This was way up in the Pastolik River, I think it was after the fish going in. We don't really see these often and it was very unusual to see one way up in a river that only connects to lakes and fresh water creeks coming from the mountains. We didn't take any pictures, that was one fast swimmer, we didn't see it again after we lost it in the river.
The porpoise was gray looking in color and looked like about three to four feet in size when I saw it come up 3 times. There are several types of salmon that go up in there to swim up the fresh water creeks that go up to the mountains, summer chum, fall chum, humpy salmon and king salmon. Also pike fish and a couple of types of white fish, shee fish and arctic cisco. Sometimes bearded seals go way up in there too where we saw the porpoise but not very often and is a surprise to us when we do catch them up in there. We usually see these further down the river and they go after the fish that are in there, we do catch bearded seals for subsistence use that's why we get surprised to see them way up in the river. But to see something like a porpoise in there is so surprising.
This observation has been forwarded to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
There are two species of porpoise in Alaska, the Dall's porpoise and the Harbor porpoise. Dall's porpoise have black backs and white bellies, similar to the markings of killer whales. They generally travel in groups between 2-20, often seen riding the pressure wave created by the bows of ships, although they can travel very quickly on their own and can reach speeds of 35 mph. Dall's porpoise are found in coastal waters around Alaska, as far north as the Bering Sea, feeding primarily at night on a variety of prey that includes squid, capeline, lantern fish, and herring. These porpoise prefer deeper waters, as well as in sounds and inland passages. Source: Alaska Department of Fish and Game Dall's Porpoise Species Profile
Harbor porpoise are smaller than the Dall's porpoise, weighing about 120lbs as opposed to the Dall's 300 lbs, and are usually gray or dark brown. This porpoise species is often seen alone, feeding on cod, herring, pollock, sardine, whiting, and occasionally on squid or octopus. Harbor porpoise travel farther north than Dall's, and are sometimes seen in the Beaufort Sea during the ice free months. They favor more shallow waters, and are occasionally found in large rivers with, as well as in bays, estuaries, harbors, and fjords. Source: Alaska Department of Fish and Game Harbor Porpoise Species Profile. Erica Lujan