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Friday, July 22, 2011

Catching up on Salmon July 21

Somehow I lost a day on this journal.  Time to fill it in
 The Kenai River flows past the Centennial campground where we are staying.  It is a wide fast flowing river, maybe like the Kaw when it’s high.  Many of the streams formed by melting snow empty into it, so it’s cold.  Salmon come in from the ocean to begin their journey to spawn at their birthplace river here.  According to the Anchorage Daily News, There are record numbers running through the fish counter at the river’s mouth—230,600 salmon in one day.  Some year's peak doesn't hit 100,000
 This picture was taken at 5:00 am this morning.  After not having a lot of luck yesterday, we decided to get out there early.
Obviously we were the only ones with this idea.  Here it is looking the other direction.
I later found out some were out at 2:30 am!   First, fly fishermen are serious about their sport.  The lady in the foreground moved so we could get in.   Oh, yes, and it was raining.  By 8:30 am, I had lost two fish and my feet were froze.  Dan took a break a little earlier so he came down with hot coffee.  That helped.
We finally quit around 11:00.  Chip, Dan and I were rotating in one spot.  When we quit, we lost the spot.  That’s OK because I was tired.  This afternoon, we cleaned up all the salmon fillets and vacuum packed them.  Chip took them to a place that will freeze, store and mail them at the right time.
What is interesting, though, is the personality of this campground.  Through Chip, we have met many of the other visitors and learned their routine.  Many bring pressure cookers to can their salmon.  This evening we visited with a gentleman who had been tending his smoker full of salmon all day.  Everyone is having a good time all centered around the salmon harvest.  
Here’s how I understand how salmon are caught.  After they enter the rivers from the ocean, they have trouble with the change in water so are swimming with their mouths gapping open.  Catching them involves throwing a line out and letting the current carry it down and hoping one of the salmon will be swimming by with their mouth open and grabbing the hook.  If any of them are caught in any other part of the body than the mouth, they have to be thrown back.  It’s not as easy as it sounds.  There is technique, but in the end, there is also luck. 


  1. Lots of hard work there girl. Interesting about catching the fish and the other campers prep methods. Cousin Ted was up there a few months ago with his son and fished south of you at Homer. He hopes to return. I watched a video of some kids with nets trying to catch salmon with a net in a smaller stream. Watched another video of a guy who was trying to survive in the wild, cut a branch to make a forked spear to catch a salmon, and then took a big bite out of he salmon without cleaning it. He said he liked sushi, that salmon don't have scales, and the skin is very high in nutrient content,,,kind of gruesome. Hope you don't come down with a cold from standing in that water so long. The line of fishermen reminds me of a trip down to the trout season opener at Roaring River in southern Missouri. Carol

  2. My goodness, you don't know how fortunate you are to be able to be cold. It was still 104 degrees when some of us from card club met at Jose Peppers. Yep, we talked about you. Jealous of you, really. I have been clicking in and reading about your awesome trip. Thanks for putting the pictures and journal notes out there for me to enjoy. Keep partying! Marty