Friday, September 19, 2008

Salmon Season is Over

Oh, technically, one might legally fish for another couple weeks, but in reality it's over. Peter Pan is no longer buying, and Trident is setting up for pollock and cod. All in all, it's been pretty decent for most of the fishermen here. The price was up for all species, due to some actual competition, the first in years, and runs were good.

While salmon may indeed be endangered Down South, in Alaska the runs are in great shape. The reason being that Alaska Department of Fish and Game is VERY conservative with our salmon resource. Often this can be entirely maddening, what with interruptions to allow more fish to go by, and the like. It can drive a guy nuts setting a net and pulling it 24 hours later, fishing one day and off two or three, but that conservative bent is exactly why we have such a prolific resource. Unlike most of the world, which has been vastly over-fished, up here there's a massive renewable resource.

In Alaska, we have a LOT of salmon. My freezer is full of free salmon, halibut, and rock fishes, given me by friends and acquaintances. More than I'll be able to eat. I'd imagine that folks who pay $10/lb and up for salmon will be disgusted to read I often feed my dog Elmo cooked salmon. But, that's how it goes. So many fish that we actually can use them for dog food. And Elmo just loves it.

Up here, each person may catch for personal use up to 250 fish per person. Most don't, as it is real work to get that many fish, but up Inside, in the interior, native villages rely heavily on this. 250 fish are not enough to feed one person for a year without hunger, but they have other options as well. The caribou do well, even around the pipeline, no matter the propaganda you may read. And, due to Sarah Palin's candidacy, I'm sure you've heard of Alaska's national religion of moose hunting....

Weather was atrocious in the first half of the season, not too bad the second half. We had NO spring, and summer did not arrive until 24 July, but after that pretty good, actually. And since then, too. We all hoped for an "Indian Summer", and so far we've had one.

I have seen blowing snow on the 2nd of September, so the partly overcast days are a gift.

And now, salmon is over. Already the "Outsiders" are leaving town, and life slows. Once, I could not get enough excitement ... but now, I like the slow life.

Whaddaya want? I got old man's disease!

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