Have you ever heard someone say "We caught a boatload of fish"? Not only have I heard someone say it, I have said it. While it is most often a fisherman's exaggeration, (except for commercial fishermen), last Tuesday my fishin' buddy and I actually caught a boatload of fish.
One of the local streams with a salmon run - Fish Creek - was opened to "Personal Use". That means that Alaska residents could take fish with dip nets in the river and gill nets in the marine waters within a quarter mile of the mouth. Once the escapement goals have been met, it is state law that the Department has to open the fishery to Personal Use. A dip net can't be larger than 5' in its largest dimension, and can't have mesh larger than 4.5" stretch. (Our nets were considerably smaller than that. They were ocean-fishing landing nets.) I don't recall the specs on the length and depth of the gill net, but the mesh size is also 4.5". The bag limit is 25 fish per head of household, and 10 for each additional member of the household. It's an annual limit. This particular fishery was open from 0600 to 2300 daily from one Saturday to the next.
Between us, the bag limit for Jim and me was 90 fish - 55 for me and 35 for him. The fishing was so good, we stopped when we thought we had "about 60". In fact we had 68. We also released about 20 or so that were too small or were Pink salmon. The fishery is for sockeye, coho, and pink salmon, but it's mostly a sockeye fishery. We didn't want to keep tiny Pinks. It took us two hours to boat those 68 fish.
We were using my little plastic johnboat - a Coleman Crawdad. It's almost 12' long and has a beam of about 4'. I put a little Minkota electric motor on it, and it is what we use for most of our fishing adventures on lakes here in The Valley.
Which brings me to "A boatload of fish". Here are some pictures of the proof of catching a boatload of fish.
Here's the mouth of the creek at high tide. (The best fishing is on the rising tide.)
Here's me "up to my knees in fish" as we finish up and are headed back upstream to my truck.
And here are a couple of the fish in the boat as we prepared to haul them up to my truck. This is about a mile upstream from where we were fishing. We had to line the boat the last quarter of a mile or so, and then haul them (and the boat) up a small hill to the truck.
I didn't finish processing my 34 fish 'till 2330 the NEXT night.