Part One



With pictures taken by Alphonse and Pauline Kemmerich



Following 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.


Alphonse Kemmerich 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.


* * * * * * * * *


“In the spring of 1923, I was transferred to the Yes Bay, Alaska salmon hatchery--about fifty miles north of Ketchikan, Alaska.  I 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.


Approaching Yes Bay Fish Hatchery on Lake McDonald




An aerial view of the Yes Bay Hatchery

No caption on photo.

The "threadlike" lines leading out from the buildings must have been raised boardwalks, or "trams" to avoid the brush and muskeg.


Lake McDonald and launch landing to the left.



"Left to Right:

1) Our house; 2) Superintendent's house; 3) Mess House; 4) Bunk House; 5) Commissary; 6) Lower Bunkhouse; 7) Fish Culturists house."


"Long small building at left of picture is woodshed; two small buildings in front of the woodshed are hen houses.

I'm building a hen house in the open area in lower right of picture."

---Al Kemmerich


Al made a "composite" picture of the houses (above)
and the hatchery building (on the left).

"1) Hatchery Building;

2) Carpenter Shop;

3) Our house;

the X= where new hen house was to be built." 

--- Al Kemmerich

Yes Bay Hatchery Building

"Front of hatchery building, taken from our front steps." 
--- Al Kemmerich


Chicken House

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Go to Part Four
Go to Part Five

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