Kodiak Fishing

aoo610.jpgAlaska fishing

Fishing is a way of life in Kodiak. Crab, salmon, herring, clams, halibut, cod, pollack, and shrimp are common catches taken from the sea.

Here is Dave taking out some aggression on a 17 leg starfish. These things are notorious for getting into crab traps, in this case dungeness pots.

They are pretty good at taking the bait when you are longlining for halibut too. Once in a while you can even reel one in when sport fishing off the docks if they don’t break the line.

kodiak24.jpgSalmon are an important fishery in Alaska. These are king salmon taken in Chiniak Bay. They can get up to 50 or 60 lbs and have even been known to go 100 lbs. They are easily identified by the black spots they have on their tails and their black mouths.

The most common salmon are the “humpies” or pink salmon. They bring the lowest price as well. The males develop a large hump on their backs and get a white stomach once they get near the spawning grounds. They are a nice looking fish when still out at sea but get downright ugly once they get to fresh water.

A beautiful fish is the silver or coho salmon. They look a lot like the dog or chum salmon when they are at sea in salt water. Fishermen distinguish a silver from a dog salmon by its thicker tail and the silver also has a smaller eye. The silver is a highly regarded fish.

Once they near the spawning grounds however the dog salmon develop vertical stripes and their lower jaw extends and becomes hook like. At that time they are quite an ugly fish and easy to identify. They are a low value fish.

kodiak219.jpg The most prized fish is the sockeye salmon also known as red salmon. They turn bright red with green heads when they get into the spawning rivers.

They do not appear in great numbers around Kodiak but are more of a Bristol Bay catch. Nak Nak, Dillingham, Egigik in the spring time are full of 32′ gillnetters catching as many as they can before the run ends. It is kind of an exciting time.

Herring are another spring time fishery. There are some big runs at Togiak and Norton sound but only a few smaller runs around Kodiak. Spotter planes are used to help guide the seiners to the catch and they get a cut.

kodiak211 A pretty big fish is the halibut. Years ago the open season for them was months long but now it is only one day to several days so it is like a big race against the clock.

They are caught on a long line – a 3/8in weighted line is laid out on the ocean floor with a hook every 20 feet or so baited with octopus or some other favorite bait.

Crab are another shellfish that is a staple of the fishermen.

These are dungenesss crab caught in the summer season. King crab season is often in late September when the weather starts getting rough.

The opelio tanners are more like a February season and it is considered to be a difficult fishery.

Now they make tv shows about it –  but for some people its just a job.

Alaska – wow what memories – this page is from the 1980’s

Mar 22, 2006 www.dutchpickle.com

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