"Gillnets are selective".....

cdnred

Active Member
Reading some of these posts, it sounds like you west coast guys had some special times in your younger days that bring back some great memories. Have any of you guys gone back to some of your old haunts to see how things have changed over the years..? I image living a fisherman's life had a lot of thrills and good times as well..
 

landlocked

Active Member
Reading some of these posts, it sounds like you west coast guys had some special times in your younger days that bring back some great memories. Have any of you guys gone back to some of your old haunts to see how things have changed over the years..? I image living a fisherman's life had a lot of thrills and good times as well..
I sold out of the Bay in 08 when my daughter was born. I saw enough marriages fall apart because of guys being gone too long every year. That being said, I still have many friends I grew up with who still go up every summer. I still listen to the daily escapment and catch reports coming out of Dillingham and King Salmon. Sockeye seem as strong as they've been, Kings not so much. I still have a “Follow Me To The Willow Tree” sticker up in my office. The Willow Tree was an infamous dive bar in Dillingham. Not all work up there. After the seasons were over we’d take time to motor around Bristol Bay and check out some of the old,old abandoned canneries that dot the river systems, take our skiffs up the creeks and sloughs with our 7/8 weights and catch chums, late sockeye, and some early silvers till our arms about fell off. Got to spend time up at Brooks and Katmai. Lots of time on the Naknek. Always regretted not being able to get back down the chain in Sept as there was supposed to be a few rivers that had steelhead runs. I always had to leave to rig crab gear or go drag around for albacore out of Westport or Chinook. My goal is to get the family up there next summer if travel permits to go to Brooks and katmai, not necessarily The Red Dog. I get a call every summer where someone asks me to come up and run their boat, but alas, feel like I’d be a liability not an asset with this much time gone by.
 

cdnred

Active Member
I sold out of the Bay in 08 when my daughter was born. I saw enough marriages fall apart because of guys being gone too long every year. That being said, I still have many friends I grew up with who still go up every summer. I still listen to the daily escapment and catch reports coming out of Dillingham and King Salmon. Sockeye seem as strong as they've been, Kings not so much. I still have a “Follow Me To The Willow Tree” sticker up in my office. The Willow Tree was an infamous dive bar in Dillingham. Not all work up there. After the seasons were over we’d take time to motor around Bristol Bay and check out some of the old,old abandoned canneries that dot the river systems, take our skiffs up the creeks and sloughs with our 7/8 weights and catch chums, late sockeye, and some early silvers till our arms about fell off. Got to spend time up at Brooks and Katmai. Lots of time on the Naknek. Always regretted not being able to get back down the chain in Sept as there was supposed to be a few rivers that had steelhead runs. I always had to leave to rig crab gear or go drag around for albacore out of Westport or Chinook. My goal is to get the family up there next summer if travel permits to go to Brooks and katmai, not necessarily The Red Dog. I get a call every summer where someone asks me to come up and run their boat, but alas, feel like I’d be a liability not an asset with this much time gone by.
Many good memories to cherish from past years, no doubt. Glad you got to enjoy yourself while you were up there, not too many of us get that opportunity but life is what you make of it. I've been to Alaska only once in 2018 on 2 week trip. We loved it up there, a very beautiful country. I'm dying to get back for a month or two this time, just waiting for this COVID to clear so the US/Canada border can reopen to allow me to enter the country. This COVID has made a mess of travel plans, I was planning to go this year to Alaska but travel restrictions nixed that idea..
 

Sportsman

Active Member
Reading some of these posts, it sounds like you west coast guys had some special times in your younger days that bring back some great memories. Have any of you guys gone back to some of your old haunts to see how things have changed over the years..? I image living a fisherman's life had a lot of thrills and good times as well..
Last year in AK for me was 88. Being an average sized guy, my body was breaking down. My soon to be bride and an incredible job offer happened in October then. I fished for many years after that in Washington. No desire to visit any of the towns or cities. Seeing Elfin Cove, Lituya Bay or Tenakee hot springs would be special. Anyone that wants to buck up the $6,000.00 to spend 3 days at the Steamboat Bay Lodge I'm in! Having trolled there for 7 years in the spring, I know where the slabs hang out. My first skipper told me the definition of a fisherman was having a cold wet ass and an empty stomach.
 

