Friday, October 9, 2009

Fish and Foxes

It has been a warm freeze up season and the river ice took several days to become thick enough to safely walk on and set a fish net.  We used to fish commercially in the fall, sending fish to some of the local North Slope villages as well as several dog mushers and a fish processer in the Fairbanks area.  Our family ran the commercial operation for 56 years, but now it has been scaled down to one or two nets for a few fish for the family and pets.

PickingNet1_6628                Picking the net in the early morning light.




Our winter catch is made up of  Arctic Cisco, Least Cisco, and Hump-back Whitefish.  Most run about a pound while some of the larger ones will go two and half pounds. All are white meat and very tasty.




Cisco's and Whitefish at net hole.

It didn’t take the Arctic Foxes long to smell fresh fish on the wind and within 20 minutes of picking my net yesterday the first fox showed up. 

Arcticfox-Net_6638                     Arctic Fox checking out the net!

Before I finished I had two at the net site and they keep me entertained with their antics.  They were a little shy at first and didn’t want to get to close, but they also didn’t want the other fox near the fish. 

ArcticFox1_5776    Arctic Fox heading for the fish pile with reflection in the ice.

They would chase the other fox away and then dash back to the fish pile looking to grab a fish for themselves.  They managed to get several fish each before I finished for the day and  hauled my catch home.  They each ate one fish right away then started carting fish off to bury for later.

   ArcticFox-fish_5787                                              Got One!!


  1. WooooooW!
    qué lindo blog tienes, mi carnal.'
    ¡I love it!

    Gerardo Australia desde Mexico

  2. Jim, I saw your blog on Teena's facebook feed, and I love it! Amazing pictures everywhere, makes me wish I was somewhere much much further north than rainy Berlin!
    I will keep checking back for more.

  3. Hi Hans,
    Good to hear from you. We are having rain showers here today, really making a mess of the start of winter as all the snow is being melted.


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Arctic Smoke Signals by James W. Helmericks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.