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Iris Fletcher, College Intern I
Commercial Fisheries - Kodiak - 2012

Photo of Iris Fletcher

I interned with the Commercial Fisheries Division in Kodiak, Alaska. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun doing it. I worked at five different field camps over the course of the summer, as well as working in the lab in town. Each field camp was completely different. Saltery just had an adult weir, Frazer had an adult fish pass, Litnik worked with an adult weir and smolt traps as well as lake sampling, Karluk Smolt was just smolt traps, and Camp Island was a home base for limnology data collection.

At these camps and in the lab, I learned to follow the necessary safety procedures depending on the situation. At all three weir camps, I helped to keep the weirs clean, counted and identified adult salmon that passed through the weir, and helped to sample the adult sockeye salmon. At both smolt camps I learned to identify, count, and sample sockeye salmon smolt, as well as maintain the traps and do dye release tests. I assisted in removing and storing the smolt traps at Litnik and Frazer. At Litnik, I also assisted in different styles of lake sampling for salmon fry and zooplankton. At Camp Island, I learned about the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle and its missions as well as how to take limnology data. In the lab I learned to do acid washes, how to prepare for limnology sampling, and how to identify and count lake zooplankton.

Photo of sockeye smolt

At each weir camp, I was involved in outreach by talking with all the fishermen that came to that area. At Litnik, we also worked with students at the Dig Afognak summer camp, teaching them about the salmon life cycle. I also worked with a UAF graduate student on her project by learning to and assisting in the identification of the stomach contents of sticklebacks and sockeye salmon smolt.

Photo of Bear at Saltery Weir

This was a very educational internship. It helped me to realize this is a good field of study for me. I learned a great deal about working in field camps and about salmon, as well as what jobs are available in fisheries in the state of Alaska. I also had the wonderful experience of flying all over the Kodiak archipelago to get to all of the field camps I worked in. It was a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone in the field of fisheries.