We arose at dawn and gathered at Minter Creek, a salmon spawning stream in the South of Puget Sound.
John and I have done this Grizzly activity for a number of years. I lived on Minter for twenty years before I was so bold or foolish to do the grizzly fishing.
My daughter played t-ball with the Popochock kid; their Dad ran the salmon hatchery.
I asked him at a picnic if it would be okay if I poached a salmon or two, as I knew that they only kept the strongest fish for artificial reproduction and discarded the others. A sad thought. When the fish battled upstream and ended up in a holding pool, I was reminded of the people in a concentration camp awaiting their fate.
Popochock said, “Sure that’s ok , just don’t bring your entire extended family to the creek.”
That was the carte blanche I needed. My ex- wife , who is a criminal defense attorney said, “You’re on your own, I am not defending you if you get caught. You know it is a five hundred dollar fine?”
“Popochock said it was ok.”
“Yeah, that will hold up in court.”
Our third party was Michael, a PGA Tour caddy and John’s son-in-law.
John and I treated this activity as a ritual of the Fall. We would catch a fish, carefully and humanely prepare it with utmost care. We burned native tobacco grown by John’s brother, Marty, and bathed the fish in smoke, purifying and smudging. We rubbed ash on our faces and gave thanks for this fish giving his/her life for our sustenance.
By Aline Soules
On March 19, 2022
This reminds me of Hemingway’s Nick Adams short stories. I also like the contrast of the illegality of this with the ancient ritual. It emphasizes the change in how we view these processes. Aline