After working at Smolt Camp this spring and summer, I got an incredible opportunity to go on the spawning escapement survey for the adult chinook salmon that we spent so much time trying to tag while on the lower Taku River. Of the entire watershed, a tiny portion of it lies within Alaska. The vast majority of the chinook travel hundreds of miles into the canadian headwaters, and go from sea-level to an elevation of almost 4,000ft in some places.
It was so damn gratifying to see chinook that we caught in fishwheels and nets, fish that went through so much stress in the name of science, had finally made it to their spawning grounds and were doing what they needed to do to ensure their species survival. While the trip was short (only a few days), it was amazing to see these headwaters and interior Canada (a place so vastly different from coastal Southeast Alaska), and explore a place that is nearly impossible to get to. And as always, going on these work trips demands that I bring a fly rod, for you know, some additional sampling...
Every fish sampled needs to be sized, sexed, inspected for tags/secondary tag marks, and scales collected.
First bull trout on a fly rod (this cutbank was fucking loaded...)
Left stream 1 via heli, and headed off to stream 2
Can you spot the Kings?
We got fucking hosed on, at some points unbelievably hard...
The Holy Grail of escapement surveys: a tagged carcass - time to sample!
So I used a bead. Zero fucks given...
Then it was time to head home
Dropped the other guys off at stream 3
The terrain started to look more like Southeast Alaska
Take care fellas,