Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer King Salmon Opener


These are a couple of pictures that I took from the first king salmon opening outside. When I say outside I mean out on the ocean, away from the Inside Passage here in Southeast Alaska. I always hate having to go out there. Almost always there is a swell, which in itself isn't so bad, but if it's a westerly, which it often is, and there is any wind on top of it, which there usually is, then it can be miserable. The area I fish is such that I have to be right in the trough of the waves, which means I'm constantly fighting to maintain my balance while at the same time watching out for other boats and pulling the fish aboard. It makes an otherwise enjoyable experience a real pain. In order to get to the outside, I have to pass through South Inian Pass, which is also a real challenge for me. The idea is to try to time your passage through on the outgoing tide, so you aren't fighting the current. The bad part can be if there is a westerly wind blowing in Cross Sound, the waves have a tendency to build right at the entrance and it can be pretty scary. I don't much care to be scared, although a lot of people seem to enjoy it I guess, judging from all the rides in amusement parks and the horror movies that people watch. Maybe I could charge folks a bunch of money and they could go with me through South Pass for a good scary time.
The fish in the picture are some of the ones I caught the first day. That's why I have to go outside for the king opening in July- it can be pretty lucrative. I sold the fish to a buying scow in Lisianski Inlet. They anchor at a place called Ewe Ledge every year and all the fishermen know they are there. I like the stainless shute that they have. They wheel it right up to the boat and you toss your fish into it and then they weigh them up. It's an all girl crew which I guess is good for business. The process can be kind of slow, but it's convenient - plus they usually have some kind of baked goods to munch on while you wait. Last time it was chocolate cupcakes- Yum! All the fish on the shute are either coho or king salmon, with the exception of the brown one in the middle. He's a thirty two pound ling cod.
I took a picture of this sow brown bear and her cub in Mite Cove. It's just down the way from Ewe Ledge and I anchor there quite a bit when I'm fishing outside. She was pretty busy eating the tall grass at the edge of the cove and at one point she must have lost track of her cub because I could hear her calling it. The big boars will kill the cubs if they get a chance so that the females will come back in heat, so the sows have to be pretty diligent.
Down Lisianski Inlet a few miles is the fishing village of Pelican. It's fallen on pretty hard times lately, and although I don't know all the particulars, I think they are trying to adjust to the changing conditions. At one point Pelican was a major fishing port and to the best of my knowlege the fish plant is still there, but whether or not they are buying fish now I can't say.
One of the more popular places to go in Pelican is Rosie's Bar and Grill. I've never been inside myself, but I need to check it out. I understand that the ceiling is full of names, but in order to write your name there, you have to stand on the bar and drop your pants. Guess my name will never be up there, but it would be nice to visit none the less.

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