When the snow begins to melt, the days become longer, and the birds begin their twittering, an Alaskan man's fancy turns to.....Fish.
This is our third spring in Alaska, and, like clockwork, we have joined other Alaskan minds as they wander towards the upcoming summer fish catch. For us, it all began Easter Sunday as we sat around the table with our good friends, feasting on smoked salmon spread made by T & J.
March is the time of year when the newspapers begin publishing specials on guided fishing trips, new gear, and big boats. It is also when homeowners fortunate to have an extra freezer (almost a necessity) start digging into its depths to see what, if any, fish products are left from last season. Cleaning out the freezer is mandatory to make room for the 2008 cache. Depending upon the level of freezer burn, which may or may not make the product dog food, a schedule of weekly fish consumption is created, and our family has reaped the benefits. Besides the salmon spread, we will be dining on clam strips, halibut on the grill, salmon patties, and some scallops a friend sent us. As we sit down to the table to eat what we caught, dug, or netted ourselves, I can now fully appreciate the feeling of self-satisfaction as I feed my children food they helped procure.
I mentioned salmon as dog food. Yes, some types of salmon are used to feed the dogs. Usually pinks, the lowest on the chain of tastiness, but still pretty good when smoked. Dogs enjoy salmon as much as we do, in fact, many sled dog mushers feed the fish to their teams to get the full benefit of the omega-3's. Mixed with kibble and cooked into a soupy gruel, dogs slurp it up with relish.
This summer we will be dipnetting for salmon, fishing for halibut in Haines on a vacation with the above friends, digging clams in Ninilchik and Clam Gulch, and picking blueberries, crowberries, and cranberries on the hillsides near our home.
We will feel rich.