Back to Wrangell

Back to Wrangell again this weekend for more king salmon fishing. Caught the south bound ferry at 2 pm from Juneau and 12 hours to Wrangell, with a 45 min. stop in Petersburg.

Beautiful weather the whole time in Wrangell. We fished Friday afternoon and into the evening. Hooligan (eulachon) were moving in to spawn. In one spot, we saw perhaps 100 bald eagles either flying with the gulls over the schooling hooligan, or in the trees along the shore line to rest until the next trip out. Eagles are not like gulls that can simply land on the water to rest. They need to get back to land to rest.

We saw one eagle that had either a large fish or bird that was halfway submerged into the water, working its way to shore. I would flap it’s wings in what I’d describe as a butterfly stroke, slowly swimming to shore. Wop, wop, wop went its wings in a steady, moderate speed motion. It looked like it wasn’t making much headway from a distance, but when we go up close, we saw it was steadily making progress to shore. We never did see what it had caught. As it was headed to the beach with some 50 eagles all in the trees or on the driftwood resting, I wondered if they would all fly down to try to steal the swimming eagle’s catch when he got to shore. The eagle would be dog-tired, and probably have a hard time fending off food snatchers.

We never got a strike all weekend. A few other boats were out each day, and we heard of one fish a day caught somewhere. The weather was nice – probably the high 20’s or 30’s, with the sun and ever lengthening days pouring in the cabin windows, keeping us plenty warm.

Back on the ferry on Sunday for the 12 hour journey home, again with a stop in Petersburg. I called my friend there and told him not to come down at the late hour, since I had no fish to give him like I did the last trip down. He’d been watching the NCAA tournament, and gave me the updates.

Like the Game Dinner, the Wrangell king salmon derby in May is a big deal, with people thinking and talking about it all year. I hope to make it down. Sure would be nice to put some king salmon away in the freezer for a change. Although it’s cold, I expect the hooters to start hooting in the next few weeks, and look forward to my first hunt.

Mark Stopha
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801
www.GoodSalmon.com