Les Palmer: Life's Great Questions

I have a few questions, but one of them isn’t “What is life all about.” If you live on the Kenai Peninsula, you don’t have to ask that one. You know life is all about fishing.

Do fish ever sleep? If so, how do they get the job done in the Kenai River in July, with power-boats running up and down, day and night, and with people pulling them out of the water, measuring them and posing them for photos? Wouldn’t they be better off if they could rest when they’re tired? Come to think about it, we humans don’t get a lot of rest in July. Why should the fish be better off than us?

Around here, the most-asked question is “Where’s the fish?” Evolutionists claim that terrestrial life came from the sea. If humans evolved from fish, as some scientists say, why do fish still exist? On the other hand, evolution might explain what has happened to king salmon runs in recent years. The kings evolved, and they’re no longer salmon. Maybe they’re now monkeys, on their way to becoming humans. No wonder they haven’t come back. Stifle your scoffing, please. This theory may sound wild, but it’s more likely than some that are making the rounds.

What is Victoria’s Secret? I’ve spent a considerable part of my life thumbing through those catalogs, carefully scanning them for any clue, but I keep coming up with nothing. Not that I’m tired of looking. I’m hoping the secret is a fly pattern that sockeye salmon will like, so I won’t have to keep flogging the water, trying to snag them in the mouth.

Another question that I’ve been asking for years is who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop? Nobody will admit to doing it. It’s like finding out who put northern pike in a Kenai Peninsula lake.

When animals get depressed, do they ever consider suicide? Put yourself in, say, the position of a wolf on the Kenai Peninsula. Not only do you have a serious infestation of lice, but trappers and hunters want to kill you. Peninsula moose numbers are dwindling because of poor habitat, so you rarely eat moose anymore, but you’re always getting blamed. You’re thinking things couldn’t get worse, but then a trapper snares the one female in your pack, and she was your sole reason for getting up in the morning. Would you consider ending it all? If so, how? Banks aren’t loaning money to little piggies who want to build brick houses in Alaska, so going down the chimney of a little piggy’s house is out. Would it occur to a wolf that an easy way out might be to walk across the Sterling Highway in summer?

Wolves might think they have it tough, but how would a Kenai River “trophy” rainbow trout go about committing suicide? Most other fish can end their lives simply by grabbing the first hook that comes along, but regulations require that large, Kenai trophy “bows” must be harmlessly released. Imagine the frustration and despair of one of these noble, elderly trout, having lived a full and satisfying life, now suffering from countless angler-inflicted injuries, trying to end its suffering, only to find itself being “played” again and again, worn to a frazzle, photographed and then released to suffer still more. What’s a fish to do?

If fish could talk, what would they ask? Why can’t we all just get along? Would it kill you to have two days a week of drift-boat-only fishing on the Kenai? What’s it going to take to limit the number of Kenai River fishing guides? Does everything have to be about how much money and jobs fish can generate? Kumbaya?

I have lots more questions. Why is it that all good things have to end?

Les Palmer can be reached at les.palmer@rocketmail.com.

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An Outdoor View: Future fishing

With the rapid advances in technology we’re seeing now, I’m wondering what fishing on the Kenai River will be like a few years from now. One change we might see is an ability to see in “real-time” where people are catching sockeye salmon.

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