Friday, August 1, 2008

Alaska '08 Day 47, Valdez

Mon July 28, 2008

Today the rain came in heavy and everything clouded over. Glad we did the boat ride yesterday! We drove up to the salmon viewing deck just outside of town. There were pinks and chum running. I couldn't tell the difference outside looking in the water but I could inside on their underwater camera. The salmon stared running 7/19 and the run is past its peak.

After the salmon deck we ran down the road to the oil terminal (Dayville Rd) because they have been spotting bear there. We could see that salmon are running up all the little creeks over here. The salmon were really running on ??? creek. The creek channel was full of sea gulls feeding on dead salmon and the creek was full of spawning salmon. The city put up a big LED sign warning about bears and sure enough there was a black bear feeding in here. We sat and watched him grab fish after fish.

I read on the web they fish Allison Point so I want to drive to the end of the road. Halfway down the cove is the fish hatchery and Solomon Gulch. There was a big pink run on Solomon Gulch right now. We could see salmon stacked up outside the mouth of the creek and the fish were solid across it. They have a weir I guess to direct the fish so they can be counted.

In the Solomon Gulch parking lot people were fishing the wall for pinks and it looked like they were getting one every other cast. I will bring the kids back here to let them fish, this looks like a great place for kids to fish.

We countinued on to the end of the road, they won't let you got to the oil terminal. Allison Point is a city campground or camp site along the road from the fish hatchery to the oil terminal. At the point there is a path down to the rocks to fish. No one fishing here today and very few campers in the campsites. Maybe this only gets busy on weekends or the run is almost over.

Late in the afternoon I geared up some rods to take the kids fishing. On the way passed the first salmon creek there was a coyote feeding and then a black bear ran out and chased the coyote out.

I threw a 1/2 ounce pixie from a Zebco 202 I bought as a spare for Tommy's friends. I hooked a pink almost every cast. I hooked a fish and let the kids real it in. The pinks were small, maybe 2 lbs, but it was all the kids could do to real them in. We lost quite a few, snagged a few but half were legal hooked. We landed maybe 4 (and released them). We could see lots of salmon swimming along the shore, they were everywhere! We had some eagles cackling behind us while we fished.

As we were packing up some sea lions moved through maybe 100 yards off shore. Every once in while one would surface with a salmon and shake it side to side to stun it. Gulls would immediately mob the sea lion hoping for a scrap. On the way back there was a black bear (maybe the same one) feeding that first creek again. Everything is in feeding on this salmon run!

We had considered leaving tomorrow to allow an extra day across to Haines (it's ~700mi to there on bad roads) but we decided there is more to do here so we'll stay here and just hump it across to Haines.

- Jon


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