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Alaska Angler Unearths Rare Fossil While Salmon Fishing

An Alaska angler made an incredible discovery last month that his parents also found in the same spot years ago.

Angler Andrew Harrelson was fishing for salmon last month with his fiancé and two daughters on Alaska’s Fish River when he discovered a relic from the distant past. He was fishing near a bend in the river where his parents discovered a wooly mammoth tusk nearly two decades before. Little did Harrelson know that he was about to make the same discovery.

Sometimes the fish don’t bite, so Harrelson put down his rod and paddled up to the muddy bank where his parents made the discovery to see if he would have more luck spotting a fossil. Harrelson said that in only took 10 seconds to spot a strange stick-like object hidden underneath a root.

“I knew it wasn’t a stick because there was no limbs, no branches coming off. It was really smooth,” Harrelson told “I told myself, ‘That’s a tusk.’”

According to the Alaska Dispatch, Harrelson later returned with a relative to dig out the tusk and take it back to his home in Nome.

He hasn’t decided what to do with the tusk yet, but his parents joke that it should be used as the arch during his wedding. His parents sold their tusk to a dealer, who in turn lost it in a break in. Harrelson’s parents only received $1,500 for the tusk, even though a mammoth tusk is worth top dollar to some collectors.

As for that bend in the river where Harrelson and his parents found the tusks, the locals believe it was a mud trap where animals became trapped alive thousands of years ago.

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Alaska Angler Unearths Rare Fossil While Salmon Fishing