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Harry Carroll, Jr.
Harry Carroll, Jr.

Harry Carroll, Jr. was interviewed on October 17, 2009 by William Schneider and Craig Gerlach at the Village Council Office in Chalkyitsik, Alaska. In this interview, Harry talks about his observations of environmental change from his years of experience hunting, trapping, and traveling in the area. He uses a map of the area as a reference point to show animal migrations and changes in the environment. He also talks about lakes and rivers drying up and the effect that has on moose, muskrat, waterfowl, fish, and barging of supplies on the river.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2009-11-08

Project: Stakeholders and Climate Change
Date of Interview: Oct 17, 2009
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Craig Gerlach
Transcriber: Carol McCue
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Science Foundation
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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Impact of Lakes Drying on Animals

Impact of Lakes Drying


Impact of Lakes and Rivers Drying on Navigation

History of Barging

Changes in Trapping Season

Changes in Beaver Populations

Changes in Marten Populations

Impact of Change on Traveling

Impact of Fires on Trails

Fire Management

Impact of Fire on Marten

Timing of Freeze-up and Break-up

Impact of Fire on Fish

Water Quality in Lakes and Rivers







History of Barging


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BILL SCHNEIDER: It's October 17th, 2009. I'm Bill Schneider, Craig -- Craig Gerlach is here, and we've got Harry Carroll.

And so Harry, thanks for taking the time to do this.

BILL SCHNEIDER: We were looking yesterday at the maps and looking at some of those lakes, and you were talking about how they are -- the ones that are drying up and its impact on some of the trapping.

So could you point out some of those lakes and maybe we can talk about how -- how it's impacted the trapping.

HARRY CARROLL: Like I just go? BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah. Go ahead. You're doing good.

HARRY CARROLL: See this big lake here, Tanquo Lake (phonetic), behind our cabin up there, about 30 miles up the river, is drying out. Along this lake, I remember there used to be -- used to be a lot of lynx,

and used to be a lot of fur around there, and since it's drying out. And moose, there used to be a lot of moose around there, all that good food for the moose, I guess it all dried out,

and now you hardly ever see anything around the lake now. And this big lake is kind of drying out, there used to be a lot of ducks in there. Used to be moose there all the time there, too.

And now dry, it's getting low. A lot of -- used to be mink around the lake, and otters, now it just seem like, I don't know, it's just changing, I guess. Fires probably.

CRAIG GERLACH: Where are the moose going? Are they just leaving the country, or --

HARRY CARROLL: I -- I guess. I never see them around. And this meadow, we used to call this Big Meadow, you know, where we used to hunt geese and --


HARRY CARROLL: -- ducks all the time there, and now it's just not even water. It's not -- there used to be a lake and there's nothing there now.

There's not even water there.

CRAIG GERLACH: I've heard a couple times, yeah, they say it's dried up. Like a grass meadow now.

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. It's meadow now.


HARRY CARROLL: Nothing there. One time there was caribou, one time, a big herd of caribou came through there.

CRAIG GERLACH: I wanted to ask you guys about caribou movement, if they were here. Yeah.

HARRY CARROLL: That was -- last time they came through, that was '80's, I think it was.

CRAIG GERLACH: Was that the Porcupine herd, probably?

HARRY CARROLL: Probably, yeah.


CRAIG GERLACH: And the southern lakes...

HARRY CARROLL: -- there's a lot of other lakes in here that are dried out. You know. Good little muskrat lakes and beaver.

No more muskrats in none of these lakes there. Even these lakes used to be good for rats. And now there's no more rats.

I didn't see one. Even this little lake here across the Tong (phonetic), right up there people like (phonetic), you know, this one right back here by the La Tong range (phonetic) there used to be rat at, too.

Everybody used to get a lot of rats around there. And there's one they call Fish Lake down here, that's probably got water in it from this high water.

CRAIG GERLACH: Yeah. Probably dams up on that, the way it's bent there in the river.

