Waiting for Herring

By , April 27, 2019

The herring have arrived in Mud Bay, according to an anonymous post in a local on-line want ad page. But, here on the shore of Lynn Canal, just off Mud Bay, we’re still waiting. And, when I say “we,” I mean everyone!

harbor seal

A harbor seal hangs out, waiting for herring (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

 

Yesterday, Michelle had the day off, even though Aly has already started training for the coming summer tourist season. She’s been off the homestead for a few days, rafting the Klehini and Chilkat rivers near here.

We had an event to attend yesterday evening, but given that the weather was so nice, and Michelle’s about to delve headfirst into the tourist season herself, we decided to stay home. Good thing.

A whale patrolled our beach much of the day, sometimes passing so close to our rocks that we could almost reach out and touch it. By late afternoon, a friend joined it, and the two humpback whales circled in our bight, diving occasionally. I wish I’d grabbed a camera then, but we were enjoying the show too much.

Aly decided that she should try to collect herring eggs, so she anchored a hemlock bough on the beach in the southern corner of the property. With her at training, I’ve checked it each day for eggs, but haven’t seen any yet.

herring bough

Aly’s anchored hemlock bough, now exposed by low tide, waiting for herring eggs (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Today, while checking the bough, I tried to get photos of a whale that cruised about ¼ mile off the beach. Then, I noticed something almost at my feet: a harbor seal popped up quietly for a look around. I sat still on a rock, with my camera braced on my knees for the whale, so the seal didn’t see me. It, too, seems to be waiting for the herring to arrive.

We haven’t decided whether to set nets for herring this year, but we will focus on the eggs. I suggested she put the bough in that corner because we’ve seen herring spawn there often. All the seaweed in that corner is edible, and tastes good, so I’m hoping for eggs on the seaweed. The hemlock bough works great for a portable catch, but I like to eat the seaweed with the eggs.

bladderwrack seaweed

Bladderwrack seaweed, if/when covered with herring eggs, can be a nutritious treat (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

I guess not everyone is waiting for the herring. That moose that came into the compound the other day has been hanging around (see Visitations). She surprised me this morning. She doesn’t care about the herring, that’s for sure.

To each their own. As long as the herring eventually do show up!

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