Herring showing up in some places despite shortage

Fishing enthusiasts have mixed luck finding bait from local outlets

Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2001

Despite a shortage of herring, sports fishermen continue to bait their hooks.

Though some Juneau store managers said they still aren't getting more than a "trickle" of bait herring from distributors, fishing boats still troll the water off North Douglas and along the Breadline.

Norm Day and Brian Jones caught a king and chum salmon Saturday morning with herring Jones brought over from Sitka, where he'd been working.

"They had two dozen packages left and I bought them," Jones said.

He has only a couple herring left, so he'll be looking for bait closer to home soon. Whether he finds it depends where he looks.

Fishermen's Bend was out of bait Friday, but the clerk at DeHart's Auke Bay Store said they had plenty. Family Grocer last had bait herring about three weeks ago, said assistant store manager Sam Hobbs.

"As far as I know we won't be getting any for awhile," Hobbs said. "It's pretty much impossible to get."

Super Bear has a little bait, said general manager Pat Shea.

"We're getting some trickle in, but it's pretty bleak," Shea said.

Since the bait shortage started, Susan Doyle has been thawing and re-bagging blocks of commercial herring to sell from her fish shack next to Western Auto. She sells a bag of six herring for $1.75.

"I've had herring all week," Doyle said. "It's good bait. It works for trolling and it's affordable, I guess."

The first week she went through 11 cases of the herring, but since then she's only used four cases.

"It's slowed down a bit," Doyle said. "I never expected to sell bait, but there's a market for it and people want it, so I'll get it for them."

Even with bait on the hook, there's no guarantee the fish will bite. Darrell Beeker took his two sons fishing Saturday with herring bait he bought at Fred Meyer two weeks ago, but all they caught was a double ugly.

Kristan Hutchison can be reached at khutchison@juneauempire.com.

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