Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Oncorhynchus Tshawytscha*


Okay. I promise. No more dead fish pictures this year. I just figured if I posted about dead pinks and reds, I needed to give king salmon a little bit of love too.
It's not often I see this, and why I took the photos, but a whole 45-50lb king salmon carcass floating near the dock is unusual.
The only explanation I have for this is the tide change must have pushed it up from the river...Or, I could start rumors that kings are spawning in Beaver Creek. Maybe I'll save that story for April Fool's Day.




*scientific name for king salmon


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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Oncorhynchus Nerka*



Dead Red.

It's the beginning of November, all the salmon have died except for a few late silvers, and there's still a Halloween mood (read: candy) in the Holtan household. If you don't like decomposing fish photos, you should stop reading and looking at this post right now. If you're all right with that, I hope you enjoy what was captured this past season.
As many of you know, all user groups on the Kenai River faced fishing restrictions in order for the 2018 spawning escapment goals to be met. ADFG's final sonar count for the late run of red salmon came in at 1,308,498 fish.
The optimum escapement goal (OEG) for the Kenai River late run red salmon is between 700,000 and 1,400,000, so the goal was clearly met (although many in the community dispute the 2018 counts and feel they are overly inflated). Many factors will determine how many of the of the 2018 offspring will return as adults in 2022, 2023, and 2024. Since I plan on guiding during those years, I hope the management plan was successful.
I'm always amazed at what salmon do for an ecosystem. Researchers have found that dead salmon feed 137 species of microbes, stream invertebrates, mammals, and birds. Not to mention, what it does for keeping vegetation green. I'm not sure what ate half of the salmon above, but my money would be on a bald eagle.
For those of you who don't know how to identify the sex of a salmon, the female red is on the left, and the male is on the right. In their spawning phase, female red salmon will be more bullet shaped, while males will have a hump on their back.
I'm not sure I could ever do this on purpose. Here is a dead red salmon perfectly balanced on my anchor line.

"If it weren't for all this dead stuff, there wouldn't be any alive stuff in this river" said an old grizzled Alaska sourdough. I have to agree with him. The whole salmon cycle of life is fascinating.





*scientific name for sockeye (red) salmon



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