Hooligan Fishing.

Hooligan (Thaleichthys pacificus), otherwise known as “eulachon” or “candlefish”, are a type of anadromous smelt that makes its way into a number of rivers in Alaska during the spring spawning run. They arrive in some river systems in the hundreds of thousands, and are an important forage species for eagles, gulls, bears and other species. The fish is found from the Pacific Northwest to Alaska, and the name “eulachon” is thought to derive from the Chinookan language. “Hooligan” is thought to be a derivative of the Chinookan name.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 9.56.57 AM.png

Hooligan are of interest to subsistence fishermen, who net them out of rivers in the spring. The fish are eaten dried, smoked, canned or pan-fried. In years past, they earned the name “candlefish”, because when dried, the oil content of the fish was sufficient to allow it to burn like a candle. Hooligan were formerly harvested and rendered for their oil, which can comprise 15% of their body weight during the spawning run.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 9.57.06 AM.png

Hooligan make their spawning run in May, with the males usually coming in first, followed by female fish a few days later. Males develop two fleshy ridges along their sides, and most hooligan die after spawning. They lay their eggs in sand or gravel, and the eggs hatch in roughly a month. The fry make their way to saltwater immediately, where they live for four to six years. They do not always return to the same stream where they were spawned, but they do return to the general area. They prefer slower rivers without a lot of current velocity, as they are fairly weak swimmers.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 9.57.53 AM.png

Hooligan average between eight and ten inches in size.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 9.58.21 AM.png

Hooligan are typically caught by dipnet, a long-handled net with a bag that has fine mesh in it. The fish school up in deeper pockets, and in these places hundreds of hooligan can be caught. At this writing, a dipnetting permit is not required, and anyone with a valid sport fishing license can catch hooligan. There is no bag limit on hooligan.

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Denali National Park.

We headed into Denali National Park with Amanda’s parents while they were visiting. On our way, we stopped in the town village of Talkeetna. It is a fantastic place to stop. They have every adventure necessary. Want to go fishing, someone there can arrange that. Too easy? Take a helicopter tour of Denali, they do that here as well. We just stopped at a cool little coffee shop.Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.00.39 AMWe were at the tail end of the season, so some things were closed, and the traffic was pretty minimal. The weather was not too bad, but with lots of clouds, actually seeing the mountain did not seem like a realistic thing that was going to occur. While that is always a goal of people that are visiting the area, we have been lucky to see it on clear days while fishing nearby. There is still so much to see and do that the actual mountain might be better off imagined. Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.00.27 AMWe boarded our bus early the next day and settled in for what would be an 11 hour bus tour. If you travel into the park in your own car, you can only drive in the first 15 miles. The buses were great. We didn’t have to drive, we could eat, and the bus driver was knowledgeable and entertaining. This is a great way to see the park and the inhabitants.Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.13.46 AMThe weather that we had experienced in Talkeetna was worse/better/bigger/different the next day. Everything is larger and more extreme in Alaska. The weather is no exception. Where there was rain the day before it was heavily snowing on us in the park. It was very beautiful to see a lot of the area covered in snow. The biggest concern was that the roads would be impossible to use in some spots. We were going on the last day of the season.

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We got to Savage River and were told that it might be the end of the line for us. We were 15 miles into an 85 mile trip. We waited here, saw a few bears, made a snowman, and were told to get back on the bus, we were continuing forward.Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.01.30 AMThe wildlife is used to the buses. They know that the buses are not a threat. We were able to see animals acting very naturally.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.28.56 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.28.24 AMIt was the people that were funny to watch. As soon as someone spotted an animal, the bus would stop and try to get us into a good viewing position. Everyone ran to the side where the animal would be. The sound of fake shutters clicking was entertaining and the animals didn’t seem to mind. Mostly everyone was respectful and kept their arms and hands inside. Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.27.22 AMEvery stop was amazing. The roads were cleared and we were told that we would make it all the way to the Wonder Lake Campground. Every time we got out of the bus, we were blown away. Mostly with the views, but sometimes by the wind.Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.27.02 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.38.45 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.39.07 AMThat was our visit to Denali National Park. It was outstanding and everyone visiting Alaska should try to get out there to experience it. Thanks for reading.

November 27th – My buddy Leo.

My original climbing/snowboarding/adventure friend. If one of us had an idea to do something dumb/fun/crazy/scary/fast we knew that the other one would be fully supportive and encouraging. We spent a lot of time rock climbing together and the bonds that form during those scary moments last forever.

Leo in Quintay where he opened his house to me for as long as I wanted.Screen shot 2013-12-01 at 12.19.49 PM

Who else will pull into closeout shorebreak with you and think it is fun?!Screen shot 2013-12-01 at 12.20.39 PMThanks for being you, Leo.

November 13th – Travelling Friends.

You meet some interesting people while travelling. Couchsurfing is always a good way to meet people. A hostel is another way. Sometimes people come into your life for a night, a weekend, or the rest of your life.

He is an Israeli cheering me on during a 10k in Argentina.

Screen shot 2013-11-15 at 9.10.16 PMMy friend Shannon has been a bigger inspiration in my life than he knows. His “don’t be afraid of anything” attitude really empowered my travelling. He is also a bit of the secret reason I am going to nursing school. He is an amazing family who has a family that I am happy to see on too rare occasions.

Here is Shannon with some of our other friends in Vietnam.Screen shot 2013-11-15 at 9.05.33 PM

Razor Clams, Wine, and Sunsets.

For Amanda’s birthday, we headed to the coast. We lucked out with the weather as it was 70 degrees at the beach in October. We planned on surfing as the weather was so nice the day we arrived. Unfortunately, the wind picked up our second day and squashed our plans.

The sand dunes near our condo have some awesome colors.Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 10.28.52 AM The nice weather gave us a beautiful sunset. It felt a bit like Kona. The small specks are people digging for razor clams.Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 10.29.15 AMWe were successful razor clam hunters ourselves. It involved a bit more work than we thought, but being rookies, we kept our expectations low.Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 10.29.33 AM The next day, we hit up the Westport Winery. They had a fun I Love Lucy competition (we did not compete), grape stomping (we only watched), and wine tasting (we took part).Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 10.29.57 AM

Vertical aquaponic wall garden.

I am damn near finished. There are always small details to fix, but the major stuff is finished. I built a shelf for the fish tank, made a light, and put it all together. The light was my first time playing with electrical things. It felt good to see the light come on without me getting electrocuted. Thanks to TomorrowsGarden.net for showing me how to save $100 by making my own light. It was about $15 to make the light and another $20 for both light bulbs. Typically, these reflectors are about $100 without the bulbs.

photo 3Here is the light after being mounted to the ceiling.
photo 1Now we need more plants.
photo 2The fish poop and fertilize the plants. I got the idea from other aquaponic companies, but really didn’t want to pay what they were charging for complete setups. Amanda hates all of the wires, so those will be hidden somehow and then I will really be finished… until we work on the next one beside it.