Life in Alaska Blog

Fall Seafood Bonanza

Jeff and I went fishing at low tide Friday morning.  He picked me up at 7 am and I had to be back for a 10 am meeting.  We drove to the trailhead a few miles from the house, put on our chest waders, and headed down the trail and out to Gastineau Channel.  I was surprised we didn’t see any one else.  Jeff said he’d been out the day before and had not seen many fish nor caught any, so I thought maybe the run was about over.

Jeff motioned to a spot directly across from the trail head.  I sort of wanted to go back to where we were last week, but thought what the heck.  As we got closer, I could see some fish finning and swirling in the water.   Jeff went to the top of the little run of knee deep water, which was about as deep as any pool would be at low tide.  I fished the lower part.  It took a while but I finally got the hang of it, and got my first one.  Then another one.  And another. And another.  We got 11 by 9 am.  I brought a big rubber backpack, and the small one with my fishing gear.  I put 7 fish in plastic bags in the big bag, and four in the little one.  The big bag was like packing a deer with all the weight.  Jeff took the smaller pack.

We slogged up to his truck and then headed to the house.  We’d done this last week and so soon had the cleaning table set up.  Jeff hosed off the fish, I dressed them, then Jeff rinsed them again and put them into a cooler.  Jeff took half the fish and I gave my half of the catch away.  I’ve got enough fish in the freezer and canned in jars, but the fish left in the channel aren’t gonna catch themselves.

I told Andrew what had happened and as he had the next day off, he was headed there.  I was going to the cabin to check the crab pots and would have taken people deer hunting, but had no takers.

On the way over to the cabin, I realized I’d forgot the bait, even though I went up to the freezer to get it, but by the time I got to the freezers I was doing something else and forgot.

Ron’s little round pot had 5 crab in it.  With nothing to rebait it, I kept it aboard.  The next pot seemed overly heavy, even for a commercial sized pot.  When I got it to the surface I realized why.  There were 20 crab in it.   Since I could only keep 20 a day, I left 5 in the pot to pull it on the way home tomorrow.

I reset the pot, motored to the easy out, offloaded the crab, and pulled the boat out to deep water on the clothes line haulout.  In addition to the bait, I didn’t bring any gloves.  I cleaned the 20 crab and both hands were bleeding when I finished.  I hauled a 5 gallon bucket full of crab halves in each hand up to the cabin, where I steamed them in two batches.

With the first real rain forecast in nearly a month, I used water from the rain catchment to steam the crab and clean all the dishes since I anticipated the rain would refill all the water I could use.

The next morning I split kindling wood to fill the box and did a cleaning of the cabin.  I pulled the pot on the way home and now had 7 in the pot.  I stopped at Bob and Laura’s on the way home and gave them three.  I called Lorraine, who had company in town, to come get the other four.

I asked Andrew if he went fishing.  He’d caught 12 this morning.  It took him an hour to catch the fish then 2 hours to clean and haul them by himself to his car.  He said he was the only person fishing he could see.  Then he went to work at noon.  He was pretty happy being an Alaskan all by himself.

The Alaskan Temne

My Sierra Leone friend Andrew caught his first salmon on his own from the beach here last night.  We are in the midst of a big coho salmon return to our hatchery (called DIPAC) and the fish are really big this year.  Andrew went down the area the fish were milling near the fish ladder… Continue Reading

Cabin Time

Andrew finally was in a position to spend the night at the cabin.  He works two full time jobs.  So there’s rarely a day off.  If he didn’t have to sleep, he’d have 3 full time jobs.  That’s what opportunity in Alaska means for an immigrant.    He saw his father murdered by rebels in… Continue Reading