cdnred

Active Member
Last year in AK for me was 88. Being an average sized guy, my body was breaking down. My soon to be bride and an incredible job offer happened in October then. I fished for many years after that in Washington. No desire to visit any of the towns or cities. Seeing Elfin Cove, Lituya Bay or Tenakee hot springs would be special. Anyone that wants to buck up the $6,000.00 to spend 3 days at the Steamboat Bay Lodge I'm in! Having trolled there for 7 years in the spring, I know where the slabs hang out. My first skipper told me the definition of a fisherman was having a cold wet ass and an empty stomach.
'88 that's quite a while back but nevertheless being young and single I'm sure you had a few memorable times while you were there. Working on the boats is strictly for the young. I'd image the seas and the weather in Alaska can turn quite severe at any moment. A buddy of mine from Detroit got a job up in Alaska with the Coast Guard, don't recall where he was stationed at but he had to go out irregardless. I'd love to go back to Alaska and spend some time camping/exploring/fishing. Hotels and resorts in Alaska are quite expensive as is everything else in Alaska..
 

Sportsman

Active Member
Coast Guard was our life line. Who you gonna call... not ghostbusters! Saved my skippers arm once. 18 years in the Gulf was enough. Got knocked/blown off the boat once while hauling gear off the Haystack. Jettisoned my hip boots, crawled out of the long rain coat and came up on the other side of the boat. Surreal. I was only 19, took me about 15 minutes to start shaking. Almost quit after that one, glad I didn't.
 

cdnred

Active Member
Coast Guard was our life line. Who you gonna call... not ghostbusters! Saved my skippers arm once. 18 years in the Gulf was enough. Got knocked/blown off the boat once while hauling gear off the Haystack. Jettisoned my hip boots, crawled out of the long rain coat and came up on the other side of the boat. Surreal. I was only 19, took me about 15 minutes to start shaking. Almost quit after that one, glad I didn't.
18 years in the gulf would seem like a lifetime for most people if they could survive it. Having been there for 18 years, you must've enjoyed the grind or at least been able to tolerate it. You're damn lucky you didn't drown trying to get all that gear off while in the water especially wearing hip boats. For me that would be the end of my stint with fishing, that water is damn cold to boot. In that kind of weather and working on the boats, they should be wearing survival suits in case you went overboard or at the least have a safety line attached. Mind you that might be a hazard having to work like that. Makes for some good stories to tell your grand kids..
 

Sportsman

Active Member
Tough to do your job in a survival suit or life jacket! I never wore hip boots after that. They collapse on your legs until you fill them. Good thing I was a scuba diver and could hold my breath a long time. The best part was getting hauled back on board and hauling the rest of the net in with socks, jeans and a sweatshirt with jellyfish raining down on you. Never told my folks about it, they would have locked me up.
 

cdnred

Active Member
Tough to do your job in a survival suit or life jacket! I never wore hip boots after that. They collapse on your legs until you fill them. Good thing I was a scuba diver and could hold my breath a long time. The best part was getting hauled back on board and hauling the rest of the net in with socks, jeans and a sweatshirt with jellyfish raining down on you. Never told my folks about it, they would have locked me up.
I'm a warm weather scuba diver myself. I went down to Cuba one time scuba diving, this was back in '98 and after our first dive we took our gear off to wait until we could make our second dive. After we got our gear off, another diver spotted a whale shark nearby. We put on our snorkel gear, dove in and spent the next hour swimming with it. We swam along side of it and you could feel the texture of it's skin, it was very docile. Ultimately that was my best dive ever. The attached pics that someone else on the boat took are somewhat out of focus..
 

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Lance Magnuson

WFF Supporter
Reading some of these posts, it sounds like you west coast guys had some special times in your younger days that bring back some great memories. Have any of you guys gone back to some of your old haunts to see how things have changed over the years..? I image living a fisherman's life had a lot of thrills and good times as well..
After spending 7 salmon seasons in SE AK and another 34 years trading in frozen salmon, I was able to visit old haunts.

Ketchikan used to be fishing/mill town but has turned into a cruise ship circus. No peeler joints now. It’s easy to buy a t-shirt. The old standby bars like the Fo’c’sle, Raintree, Marine Bar and the Shamrock- “The Temple by the Sea” are gone. Sadly, I might add.

The wild places are still the same albeit with more traffic. Catching wild steelhead in small tannin colored rivers is a satisfying experience.
 

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