Kyle and crew left Homer three weeks ago and have been in Bristol Bay for almost 2.5 weeks. Last minute preparations were made and early season fishing has been underway. Last season the fish came early and many boats missed out on a large percentage of their season's catch. So of course everyone showed up early just in case this year. Turns out the fish didn't get the 'early fish' memo, so lots of boats have been lined up scratch fishing, only catching a little bit of fish in each opener. In the last few days the numbers of fish has slowly increased, so things should be starting to happen soon. In Bristol Bay the first weeks of fishing are declared 'Free Week' and a boat can fish any district. However pretty soon every boat has to drop their permit card in a specified district (Naknek, Egegik, Nushagak, Ugashik, etc.). In order to switch districts you forfeit 48 hours of fishing, which can be critical in the peak days of the fishery. It's a big decision to be made, especially for a first time Bristol Bay fisherman like Kyle. A lot of research and 100 times more speculation is put into what will happen in a fishery, and yet you never really know how it will all shake down until the season is over!
(PS- Keep those orders coming!)
- We are not as limited in our ability to put up Salmon, so will be able to offer more Salmon Shares! (Tell your friends and family and put together a group order!)
- There will not be any bones in the Salmon!
- We will offer Salmon Shares in either portions (5-7oz) or whole fillets this year! (Fillets will be slightly cheaper.)
- Each cut of Salmon will be beautifully trimmed, leaving less pieces of meat exposed to freezer burn on the edges!
- All Salmon Shares will be barged in a freezer van to Seattle and will then ship out of Seattle instead of Alaska. (This should simplify and shorten your fish's overnight journey to you. If you live in Seattle we are looking into the easiest way to get fish to you.)
- Shares are again offered in 25 pound increments.
- Choose between 25 pounds of portions (5-7 oz.) or 25 pounds of fillets (half of a salmon).
- (We are not offering mixed portion/fillet shares, unless you order 50 pounds and want one box of each.)
- Please get your order in as soon as possible, we will still serve customers on a first come first serve basis.
- Email us your information:
- Pounds Ordered of Fillets or Portions
- Shipping Address
- Email us your information:
- All orders will be shipped overnight to your doorstep, but we will only have a set day or two that fish ships out of Seattle.
- (This will happen once the fish arrives to the cold storage facility in Seattle and we get it all packaged and ready for you. We except this to happen mid-August to mid-September but will give a good heads up.)
- Payment will still be by check at the end of the season once prices are set.
- (The Salmon market is changing a lot lately, so we can't speculate about prices yet. Last year prices were $15.20/lb for a 25 pound Salmon Share and $13.90/lb for a 50 pound share. Fillets will be slightly cheaper.)
- New this year, we will offer group discounts to orders of 100 pounds or more! Combine with friends, family and neighbors for a group order. Contact us if you'd like to know more.
Almost all of our customers have already received their Small Scales Scrumptious Sockeye Salmon Shares. We hope you're really enjoying the fresh fish!
We have about ten shares left to sell, send your friends our way.
One customer made a particularly scrumptious sounding meal: salmon fillets marinated in olive oil and fresh rosemary, lightly grilled and then topped with a peach bourbon sauce. Mmmmmm! We are officially done fishing. Kyle and JP fished one final day this last Monday in search of a strong Silver Salmon run. The fishing report was 'too calm and too clear' (often rough water makes it harder for the fish to see the net). After catching only 15 fish for a long day of fishing they decided that the fuel and time expenditure didn't quite sketch out. Kyle's birthday load!
Here is a photo of Kyle a couple weeks ago on a particularly good day of fishing. The load was mostly Silver Salmon (Coho). It was a pleasant surprise for late season fishing, especially since it was Kyle's birthday. All these fish were caught in one set, over a pretty short period of time. Fun and exciting! Overall it's been a pretty good season. Last year was so good that it's hard to compare, but the price increase at the dock helped to offset the difference in our catch.
We really appreciate your business and hope you appreciate your fish!
The Northland reported an "exciting day of fishing today", catching about 1,400 Sockeye Salmon. Kyle said that the fishing was pretty hot right off at 7 a.m., then slow most of the day and then strong again before closing at 7 p.m. If the run of salmon comes in strong we can hope for some good back to back fishing in the next weeks. One of the many BEAUTIFUL Kenai Reds and HANDSOME deckhand Jake.
A number of customers have asked us general questions over the past years about our drift gillnet fishing operation. Here's an attempt at starting to publicly answer a few of them. Let us know if you have more questions!
- Length of our boat: The Northland is 32 feet long.
- Size of our net: Our net is 3 shackels long, each shackel is 50 fathoms and each fathom is 6 feet-- for a total of 900 feet in length. It is 45 meshes deep (diamond shapes of net), each mesh being 5.125 inches high-- for a total of 230.6 feet. However this depth is a little misleading because it is never fully stretched out while fishing.
- Number of boats in Cook Inlet: There are 600 permits out there and about 400 boats fishing. A boat can double up their permits and be allowed to fish one more shackle and other permits are not fished.
- Number of Salmon in Cook Inlet: This varies year to year, but last year 6.4 million salmon returned to Cook Inlet. The fishery was regulated for an escapement, or upriver return, of 1.2 million fish. The remaining fish were divided amongst the user groups- commercial (drift and set gillnet), sport and personal use.
- Number of days we fish in a season: If there are a lot of fish they let us fish more and vice versa. This generally ranges between 16-30 fishing days.
- Percentage of our catch that we sell directly to customers: Again, it all varies but last year we sold a little under 10% of our catch directly to customers and the rest was offloaded and sold to our cannery.
The Upper Cook Inlet Salmon fishery is underway.With four days already fished the season looks like it has the potential to be a good one. The Kasilof River already has a return of over 125,000 sockeye, which is the highest return this early in the season ever recorded. One never knows how the season will end, until a while after it's over and the cannery actually pays up, but it's always fun to get excited. Prices tend to be highest for the first few deliveries, until the market gets flooded with fish, so we will wait a little before putting up our top quality direct market fish. On the quality front, Kyle has spent the last few weeks installing a Refrigerated Salt Water (RSW) system. With the RSW we are able to pump chilled sea water (32-35 degrees) into the fish holds to constantly keep the fish cold. This means no more ice and the constant temperature should even improve the quality of your fish! On the fun and family and historic front, we spent last week across Cook Inlet at Snug Harbor celebrating Gramma Margie Mullen's 93rd birthday and Summer Solstice with 30 family members. Snug Harbor was one of the biggest canneries in Cook Inlet from about 1930-1970. What a stunning place! It was a great location for the first two fishing openers because it is down near the southern line of the fishing boundary, where the early season fish first show up. The bear viewing, clamming, paddling and fishing were fantastic- especially with such great company.
Thanks for reading.
We're headed south today, leaving a foggy Homer, AK. It's been a fabulous summer up here and we're a bit reluctant to leave, but look forward to our Washington adventures. Our truck is packed to the brim with 3 freezers full of 850 pounds of Sockeye, 3 dogs weighing some 220 pounds and the two of us (plus a growing baby in the belly). We hope to be in the Methow Valley by the end of this week or the beginning of next, so Methow folks check your emails for delivery info soon.
Upon our final freezer tally we have 10 shares (at 25 pounds each) left, so let us know if you'd like more scrumptious salmon or let others know about our great fish.