All posts by Chris Cocoles

NEW YORK’S SALMON RIVER OFFERS ‘A PLACE FOR EVERY FISHING TASTE

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM OSWEGO COUNTY TOURISM

When it comes to world-class fisheries, you’d be hard pressed to find one that isn’t chopped up into special-interest sections. Oswego County’s Salmon River is a pioneer in this process, offering a place for every fishing taste.

Its most famous section is at its headwaters a short distance from the Lower Reservoir’s dam. Restricted to fly-fishing, catch-and-release only, this mystique is more than purist anglers can resist.

FRAN VERDOLIVA, SALMON RIVER PROGRAM COORDINATOR FOR THE NYS DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, CASTS FOR STEELHEAD ON A CHANNEL OF THE UPPER FLY-FISHING SECTION OF THE SALMON RIVER. THE UPPER FLY-FISHING SECTION IS OPEN UNTIL NOV. 30. THE LOWER SECTION IS OPEN SEPT. 15 THROUGH MAY 15. (PHOTO COURTESY NYS DEC)

FRAN VERDOLIVA, SALMON RIVER PROGRAM COORDINATOR FOR THE NYS DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, CASTS FOR STEELHEAD ON A CHANNEL OF THE UPPER FLY-FISHING SECTION OF THE SALMON RIVER. THE UPPER FLY-FISHING SECTION IS OPEN UNTIL NOV. 30. THE LOWER SECTION IS OPEN SEPT. 15 THROUGH MAY 15. (PHOTO COURTESY NYS DEC)

But there’s more to the place than just image. The main river runs just above and below the mouth of Beaverdam Brook, the recipient of the Salmon River hatchery’s tailrace and off-limits to angling. Hence, the special area’s two sections allow angling as close to the hatchery as is legally permitted.

Split into upper and lower stretches, these special areas run less than a mile combined. But their close proximity to the dam draws and holds the river’s greatest number of Lake Ontario’s migrating salmonids: brown trout, king and coho salmon in the fall, and steelhead year-round.  Indeed, autumn sees so many salmon milling around above the Altmar bridge, anglers joke they raise the water level a couple feet or more.

Some make it into the relative safety of Beaverdam Brook, climb the ladder and enter the hatchery. Those that remain in the river are fair game for fly-fishermen, considered the gentlest, most patient segment of the fishing fraternity.

Self-professed purists, fly-fishers use lures made of feathers, tinsel, maybe a little yarn for body, all held together on a single hook by thread. Unlike lures in your average tackle box, these delicate creations are practically weightless, requiring long rods and heavy lines to propel them to the target. Anglers need lots of room to whip the line through the air, slowly playing it out, generating enough force to go the distance. The technique requires good timing and coordination; and when done properly, looks like a dance where man, physical forces and the fly are in perfect motion.

The tackle is of the most elementary design, modern improvements notwithstanding. What’s more, the heavy main line doesn’t help with fighting the fish. You see, it’s too thick to thread through the fly’s eye, and makes too much noise when it hits the water. So a monofilament leader at least 8 feet long, averaging 10-pound-test, is used as a remedy. What you gain in stealth, you lose in strength, however. When hooked, a large salmon or trout does everything in the book to break free, including hiding behind boulders, diving into root balls, undercut banks and sunken timber, even going over waterfalls. It’s enough to make the leader feel about as useful as sewing thread.

Fly-fishing’s poetic moves and unique challenges have hooked the imaginations of the uninitiated, convincing them it’s highly specialized and difficult to master. Anglers ranging from bank fishermen to deep water trollers admire its choreography. So when fly-fishers asked for a special section–complete with environmentally-friendly stairs down a steep cliff and improved banks for solid footing–everyone went along.

Altmar marks the start of the special zone. The lower area runs from the County Route 52 bridge upstream for 0.25 mile to the marker just below the mouth of Beaverdam Brook. The upper section runs from a marked boundary above the hatchery upstream for 0.6 mile to the marked boundary at the lower reservoir’s tailrace.

