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Thread: A Boatload of Fish

  1. #1

    A Boatload of Fish

    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.


  2. #2
    I just had a second look at this thread and see 95 looks and no replies.

    From the perspective of one with Europe's, The British Isles, and Scandanavia's fishing conditions, I can imagine that this may seem "excessive" or "unsportsman-like".

    I can agree with the "unsportsman-like". There' great fun in it, but little "sport", and that's just fine by me. I try to avoid "sportsmen" whenever I can. However, I assure you it is anything but 'excessive'.

    The week's take by these "meat hunters" is about the same as the take from two commercial fishing boats for one 18-hour commercial opening, and the commercial season lasts four months and they get to fish 5 days a week and there are 300+ commercial fishing boats in The Inlet. Once escapement is reached, the commercial fishermen get to fish 24h per day, 7 days a week. Remember, they don't open the Personal Use fishery UNTIL all the fish needed to sustain the fishery ESCAPE the commercial fishermen and are upstream to spawn, and the the Personal Use fishery last only 7 days at the most. And lest you think this sort of harvest isn't sustainable, I would inform you that it's been going on for the last 61 years in this stream.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm neither 'defending' this activity nor am I 'lamenting' the lack of replies to the thread. Rather I am suggesting that one should try to keep one's eyes and ears and mind open when viewing another man's hunting and fishing 'culture'. With the exception of "sportsmen" and commercial enterprises, those of us that partake of our natural resources are kindred spirits wherever we hunt and fish, and most of us cares more for "the resource" than most regulators and "sportsmen", and certainly more than any commercial entity.


  3. #3
    That's a lot of salmon. Do you freeze or can most of it? Looks like an efficient way of filling the larder for the winter!

  4. #4
    Now that looks like fishing. Got to be better than thrashing the water with a fly and when you catch one you have to put it back.
    It is possible to net fish here in Sweden. I have a mate who nets a lot of fish and then smokes them. Plenty of Perch in our lakes and pike and we have Gös which i think are Zander?. Gös and perch are very good eating. Pike is OK if your hungery.

  5. #5

    Most of it gets canned (1 quart glass jars). Some get cut into steaks or fillets and then frozen, and some gets smoked.

    This, or one of the other 3 Personal Use fisheries around the state, supplies my fish larder for the year. A couple of caribou, or rarely a moose, supply the game meat for the year. This kind of "grocery shopping" means that the rest of my angling for the year is almost all 'catch-and-release'.

    One, long day of fish processing takes care of all I care to do for a year. Unless I catch a nice lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) or dolly varden/arctic charr (S. alpinus), I turn the fish I catch on rod and line loose. That's not as 'sportsmanlike' as it might seem. Most of the fish I catch are stocked rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). The fish that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game stock don't taste anything like wild fish do, and I prefer not to bother with eating them. There's a saying around here: "Just say no to drugs. Don't eat farmed fish."

    Pike is OK if your hungery. Reminds me of a story... But I'll make it short.


    I had caught a couple of nice northern pike (Esox lucius) and decided to eat them. The fillets were nice-sized, and I simply cooked them like I did every other fish I caught - rolled in whipped egg and dredged in flour and seasoning. I couldn't gag 'em down.

    Some considerable time later, a friend was telling me that his favorite breakfast was pike fillets with a lynx (lynx lynx) 'drumstick'. First, the thought of eating CAT prompted the gag reflex. Second, I knew first-hand that pike was 'a gagger'. I told my friend what I thought of his favorite breakfast.

    When I told him of my pike experience, I told him; "They taste just like they smell. Terrible." He responded with; "Did you skin them?" I said; "No. Are you supposed to kin them?" Now, I like to eat pike.

    As for the lynx; my friend reminded me that a lynx's diet is almost 100% snowshoe hare (Lepus sp.) and that's what they tasted like: A big snowshoe hare. Well, I like to eat snowshoe hare, and I trusted my friend's opinions, and since I was trapping for a living at the time, I have half a dozen peeled lynx carcasses frozen 'out back', so I decided to try it. He was right. It was good. Still...

    I still don't eat cat.


  6. #6
    That has to be a better way than rod and line if your feeding your family
    But I'll stick with rod and line, I rarely eat fish at home, and I like the sport.


  7. #7
    I like the 'sport' too! I even like to fly-fish, but not because of the so-called "challenge". Rather I like to fly-fish because more often than not, it's the best way to catch fish (when you can 't use a gill net ).


  8. #8
    Have a friend who was based in alaska in the usaf, said after living there he ate so much salmon, he would never eat it again

  9. #9
    I'm not surprised. I do a lot of traveling professionally, and in many of the places I go when they have a banquet they serve what is a delicacy to them: poached salmon or halibut.

    I'm usually trying to find a steak somwhere.


  10. #10

    Brilliant post. You're a very lucky man. You'd have a heart attack if you saw the prices pepole pay for a decent beat on a decent salmon river here in the UK. When your catching for the freezer sport doesn't really come into it. I'd do the same in your situation (Though I'd be out with the fly rod also).

    You ever been combat fishing? I've seen pics and documentaries on TV. It looks mad, but fun!


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