Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cutting Fish

Yesterday, right after work I headed down to my friend, LaVonne Hendricks fish camp. Her camp is located on Kotzebue Sound about 6 miles south of Kotzebue. LaVonne worked 14 years as a public health nurse in Alaska serving many rural villages around Nome and Kotzebue. LaVonne started fishing and camping on the Kotzebue beach in 1973 as a way to be outside during the summer, to get away from the office and as a break from her public health nursing work. LaVonne lives in Anchorage but after 25 years she still comes up to her fish camp every summer to fish and spend time with friends old and new.

For many years LaVonne has also hosted sessions for Elderhostel. You can read an old article about it in the New York Times
This year LaVonne hosted an Elderhostel session for Grandparents and grandchildren. She has plans to do the same next year.

Another thing LaVonne has been doing for a few years now is donating filleted salmon to Jensen Arctic Museum located at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. Every year they have a salmon bake as a fundraiser for the museum. LaVonne will set net and a group of locals volunteer to help cut Salmon and package 300 lbs of salmon to be shipped down for the fundraiser....which brings me to the following pictures.

We didn't get a lot of fish in the net yesterday, but the catch was remarkable because not only did we get about 12 salmon, but there were also 11 Arctic Char (a kind of trout) in the net. It is not unusual to catch char but you don't usually catch that many at once while fishing for salmon. Here is Clara holding up one of the big ones.

Here is Clara cutting a salmon with an ulu, a traditional Inupiaq woman's knife. I learned how to cut fish with an ulu, and I'm quite pro at it now. If I try to fillet with a knife it's not a pretty sight.

We cut the fillets with the tail still attached so we can hang them up to dry an hour or two to make vacuuming packing less messy.

Here is my friend Kathy. She is gabbing away at someone outside of the picture while she cuts. We go to LaVonne's more for the gab than the fish.

This is another one of the arctic char. This is a smaller one than the fish in the other picture.

Here is the cache where we hang the fish til we are ready to package them.

More of Clara and her ulu.

Kathy and her ulu.




Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

You owe me a new keyboard! Mine just shorted out from the drool on it!

The arctic char I used to catch in Squarebanks seemed very bland compared to other trouts. What's yours like up there?

Ishmael said...

Yum! Looks good.

Those are some huge char. What up? Mutants? Sure they're not Atlantic Salmon escaped from Norway or something? ;-)

Anonymous said...

I love your Dolly Vardens. It makes Dolly Parton's look so small.

Mr.Corder said...

Great Pictures!