Beer & Fish
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9528) 6 years ago
Some Sundays are good . . . some are evening better.

This past Sunday started out good. I bottled beer, and that is always a good thing. I put up twenty-six, 750ml bottles of a summer-style rye ale. I experimented sometime back with using plastic champagne “corks” in the 750 bottles, the experiment worked, so I corked this batch rather than going with crown caps. There’s something kind of satisfying about uncorking a bottle of your own brew and hearing the “pop” as the cork comes out : -)

After that, we decided to load up the subsistence net and fish the afternoon tide. Word was that a few Red salmon (sockeye) we starting to run, so we thought we give it a try and see if there were any fish in the water.

In our area, a subsistence net is 10 fathoms long (60 feet), with 4ft of net between the corks and the lead line. The mesh is 4”x4”.

Since time has a way of catching up with a person, this year we’ve set up on the Elder’s Beach. According to state regs and local customs, as of my birthday last month I am now an elder. I like to think of it as being a respected and venerated Elder, but I don’t think I’ve yet convinced any one of that.

Low tide was at 12:30, we got to our site about 1pm and laid out the net. By 1:30 our first cork was floating. By 2:00 the first fish hit the net. By 2:05 the first seal showed up, looking to steal our fish. The fish hit steady and kept the net bobbing nicely. More seals moved in, until we had 5 of the thieves trying to get at our fish. We spend most of the next 40 minutes or so throwing rock and yelling at the critters trying to keep them getting into the net. Finally at 3:45 one hit the net – fortunately it didn’t get tangled. But, I decided that was enough and we pulled the net.

Probably a good thing we did, seals or no seals. We had 29 Reds in the net. And that was more than enough fish to handle at one shot on a Sunday. Susan plans to give this batch to folks who need the fish, so we will run the net out a couple more time in the coming weeks to get our year’s supply laid in.

Our permit is good for 300 Reds, 75 Pinks (Humpies), 75 Dogs (Chum), 10 Silvers (Cohos), and 10 Kings (Chinook), so we have never remotely came close to maxing out the permit, even in years when we have shared a lot of fish.

The net in the water and fish hitting the net.







Fish on the beach.





Eagles, hoping to grab a fish or two.








Seal, hoping to grab a fish or two.

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Posted by tab fleming (+89) 6 years ago
Nice pics Hal,Happy fishing,it sounds like a good time.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+14865) 6 years ago
Cool. I would be firing up the smoker.

A friend of mine is fishing in Sitka right now. He texted that his boat had their limit of kings in 30 minutes yesterday.

I floated the lower Dearborn last Friday. My buddy caught 6 fish, I caught seven fish, including this 18.5 inch rainbow:



To keep on topic, I have pilsner and tripel on tap in the kegerator, a dubbel waiting to tap, and IPA and Oktoberfest in primary fermentors that are just about done. Next on the brew schedule: saison, British bitter, Baltic porter, and a wee heavy (not necessarily in that order)
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9528) 6 years ago
Thanks Tab.

Nice fish Gunnar.

We’ve not done much for sport fishing this spring, just been too busy with work, I suppose. We’ll likely fish the neighborhood creek in late July & August when the Silvers (Coho) run. I don’t think they are as tasty as King or Red salmon, but they are fun to fish for. The creek is only about 30-40 feet wide and 3-4 feet deep at our favorite fishing spot. When you get a big Silver on the line they do some running and jumping and put on a good show.

I did catch this Dolly Varden at the creek sometime back in May. One meal of Dolly a year does it for us, so I quit as soon as I landed this one. The picture doesn’t really show the size of the fish, stretched out on the cutting board at home it measured right at 24 inches. Sure was a pretty fish.




Kings and Reds are still coming into the River, but I don’t think the big push for Reds has really started yet. The King run here is always small, but from what I hear from folks sport fishing for them, it’s a better than usual run.

We got 76 pounds of fillets from Sunday’s haul in the net. If Susan hadn’t been so generous in giving fish away, I’d have called that good and hung the net up for the year : -) Right now I’m thinking we’ll fish the evening tide tomorrow after we get done with work. I’m just hoping the seals aren’t as aggressive this time.

The barge made port last week with the groceries & dry goods that we ordered from Seattle early in the spring. I hauled the load home last Friday. For as much as it cost when we pay for the supplies, it never seems like much when we the load home.




Last evening while I worked on splicing together some line for the net, Susan ground up the last of the caribou we had in the freezer and seasoned it for sausages – we’ll get it ran into casings tonight. I’ll maybe smoke some later in the season when I do some fish. Hope we can get a Boo this winter.

I still have around 7 gallons of the rye ale to get bottled.

