Kalskag is tiny, but it is one of the larger communities up the Kuskokwim. It is also the focus of part two of Petra Harpak’s exploration of the fishing life upriver. Some things remain the same all along the river. Men like Michael Savage don’t cut fish.
When asked if Michael cuts fish, he said, “I just fish. My wife and kids, they do the cutting.”
I asked Bolossa Michaelson, “Do you eat tepeq, [fermented fish head]?”
Michaelson responded, “For tepeq, we call it uqsunaat. When we eat fish like soup, it makes us full longer. Cause when we eat White food, we get hungry right away.”
That’s Bolossa Michaelson. She and Savage were among many who talked about their concerns with fishing management and the weather.
Michaelson explains how the weather affected her fish. “I didn’t like when it keeps raining because it spoils our fish. And last year we didn’t fish much because of the rainy season. And we didn’t put very much and it was hard when we ran out. We didn’t fish that much these last few years because it was a waste of gas for us. This year’s been the best year in a long, long time. ‘Cause long ago, way back around the 1970s, we use to fish lots for the winter subsistence and we put up everything and we don’t run out of fish.”
“Did you run out of dry fish?” asked Harpak.
Michaelson’s response: “Yeah.”
That’s Bolossa Michaelson speaking with Petra Harpak. She and Michael Savage were fishing by Kalskag when Harpak encountered them during her trip up the Kuskokwim this summer to understand upriver fishing.
Listen to the full conversation to hear more about fishing in Kalskag on KYUK's morning program Coffee @ KYUK.