Don’t cry for July
I think August / September may be my favorite time of year. I know, I know it means summer is behind us, I know it means the weather will start to turn, and I also know the days will become shorter and shorter. But I have lived here on the Kenai Peninsula for seven years, and the last few years I have developed a love / hate relationship with July. You see all winter long I long for the action packed red filled month and all it brings. But then July comes, and July brings the red salmon, and with the red salmon comes the people and with the people comes the dip net fishery. Now me personally I love dip netting, we do it every year to get a good supply of fish for the up coming winter.
For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, dip netting is a local personal use fishery, for Alaska residents, where you dip a net in the Kasilof or Kenai river and pull it out with salmon in it. It is a fun fast filled addictive way to get fish quickly, even more so from a boat.The problem is it isn’t a secret. You see there are over 20,000 free permits issued for this fishery with an average 4 people fishing each permit, which means tens of thousands of people down here to catch fish. And that’s just the dippers, then you have the sport fisherman, the commercial fisherman, and the I just want fish fisherman, and my job is to make sure they are all being good boys and girls. Guess what, they’re not. Guess what else, they like to tattle on each other… a lot! Now I don’t go in the field anymore, I am in the office answering phone calls and dealing with complaints from all of them, including all the members of government who are upset because their constituents call them and complain about us not doing anything. Naturally, me being of good cheer, try to take it all in stride, but it wears a man down, and it wears me down too.
So about the fourth week of July, I am flat worn out, not physically, but mentally. But I am definitely ready for July to be over, because when July ends so does the dip net fishery and the tens of thousands of dippers go with it, leaving their trash, fish carcasses, and money behind; but taking their no left turns available, Fred Meyer’s is too full for you to find a parking spot, and slow driving, road hogging road whales with them. It also marks the end of the red fishery and the beginning of my favorite fishery, the coho or silver fishery; the berries are ripe for picking, with hunting season stepping into the picture. All this with about 1/10th the people and problems. Furthermore, this particular July had a lot of other life junk thrown in just to make me in a particularly bad mood.
So welcome August, I am so happy to see you. I don’t mind the slight chill in the morning with the moisture on my windshield. I don’t mind the fact that the sun takes its rays and hides by 10 O’clock at night, and doesn’t waken until after six am. I don’t mind that the first school bell of the season, bringing out all the brand new 16 year old “Jeff Gordon” drivers, rings. I don’t mind that our crazy life schedule will blow up with kids social events. And I don’t mind that snow is only 2 months away. Hmmmmm, come to think of it, I can’t wait for next July, only 358 days to go.