Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hoonah to Sitka - The Fishing Begins

May 28 – Hoonah

We decided to spend an extra day in Hoonah and try halibut fishing from the Grady White.  We had no luck!  Jon Liljegren had arranged to have Seafood Chowder prepared at the Office Pub, so we all went there for chowder and beer.

May 29 – Hoonah to Tenakee Springs

Departing Hoonah at 0800 we followed Steel Tiger east in Icy Strait and the south down Chatham Strait.  The skies were clear, but with a brisk NW wind.  At 1410 we docked in Tenakee Springs just behind Steel Tiger.  The crab pots were set in Kadashan Bay and some of us enjoyed the hot springs.
The store has been refurbished inside and is really nice.  There is free wifi at the bakery!

May 30 – Tenakee Springs to Takatz

There were NO crab in our pots the next morning!  Departing Tenakee Springs at 0910  we immediately ran into fog in Chatham Strait, which dissipated as we headed south.  We dropped off prawn pots in Kasnyku Bay and then anchored in Takatz Bay.  Most everyone boarded the tenders and we headed several miles further south to Warm Springs Bay where we hiked to the upper hot springs for a refreshing soak.  The tubs at the docks are new since the last time we used them, and the water is hot!  We carried the martinis up the boardwalk to the upper pools.

Part of the boardwalk at Warm Springs Bay

Enjoying the hot springs and martinis alongside the river

May 31 – Takatz to Rodman Bay

Timing our departure to pick up the prawn pots in Kasnyku Bay and still make high slack tide at a halibut fishing location on the way to Rodman Bay, we found only 9 prawns in the pots.  The fishing was more productive, with Jon Liljegren hooking into a 77 pound halibut, followed by a 10 pounder and a large quillback rockfish.  By 1815 we were anchored in a windy Rodman Bay (sustained winds of 25 knots) and were all invited to an impromptu dinner on Maximo.  Crab pots were set.

Jon Liljegren's 54 inch 77 pound halibut

Jon and Suzanne enjoying the prawns from Kasnyku Bay

June 1 – Rodman to Kalinin Bay

At 0835 we left Rodman Bay with 14 nice Dungeness crabs and continued west in Peril Strait through Sergius Narrows and on to Kalinin Bay.  After anchoring, we took the Grady White fishing and came back with a king salmon caught in one of the usual places, (Yes, the places are local knowledge, you have to come learn for yourself).

Patrick getting ready to clean the first king salmon of the season

June 2 – Kalinin Bay

We fished from the Grady White and captured 4 more King salmon and 1 Quillback.  The rain continued all day.

Patrick & Jon with the next four king salmon

June 3 – Kalinin to Sitka

Departing from Kalinin Bay at 0700 in the rain, we docked without incidence at Sitka at 1050.  Our oldest son Cameron arrived on time from Helena, Montana on the 1310 flight.  Dinner was a group affair at the Channel Club.

June 4 – Sitka – Maintenance Day

After more than 1500 miles, it was time for oil changes on both the main engine and the generator.  Liljegren’s toured Sitka and Cameron helped with the oil changes.

June 5 – Fishing at Biorka Island

We let everyone sleep in, so the fishing began with a 0610 departure from Sitka, towing Teri’s Mink, the tender to Steel Tiger.  Swells were running 8-10 feet and the winds was steady at 20-22 knots.  The seas calmed in the lee of Biorka Island and both boats began fishing.  We lost 2 fish and finally returned to the dock at 1415.  The rain was heavy at times.

June 6 – Sitka

Patrick and Cameron fished in the Grady at Kalinin Bay without success, except for rockfish.  The rain continued all day.

June 7 – Sitka

Liljegren’s left just before noon, taking the halibut and three king salmon with them.  Patrick and Cameron then fished at Viskari Rocks, and then at Long Island.  Cameron caught his first King salmon.

Cameron with his first king salmon

June 8 – Sitka - Fishing with Big Blue Charters.

The seas offshore were too big for the Grady White, and Spirit would have rolled badly in the 5-10 foot seas, so Miriam, Patrick and Cameron went out on a charter boat from Big Blue Charters, bringing back 1 King and one small halibut, which became dinner.  There was enough halibut fillets to make four more meals, so they were vacuum packed and placed in the freezer.

We have collected 7 king salmon and 3 halibut so far from the combined efforts of Liljegrens and Gills.

June 9 – Sitka

Cameron departed shortly before noon, returning to Helena, Montana, taking home two king salmon.  The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, checking provisions and preparing to depart Sitka in the morning.  We will fish and crab before the commercial crab season begins on June 15, and then return to Sitka on June 17.  No new posts until then since we will be out of cell phone range.