Yesterday, our commercial fishing season officially came to an end. Still plenty of fresh silvers coming in on every tide out there, but the fish plant is shutting down and we’ll have no one to buy. Oh well. Just a handful of blushed fish out on the Akwe, with a couple thousand pounds of chromers.
Chris caught us some dinner at the German Hole before we started commercial fishing for the week
Once again, we were hit by a storm over the weekend to blow the river out as we started the week. We didn’t bother fishing on Sunday (again), with 50 knot winds and driving rain. I baked cookies. Chris and Tanis took advantage of the down time to go duck hunting. Nothing like Mergansers for lunch… Better than hotdogs.
While Tanis and I checked the commercial gear, Chris fly fished in front of the cabin and enjoyed the first break in the rains
Getting the first load ready to fly to town, with some wonderful sunlight warming our frozen fingers
We set the nets up on what would normally be dry sandbars to avoid the debris and dead leaves washing out. Caught enough to justify being out there, even as we attempted to avoid being in the actual river! The biggest challenge on a day like this is trying to pick the almost dead spawned-out sockeye bucks as they drift downstream all the way from the lake. Their gnarly teeth really tangle in the web. We tied up fresh new nets this year, but it was “free” web I was given about 10 years ago and virtually worthless. After 4 weeks of fishing with it, the web was so tattered that there was about as much web missing with holes as web still able to fish. I was far too lazy to strip and rehang gear this late in the game.
The huge tides pushed another batch of logs up to block the ATV trail at the New Italio
We piled them up and attempted to dispose of the pile, so we could get the Honda and tote trailer through to the boat
Chris playing with his camera settings, while Tanis and I are out checking the gear
Warrior Dog with the “reflections” setting
Huge tides this week with our full moon. Very cold at night. No heating oil for the cabin stove, so when the alarm went off in the night, I consistently ignored it and went back to sleep in my snug sleeping bag. Another storm was supposed to roll in, but the clouds parted Wednesday night for a gorgeous evening. Our last night out there, we stayed up till midnight watching movies (Shawn of the Dead and Master and Commander), while running out to the nets between features. After our last movie, it was midnight and we were treated to a nice Northern Lights show. With the full moon and beautiful weather, we decided to actually work our last night of the season!
After the second movie, the Northern Lights were showing – even with the bright full-moon illuminating the world
These are the moments that make up for our seemingly unending miserable rains
It was weird, with the moonlight making the world look exactly like those fake-looking 1940’s movies where they film the night scenes in daylight with a lens filter. The fish were moving in the moonlight, but we had to get back to the cabin before the 12 foot tide trapped us out in the sub-freezing night on the wrong side of the Middle Italio. By morning, we had enough fish to cover the cost of the flights. Unfortunately as the storm finally arrived, we only caught two fish (one in each net) between 7am and the noon closure. Sure ended our week with a whimper.
Getting ready to head out before the tide surges in… Chris chose to stay behind and go to bed instead of freeze his butt off – for some reason…
Once your eyes adjusted to the moonlight, you really didn’t need to headlamps to see – made navigating the sandbars with the jet-boat relatively easy
Chris and I flew back to town in the storm. Tanis stayed out there to clean up the cabin and hopefully bail the boat. We’re heading back out tonight to finish closing out the cabin and fishing gear. It has been a very busy late season, so my apologies for my lack of posts. Just coming back to town for two days before starting the next week doesn’t leave me much time for getting anything done around here. I have a backlog of 2,330 e-mails from this season still to get through, the hangar to clean and organize for winter storage, construction to restart and don’t forget moose season!
I haven’t seen any bulls out around the Italio yet, but rumor has it there were two spotted on the Dangerous Flats a couple days ago from the air. The bull count on the town-side of the Dangerous was the highest in over a decade, so they have the increased the target number on that half of the foreland to 30 for this season. As slow as the commercial fishing season was for all of Yakutat, it’ll be good to have a slightly higher number of freezers filled going into winter for our community. Not that hunting saves much money if you factor the real costs in, but what hunter thinks in terms of cash cost? No one I know. OK, maybe some wives to, but…
OK, off to trying to get something done before I fly out tonight…
Silvers stacked in the tubs, ready to load into the plane – notice the seal-bitten hen on the right
During a break, Chris and Tanis motored up to the Spruce Hole to clean off the branches
The results – your flies and lures for the kids to use this weekend…