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Author Topic: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)  (Read 5704 times)

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Offline fuzzybear

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Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« on: February 17, 2011, 03:39:57 AM »
  For 1000's of years my family has fished for salmon along the banks of the Yukon and Pelly Rivers here in the north.  I would like to take the time to show you a little bit of a way of life that is slowly dying.  This is our families way of trying to keep the tradition alive.
 




  We have a very basic frame set up for camp.  In just a few short hours my brothers and nephews have the whole camp up and ready.
 




  This is my families wall tent. It is the home for my wife and children for 1 month every July/August.


   My twins were 4 months old when they first came to fishcamp.
 


   The first trip of the season. We empty the nets every 12 hours. Most years we start with 3-50' nets, then drop to 2 nets. We have to do this because there are just to many salmon to cut. 


  This was from 1 net, 12 hours after it was set.
 


   This male weighs about 50lbs.
 


   My niece gutting a female. She has been doing this since she was 4yo. Notice the eggs on the bench. They are eaten or saved for bait for trapping season. The guts are put into 5 gal pails and rendered for fertalizer for gardens.
 


   My wife Julie with the head from a 50-60lb male. We always make fish head soup as our first meal.
 


   After gutting, the fish are washed in the river to remove blood. This is the job of the boys and the guests that come every year.
 


   My wife cutting the salmon into fillets for drying.
 


   Ater they are cut they are hung in the drying racks and smoke until they are dried. We also send out whole fish for freezing.
 


   The fires in the drying racks stays lit the entire time.  What you can't see is the number of flies and bees. The yellow jackets can strip a fillet down in just a few hours. The smoke drives them out.
 




  The view of the river.


   My mother Lizzie Hager/Hall, with my son when he was 1 month old.  People asked if we were afraid of having a 1 month old baby in the middle of the bush. My reply was...I feel safer than in any city.
 


   My father Teddy Hall. This man is a true bushman, that helped build the north into what it is today. He's built everything here from the Alaskan Hwy, to power plants.  He is one of the best trappers up here. Him and my mom live trapped and cared for 100 lynx in one winter. These animals were relocated to Colorado to try and bring the population back. They were both in their early 60's when they did that.
 


   My Auntie Rachael Tomtom.   My mother and her were the first people in here family to see a whiteman. They were born and raised in the bush. The knowledge they they have and the stories could fill many books.
   Each year I set up and run this camp for my family. It is a great honor for me to do this. Our camp feed over 30 individual families with salmon for 1 year. It is a time when we get together and swap stories and fish. We pass on traditional knowledge and ways to our children. We hunt moose and set rabbit snares. We will have given away around 1/4 of our catch to those that are in need. It is our way of life.
   At the end of one month we will have had around 400 salmon pulled from the nets. It is sad to think that it may come to an end very soon.  I am not one to point fingers. Some blame Alaska for the drastic decline in salmon. Others blame the ocean bycatch from huge industrial fishing boats.  I have made my view very clear to those that will hear it.  The truth is we are all to blame.  we knew this would happen and we did nothing to prevent it. We sat around and pointed fingers until it was to late.
  For my part I have decided that we are going back to old  ways of fishing, and we are limiting the harvest to just 12 fish per family this year. We are going to build a fishwheel and release all females and large males back into the river to try and continue the cycle as best as we can. It's a small step but it is better than doing nothing. We hope to teach others how to conserve and hopefully save our salmon and our way of life.

  I hope you enjoyed a little glimps into the life of a bunch of simple down to earth bush people.
FB
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Offline WildDog

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2011, 04:47:27 AM »
So thats the mighty Yukon. Half your luck Fuzzybear, looks like a great place.
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Offline northwoods1

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2011, 06:03:10 AM »
Thank you very much for sharing all these photos I find it very interesting. Makes me wish I was there though to take part in the activities :)
I wonder how many salmon do you need to put up in a season and how many people do they feed?

Offline Mooseherder

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2011, 06:34:22 AM »
Thanks for sharing your great family fishing history Fuzzybear. :)
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Offline TeaW

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2011, 07:32:17 AM »
That is a great tradition fuzzybear I hope it continues for many years,thanks for sharing.
TeaW

Offline doctorb

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 07:36:05 AM »
Fuzzybear-

Very intersting!.  With all that food around, do bears ever wade into camp and make a mess of things?  Thanks for sharing your family summer salmon harvest with us.  Doctorb
My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."

Offline WDH

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 07:38:02 AM »
I am enriched by your sharing this with us.  Family is the center of life.  Your carrying on this tradition for your family will long outlive you. 
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Offline Norm

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 07:41:46 AM »
Very interesting, thank you.

Offline isawlogs

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 08:26:01 AM »

 Thanks for sharing the pics of your family and family ways. You can put all the pics you want up I sure like to see the north lanscape   8) 8)
A man does not always grow wise as he grows old , but he always grows old as he grows wise .

