Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Fishing Utah
Brett Prettyman
Brett Prettyman writes about the outdoors, recreation and fishing for The Salt Lake Tribune

» E-mail

» Subscribe (RSS)




Chris Batin in the culvert before the incident, Thursday Aug. 30, 2012.
Alaska adventure • A beaver dam, salmon and an interesting discovery

The second day of our Alaska adventure featured a little bit of everything.

We are staying at the amazing cabin of Chris Batin near Talkeetna before heading up to Fairbanks Sunday. One of my favorite things about attending the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) annual conference is spending time with fellow outdoors writers in their home states.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

We were all excited to return the favor by helping Chris with a chore Thursday morning before we hit the river to fish.

A beautiful pond is located along the road to Chris’ cabin. A culvert runs under the road to keep the pond from flowing over the top, but a busy beaver had jammed the pipe. We plunged into the spring-fed and cold pond and set about dismantling the beaver’s hard work. I have always been amazed at the craftsmanship of beavers. Now I have a true appreciation of their handy work.

We cleared about 10 to 15 percent of the blockage and then noticed that the material ran about 15 feet down the pipe. Chris decided to attack the mass from inside the tube and entered from the downstream side. Meanwhile, Reed Sherman and I had discovered a big log that seemed to be key in holding everything together. We pried on the log for a few minutes and it finally began to budge. We put a little extra umph into the prying and, suddenly, all hell broke loose.

We yelled at Chris to watch out and I crouched down to see what would happen.

He started to move down the culvert, but debris made his exit difficult. Chris slipped, the mass caught him and knocked him off his feet. Mark Taylor was waiting at the end of the pipe and rescued our now soaking wet host from the continued surge. Chris crawled up the bank while Mark fished around for his hat.

We gathered around Chris to see if he was OK. He had a nasty gash that was bleeding somewhat profusely above his left eye and some scratches on his right arm, but appeared to be all right.

We headed back to his house to address the injuries and then walked to Montana Creek. We emerged from the thick forest right on top of about a dozen or so spawning chum salmon. About five casts later I had hooked my first chum salmon. Quite the thrill, but I couldn’t help but wonder what the fight would be like if the "zombie salmon" wasn’t so close to death. I caught another and hooked about an 18-pound chum I fought for about 10 minutes before the hooked pulled when the fish ran into a strong current and turned sideways.

I had been hoping for a chance at silver salmon, but we failed to find any. The other bummer was a broken 8-weight that didn’t even make it to the river.

I wandered back upstream and was not surprised to see my buddy Reed Sherman kneeling in the water and filming spawning chum salmon. Reed was using his iPhone in a protective case and got some incredible footage.

While waiting for him something in the grass caught my attention. I knelt down to pick it up. I’ve covered a lot of wildlife biology stories in my career and quickly recognized that the item in my hand was a transmitter that had been implanted in a creature by a state biologist.

I dunked it in the water and wiped it off to see: ADF&G, Richard Yanusz, 1800 Glenn Hwy, Suite 2, Palmer, AK 99465. There was also a phone number, which I called. Richard’s voicemail kicked on and I left him a detailed message on where I had found the transmitter and some identifying numbers on the device. I asked him to please let me know the history of the transmitter.

Back at the cabin, I showed Chris the transmitter. After some thinking, he thought it had likely been implanted in a king salmon this spring and it ended up on the bank where I found it after the fish had decayed. I’ll post any response I get from Alaska Fish and Game.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.