The salmon are running
Trip Start May 02, 2012
64Trip End Jul 31, 2014
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From Haines Junction we pushed through to Tok (pronounced Toke)
From Tok we decided to head south for Valdez because people all said that it was worthwhile, so that's where we are now. I irrationally almost expected a sort of Spanish Costa Brava type feel being at the coast, and with a name like Valdez! Well it's at the sea, on the Prince William Sound, but it is surrounded by huge, heavily snowed mountains... It is amazing. The average annual snowfall here is 25 feet, and on the pass coming into the town, it is often 50 feet. The snow just doesn't ever melt off the mountains. The snow markers to guide the snow ploughs are like huge highway lights that arch in. We travelled alongside a big pipeline - theTrans-Alaska pipeline - also known as the Alyeska Pipeline - that is 800 miles long and carries oil from the Prudhoe Bay oilfields. We are at a campsite right in the centre of this little town, right at the small boat basin. Such a buzz, and the smell of salmon smoking permeates the town. There is a lady in a little bright pink cart thing driving around selling ice creams. She has fairground type music going - all very jolly, but ice creams....! Lots of bald eagles just flying around, and even a black rabbit hopping around here
On our way here, on a tributary of the Copper River, the Klutina River, we saw hundreds of people camping along the side of the road, and cars parked all over, people hurriedly getting all their fishing gear out, pickup trucks full of cool boxes, and general excitement. When we went to investigate more closely ( we had to park a long way down as there was just too much traffic) we found that the salmon were running... It was unbelievable. People say it is the best run in 15 years, and they attribute this to the fact that the tsunami in Japan destroyed the fishing fleet. Fishermen/women/ children, all in waders, casting in frantically, with brightly colored plugs, were pulling in fish after fish. The daily quota is 3 per day per person, and you are sure to get that. The salmon are the red salmon, very prized for sushi and general taste. The fish apparently don't feed at this time, but they flash at the generally red plugs because they see them as eggs. The fish looked to be about 4/5 kg. With about 22 hours of daylight you can get in quite a lot of fishing! People come from all over Alaska to fish and stock up their freezers. There is a little business in a cabin, that freezes fish right there. It was a sight I will never forget.