First Day of Fishing

  • A big beautiful Ugashik River red/sockeye salmon

    The Alaska Dep. of Fish & Game opened fishing today from 12:30pm-10:30pm so we decided to see if the rumored early salmon run had started to nose into the river yet. We chose to fish near the mouth of the Ugashik river because this early in the year the salmon may not have started to push up stream and are instead milling about in the mouth of the river and in the open water beyond. Tom Slate was good enough to allow us to travel with him so we could all be safe–safety in numbers is the thinking. Although there was no sun, the day was lovely nonetheless. Despite being the edge of the infamous Bering sea, the seas were mostly calm and no rain fell.

    The challenge with fishing “the outside” is that we have no screw anchors there (our normal method for attaching one side of our net to the shore) and the weather can be challenging. Thankfully the seas were calm so we were able to drop an anchor near shore for the inside of our net, then run the net out to sea and drop two more anchors to hold it in place. When the seas are high, placing the shore-side anchor can be tough as the seas are breaking right where the anchor needs to be. We almost were swamped last year doing this. The reason we need to be near shore at all is a Dep. of Fish and Game law that dictates setnet inside buoys need to be less than 1,000 feet from the 18 foot mean high tide line. With such large beaches this is a challenging regulation to follow.

    After that first hit of fish we caught just a few more over the next few hours––just enough excitement to keep us entertained. It really is thrilling to see the net light up with salmon!

    In other news, a tender showed up with some of the lumber I had shipped up from Seattle for my new sauna. We spent most of yesterday carrying heavy bundles from the boat up the beach to the cabin. We haven’t bathed in 10 days and we still have to build the sauna before we can have a bath! There shouldn’t be any fishing allowed tomorrow, so I will get to work on that. We also have some nets to work on. The net work never ends!

    My crewman, Obie, says it’s tradition to kiss the first fish of the season.

    This old salmon cannery from the first part of the 20th century has fallen down in the weather and the remains are a perfect roost for bald eagles.

    Tom Slate has fished on the Ugashik River for almost 25 years.

    There are just a hand full of vehicles in Pilot Point and I think this might be the most recent registration.


    June 20th, 2011 | Traveler | No Comments |

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