Author Archives: Mark Stopha

Fishing with John

Just back from 2 weeks in Craig with my 15 yr old nephew from Pittsburgh who has been up before. Smilin John and his buddy Billy met me in Craig for fishing in late July. The boys fished Eagle Creek and Angel Lake and caught lots of trout, dolly varden and salmon. We went gillnetting with Brian for an opening. Good experience for the boys but not their favorite I don’t think. Billy went home after a week so just me and John the second week.

The next day was my favorite. Kevin and George joined Brian, John and I to move a floathouse. The float logs are aged and need to be replaced soon, but the house on top is in great shape and will be an incredible luxury to hunt and trap out of if it all works out as planned. We moved the floathouse with one boat pulling and the smaller boat pushing. The next day we went king salmon fishing on the outside waters right at the big ocean. We caught 7 kings and a few cohos and black rockfish. Lots of humpback whales there amongst the charter boats and us. That night we went with Ellen on bear patrol at her friend’s place. Bears were raising hell with the friend’s chickens and bees as not many berries and no fish in the creek yet.

John and I went trolling with Mike and Cheryl for a day. I hadn’t been on a troller for 10 years or so but it was like riding a bike putting out the gear and bringing it in and landing and cleaning fish. Next day we split firewood with Ellen. They have a splitter but I felt no less of a workout bulldogging huge rounds to the splitter, where Ellen ran the splitter and John threw the wood on the stack. They burn 24 inch logs in their wood furnace, and even split the pieces are heavy. The next day 6 of us went salmon and halibut fishing. We didn’t have as much luck getting salmon with just one king but several cohos and black bass. The whales were right next to the boat this trip.

Halibut was a different story. Before long we had 8 hogs on the deck, and some yelloweye. Luckily we had lots of hands so the butchering went quickly when we got back to town. Took John to the plane the next morning and saw a bear in Klawock and a buck cross the road as we got to the airport. John was a tired pup after another trip of a lifetime. At 15 he’s an old hand at flying all the way back to Pittsburgh by himself. I got another window put in the container house this trip, and I helped Brian put in most of the septic lines and tank for our place right up to the last minute to my plane at 5pm. Won’t be too much longer and we’ll be able to use the container house. The freezer I sent down from Juneau with Brian’s nieces worked great and a welcome addition. At the Ketchikan airport I met the daugher (and niece) of sisters from Sand Point I knew at UAF. I’d known her as a child and she looks just like her mom now, and as talkative as her mom and aunt. We were about the only people in the airport waiting area and talked for half an hour   She said she’s glad she can get her parents flights now after they’ve been so good to her. How many kids say that? A great trip. Whale watch boat driving tomorrow and back to cubicle hell on Monday.

Old Trucks

The bearing went on Ted’s 1986 F250 diesel last week.  Sara and I were on our way to a roadkill deer for the foodbank when without touching the brakes, the rear drivers side tire locked up going about 45 a mile from the house.  It freed up, and we nursed it back to the house.… Continue Reading