Author Archives: icefogger

About icefogger

Just a basic, down to Earth, laid back type of guy here, who loves the outdoors, the indoors, jazz on the turntable, a fire in the woodstove, the northern lights blazing across the sky, and the company of good friends.

Bear Cam back online

As the bears of Katmai return to the river, so does the Bear Cam at Brooks Falls. The cam went online Monday, so feel free to head over to Explore.org to see how Otis, Holly and 747 fared over the winter.

Link is below:

https://explore.org/livecams/brown-bears/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls


Frankenfish

A genetically modified salmon, next to a non-modified salmon of the same age.

For the first time, a company in Massachusetts is delivering genetically modified salmon to the dinner tables of U.S. households.

The bioengineered salmon, is actually the genetic mixing of three different fish: Atlantic salmon, Chinook salmon and the eel-like, Ocean Pout. The modified hybrid grows to market size in 18 months, which is half what it takes for a salmon to mature in the natural world.

In Alaska, the bioengineered fish are often called Frankenfish, and they have not been well received. A store or restaurant that offers farmed fish, will take heat for it, and often lose customers. I would be very surprised to see anyone in state, offer the genetically modified fish, where fishing for a living, is so vital to the economy.


Chickenstock is back!

Chickenstock, the music festival at “the top of the world”, has returned after a year off due to the pandemic. The music begins on Friday and will continue through Saturday, but this is Chicken, and one never really knows when the festivities will end. The festival is hosted by the Chicken Gold Camp. Chickenstock is a very Alaskan event, not to be confused with Salmonfest. Local breweries and food trucks will be on hand, but it is best to be prepared for a self-sufficient, off-the-grid weekend.

Chicken, Alaska was founded by goldminers in the late 1800’s. In 1902, the community built a post office, but they needed a name for the town. With so many ptarmigan around, the miners wanted to call it Ptarmigan, but they could not agree on how to spell the word, so the miners settled on Chicken.

Located on the Taylor Highway, Chicken is completely off-grid. There is no cell service, electricity, running water, ATM’s or wifi for 100 miles. Chickenstock is a BYOW event: as in, Bring Your Own Water. You will be able to buy beer. Remember to pack it in and pack it out.

The music is always very good, and there are all sorts of activities planned for the weekend including the annual “Chicken-Legs-Morning-After-5K-Run”, which takes place Saturday morning.

Downtown Chicken

Bear Cam: Top 10

Katmai National Park and Explore.Org have put together the Top 10 moments from the 2020 Bear Cam.


I feel the need for some SRV…


Sockeye salmon are being caught at the mouth of Resurrection Bay. Fishing should/hopefully improve over the coming weeks. Like every season, the Return of the Sockeye is an inexact science. Bristol Bay is expecting a great return, the Copper River, not so much. For the rest of us in-between? Time will tell.

For the past decade, my little group of salmon chasers have seen full freezers in odd years, and a battle to fill, in even years. I’m looking forward to seeing if that trend continues, as I have a near empty freezer.

Artwork by the ever talented, slightly twisted, and all-Alaskan: Ray Troll


Miss ya


Take A Hike

It’s National Trails Day!

Copper River Run

Early numbers on returning sockeye salmon to the Copper River are not encouraging. Less than 64,000 sockeyes have gone past the Department of Fish & Game’s sonar tower. That is less than half the goal of 148,000 returning spawners, putting 2021 at 13th on the worst year list.

News of the returning numbers come as the personal use, dip net fishery will see its first open window on Thursday June 10. For 96 hours, permitted Alaskans can take home 25 salmon for the head of household, and an additional 10 for each dependent. Only one of these can be a king salmon. This first window will be 72 hours shorter than expected due to the low return.

Salmon prices are sky high right now, with kings going for $19.60 a pound, and sockeyes a respectable $12.60. In 2020 the salmon netted $6.00 and $4.00 respectively.

Commercial fisherman have seen three 12 hour fishing periods in May.


Timing is everything

An eruption plume from the Great Sitkin volcano on the Aleutian Chain

Volcanos world-wide seem to be getting a bit anxious of late, and Alaska has three rumbling right now. The Great Sitkin volcano, which dominates the skyline of Great Sitkin Island, erupted on May 25. Lauren Flynn of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service captured this image as Great Sitkin erupted. Flynn was aboard the Research Vessel Tiglax at the time.

Great Sitkin Island was a fuel depot during WWII. The island lies between Adak and Atka, and is roughly 11 miles long by 10-1/2 miles wide. The Great Sitkin volcano rises to a height of 5710 feet above sea level.

Photo credit: Lauren Flynn/USF&WS/AVO