Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Alaska Trip 2011: Going fishing north of Petersburg

Day 18: Petersburg to Thomas Bay. 21-miles

Time to go fishing.  In previous posts I have alluded to a lack of serious fishing experience, while this is true I do like to "catch fish".  The key word there is catch.  Growing up around Puget Sound in the 1970's there were not a lot fish to be caught.  We are in Alaska, and these guys DO catch fish!

I met a fellow on the dock that offered me a chance to look at his 1989 NOAA Fishing Maps with salmon and halibut hotspots colored in...that is what I needed!  It was a James Bond moment as I snapped clandestine photos of the pages with my tiny Canon camera, 007 would have used a Minox but where would I find one of those in Petersburg?  The spy photos revealed a nice habitat for my target species in Thomas Bay, just 10-miles north.  Thomas has also been the 10,000-year host of the Baird Glacier and had some good looking anchorages.  We were off!

The Alaska Ferry Matanuska entering Petersburg.

The route I plotted included a stop between the Sukhoi Islands for quick bounce of the halibut jig.  The water was calm, but we found no takers for our offering of Octopus with circle hook.

Looking Northeast from Petersburg

Thomas Bay has a shallow entry with rocks on both sides, and is clearly marked with red & green buoys.  The protected Bay is filled with emerald green glacial water.  There was zero wind so we chose the large bay with a 150-foot deep flat bottom and offered more octopus.  We drifted only 300-yards in two hours, but found no halibut.  Off again to tour the Bay and see the Glacier.

Halibut fishing in Thomas Bay.  The weather has been great.

The Baird is at the north end of the Bay, with deeply scarred granite mountain sides.  It is clear that this chunk of ice has been tearing away at the rock with incredible force.  Now a bit smaller having receded like all the other Alaskan Glaciers, it is still huge.  The ice is 10,000 years old and shows its wear, dirt and age.  This is not one of those picturesque eery blue glaciers with fresh calving, where you want to chip a piece off and put in your aged Scotch, those begin a full day farther north.  Still very impressive. 

The Baird Glacier.  Click on photo for larger view. 

At the foot of Glacier is also where Cindy and I turned Cinnamon Girl around and realized that this is as far north as we were going.  57.05.248-Degrees North and 643 direct line miles from home.  945-miles under the keel since leaving Bellingham 18-days ago.  Time flies when you are having FUN!

Rockfall above Thomas Bay.  Jenkins Peak.

We anchored in Ruth Island Cove at the south end of Thomas Bay, in a little nook opposite the large mud flats that use to be the terminus of the Patterson Glacier, now receded.  This was good holding in 40-feet of water.  We put out the crab pot, as I am really good at that!