Dipnetting.

As real Alaska residents we are allowed to put a net into the water and scoop out fish. We previously did this for Hooligan. Now it was time to do it for salmon.

ADF&G: This popular fishery takes place from late June through July in the marine waters of Cook Inlet just off the mouth of the Kenai River. Since 2003, Alaskans harvest between 130,000 and 540,000 sockeye salmon annually in this fishery.

The Kenai River is a large glacial system draining the central Kenai Peninsula. The river begins at Kenai Lake near the community of Cooper Landing and flows approximately 82 miles down to its mouth in Upper Cook Inlet, near the community of Kenai. The City of Kenai is approximately 160 highway miles south of Anchorage.

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We loaded onto the boat on this rainy day and stuck our nets in the water.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 9.20.23 AM.pngWe held the nets in the water until feeling a thrashing fish. Then you quickly lift the net out of the water and into the boat. Your crew pounces on the fish (or multiple fish if you are lucky) and swiftly kills and bleeds them.

Occasionally, you get a monster!Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 9.20.45 AM.png

When you get home, the real work begins.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 9.21.17 AM.png

The (borrowed) smoker was hard at work.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 9.21.26 AM.png

The (new) freezer is full now!

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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Hike 2/52

I am counting my runs as hikes. They meet most of my made up criteria. A few friends, Amanda, and I went running at Campbell Tract. There are over 730 acres to play in. It is across the street from work. We ski the trails in the winter and run there in the summer. It is outstanding. Bears, moose, birds, and all of the other Alaskan wildlife can be seen here.Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 12.47.10 AM.png

In fact, there is a part that is closed when the salmon are in the creek because of the high bear activity. We ran 8 miles and had a great time. We did not see any large mammals, but that is always okay with us. They probably see us and we get to see them when we are least expecting it.

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Secret Lake

I am a little hesitant to mention the name of this hike or where it leads. Maybe I won’t mention it here, but if you ask I will tell you the name and it will be easy to figure out how to get there with a little research. We went on the afternoon of a holiday. Luckily, I didn’t have school, or I would feel guilty about not studying.

The hike started at an unmarked trailhead. We passed through many different kinds of environments.

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The birder is always busy.

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There were beautiful marshes and meadows.

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The dogs were well behaved as always.
Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 7.50.06 PMWe eventually made it to a beautiful lake where the clouds would come rolling in over the mountains and restrict the visibility to just a few feet. Then as fast as it started, the wind would push the clouds away and the trees, lake, and surrounding peaks would be visible and inspiring.Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 9.38.31 AMThe wildflowers were beautiful in the meadows on the trail leading to the lake.Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 9.39.56 AMAt the lake there is a cabin that is open to the public and stocked by generous hikers. There were three cots, a guitar, Ramen, canned foods, and a spinning rod. Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 9.38.49 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 9.39.32 AM

Brazilian Waterfalls.

When I was in Brazil‬ I hiked into the rainforest‬ and would swim under these‪ beautiful‬ waterfalls‬. Some local kids were there wondering why these non locals were wandering into the forest on their own. They followed us into the jungle. Communication was difficult as they didn’t speak any English. After a couple different waterfalls I kept inviting them in to swim and they constantly refused. I didn’t think anything of it. Eventually we saw a small snake‬ and through hand signals, I think they said that they don’t swim in the creeks because of the large snakes that could eat you. That made me pause and remember where I was. Holy shit. 20 foot anacondas. Man eaters. I had no thought of that while giddily jumping off waterfalls into unknown pools.

Brazilian waterfalls