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Posted on February 13 2013

Hoolies! Photo: Cameron Miller

What’s the most plentiful anadromous fish that returns to our waters at Alaska West in June?

The mighty king salmon?  The furious chum salmon?

Nope, it’s the incredibly numerous hooligan!

Eulachon, Actually

The real name for these little critters is eulachon.  They have lots of other common names in in the Northwest – in our part of Alaska we call them hooligan, or even ‘hoolies’.  They’re a type of smelt, and their numbers vary quite a bit from year to year.

Anglers at Alaska West in June know that when the hoolies are running thick, inside edges of gravel bars can literally be black with them.  Don’t let your fly swing in too close!

Fun fact: their other common name, candlefish, comes from the fact that their fat content is so high that when dried, they can literally be used as a candle.

More on Our Fishery at Alaska West

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