June 10: Soldatna and the Kenai River

029 First thing this morning we picked up our mail.  After two weeks, we really didn’t have that much.  Only first class mail is forwarded and the junk mail is throw away at the Kerrville P.O., saving us time.001We parked in a downtown park and walked down to the Kenai River where they have a boardwalk and many sets of stairs leading down to the river.  Fishermen  (and women) step off the last step into the water and start fishing.  In July it is referred to as “combat fishing” because you are literally shoulder to shoulder with the other people who are fishing.   If you hook a fish and it runs, you have to get everyone in that direction to reel his line in so you can go after your fish.

002The boardwalk goes  on and on and on… Stairs descend to the water about every 100 ft. The purpose is to give fishermen access to the water without destroying all the vegetation along the bank, which in turn would lead to erosion.

009The hooligans, a small fish just a little larger than a sardine, are heading upriver to spawn.  They stay in the shallow water next to the shore where the current is not as strong.  They are so determined that, if a large rock is in their way, they swim over it instead of around it.  And if they get stuck on the rock they just swim that much harder to get themselves free.004Mostly it is just a steady stream of the fish about 4 ft. wide.

026We spoke with a woman at the Visitors Center who said that she had eaten hooligans just a couple of days ago and that they were actually good.  The person who cooked them removed the heads and tails, cleaned them inside, rolled them in Zatarain spices, and deep fried them.  She really recommended them, so we decided that since they are so plentiful, we’d give them a try.  More on the results later.

028Of course the net we had was far too big to catch these fish.

027We managed to grab 5 before they fell through the holes in the net.  About this time a guy came along and told us that they make excellent bear bait.  Glad we stopped at 5!  Jerry deep fried them per the instructions, and they were not terrible.  The flavor was OK, but the texture of the meat was not good.  I guess because they have so much oil in them, the flesh in very soft and mushy.  Also, you have to pick the bones out.  Hooligans are not going to rank very high on the menu .

010Earlier we went to the Visitors Center.  The woman who worked there was from New Orleans and has lived here since 2000.  She still had her “Nawlins” drawl, which was obvious when she asked me, “How are y’all doin’?” I admit it was good to hear “Y’all” again.

012This is a carving of the man who caught the state record King Salmon back in 1965 along with the fish itself, of course.

014I am told that this is the actual fish’s skin on a fiberglass mold. It weighed over 97 pounds!

017This is a group of all the different kinds of salmon.  I know there are King, Red or Sockeye, Coho or Silver, Pink, and Dog or Chum.  Please don’t ask me which is which.

1 comment
  1. John A. Taylor said:

    Hope that you were able to fix the clam gun. Don’t forget to send me a sample of the clams!
    Sure enjoy all of the pictures. Also renters are doing fine after the fire. Ha Ha. Enjoy

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