At 5:00 a.m. scores of seiners dotted the water in mid Chatham Strait for a one-day salmon opening. There were upwards of 80 seine boats vying for their share of the chum salmon returning to the Hidden Falls hatchery. We ran over from Ell Cove in our skiff and spent several hours following a number of boats through multiple cycles as they set and recovered their nets. Old boats, remodeled old boats, and newer boats all jockeyed for position and worked nonstop from the opening to the 10:00 p.m. closing. It was fascinating to watch, and led to a new appreciation of the skill and energy involved.
- Position the skiff and string out the net
- Let it soak for 20 minutes
- Circle and recover, neatly stacking the heavy net, separating corks
- and weights, close the purse, haul the catch aboard and into the chilled hold – and accomplish all of this in 12 to 13 minutes
- Pick your new location and begin a new set
Here are a few shots from the day