This spring I cobbled together a 16 gallon primary fertmenter. So far it seems to be doing the trick.




The first brew I ran through it was Bush Cider (malt extract and bottled apple juice). It needs to bottle condition for another couple weeks, but it seems that it will be a tasty brew. I want to do a small batch of porter in the near future and maybe a honey ale. Then I will take a break from brewing for a few weeks. In mid-August I’ll probably start in on winter brews – we seem to thirst for strong beers in the winter, so I’m pretty sure one batch will be a stout.
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Posted by jj&j (+60) 6 years ago
Do all your groceries have to be shipped in or is it cheaper to do it that way? Obviously you cannot ship milk, eggs, butter from Seattle so I imagine they are pretty costly locally. Lucky that you can supply your own fish and meat.Must be very organized to order food that way.I forget to buy what I went to Albertsons for sometimes lol. Really enjoy your posts and photos.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9528) 6 years ago
There is a small store here in King Salmon. They sell about everything a person needs to survive, but you pay for it. Dairy, produce, fresh and/or frozen meats are expensive. Fresh milk is over $10 a gallon, a pound of burger goes for around $10. Aside from perishables weight / freight is probably the deciding factor on cost. A regular size can of Nalleys’ Chili goes for around $4.50. Beer, wine and liquor is just darned spendy. Gas is over $6 a gallon, but there aren’t many miles of road to travel, so we don’t burn that much fuel.

Freight varies. I think we paid 33 cents a pound for the barge order this spring. Air freight just kind of depends on size and weight – it ranges from 75 cents to several dollars per pound. We had a large freezer flown in from Anchorage a few years back and the freight chargers were more than twice the cost of the freezer.

We shop online a lot. The Amazon Prime thing (free shipping) pays for itself here in short order. I bought 4 tires for the truck – got a “Prime” deal on them and the savings on shipping meant that we got 4 tires for the price of 3. I just ordered 50lbs of malt extract with free shipping – I saved about $2.00 a pound over what it would have cost to have had it mailed from a dealer in Anchorage.

I make it to Anchorage at least once a year (my wife goes several times for business) – when in the City we buy meat, butter, and things like that and air freight the goods home. We also ship home cases of wine and some liquor just to keep things interesting.

But online shopping makes a big difference. We used to barge in around 700lbs in the spring and another 1300lbs in the fall. Now it’s down to around 700-800lbs in the spring.

It is expensive to live in the Bush. But, there are no fast food joints, movie theaters, malls, etc & etc, so the temptations to spend money aren’t staring you in the face every time you step out the door – so that maybe evens things out a little.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9528) 6 years ago
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Posted by jj&j (+60) 6 years ago
The internet must make life there in Alaska a lot nicer. With Amazon Prime not only can you order things you need but can watch videos and tv shows when you've not enjoying that wonderful wilderness. I hope those bears keep a respectable distance. Perhaps they would like to 'share' your fish.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9528) 6 years ago
It’s a good plan to never get between a Brown its fish. And at times, they seem think all fish are theirs ; -)

Once the salmon run kicks into high gear, Bears are never much of a problem they are too busy feeding to cause trouble.

Right now with not many fish in the water, they are wandering around looking for food. A sow with 3 cubs came through our neighborhood last night. I don’t like to see cubs around; it can make for volatile situations. With luck the run will pick up soon and she’ll be fishing and not trying to scrounge food around houses.

Late in the Fall is also a bad time for bears. The ones that are too old to compete for fish and didn’t lay on enough fat to make it through the winter very often cause trouble. An old boar that is facing starvation doesn’t have much to lose and can get very aggressive.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9528) 6 years ago
We put the net out on the evening tide after work on Friday. We didn’t do as well as we did on Sunday, but we had 14 Reds when we pulled the net. The seals were very aggressive again or we might have left the net in longer and caught a few more fish.

No one is certain why the seals are such a problem this year, but everyone is commenting on how many there are so early in the season.

Anyway, we caught some fished. We bled them and packed them crushed ice and hauled them home. Filleted them out this morning and vacuum packed the sides whole. Later we’ll thaw some to put in the smoker if we want.

To be accurate, I should say: Susan filleted the fish, I provided the support team. She works up 3 fish to my 1, so the best thing for me to do is stay out of her way ; -)

More beer to bottle in the morning.







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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+14865) 6 years ago
Your filleting would probably go a lot better if you were to use an actual fillet knife.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9528) 6 years ago
: -) : -) Took her right at an 90 minutes to fillet out those 14 salmon. Going on the principal “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – I don’t think I’ll tell her what kind of knife to use.

She has been hinting around that she would like a good ulu, since I’m not quite as dumb as I look, I suspect she might get one for Christmas this year ; -)
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