What is Leader Creek looking for in prospective employees?

Being a fish processor is not easy. Working 12 to 16 hours every day for weeks on end is difficult.  We are looking for job applicants who have a strong work ethic, the discipline to get out of bed and get to work on time, and the drive to do quality work day in and day out. During peak season, there are no days off. It will not be easy. You will be tired, your muscles will ache, and your feet will hurt. We need people who are ready, willing, and able to work through the cold, wet conditions and long days that are inherent to fish processing.

Ideal candidates for employment also work well with others.  Leader Creek hires people of all ages and all walks of life.  You will be working with, eating with, and living in close proximity to the same people every day.  It is imperative that you be able to do so respectfully. This means observing quiet hours, cleaning up after yourself in the mess hall and living quarters, respecting other people’s property, and all the other little things that foster a healthy, cooperative working and living environment. We need team players.

While we do not require any specific processing-related skills, we do need individuals who can learn quickly and who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.  In short, Leader Creek Fisheries is looking for individuals who have a positive attitude, who work hard, and who do good work in the company of others. If you possess these qualities, then we are looking for you!

Why should I work at Leader Creek?  What’s in it for me?

First and foremost it’s the money, and the key to making money is OVERTIME. The average employee can expect to work 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days per week through the peak of our season. This means the average person works approximately 100 hours per week during peak, which generally lasts 2 – 3 weeks. On either side of the peak, hours vary considerably. There can be days with no work, and other days with 12 hours of work or more. While there are no guarantees in the fish business, it has been our experience that employees who come prepared to work – and who work hard when there is work to be done – go away with good money.

You will also have very few expenses at Leader Creek, so your earnings go further. Unlike some Alaskan processing companies, we do not charge for room and board.  All meals are provided by Leader Creek, and we provide airfare to and from Seattle or anywhere in Alaska.  It is important to note that these benefits are only available for employees who finish their contract (i.e. work through the end of the season).  If you quit early, $15/day for room and board are deducted from your final paycheck for the number of days you were in camp.  You are also responsible for purchasing your own ticket home.

But!  There is more to Leader Creek than the money. Working with people from across the country and around the world, you will meet and make friends with people you simply would not encounter otherwise.  You will share in an exciting Alaskan experience together, as you will be working in a special and remote part of the world.  Naknek possesses a beauty and culture all its own. You will likely see a bear and perhaps caribou; bald eagles are common. You will have time to walk along the river, see wildlife, and watch fishermen at work. At the end of the season, if time permits, you may even choose to take a float plane to nearby Katmai National Park where you can see Alaskan brown bears from miles around catch salmon at Brooks Falls.  Working a summer in Alaska does not just provide an opportunity to make money; it provides opportunities to go places and see and do things that would otherwise be less accessible.

What is the pay like?

First time processors are offered an hourly wage above the Alaska minimum wage. Overtime is earned on all hours in excess of 8 hours in a single day and 40 hours in a single work week. The overtime rate is 1.5 times the hourly wage. For example, if you work 14 hours each day for one week then you will have worked a total of 98 hours. Of this, 40 hours would be paid at the straight time rate, and 58 hours would be paid at the overtime rate.  For answers to more specific questions about pay, send us an email at info@leadercreekfisheries.com.

When is the season?

Leader Creek’s processing schedule coincides with the annual Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run, the specific dates for which can vary from year to year. Generally, the season begins around June 15th – 25th and ends around July 25th – August 15th.  There is no way for us to know when a given season will begin or end; we start when the fish show up and we leave when they leave.

Who can work at Leader Creek Fisheries?  Who is eligible for employment?

Before you can begin work at Leader Creek Fisheries you will need to sign a contract and complete a Department of Homeland Security I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form.  An I-9 requires you to provide authentic documentation (originals only – no photocopies) to verify your identity and eligibility to work. Documents satisfying the identity and eligibility requirements are listed below. Documents from List A establish both identity and employment eligibility. Documents in List B establish only identity, and documents from List C establish only employment eligibility. If you can not provide a document from List A, then you must provide one document from List B and one document from List C.  If you have any questions, or for more information about acceptable I-9 documents, please visit the USCIS webpage.