The special sections have their own seasons, too, apparently to allow salmonids, primarily steelhead and brown trout to spawn naturally without harassment. The lower section is open from September 15 through May 15; and the upper section is open from April 1 to November 30.

For Oswego County fishing conditions and visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com, or call 1-800-248-4FUN.

Polar Bear An Unwelcome Guest

Photo by USFWS

Photo by USFWS

A polar bear decided it wanted to pay a visit to a home in Alaska’s North Slope.

From the Alaska Dispatch:

Ruby Kaleak was at her part-time job on Kaktovik’s roving “polar bear patrol” Friday when a whispery call came over the VHF radio.

“Qanitchaq, nanuq,” was all she could hear: arctic entryway, polar bear.

“They didn’t say where or who,” Kaleak said. “I thought that one of the young boys in town was pulling a prank.”

Kaleak and her co-worker hopped in the Ford pickup they use when on patrol. Among their other equipment is a 12-gauge shotgun with beanbag and firecracker slugs to haze polar bears away from people in the Inupiat village of 300.

They found a house near the lagoon that they suspected the call might have come from. It was about 11 p.m. and dark.

“We parked and looked all over for bears,” Kaleak said. “I myself was about to jump out of the truck and go check inside the arctic entryway.”

Just then, she saw a shadow. From inside the entryway, the head of a polar bear popped up. Its body filled the doorframe.

“I was shocked. It was humongous,” Kaleak said. “Just the neck and head was half the size of me, and I’m 5 (feet) 2 (inches ).”

It had broken into 81-year-old Betty Brower’s entryway and was gobbling a drum of seal oil, said Brower’s granddaughter, Flora Rexford.

Gold Rush Season 5 Premiere

Gold Rush star Parker Schnabel returns for Season 5 tonight. (DISCOVERY CHANNEL)

Gold Rush star Parker Schnabel returns for Season 5 tonight. (DISCOVERY CHANNEL)

The Discovery Channel sent us some sneak previews of tonight’s season premiere of Gold Rush (9 p.m. on Discovery; check your local listings). Here are some sneak peek videos with a release from the network:

 

 

 

 

(Los Angeles, Calif.) – Discovery’s ambitious gold miners are back at it again and the stakes have never been higher. Who’s in and who’s out? This season, everything has changed – new miners, new claims, new machines and new ways to pull gold out of the ground. But will big risks lead to an even bigger pay out? Discovery’s #1-rated show GOLD RUSH returns for its fifth season on Friday, October 17 at 9 PM ET/PT, with the pre-show The Dirt, hosted by series executive producer Christo Doyle, at 8 PM ET/PT.

Returning this season is 20-year-old Parker Schnabel who proved himself in only his rookie season mining the Klondike – raking in over 1,000 ounces of gold worth 1.4 million dollars. Parker is taking off his “training wheels” this year, setting an unprecedented goal of 2,000 ounces worth more than $2.5 million dollars – double his take from last season. Parker re-invests every last cent in a mad scramble to get to good gold, asks more of his crew than ever before and manages to steal one of rival gold miner Todd Hoffman’s top mechanics. If Parker can hit his lofty goal, he could be on his way to becoming a Klondike legend. If not, it will become clear that his first season was simply a stroke of good luck.

Last season, Todd Hoffman rolled the dice and fell flat on his face. He hit rock bottom after braving the jungles of Guyana, South America, in an attempt to make a fortune along with his father Jack, Dave Turin, Jim Thurber and the rest of the Hoffman crew. This year, Todd is back at square one. His right hand man, Dave, has had enough, deserting Todd to mine with legends Freddie and Derek Dodge. Not only has Todd lost his land, most of his money, his crew, but worst of all, he has lost his dignity. His dream of mining in the jungle nearly destroyed him, but will he be able to rise from the ashes and turn things around? Or will this be the season that Todd throws in the towel once and for all? One thing is for certain — Todd will not go down without a fight.