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Offline ely

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 08:47:46 AM »
it was good to sit here and learn about all your family and the yukon fish camp. thank you fb

Offline Autocar

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 10:21:55 AM »
Great pictures I surley enjoyed them and your storys about everyones life. Ive been lucky enough to see the salmon fun in Alaska, B. C. and the Yukon I couldn't believe the size of the fish and how many there were in the streams. It sad to think about the future of fishing and the wildlife that will suffer and the local folks.
Bill

Offline ErikC

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2011, 11:22:56 AM »
 Great Camp Fuzzybear, I would like to meet your folks  :) The thing about a lot of hunting and fishing people who don't do it fail to understand is that the basis for most of it is stories and traditions like yours, and not just wanting to kill fish or wildlife.
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Offline pigman

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2011, 12:28:51 PM »
Very interesting fuzzybear. Thanks for posting.
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Offline Ernie

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2011, 01:32:35 PM »
 The knowledge they they have and the stories could fill many books.
   

Thanks for sharing, The books idea is a great one, so much of the real knowledge and history is lost through not writing it down.  Sounds like a neat project for you Fuzzybear.
A very wise man once told me . Grand children are great, we should have had them first

Offline Sprucegum

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2011, 01:57:07 PM »
  8) Thanks for sharing with us  8)

I saw one of those fish wheels by the side of the road when I drove to Alaska in '99. I had to stop the van, jump the fence and climb all over the thing to figure out how it worked (I needed a break from driving anyway  ;) ) I was sorry there was no one there to talk to about it. The wife said that's a good thing or I'd a been in the river with it and another day lost on our trip.  ;D  ;D

Offline Buck

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2011, 02:46:24 PM »
Great post Fb, thanks for the pics and sharing it.
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Offline fuzzybear

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2011, 02:51:24 PM »
Thank you every one.
  Northwoods1, we pull about 400 salmon on average. We give away a lot of fish to people in the Yukon that are having a hard time. we usually feed about 30 families each year.  It's a lot of work, but well worth the rewards. We do not sell salmon ever. At any one time there may be as little as 2 people in camp, or like on my nephews birthday we will have 60 people. Plus my mom is always finding some lost soul and bringing them into our family. I thank the good Lord she does this. She found this lost soul many years ago, and wound up adopting me as her son.

Doctorb
   Our camp sits at the river crossing of 6 trails, these are century old trails. On average we have at least 3 bears a year.  They don't get very far usually. I have been blessed with finding the best dogs for bears a man could ever want. My pack would give up their lives and some have, to keep us safe.  We have a system of placing the dogs on runs around the perimeter of camp. My dogs are trained to growl if they smell bears. When they growl We pay attention. When they bark we grab the guns. All of my familly knows to move to the kitchen area when a bear comes.
  There is one spot where the trails cross and I have a good clear shot at the bears. I have delt with at least 100 bears over the years and have good instincts about what a bear wants. If they become a problem I give them one chance. I use a 12ga shot gun 3" mag. The first shot is about 50 yards away with #4 duck shot. They never see me until they feel the "spanking" I give them. At that range and small of shot it doesn't penetrate their hide. Stings like all bejesus. If they would happen to turn the next 3 shots are 1oz slugs. I've never had one turn on me yet. yet.
   I have 2 personal bears I deal with just about every year.   The first is a black bear that resides on the island about 1 km from camp. He comes in usualy as we are packing up camp. Now he's not an average black bear. He is about 900lbs. He is the BIGGEST black bear we have ever seen. I have a deal with him. I ran face to face with him one day, I told him if he stays out of camp I'll leave him one salmon and some moose meat. If not I was going to make a nice rug out of him. So far he's stuck to the deal.
   Now the second one is a 6 yo grizzly. I first encountered him when I had my twins at camp for the first time. I scared him pretty good the first time. I guess it had something to do with a crazy naked bushman running after him.   He is a persistant little cus. He tries to get around the dogs every year. 2 years ago he managed to get by one of my oldest dogs and directly into camp.  I found that he left me a little present right outside of my wall tent. So I decided he is going to become a nice rug. Funny thing is he never showed up last year.
   We very rarely kill a bear. They are just being bears and I can't hold that against them. Most never come back after I "spank" them.  ;D
FB
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Offline Stephen1

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2011, 03:18:33 PM »
thank-you Fuzzybear for sharing your storey's, and of course your pictures.
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Offline Burlkraft

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2011, 06:58:31 PM »
That was awesome FuzzyBear  8)  8)  8)

Lots of history there, good to see you are trying to keep it alive.
Why not just 1 pain free day?

Offline ellmoe

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Re: Yukon Salmon Fishcamp (lots of photos)
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2011, 07:47:55 PM »
  Hey, that was great. Thanks for the effort, FB. smiley_clapping

Mark
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