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. And I know about these other, the lakes close to the river, all that still live with the water, but it drained back out and no.

Upriver, I know a lot of good lakes up that way is all dry now. You know, used to be mink and a lot of fur around them, and since they got burned and now just no more.

CRAIG GERLACH: You know the -- the lakes are kind of drying out slowly, it looks like, up here. And you know Twelve-Mile Lake down in Fort Yukon.


CRAIG GERLACH: That everybody said it just drained all of a sudden like that ice plug that -- you know, the permafrost plug --


CRAIG GERLACH: -- the lake just melted out, it just drained. But these seem like they are draining out kind of -- it's drying slowly. Is that true? Or is that --

HARRY CARROLL: Seems like --

CRAIG GERLACH: -- just my impression there?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. When you fly over these lakes, you know, these meadows like, you can see these little line of willows, and I don't know how many years later, then you see another little line of willows.

CRAIG GERLACH: Kind of back. Yeah.

HARRY CARROLL: They keep -- you know.

CRAIG GERLACH: Yeah, I've noticed that from the air. Just every year.

CRAIG GERLACH: Maybe worse in the last 5 years or so? Or 6 years? 10 years? Is that -- do you think it's gotten worse in that time, or --

HARRY CARROLL: Well, it seemed like it, yeah. This water, you used to drink this water out of this lake, you know, when we would hunt ducks there.

Used to be good tasting water and all, and it just taste like swamp, you know.


HARRY CARROLL: And it's like little -- I don't know what they call them but it's funny little, like climates, like.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Could you talk a little bit about the moose and how they are impacted by the lakes drying up.

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, all the good -- all the good food for the moose, you know, are all just drying out, and all their food, I think, is -- I don't know what they --

some kind of the -- all there -- I don't know, all their rich food, I guess it's just drying out. And seem like there's just no more moose around on these good lakes, you know.

Even around town here in these little lakes here back here, there used to be moose everywhere around there. It was probably one of the best moose country close around here.

Over toward Porcupine.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Last night we were talking about the impact of low water, the rivers.


BILL SCHNEIDER: And one of the things that came up was the question of freight and being able to get supplies in by boat.


BILL SCHNEIDER: Would you talk a little bit about that?

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. Well, when they used to barge, when they used to barge fuel and supplies up here, you know, spring, they used to do it in the spring, you know, in the early spring, when the high water, they got a couple good weeks to haul, you know.

They could make a couple trips up there, for school, fuel, and other heavy stuff they need to bring up then. And then after that, the water get low and it stays, sometime it stays that way, you know, all summer.

You don't see no rain and it's just dry. I mean, not dry, but it's too shallow to bring the barge up here. So it's hard.

CRAIG GERLACH: Seems like the last few years it's been hard to even get a riverboat up here, much less a barge.


CRAIG GERLACH: We tried to come up here a couple times three or four years ago, couldn't even get up. You know, we didn't have a jet or anything, we just gave up.

HARRY CARROLL: Well, I know I made it. A summer, it was pretty low a couple times and I had my family and loaded in a boat.

CRAIG GERLACH: You're a better boat person than we are.

HARRY CARROLL: A lot of people don't know how to drive, you know, this river here. They slow down, you know, before they get to a shallow place.

CRAIG GERLACH: Instead of just shooting over.

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, I don't slow down, I speed up when I see those shallow.

CRAIG GERLACH: Do you -- do you get down with a jet or do you have --




BILL SCHNEIDER: What about the history of barging? When did the -- who did the barging and when did it stop?

HARRY CARROLL: Well, I think Sam Hughes, he first had one. And I remember Sam Hughes, and Sam Hughes, yeah, he used to have a wooden barge and they started hauling. And I don't know, they used to come up here.

