Alaska Fish Harvest

Just got back from dipnetting on the Kenai River.  We got 72 for 4 of us, which is the lowest in 3 years but still pretty darn good.  Keith had taken two trips for single digits days before, and the fish just hit the river a tide or two before we went so we lucked out.  I had to go from Anchorage to Cordova before heading to Juneau, so I rented a vac packer in Anchorage from Alaska Butcher supply and it worked great to fillet and pack the fish at Todd’s and put them in his work freezer until Sara goes up in a few weeks and can bring them back.     I went out on a boat in southwest Prince William Sound for several days, and when we weren’t working, we caught some rockfish.  A school of coho came in under the boat when we were at anchor and we got several of those mooching with salmon flashabou hootchies and flies on a banana sinker. As we were checking a string of shrimp pots, we caught squat for shrimp in the first 3 pots clipped to the long line. I could see the 4th pot coming up and a flash of white around it I thought might be an octopus.  When it got to the surface, up popped the head of a 100 lb halibut.  From the looks of it, the fish was caught on an (illegal) three hook sport fishing set up, and broke off.  When he went sniffing around the shrimp pot bait, one of the two free hooks not in his mouth got caught on the shrimp pot. I got in last night and Kurt picked me up as Sara is still south playing.  He said fishing was good here, and he got a big king salmon, too.  I vac packed fish in the evening and dropped off salmon fillets at the fish smoker this morning.  Lorraine and Michelle said they took their kids fishing here over the weekend and got 9 coho.   Sounds like a decent year for salmon in most of Alaska, although our local Taku River sockeye return is not so hot.  Maybe the fish are late like they were in Bristol Bay. –

Bring your Xtratuffs, people!

I entertained 5 off the cruise ship, 3 of which who were sisters that were friends of my cousins back in Olean, NY. We went fishing and caught salmon steady for an hour. Then took one of the fish to our cabin for lunch. The pilgrims all got wet feet on the way in to our cabin. It wasn’t that they forgot to bring boots. They didn’t even bring them on their 2 week cruise which ends with a land portion up in Fairbanks. One of them had some plastic bag booties to go over their sneakers, which I knew would not make it to the cabin. I asked them that if we happened to meet anyone along the trail to our cabin, to please indicate they were not with me. This cannot stand, people. It’s turning a cruise into Disney World where each stop is another ride. The cruise lines should charge everyone an extra $100 and include Xtratuffs in their travel package. That way every time people leave the ship in their boots they’ll be ready for whatever weather or conditions happen, rain or shine. Xtratuffs are comfortable to walk in, so they can shop all they want and make a fashion statement at the same time in some of the get-ups we see around town. Happily, my new friends were not put off in the least. They loved the salmon and scenery and Alaskan harassment for choice of footware and tolerated the wet feet. Pretty hard to be too demanding if you grow up in Allegany, NY. I hope they come back.

More blueberries

Went to our cabin and picked about 12 lbs of blueberries with a berry rake in 3-4 hours and didn’t walk more than 20 yards to get most of them they are so thick.  I’m starting to notice the differences between blueberries and blue huckleberries, a main one being that blueberries come off the stem alot easier than huckleberries.  Checked the crab pot on the way in and the way out and nothing so moved it to town.  Pouring rains here but not wind. –

blueberry season

Switched to blueberries now.  Picked 12 cups in 2.5 hours.  Kind of a downer after getting 20+ lbs of salmonberries in the same time.  Funny how there are lots of blueberries where I went but no berries on the plants in the forest behind our house.  Maybe they will show later.  80 degrees today and way too hot for me.  Jeff and I fished for kings from 4a to 6a for nada. Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

Salmon Everywhere

Kurt and I headed out the 4th to fish the tip of Admiralty as I’d heard some cohos were being caught. We left at 4 am and were fishing about 445 on a flat calm morning all by ourselves. We had continuous action bringing home 3 coho and 6 pinks and we released a few pinks and lost several fish. The first coho was about 14 lbs. Fed the whole crowd at Jeff and Teri’s 4th party with fish to spare. There were pink salmon, mostly, jumping as far as you could see in any direction. Funny how it seems all we hear about are poor salmon returns, etc and we are looking at yet another banner year this year, I think. And by banner, I mean runs as big as they’ve ever been in some areas since fishing began in the late 1800’s. We’ll see. Today, I got around to some chores. I figured out how to replace Sara’s van’s motorized window crank with a manual one after the 2nd motor went kaput. Took a couple hours of figuring it out but got it to work and now we’ll do the passenger side, too. Also getting the house back together after repairing for rot in the spring. I had it replaced from studs, insulation, sheathing and tar paper, and just needed to replace the siding. I bought it on Friday and cut it today and Sara is painting it so should get it up soon. 70+ degrees today and near 80 yesterday. What a summer.

Salmon berries waning

Picked for 2 hours last night and got about 7 lbs of berries. Tried a new spot as it looked like someone may have been in the honey hole. The new spot was not as good as the earlier ones. Few berry bushes with fewer berries and berries getting alot softer, although still sweet. Found out that stinging nettles look a lot like salmon berries. Got stung on my hands, which are still numb this morning. Also learned I should let the berries strain overnight. After straining off about a pint of juice from the 7 lbs in the usual fashion last night as I’d done before vac packing, I put this batch of berries in the fridge, instead of vac packing and freezing, as Sara wants to make something with them and rhubarb for the 4th of July party at Jeff’s. This morning there was another pint of juice under the strainer.