With the Summer solstice this weekend, Kodiak is basking in nearly 20 hours of daylight. It is so hard to go to bed when it is still light out at 11:45 PM!! It just makes you want to finish that project or pull a few more weeds out of the garden. The people in Kodiak certainly make up for lost time after the long dark days of winter. It has been rather rainy here the last few days, but that means when the sun pokes through the clouds next time, the hills are going to green, top to bottom.
The Kodiak Island Salmon Fishery which opened on June 9th started out red hot. The fishing was good through the first two 48 hour fishing periods. However, the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game just wasn’t seeing the numbers they need through the weir at the Karluk River. The fish are around, but they aren’t heading into the river.
Fishery biologists count each and every salmon that passes through the weir on their way up the river to the spawning grounds. Fish and Game needs 120,000 reds through the weir to reach their escapement goal. Biologists hope that an extended closure will allow enough salmon to make it up river. The next scheduled opener is July 6th. Until then, the fishermen will have plenty of time on their hands to repair nets and gear.
Just because the salmon season is getting off to a slower than expected start, things here at Island Seafoods haven’t skipped a beat. Capt. Peter McCarthy and the F/V Stella are currently under contract by the State to participate in a salmon survey study. He and his son Calvin will be in Bristol Bay near Port Moller for the rest of the month for this job. While his older brother is towing a gill net around in the name of science, younger brother Capt. James on the F/V Coho is on the Sole Patrol. Capt. James and crewman Michael Beanland just completed a full trip of Rock Sole, down one crewman. They filled the boat with just the 2 of them!! Capt. James will be fishing sole for the rest of the month. Starting July 1st, Capt. James will head out to catch his quota of Pacific Ocean Perch, a small red rock fish which mass in huge schools.
Our all star cast of Cod Jig boat captains is still hard at it. Calm clear weather, combined with superb fishing has kept the fleet humming. Both Capt. Bob Martin and Capt. Greg Perkins have been loading up each trip. When the fish ticket had been signed following Capt. Greg’s last delivery, he swore he would break 18,000 pounds on the next load!! Well, yesterday he did just that.
Here Capt. Greg counts bags of frozen squid bait from the freezer. Perky as his friends refer to him, hopes to load the boat at least one more time before he heads north to fish salmon near the Kenai River.
This morning we had a new boat to Island Seafoods with a load of Halibut and Black Cod, Captain Doug Lyle and the 59 foot F/V Shemya. The Shemya is the biggest little boat I have ever seen. This boat is like a 110 foot boat packed into 59 feet!! Originally built to participate in the Bering Sea freezer longline fleet, the F/V Shemya would catch process and freeze grey cod at sea. A few years ago, the owners stripped out all of the freezers and processing equipment. Now the Shemya is strictly a catcher vessel. Capt. Doug will be fishing halibut for the next few weeks around Kodiak Island and then he heads out west toward St. Paul Island and areas ever farther north.
The last few days have been productive for the local charter fleet as well. Tourist season is starting to gain momentum as the weather gets nicer. We had the M/V U Rascal in the other day with a pair or gorgeous yellow eye rock fish. Here I am with one of them and in the background, the U Rascal heading back to the harbor. On Tuesday, the M/V Reel Fun delivered this unidentified rock fish. I can’t figure out what species it is. It looks like a canary rock fish, but I am not sure. You never really know what you are going to see on any given day here at Island Seafoods.
Until Next time, Enjoy!