Eek Fisherman Catches Silver Salmon in December

Most fisherman have at least one story of, ‘the one that got away.’ Eek resident Floyd Roehl has a story with a different outcome from a recent trip up the Eek River.

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On an ice fishing trip last Friday, Roehl says he caught a couple of pikes, then dropped his jigging line into a hole hoping for a third pike. But he got something else.

“I felt something really jerk hard [on the line] and I was thinking, ‘Holy cow I got a big pike!’ I pulled it up and I looked at it and it was a silver salmon. I was just surprised and I said ‘Holy cow look what I got!’” said Roehl

A silver salmon that was caught by Floyd Roehl. (Photo courtesy of Floyd Roehl)
A silver salmon that was caught by Floyd Roehl. (Photo courtesy of Floyd Roehl)

Roehl said the silver salmon was turned pink by the freshwater, but was in good condition, only fatter. The majority of silver salmon swim up the Kuskokwim to spawn in August, but United States Fish and Wildlife Biologist Lewis Coggins says some run late.

“There are quite a few examples where coho salmon will be found spawning late into November and even into December,” said Coggins.

Coggins said the areas that support later salmon runs are springs or upwellings in the river, these places tend to stay warmer than other areas. He also said there haven’t been enough studies around the Eek River to know for sure why the silver was running so late.

Roehl said his friends and family members were extremely surprised, having never seen a freshly caught silver or coho salmon in December.

Having not fished for salmon during the summer, Roehl and his wife plan to make salmon soup for a memorable meal over a story that many would consider a ‘fish tale’.