Meanwhile, Tony Beets and his crew dive in full-time to take on the unthinkable. Tony, known throughout the Klondike as “The Viking,” buys a million dollar, 75-year-old floating gold dredge. But to resurrect the gold catching monster, he needs to take it apart piece by piece. The 210-foot dredge hasn’t been used in over 30 years and is a risky proposition. Can The Viking resurrect the machine capable of pulling millions out of the ground or will he be left with a 1,000 metal pieces of junk?

Also returning is the GOLD RUSH pre-show The Dirt, a series of one-hour shows, beginning 8 PM ET/PT on Friday, October 17. Series Executive Producer Christo Doyle sits down with the miners to get the inside scoop on all things GOLD RUSH. Fans are given the unique opportunity to interact with the miners and get access to behind-the-scenes, cutting room floor material that never makes it into the show.

With shocking twist and turns, season 5 of GOLD RUSH introduces fresh blood, new claims and MORE GOLD than ever seen before. Tune in on October 17 for a season of GOLD RUSH like none other.

GOLD RUSH is produced for Discovery Channel by Raw Television, where Dimitri Doganis and James Bates are executive producers and Marc Heffernan is series producer. For Discovery Channel, Christo Doyle is executive producer and Meagan Davis is producer.

Boulder Boat Works and Scientific Anglers News

Boulder Boat Works Boulder Boat Works
Boulder Boat Works

Boulder Boat Works – Fall 2014 Newsletter
By Steven R. Ehredt, BBW Sales & Angling Research


Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot with Boulder Boat Works and Scientific Anglers

In mid-September, we were honored to be invited to provide boats and oarsmen for a photo shoot with the marketing department from Scientific Anglers. Photographer extraordinaire, Tim Romano called the shots on the Upper Colorado River, while coordinating three boats, a bunch of fishy goofballs and some cooperative trout. Under bright blue, Indian Summer skies we smiled for the camera each time we floated past Tim. We would float around a bend and there he was, up to his chest in the water with his camera half submerged. We would float a little farther and there he was again, perched on a rock out cropping, high above the river. When you see an ad for Scientific Anglers in 2015, look for the beautiful Boulder Boat Works drift boats in the background!

Tim Romano and Brad Befus

Tim Romano working his magic with angling ace Brad Befus

Upper Colorado Photo Session

Trout charmer, Allie Marriott helping a trout smile for the underwater camera


Coming Soon…
Trout Unlimited Edition BBW Pro Guide Drift Boat

Boulder Boat Works is very proud to be teaming-up with Trout Unlimited to offer all the best features available in the world’s greatest driftboat. Not only will these BBW clients end up with an incredibly unique boat, they will be helping coldwater fish and their habitats. If you are considering a BBW boat in 2015, ask us about the TU Edition.

For more information, call or email Steve at: 303-678-0055 info@boulderboatworks.com

Used Driftboat Sale

Used Driftboat SaleGoing Once, Going Twice, SOLD!
Used BBW CRT Drift Boat For Sale

We see only a few used BBW boats come up for sale each year… and they sell fast. This one came available as its owner has moved to the salt water and didn’t want it to sit unused. Lucky for you!! This opportunity is even more rare, in that it is a Convertible River Taxi. We began selling the CRT just 4.5 years ago, so there have been very few used CRT’s available.

2013 CRT High Side – 15’ 10” length
Includes used BBW galvy trailer, oars, cover, and anchor (all in great shape)
Price: $9,700 (msrp $13,974) – SOLD!


“BEST SUMMER EVER!”

That’s what I heard my son, Wyatt, yell every time we floated this year. And it was. Who knew that fish like water? Rivers up and down the Rockies had plenty of cold, clear water. The fishing started great and has held strong. While we are hoping for another river trip (or two) this year, we will also spend some time over the next couple months following bird dogs, elk and deer. And of course, we are still building the World’s Greatest Drift Boats Monday through Friday!

Wyatt and Lefty

Wyatt and his dog Lefty on the Upper Gunnison River in August

Michele with Gunnison Brown

Wyatt’s mom Michele (and Lefty) admires a pretty Gunnison River Brown


Breaking Shop Dog News… Meet Gus!

