ABOUT YES BAY, ALASKA
With pictures taken by
Alphonse and Pauline Kemmerich
are excerpts from my father’s autobiographical notes,
describing what Yes Bay was like in the late 1920’s
and early 1930’s when he was stationed there.
I recently scanned some of the pictures he and
my mother, Pauline Kemmerich, took while in Yes Bay.
entered the Federal Bureau of Fisheries service (today
called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) at the tender
age of 15, and was first assigned to the fish hatchery
at Yes Bay in 1923, when he was 20 years old. (Actually, the
hatchery was on McDonald Lake, but it was always referred
to as the “Yes Bay Hatchery”.) A year later his time
at Yes Bay was interrupted with a return to “stateside”
service at a federal fish hatchery near Mt. Baker in
northern Washington state, but in 1929 he was transferred
back to Yes Bay, this time as Foreman and Pauline, his
bride of two weeks, accompanied him. I was born (in
the Ketchikan, Alaska hospital) in 1931; two years later,
as an economy move during the Depression, President
Roosevelt closed the Yes Bay hatchery and my father
and our family were transferred to a hatchery on the
Columbia River in Washington state.
* * * * * * * *
the spring of 1923, I was transferred to the Yes Bay,
Alaska salmon hatchery--about fifty miles north of Ketchikan,
sailed by steamer from Seattle to Ketchikan in early
April, arriving at Yes Bay three or four days later.
I found that McDonald Lake was still frozen over
and we had to walk from the dock to the hatchery which
was located at the upper end of McDonald Lake, a distance
of about four and a half miles by a trail around the
shore of the lake.
This was a new experience for me, since I had
never traveled extensively, and suddenly finding myself
in the wilderness of Alaska was a great adventure.