List A Documents
(1) Current US Passport (2) Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551) (3) Unexpired foreign passport with I-551 stamp (4) Unexpired Employment Authorization Document that contains a photograph (Form I-766, I-688, I-688A, I-688B) (5) Unexpired Foreign Passport with an unexpired Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94, bearing the same name as the passport and containing an endorsement of the alien’s nonimmigrant status, if that status authorizes the alien to work for the employer

List B Documents
(1) Driver’s license or ID card issued by a state or outlying possession of the United States provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, sex, height, eye color, and address (2) ID card issued by federal, state, or local government agencies or entities provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, sex, height, eye color, and address (3) School ID card with a photograph (4) Voter’s registration card (5) U.S. Military card or draft record (6) Military dependent’s ID card (7) U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card (8) Native American tribal document (9) Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority.

List C Documents
(1) U.S. social security card issued by the Social Security Administration (other than a card stating it is not valid for employment) (2) Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545 or Form DS- 1350) (3) Original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state, county, municipal authority or outlying possession of the United States bearing an official seal (4) Native American tribal document (5) U.S. Citizen ID Card (Form I-197) (6) ID Card for use of Resident Citizen in the United States (Form I-179) (7) Unexpired employment authorization document issued by DHS (other than those listed under List A above).

What is it like at Leader Creek?

The main plant is where most of an employee’s time is spent.  It is often cold inside and it is always noisy.  It is a busy space with people, product, and equipment moving around constantly. All employees must pay close attention to their job and the work going on around them.  The plant is a large facility divided into different departments: ­ fish house, fillet room, egg room, and packing. Each department has its own supervisors and staff who are responsible for their part of the production process. Employees in each department are trained in specific jobs and are often trained to do more than one job. The department and job to which each employee is assigned is fully at the discretion of the supervisors and leads in those departments. There can be no guarantees about job placement.

In addition to the main plant, the Leader Creek campus has a number of bunkhouses with rooms that accommodate between two and six people each. We have limited accommodations for couples.  Bathroom and shower facilities are shared and are situated within or adjacent to the bunkhouses. Laundry service is provided for all employees once per week. There is a mess hall adjacent to the production area.  A break room with TV is located in the upper level of the mess hall and is open to employees at all times. There is also a DVD player & projector where movies are shown during breaks in fish production. The mess hall also serves as a “Hot Spot,” allowing limited wireless internet access (no skyping/downloading – just for emailing) to all employees with compatible laptops and/or wireless devices. Please note that in rural Alaska wifi is not always available.

What does Leader Creek expect of its employees?

Leader Creek expects its employees to arrive in their point-of-hire city (usually Seattle) on time and to make their connecting flight to King Salmon/Naknek. Employees are expected to report to work on time, every day; tardiness is not tolerated. While at work in the production area, employees are expected to follow Leader Creek’s safety and production guidelines, including our “Good Manufacturing Practices.”  Finally, we expect all employees to complete their contracts.

While we make every effort to bring employees in only when needed, it is common to have a few days (and sometimes more) without work at the beginning of the season. This is due to the fact that we do not control the fish and their arrival in Bristol Bay.  Using historical data, we make the best estimate we can as to when fish are expected to arrive, and we base employee arrival times on this estimate.  All employees should expect some idle time at the beginning of the season. This is normal and true of all Alaskan fish processing companies.

What should I bring?

  • Two forms of ID. Please review the Who can work at Leader Creek Fisheries? section for more information. If you have any questions about what types of identification are required, call us or send an email to info@leadercreekfisheries.com. We cannot pay you without proof of identity and work eligibility.

  • Sleeping bag or a warm blanket. We provide a fitted sheet, a top sheet, a pillow with pillow case, and one (1) small blanket. You will need additional bedding.

  • Battery-powered alarm clock. Power outages do occur, and you do not want to be late for work.

  • Old t-shirts, sweatshirts, jeans, Carhartts, and other clothes you don’t mind getting filthy or throwing away at the end of the season. Please bring enough warm clothes to last you at least 7 days, as laundry service is provided once weekly.

  • Warm hat (beanie) and/or baseball cap. While these cannot replace hair nets (which must be worn in the plant at all times), many people prefer to wear hats over their hair nets.

  • Wool socks.