Say hello to our newest shop dog, Gus. Gus joined our crew a few months back. While he hardly seems to notice the other shop dogs (Lefty, Ruger, Percy and Fair), he does show lightning fast response to dog treats.  With Walrus (on land) type agility, Gus can put a smile on anyone’s face when he “sort of” runs to greet you.  Stop in and say hi to Gus and the rest of our shop dogs anytime.  Beers shared at 4:30pm daily.

Shop Dog Gus 1

Shop Dog Gus 2


Check out all of our drift boats on our website:
www.boulderboatworks.comAmerica’s #1 selling polymer drift boat – Made in USA

Trout Unlimited Endorsed Business

email: info@boulderboatworks.com • phone: 303-678-0055
802 B South Sherman St., Longmont, CO 80501

ASJ Correspondent Haugen Joins Alaska Outdoors Television

Scott Haugen will be hosting an Outdoor Channel show. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

Scott Haugen will be hosting an Outdoor Channel show. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

 

Alaska Sporting Journal contributor Scott Haugen, who teams with his wife, Tiffany, for their monthly “From Field to Fire” column, will appear on the Outdoor Channel network as a host. Here’s the release:

Anchorage, Alaska – 59th Parallel
Productions Inc., a television entertainment company,
announced today the addition of Scott Haugen as host
to the Alaska Outdoors Television team joining its 8th season in production, airing weekly on the Outdoor Channel network. For nearly 20 years noted outdoor author and TV host, Scott Haugen has been a familiar name in the hunting and fishing world.

“There’s no place I know that’s as captivating and inspirational as Alaska,” shares Haugen. “The people, land and wildlife are so unique, and there are many great stories to unveil.”

Having lived for years in Alaska’s Arctic, and hunted and fished throughout the state, I’m elated to be part of the Alaska Outdoors team, and to return to the Outdoor Channel.”

When living in Alaska Haugen ran an extensive trapline, fished and hunted birds and big game. He also tracked down and killed a man-eating polar bear with his Winchester .30-06 when living in a village
bordering the Chukchi Sea, a story we look forward to sharing.

“Having a host with a solid reputation in
the outdoor industry, who has proven himself in the state for a quarter-century, adds great value to Alaska Outdoors TV,” offers Tim Delarm, Executive Producer of Alaska Outdoors TV.

Scott Haugen has hosted various shows for the Outdoor Channel’s original programming sector, including Adventures Abroad, Game Chasers and Salmon, Trout, Steelhead. Haugen has appeared on more than 400
TV episodes, penned over 1,700 magazine articles and written more than 15 books to include best-selling hunting and fishing books on Alaska, and is on the editorial staff of three Alaska-based magazines.

He continues to write over 100 magazine articles a year and deliver over 50 seminars, annually, making him a great addition to the team. Alaska Outdoors Television can be seen every week on the Outdoor Channel 3x weekly – Anchor slot Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

For more information on Alaska Outdoors Television visit the series websites at Twitter, Facebook and YouTube or www.alaskaoutdoorstelevision.com.

Congrats to Scott!

Alaskan Huntress Hillarie Putnam (Part II)

