All through June, there were dismal salmon counts reported thanks to a “blob” of warm water that stunted spawning off the coast of Alaska a few years ago. There were fears there would be no fish to catch! We had planned to go fishing on Monday, July 16, but the fish counts were still unseasonably low, so we postponed until Wednesday.
We got down there Wednesday and fished Wednesday afternoon/evening and Mr. T and I caught a combined 9 (I only caught 1 of those). Mr. T got back in the water Thursday morning and only caught 1. Then, during the low tide Thursday afternoon, we both got back in the water with our nets and the fish came! It’s always so fun to see a spike in fish while you’re in the water. It starts boiling with salmon and we were just throwing them out of the water. We filled our coolers and had to stop because we couldn’t fit any more!
Our friends joined us Thursday night and we watched their two teenage sons catch 20 before we all ate dinner. We got home Friday around 5pm and Mr. T and I washed and filleted salmon until around 10:30pm and then packaged all the fillets with the FoodSaver for the freezer until about 2am Saturday.
We ended with a total of 34 sockeye salmon! (though our household limit is 65, we never need that much!) That equals 91.8 lbs of edible salmon fillets!
Biggest fillet this year: 34 oz
Smallest fillet this year: 12 oz
Because you know I like to calculate all of our costs, here is everything we spent for this year’s dipnetting trip:
- $107.46 – 2 new camping pads for Mr. T and I. After waking up on our $7 cheap inflatable pads with leaks and being extra sore for the second day of fishing, I decided we were too old for this and immediately ordered some nice camping pads for next year. So, even though we didn’t get to enjoy them for this year’s trip, I’m counting them as part of this year’s costs.
- $60 – The cost of 2 nights of camping on the beach and a $10 drop-off fee (we’ve only ever stayed 1 night in the past, but quite enjoyed being there a second night).
- $42 – Gas for the car for the roundtrip.
- $6.58 – Ice to keep the fish cool.
- $17.34 – The annual Blizzards at DQ for all five of us post-dipnetting on the way home (Mr. T and I split a large to cut costs).
- $12.35 – Some PVC fittings and a plastic container: Every year I descale the fish while Mr. T fillets. I’ve been doing this in our coolers in the grass, but the bending over gets harder each year. This year, Mr. T developed a sort of sink think that drained the water out and he clamped the hose to the side so I could do everything standing up. It made it so much easier!
- $58 – Fishing licenses for Mr. T and I.
- $69.90 – 1 new net (just the netting) and 2 new pole extensions. After catching very little last year with my short net and dumb netting, we got me new netting and 2 pole extensions to make my net as long as his. I’m happy to report I was a very successful fisherwoman this year with the new gear!
- $66 – The cost to get 12 lbs of our fish professionally smoked.
Total Costs: $439.63 – A much more expensive year than usual thanks to new gear and staying an extra night.
Total Cost Per Pound: $4.79/lb
It was a record-breaking year for us on poundage (the most edible meat we’ve ever caught!) but it was also a record-breaking year for our cost per pound (in a bad way). Check out Dipnetting 2015, Dipnetting 2016, and Dipnetting 2017 to compare. $4.79 is still pretty good for market rate fresh sockeye salmon that we eat weekly. If you end up with some salmon, be sure to check out Mr. T’s perfect salmon recipe!