Thoughts, ramblings, experiences and joys of an Alaska girl. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is firmly rooted in the Great Land of Alaska.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fishing in Alaska

I managed to catch one red salmon this past weekend when we went camping in Soldotna. The first night, I fished for 6 hours and caught nothing but a hand cramp, but I still enjoyed every minute I spent on the water. Sunday, I faired much better, and even landed one my first cast out.

Depending on who you ask, everyone has their favorite fishing spot, honey spot, or their own secret spot where they believe the fishing is best. Much like favorite berry spots for berry pickers, fishermen are very secretive about their fishing spots. I have a friend, Carol, at work that guards her secret fishing spot location. She will tell me all about how many fish they caught, how many fish were running, when they went fishing, but she stops short of actually telling me exactly where the spot is.

I haven't been in Alaska long enough to have my own secret spot. This is my first summer back here, and we've only gone fishing a few times. There are also several locations, according to the fishing regulations, where we can fish but then have to release everything we catch. That's the case around where we live in Eagle River, so we fish in Soldotna, down the road past the Fred Meyer, at the public boardwalk or the boat launch. When we fish there, we are shoulder to shoulder with the tourists who have no idea how to fish without the standard 20 feet of space between them and the next person. They also have no clue how to underhand toss their line into the water, so they fly fish over their shoulders like they don't see someone 4 feet away from them, with their lines flying wildly around, hooking on everyone and everything around them. I sympathize that their fishing licenses (because they aren't residents) cost $145.00, but the cost of the license doesn't include a fee for fishing like they own the river. They also have a tendency to keep anything they hook onto.

There are legal keeps and non legal keep fishing regulations when fishing for salmon. A hook in the mouth is a keeper. A hook anywhere else is a foul hook (a non keeper). Easy enough, right? Some don't seem to remember, and keep anything they hook into, fair or foul. I don't know if it stems from laziness, disrespect for the sport, or selfishness and greed, but keeping foul hooked fish is just wrong. With 60,000 fish running through a section of river on a given day, it's really not that difficult to fair hook the daily limit. It may take a while, but that's why they call it fishing and not catching. Fishing takes a while. It's about the experience, spending time outdoors, enjoying nature, not just about catching the daily limit allowed. If catching the maximum amount of fish without worry about skill or the experience, then dip net for them. Dipnetting requires no skill, the maximum number of fish that one can keep is increased in number, and it would open up spots at river locations for those of us that enjoy spending 6 hours on the river and going home with no fish, but many memories of our time on the water.


Angie M said...

Nice pants!

Cristine said...

Those are Kaylee's "snazzy fishing jammies."