Hillarie Putnam 1
Here’s part II of our chat with Alaskan hunter and actress  Hillarie Putnam, currently available in the October issue of Alaska Sporting Journal: 
By Chris Cocoles
Hillarie Putnam knows she can hang with the guys and be just fine, thank you.
The 26-year-old big-game hunter, actress and docu-series television star still doesn’t understand why women who hunt like herself are sometimes questioned for their motives.
“Where did this idea come from that says every woman has to look (a certain way)?” asks Putnam, who recently wrapped up a stint on The History Channel bear hunter show, The Hunt. “If you play sports, you have to look like a man; if you’re in business, you have to look like a man. It’s this crazy thing. That’s probably why we’re so confusing to so many men. We have all these different elements to us.”
Don’t put any label on Putnam, who’s tough enough to take down a Kodiak brown bear – which she did on The Hunt – but also pulled off the role of Tracy Lord – the one made famous on the big screen by legendary Katharine Hepburn – when she was one of the stars of the stage version of The Philadelphia Story in Portland, Ore.
“Being able to play that role was phenomenal. The (character) has an affair on her fiancé the night before she gets married while she’s still in love with her ex-husband,” Putnam says. “You look at what she’s doing, and you realize the time period it came from is pretty long ago. We look at women who make those choices today, but we’ve been making these same bad and good decisions for years.”
Putnam has plenty to keep her busy in a hectic schedule. She co-owns a talent agency in Portland, Red Thread Entertainment, and is working with TV executives in Los Angeles to develop her own outdoors show from a woman’s perspective.
In part II of our chat with Putnam, the Wasilla resident, who splits time among Alaska, Seattle and Portland, talks about her earliest hunting memory, a once promising career in sports, acting and her ultimate dream job.
Hillarie Putnam 2
Chris Cocoles Can you share one of your most memorable hunting or fishing trips?
Hillarie Putnam I remember my dad and I went to Pioneer Peak (Chugach Mountains, near Palmer) when you could still just get a tag and go sheep hunting there. Now you need a permit. It was just he and I and I had super short hair; we climbed up, and even now he still gives me a run for my money when we’re climbing up a mountain. But I could not keep up then; I think I was 8 or maybe 10. I remember finally getting up to the top and pitching a tent. Every time we stopped we kept eating blueberries and he kept telling me how great it would be once we got to the top. This sheep and goat hunting is my favorite type of hunting to do. You get up there and it’s such a wonderful feeling. You put forth the effort to get there. And then you have all this stuff you can look down on. On that hunt we didn’t get anything or even really see anything. It was just the element of being above the rest of the world for three days where no one can reach you. I’d wake up every morning and my dad was cooking breakfast outside. You throw your stuff in a light pack, hike around the mountain range and come back. It’s such a special moment. You’re the only ones who remember it. We didn’t bring any smartphones or cameras of any kind. The only two people who remember that climb are my dad and I.
CC And you enjoy the roughing it too?
HP There were no sat phones back then and I didn’t grow up climbing with a GPS. We would go out and my mom might not hear from us for three days, and if we were weathered in she might not hear from us for five days or a week. You really missed the people you were away from back then. I don’t know if you miss people the same way. I went to (an outdoors store) and I thought, “This is wrong. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. There are packets of soda!” You are supposed to go out there and suffer. I miss what it’s like to daydream about a pizza. Then when you get back, you can have it.
CC How patient do you think you have to be as a hunter?
HP In Alaska that’s a big thing. A lot of (hunters) come from Montana or Michigan and they’re used to deer hunting from a (deer stand) or in a blind. There’s something drawing the animal to you. So you wait, but it’s not the same as it is in Alaska. If you hunt on ranches or have guides, there is a lot of wandering around and trying to find the creatures. But in Alaska, there are so many creatures, a lot of times it is just about finding a good spot and seeing what happens and waiting. It’s like moose hunting, which is calling them in and seeing what can come to you. And most of the time in Alaska when hunters aren’t successful they just don’t have patience.
CC You were quite the athlete back in high school in track and basketball, correct?
HP  I won the state title in three events and I did the high jump, long jump, triple jump and hurdles. I had colleges that had scholarships for me. I was looking at UNLV and Michigan State for track and field.
CC Were you a forward in basketball?
HP I played all five positions. I’m 5-9 so a little short inside, but I was an aggressive defensive player. What I lacked in size I made up for in aggression. I played some point guard too and I was a coach on the floor, for better or for worse [smiling]. I didn’t realize it when I was in school, but now that I’m older, I realize that I wasn’t a big communicator. I liked to wake up at 5 a.m. and go run or shoot hoops, and I kind of expected everyone else to do that. Now I realize that who wants to do that at that age?
