Fishing with Ron and Roy

Ron and I went to our annual subsistence fishing north of town.  We use his brother Roy’s boat, and stayed with Roy and his wife Brenda and her son Zeke.  We arrived by ferry with a couple 1/2 totes of ice, our pressure bleeding equipment, raingear, gloves, and knives.  We headed right to the river with Roy.   My fishing friend Len gave us an old commercial sockeye salmon gillnet, and we had cut chunks off to subsistence fish last year, so that’s the net we used.  It was a wonderful day as it always seems to be in the Chilat Valley.  It was pouring rain in Juneau, and about 70 miles north there were a few patches of blue sky, and when we got to the river it was high overcast and nice.  We were the only ones on the river.

Our first drift was our best for I think 9 sockeye.  We got a few fish every drift.  Sometimes we think of better ways to fish, etc., and then I remember I don’t want to catch them all in a couple drifts.  The fun is spending the hours on the river, usually alone as we were today.   As we brought fish into the boat, we would break a gill and bleed them in water.

When we were done, we headed back to Roy’s with about 32 sockeye.  Ron headed and pressure bled the fish, while I cleaned, rinsed and iced them.  We work well together after doing this for several years.

Brenda made a fabulous dinner of halibut and North Douglas chocolate cake, and we heard of Zekes busy summer deckhanding for a charter boat. The weather was so nice this summer they only had 2 days they couldn’t go because of wind.

The next day, just Ron and I went and got 14 more fish.  We repeated the cleaning, and there were still several hours left so I got Roy’s extension ladder and started picking the cherries from his tree, as he and Brenda had already put up what they wanted for the year.  The cherries left were the high-up ones, and I picked most of what was left on the tree.  Tonight, I’m back home making cherry rhubarb jam, after pitting all the cherries a few nights ago.

Ron and I filleted and vac packed the fish he wanted to fresh-freeze, and I took a bunch later to Jerry’s Meats for Scott to smoke for us.

Off to Prince William Sound tomorrow for a week of field work, and then time to get ready for moose and elk hunting in Sept.  We sure have a good life here.

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

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