five Mile Road, in the parking lot of the former Kmart.

He has sold out of king salmon, lingcod, sockeye and salmon burgers, but there are still vacuum-packed filets of silver salmon, spot prawns and other items for sale. He plans to head back to the family’s Alaska home in Sitka after closing this Saturday, Dec. 3. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Holt’s sister lives in Boise. He decided to turn his visits to see her into annual business trips. He staffs his portable building until he sells out, typically in three to four weeks.

Louie’s Wild Alaskan Seafood sells salmon filets starting at $8 per pound for pink salmon and up to $24 per pound for white king salmon. The prices are higher than typical prices at Treasure Valley grocery stores, which usually have depleted selections this time of year for wild salmon.

All of the seafood is caught from his 52-foot troller, the New Venture, and cleaned and frozen at sea, preserving freshness. Family members make up the crew: wife Karina Holst, 40 and children Luke, 17, Mark, 15, Faith, 13 and Peter, 10.

He sells to several markets, including processors in Sitka, a fish broker and restaurants. But Holst said his favorite is selling directly to customers.

“It is rewarding to meet and talk with the people eating our fish,” he said. “So many of our consumers want to know where their food comes from, so we feel like this is good for everyone.”

Holst will spend winter and most of the spring maintaining his boat before the fishing season begins.

“It takes good care of us when we take good care of it,” he said.

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