Jon Harmon of Nikiski, Alaska disentangles hooligan from a gillnet on the banks of the Kenai River on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. Photo originally taken for the Peninsula Clarion. Do not reproduce without permission.
The people of the coasts and inlets of Alaska live for the fishing season. Many spend their Sunday mornings in churches, but they share their devotion with the beaches, the mud flats, the open water.
Early in the season, the hooligan arrive in Southcentral Alaska. A small fish, a type of smelt, they are colorful and so full of fat that you can dry them, run a wick through them and light them like a candle. During the spawning season, these anadromous fish can be composed of up to 15 percent body fat, giving rise to their nickname — candlefish.
The name is a source of debate. The true name is eulachon, and…
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