CC You played lingerie basketball, like the Seattle Mist (of the lingerie football league)?
 HP Exactly. A friend of mine is the quarterback [laughs]. A lot of people said, “Well, that’s pornographic.” But it’s interesting. When I first went in there I thought to myself, “I have to be careful about what this is.” But these women were successful (NCAA) Division I ballplayers. These girls could play basketball and some of them are mothers and some are doctors. Every night after they get done with their regular lives, they come in and play this game but wear feminine clothing. And they look like beautiful women.
CC But acting seemed to overtake sports, and you went to college at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. What was that like?
HP The school just focuses on having an entertainment career, and our final project for our career course was putting together an original (subject) that you think would do well in television. Everyone in the class and the faculty voted on the best, and I actually won. It was based on a female hunting travel show that went around the world highlighting different locations that had women who were standouts. And now, seven or eight years later, I’m hopefully able to write a show that will do that. The more you look back the more you realize everything you’ve done is preparing you for what’s about to come your way.
Hillarie Putnam 4
CC One of your biggest movie roles to date was in The Frozen Ground, which had quite an impressive cast. How did that go with some Hollywood heavyweights?
HP The person who was the most fun to work with was 50 Cent (nee Curtis Jackson, who plays a pimp in the serial killer film that takes place in Alaska). He was remarkable. His persona is he’s this bad boy who sings dirty songs that people grind up to each other in the clubs. And then you meet him and he’s the most polite, well-mannered and sweetest guy; he’s kind of a little shy. But I was blown away by how professional and sweet he was. I was in a holding room with him and (co-star) Vanessa Hudgens. She was super bubbly with high energy, and it was interesting having that experience with them.
CYour big scene was with Nicolas Cage, but you had a memorable meeting with one of the other stars of the movie, John Cusack.
HP (Cage) just showed up and did it, and he had a big entourage, and a lot of them flew in and out to shoot their scenes. But Cusack, I had a very interesting interaction with him. There ended up being a scheduling conflict and the director told me to come down and hang around the set for a while. But there was a scene where I was just standing there watching the production. He gets up from the table and walks over to this pillar where I was and then he walks out the door. But he walks up to me as “the killer.” They yell, “Cut!” and he looks at me to try and figure out who I am. And he’s still in character and hasn’t flipped back to John Cusack yet. So I’m standing against the wall and I’m like, “John, this is really strange. I kind of feel like you want to rape me. So can you please turn on your other face to we can have a conversation.” But he was very sweet, and every little girl grows up with John Cusack in Say Anything.
CC Talk about the motivation to succeed that you seem to have and how it pertains to being Alaskan but with some Hollywood roots.
HP The kids I grew up with, they don’t seem to have average lives. Friends I went to school with, some are bush pilots and they have three different companies where they’re air-taxiing people around. They just have this intense drive and ambition. I think that’s why I liked L.A. There are big dreamers and they’re a little weird. I was just down there visiting friends, and they work five jobs and live in tiny apartments. And they truly believe, to their core, they are going to make something of themselves and there is something bigger than them. And that’s what I run into when I’m in Alaska.
Hillarie Putnam 5
CC Do you enjoy the camaraderie of being outdoors with friends and family?
HP It’s always learning more about each other. Some of my best relationships in the entertainment world have been at Crystal Creek Lodge (907-357-3153crystalcreeklodge.com), a fishing lodge in King Salmon, Alaska, in the middle of nowhere. When the guests come out you’re up in the early hours to go fishing. You have crappy weather, but there’s something about the idea of being remote and cut off from the rest of the world. You actually have to look somebody in the eye when you’re talking to them.
CDo you have any long-term goals?
HP There’s this dream of Alaska – what Alaska is and what you can do there. And when you want to give someone the Alaskan experience, you kind of rise to living how Alaska breeds its humans to be. So that’s the ultimate goal for me is to have a lodge of my own.
CC What it is about Alaska that everyone loves enough to do TV shows there?
HP I think the reason why Alaska has been so on fire lately, (the outdoors) is all you have up there. I think people long for that. It’s wonderful for entertainment where we’re at right now with media and have information at the snap of a finger. For years and years – and I hope it will continue to be that way – Alaska is such a turn-on to so many people. If you talk to tons of people, it’s always a bucket list. If not to get hunting or fishing or snowboarding, it’s at least to go on a cruise. It’s untamed, and it’s fascinating to me that it’s still out there. 

