December 2, 2016 – News-Miner Community Perspective:
As a born and raised Alaskan, I spent my summers dipnetting on the Kenai River and fly fishing on Resurrection Creek. I recall the smell of fish at the dock as my younger siblings and I fell into an assembly line, picking and filleting fish with the easy air of old fishermen. I remember the sizzle of fat on the grill as the bellies of silver salmon turned a succulent pink color that flaked apart in my fingers. For me, salmon came to mean summertime and good food.
This past summer, at 16, I spent a month living out of my kayak in Southeast Alaska, and salmon came to mean something new to me. After setting up home for the night, I would head out a few hundred feet from shore and drop a line from my hand reel. As I waited, I would listen to the silence of Alaska’s wild, knowing that I was in a place as untamed as it gets. I wouldn’t wait long before I was jolted from my wondering by a bite on the line, accompanied by whoops of excitement from my friends preparing a buttered skillet on shore as I reeled in the fish. After I returned to my home in Anchorage, salmon dinners recalled memories of the complete and untouched wilderness I experienced on that trip, and the awe inspired by the wilds of Alaska.
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