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Grandpa's advice still ingrained

Posted: March 27, 2014 - 2:35pm  |  Updated: March 28, 2014 - 8:49am

I was born in the village of Ninilchik in 1927. When I was about 10-12 years old, in order to out do the other boys, I worked my way about a mile or more up the Ninilchik River. The kings were thick in the fish hole I found. I baited up my hook with fresh salmon eggs and on my first drift I hooked into a 20-25 pound king. With joy and excitement I struggled dragging it home, showing it off as I made my way.

But then I met Grandpa! I was grinning with excitement until I saw Grandpa’s face. His eyes squinted ... his big bushy eyebrows came together and right there, without hesitation, he turned me over his knee. I got a spanking, I still remember, 75 years ago. After I stopped crying, and regained some composure and had his full attention, he explained.

Never, never, never harvest a fish that is ready or getting ready to spawn. This fish has been in the river for some time, you see, look, it’s turning red. It’s like a mother chicken getting ready to set ... to hatch her young, to raise a brood of chicks. You just killed a bunch of new young fish. When this spawning fish has reached its nesting ground, leave it alone. That way we will always have fish.

Normally, Grandpa’s words were few as I recall. But when he spoke his words were penetrating and ingrained in my mind forever.

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pengy 03/29/14 - 06:59 am
Can someone tell me the

Can someone tell me the difference between killing a king in the saltwater and the freshwater? Doesn't killing one in the saltwater prevent it from spawning just like killing one in the freshwater does?

My grandpa taught me a dead fish is a dead fish no matter where you kill it and if you kill all of them then you screwed it up for everyone.

borninak 03/29/14 - 03:26 pm
Doesn't killing a female deer

Doesn't killing a female deer in the Fall during hunting season prevent it from reproducing just like killing it in the Spring would Pengy? Using your logic we should just move hunting season to the Spring. Brilliant. Did you ever ask yourself why the earliest commercial fisherman fished the saltwater instead of the fresh? Somebody smarter than you came along and saw having a commercial fishery in the spawning grounds wouldn't be too wise. There is a time and place to protect any living species and jerking a bright red king salmon off the spawning beds is a crime. Having grown up sporfishing the Kenai River, I have seen this atrocity far too many times.

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