  • Long underwear. You’ll be so glad you did! However, spandex is not recommended because it does not allow your skin to breathe.

  • Towel.

  • Shower shoes (flip flops).

  • Toiletries. We DO NOT sell soap, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, shaving cream, razors, lotion, hair products, or chap stick of any kind.

  • Ibuprofen.

  • A summer’s supply of any prescription medication you take. There is no pharmacy in Naknek. If, for any reason, you are unable to bring a large enough quantity to last the entire summer, make arrangements ahead of time with someone from home who can mail your medication to you.

  • Vitamins, EmergenC, cough drops, cold medication (like DayQuil). Please be prepared to fight cold or flu-like symptoms in the event that they arise. It is worth noting that a bottle of DayQuil cost around $20 in Naknek in 2013. It pays to bring your own.

  • Books, board games, playing cards, and other means of entertaining yourself in constructive ways. There are often a few days with little or no work before the fish arrive. DO NOT plan to rely on the Internet as your sole means of entertainment. You will be sorely disappointed by the amount bandwidth available in rural Alaska.

  • DVDs. If you do bring your laptop, be advised that Leader Creek cannot guarantee Internet access. Furthermore, streaming content is not allowed. Watching movies and TV shows is a good way to pass the time, but be prepared and bring your own.

  • A lock for your suitcase. Our rooms do not have personal lockers. If you have any personal items that you would like to be secure, bring a lock that fits your suitcase so that you can use it as an impromptu locker.

  • Calling card. CELL PHONES DO NOT WORK IN NAKNEK. Also, please phone your mother upon arrival.

  • Knee brace if you have need for one.

What is the mailing address in Alaska?

Your Name
c/o Leader Creek Fisheries
PO Box 449
Naknek, AK  99633

Does Leader Creek hire deckhands for fishing boats?


Other Useful Information

  • We will provide minimal bedding. You NEED to bring a sleeping bag or warm blanket.

  • Standing in one spot for hours on end is hard on your body, especially your feet and back. Bring ibuprofen and be sure to drink LOTS OF WATER during the season.

  • You will be living in dormitory-style housing. If you are coming with friends or a significant other, we are more than happy to room you together as space permits. Couples will be housed in two-person rooms as space permits. Our largest room houses 6 employees, so if there is a large group of you, we may need to divide you among several rooms that are in close proximity to each other.

  • Our pay period begins on the 2nd of each month and ends on the 1st of each month. Checks will be distributed between the 6th and the 8th of each month. For example, if you work between June 2nd and July 1st, you will receive a check between July 6th and July 8th for that pay period.

  • You will leave with your final paycheck. For example, if your last day of work is July 20th, you will not need to wait until August 6th-8th for your paycheck; we will send you home with it.

  • There is a Wells Fargo bank in King Salmon, which is 15 miles from Naknek.

  • Candy, cigarettes, and snacks are sold in the plant store during break times. We keep a tab open for each employee and deduct purchases from paychecks.

  • Rain gear and boots are provided by Leader Creek Fisheries free of change, although this gear must be returned at the end of season. The boots and rain gear that Leader Creek provides are adequate for the job. If you have a rain gear preference and are interested in purchasing rain gear and boots yourself, you are welcome to do so at your own expense. Please make sure that you avoid rain gear that is made of thin plastic and has only heat welded seams. This type of rain gear is very likely to fail early on, leaving you cold, wet, and in dire need of duct tape. XtraTuff boots can be purchased in the company store, but quantity is limited. Regardless of the type of boot you buy, you should consider a removable insole to provide support, insulate you from cold concrete, and absorb sweat. Buying two pairs of wool insoles will allow you to wear one pair while the other pair is drying in your room. Changing socks and insoles midway through a shift can be a wonderful experience; dry feet are happy feet. For more information about rain gear and boots, please email info@leadercreekfisheries.com.

  • Please feel free to bring your own rain gear and boots if you already own them, or if you know ahead of time that you’d like to have higher quality gear than what we provide.

  • There are bears in Naknek, but they are rarely seen near the plant and bunkhouses. It is fairly common, however, to see them along the river’s edge early in the morning and late in the evening. They are not a constant threat, but can be encountered when walking around, so all employees are advised to use caution when out exploring.