A few weeks ago I traveled south of Fairbanks about 300 miles to the Copper River, which flows along the small town of Chitina in southcentral Alaska. It is a mecca during the summer for dip netters seeking to harvest red salmon through the personal use fishing permit system. A single member household is allowed 15 fish, and a family 30. For many, it is inconceivable to enter the winter season without a freezer full of fish. I went with a young friend, and with the help of a few other friends, we netted our quota limit in about 4 hours.
For the uninitiated, the Copper River flows through a steep-walled canyon near Chitina, in a boiling frenzy. It is an opaque gray color due to the glacial melt-off that feeds it from the surrounding mountain glaciers. I have to confess, that I’m always anxious to feel that first “bump” of a fish when it hits the net, but is invisible due to the clouded water. The fish are a great gift of vibrant, silvery life, and are among some of the finest tasting wild-caught salmon around. Since we were busy fishing and dealing with slimy fish, I did not get much action photography accomplished, as the late night hour was dark and shadowed. I took this shot later when we cleaned the fish in a river.