 

Kodiak A Hostile Setting For Senate Candidate

Sen. Mark Begich (D) Photo by Wikimedia U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (R) Photo by Wikimedia

(left) Sen. Mark Begich (D);  (right) Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (R)

You knew this would be full of theatrics. U.S. Senate candidates Mark Begich, the incumbent Democrat, and his Republican challenger, former state attorney general Dan Sullivan, debated Alaska’s fisheries’ issues in Kodiak on Wednesday night.

Begich has made friends of fishermen throughout Alaska for his views, which include opposition to the Pebble Mine project, plus vowing to strengthen the state’s fishing industry. So it was rather obvious who was going to enjoy the homecourt advantage in Kodiak.

The Republican candidate, Sullivan, appears to be the choice to unseat Begich in the Nov. 4 election if those numbers hold. But Begich had his support on Wednesday, and it probably didn’t help Sullivan’s cause as the building’s villain after reports surfaced he tried to avoid the fisheries debate before agreeing to attend.

From the Associated Press:

It was a friendly audience for Begich, who chairs the Senate subcommittee on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries, and Coast Guard and entered the debate with the endorsement of fishing organizations such as the United Fishermen of Alaska and the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers. At one point, Begich, wearing a gold salmon pin on his lapel, said he wouldn’t mind answering some of the questions that were being directed solely to Sullivan.

“Well, Senator Begich, we’ve heard a lot from you, but we really haven’t had an opportunity to question Mr. Sullivan,” one of the questioners, fish industry writer Laine Welch, said before asking Sullivan another question.

During the debate, Sullivan was asked about his brother’s fish business. He said his brother is a wholesaler who buys farm-raised fish as well as fish from Alaska. Sullivan said he is against genetically modified fish, known as “Frankenfish,” a position Begich also holds.

Sullivan said he has never supported the Pebble Mine, a massive gold-and-copper prospect near the headwaters of a world-premier salmon fishery in southwest Alaska. But he said he supports having a process in place for projects like that to be vetted.

Sullivan has said the controversial project should be allowed to go through the permitting process. He and others, including Murkowski and state officials, worry the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will veto the project before it has gone to permitting.

Begich — to applause — called the project the wrong mine in the wrong place.

When Begich said he planned to hold a committee hearing to discuss concerns about Canadian mines and their impacts on Alaska, Sullivan said hearings and letters don’t get the job done.

“Face-to-face contact, face-to-face diplomacy, that’s what you make an impact on,” Sullivan said.

It should be an interesting Election Day in Alaska.

 

 

USFWS Considers Elimination Of Invasive Caribou

Photo by Kristine Sowl, USFWS

Photo by Kristine Sowl, USFWS

There’s no room at the inn for caribou. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is considering its options to help contain a herd of caribou that has found its way to an uninhabited island on U.S. Federal land in the Aleutians.

From the Associated Press:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials say caribou swim from Adak Island, where they were introduced to provide sport hunting for military personnel, to uninhabited Kagalaska Island, part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. The agency proposes to keep a new herd from forming by killing caribou on Kagalaska with refuge staff, volunteers or contractors, starting next year.

Five caribou were shot in 2012 and up to 15 more may be on the island. Kagalaska is a wilderness area and caribou would alter it, said refuge manager Steve Delehanty.

“Things that belong out there ought to stay out there as much as possible,” he said by phone from his office in Homer. “Things that don’t belong out there ought to not be out there, as much as possible.”

Caribou would target the island’s lichen beds, trample other vegetation and create trails, he said.

“None of it is natural,” Delehanty said.

Adak is a 283-square mile island 1,300 miles southwest of Anchorage. The military built an airfield on the island during World War II and it was used as a Naval Air Station until 1997.

The nearest native caribou are 500 miles away. At the request of military officials, caribou were introduced to the island in 1958 to give personnel opportunities for recreational hunting.

When the island housed 1,000 to 6,000 people, sport hunting kept the herd to 200 to 400 animals. After the base closed, by 2012, the herd had grown to an estimated 2,700 animals. Their only predators are people, and hunters can shoot cows year-round.