Monday, July 30, 2007

A Fishing Trip to Remember

Captain Mark on a beautiful Prince William Sound dayI went on an amazing fishing trip over the weekend. Every fishing trip has some delights of its own, but this one was unusually interesting.

We went to the Coghill River, which empties into College Fjord about 32 miles NE of Whittier in Prince William Sound (PWS). At the mouth were loitering a large number of red salmon. Spawning salmon spend some time at the river mouths acclimating to the change from salt to freshwater.

We weren't there at the peak of salmon return to this particular river. Had we been there would have been thousands 0f fish rather than mere hundreds.

But as it was there were plenty of fish, and all the boats nearby were catching fish throughout the day.

Katie's boyfriend Steve boats another sockeyeAt first we didn't quite know how to catch them, but after a few hours, we started seeing how they were moving around the little bay. Schools of them were traversing the bottom (the sonar told us that) and the top (we could see their wakes and fins). I wonder if the ones at the bottom were the least freshwater tolerant and the ones at the top the most tolerant. Freshwater floats on top of the saltwater.

What we eventually figured out to do was watch for the schools of salmon, slowly motor over toward them and cast into them. Sometimes they would take the bait, but other times the large treble hook would just snag the fish (which is legal in PWS saltwater).

What made the trip so interesting was the behavior of the fish as they swam around the top of the bay. Sometimes we would see groups of them swimming by the boat. The beauty of the day and the lack of wind was another real plus. Prince William Sound is a delight on days like this!

We brought 18 fish home -- a real delight for the salmon eaters in our household!

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