The Beginning: Part II "The Unknown"

Published January 24th, 2024 by Prince William Sound

Following that first thrilling fishing season, my sister and I took my mom on a big road trip east. She had bought her very first new car, and she had always wanted to see Nova Scotia. So we set a daily budget, hit the road, and camped cozily in the back of her Pilot at night to make it happen. On our route home, we veered into Minnesota to see my dad’s family and our Paternal Grandmother, before ending up back in Washington at my oldest sister's house. I floated around Washington a bit, did some more subbing, and PWSAC offered me a winter temporary position that lined up just perfectly timing-wise with fishing. I debated heavily over that job. Spending the dark winter months in a barely inhabited place, working for and with someone I had developed the beginnings of a romance with seemed like a pretty big risk and also commitment, and the decision was not easy. In the end, I took a leap of faith and took the position.

Two more fishing seasons passed as I worked as crew for my Uncle. When we weren’t picking fish and hauling nets, we spent our time visiting and working at the cabin that belonged to my Grandparents and the site where my other Uncle and Aunt fished. My youngest brother worked for them and we had many meals and adventures together as one big extended crew. My other younger brothers had grown into young teenagers and decided that they wanted to be drifters, leaving my Aunt and Uncle to find additional crew to supplement the family, and it seemed the same path would likely be followed by my youngest brother, leaving nobody to take on the third generation fishery from my Grandparent’s land. My Aunt and Uncle weren’t ready to quit yet, and I wasn’t quite certain of my future plans, but we had many conversations during that time and eventually, I asked them for the “first right of refusal” when their retirement drew near. 

Over the next several years, I took a break from fishing. My romantic relationship solidified and I committed to a life in Alaska, on the sound, and with my partner. I gained a full-time job at the hatchery and we began creating a life together. We were married in 2007 on a flotilla of boats in front of Meares glacier in Unakwik, minutes away from our then home and attended by a few close friends and family, many of whom left their varied fishing grounds to attend. It was beautiful, perfect, and the start of a new chapter of possibility. 

We started thinking about starting a family at about the same time my Aunt and Uncle reached out and said that they were thinking of retiring. They asked me to come crew for them in the summer of 2009 so that I could get a better handle on their operations. I was pregnant that summer, but my baby wasn’t due until November and it turned out to be perfect timing. That fall and the following Spring, in anticipation of a baby, and additional crew, we asked my Grandparent’s permission and began building a second cabin on the property. I worked again for my Aunt and Uncle, with my mom on-site to babysit, in our new cabin, that following summer. I bought the permits and equipment after the season in August of 2010, asking my sister to be my second permit holder and business partner. We had planned for my husband to maintain his hatchery position for a few years until we had things paid off, and then we would see. And so our newest adventure began...

Meet the Author

Lynette Wright

Lynnette Wright is a third generation commercial fisherman, aspiring writer, and full-time mom. She began commercial fishing in 2003 and became a set-gillnet permit holder in the fall of 2010. Along with her husband and growing children, (and other family/crew helpers) she and her family fish a total of three set-gillnet permits in the Eshamy district in Prince William Sound. Two of those sites have been in her family since the 1960’s and the cabin and property from which fish-camp is operated are privately owned by her maternal grandmother and her children, making it a true family heirloom.

Lynnette treasures the strong undercurrent of family that underlies her entire fishing experience. That bridge between past, present, and future makes it incredibly special. In addition to that, deep family connection, the excitement of fish in the net, the peace of a quiet moment alone on the vast ocean, sunshine on the beach on a day off, and the freedom and simplicity of life at fish camp is what keeps the whole family coming back, even more than the fish themselves.

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