OR Travel Nurses, Megan and Cody, are on a journey to experience everything the United States has to offer. They started their first travel assignment in October 2019 and have been on the move ever since. Read about their latest adventure Salmon Fishing on the Deshka River in Alaska last July!
The state of Alaska has lead me to believe that new adventures and memorable opportunities are endless. I had the incredible opportunity to live in the 49th state for seven months as a travel nurse. I got to go on so many adventures, see new things, and learn about the way of the Natives. My traveling partner and I rode snow machines next to Denali, mushed the dogs of an Iditarod champion, and viewed humpback whales from fifty yards away in the Kenai Fjords National park. These adventures were simply incredible, and honestly, travel nursing is where I owe the credit for the ability to do them. Although these experiences were absolutely unforgettable, the one Alaskan adventure that truly holds the most meaning, was our salmon fishing charter.
Salmon fishing in Alaska dates back to the 1800s and has provided food and other resources to the Natives for many years. Each year salmon in the sea travel numerous miles back upstream to the rivers in which they were hatched. Once they reach their destination, they spawn and reproduce offspring of their own. After spawning occurs, their life purpose has been reached and they soon will die. The transition from saltwater to freshwater is part of the reason for their lives ending. Another part is that the salmon tire themselves literally to death to reach their specific stream, build their nest and spawn. The eggs they work so hard to lay will hatch and those salmon swim back out to sea. The cycle starts all over again. The journey of the salmon species is remarkable.
After learning about the salmon, and realizing that this was a dated tradition in Alaska, I just had to go on this adventure. We took a charter through Alaska Chinook Charters on the Deshka River in July. The fishing charter was not only memorable but learning the life of a salmon and the Native tradition was the best part. Before I went on my charter, a friend of ours who is Native to Alaska gave us yet another history lesson. He explained that there were five types of salmon in Alaska and that there was a way to remember them by simply using your fingers and thumb. Thumb is for the Chum Salmon, easily remembered due to the rhyme. The index finger is for the Sockeye Salmon, easily remembered as if you’re socking someone in the eye. The middle finger is for King Salmon because it’s the largest of the five salmon and largest finger. The ring finger is for the Silver Salmon, resembling a silver ring and the silver color of the salmon. Lastly, the pinky finger is for the Pink Salmon, for the color of the fish. This history lesson on Salmon from a dear friend will be something I remember forever.
We took off bright and early on a twenty-seven-foot boat onto the Deshka River in Willow, Alaska. Our trip was successful and we took home five large Silver Salmon. We learned most of the details I’ve discussed on the life of a salmon from our charter that day. The charter showed us the way to fish for the salmon and ultimately made sure we were successful and had a good time. At the end of our six-hour charter, the guide filleted our fish for us and the salmon went from the river that morning, to the table that evening. Going on this charter was successful and fun, but it ultimately made me respect this activity and the life of the fish. It also bright light to what it has meant to Alaskan residents for so many years. It was yet another Alaskan way of life and experience that I respect and will forever hold in my memory. At the end of the fishing trip, I had yet another reason to say Alaska is endless in opportunity and adventure!
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