They -- they used to go to Birch Creek, and my dad was their pilot for this river here. And Albert Carroll, his brother, was on the Yukon. I remember I used to come up here with them when I was little.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Can you tell us about that, about travelling with your dad as a pilot?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. I don't know, I was just -- seemed like I was always -- I don't know, I just couldn't wait to get -- couldn't wait to get to the village, I guess.

Yeah, it was -- it was just like driving a big slough, you know, there was a lot of water in the spring when they came up, used to come up on it. A few times they got stuck, I remember I seen it stuck on the river.

Someone else was driving, you know, they were eating and stuff I remember, and it ran high and dry with -- not high and dry but they ran over a bar, you know, and got stuck. A load of fuel.

CRAIG GERLACH: What did you do when you were stuck? Did you have to offload or did you have another way to get it off?

HARRY CARROLL: Well, I think they had to sit there and wait until rain, water, high water. And one time it wasn't as stuck -- stuck too bad, too, and they -- they got that boat, you know, they just got that boat and they ran back and forth, they made waves, you know,

ran back and forth on the place right there and it just worked it loose, you know. They kept doing that, and it just worked its way down and it got free.

CRAIG GERLACH: Hmm. How long -- how long a trip was that?

HARRY CARROLL: Gee, that's --


HARRY CARROLL: That would take a good 12, 14 hours, I think, in the steady high -- high water.

CRAIG GERLACH: That would be on a good day.



BILL SCHNEIDER: And when did you say the last barge was?

HARRY CARROLL: Gee, that was probably back in the -- I'll say '80s, I think.

BILL SCHNEIDER: And why did they stop?

HARRY CARROLL: Well, the barge, they just went out of business. I guess the last barge they had in Fort Yukon, I don't know, someone bought that, and they took it down and never came up again.

Mr. James in Fort Yukon has got his little small barge he does pretty good with.

CRAIG GERLACH: Does he come up here?

HARRY CARROLL: I think he come up one time. He brought a Jeep up here for a guy in town here one time. I know I heard he was building a bigger one now, you know, but,

you know, in those days, too, they -- you know, everybody had a -- you know, they had their own boat and motor, and they

had to haul all their own winter supplies. Especially all the trappers up the river, you know, they all had to take them, took them two weeks to get up, like Fred,

take a long time to get up to their place.



CRAIG GERLACH: He's a long ways out, isn't he?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. Long way.


BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, let's talk a little bit about the trapping. And how has trapping been impacted by some of the changes you've seen in recent years?

HARRY CARROLL: Well, the prices on the fur are -- you know, low prices, and no one, just no interest no more. It's not worth going out, you know.

They rather just -- rather just find a job and do something else.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What about weather and climate? How has that affected?

HARRY CARROLL: Well, it's -- sometime it's just when it get cold, you know, it's just like last winter, been 60 below for three weeks straight, you can't do nothing. You know. You can't go out.

And sometime it's warm and rain. I remember one time it rained one time with us, and everything was wet,

and it -- hard for the fur, too, you know. Like marten get all rubbed and rough going and...

BILL SCHNEIDER: Is that a recent thing that's happened or is it something that's always been an issue?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, it's something that's always -- seem like it's always, you know.

CRAIG GERLACH: You mean the winter rain?


CRAIG GERLACH: Like in November, December --


CRAIG GERLACH: -- before January --

HARRY CARROLL: In December. All the traps freeze. You know, it rain on the traps and they all freeze, then you've got to -- some guys they pick them all up and got to dry them off.

And yeah. And then snow, you know, that don't help nothing, too.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Has there been any unusual changes in the last few years that you notice, or has it been always unusual?

HARRY CARROLL: Well, I don't see no -- you don't see no more trappers around.


HARRY CARROLL: No one, like around here, maybe three or four of us, that's all that go out. It's not like it used to be, you know, when everybody was doing it.

Because the country just, I don't know, changing, and I don't know what.

And the fur, too, there's just hardly -- you know, like muskrats, there's no -- I don't see no --

in the spring, that's when we trap them, you don't see them no more.

And beaver. Used to be a lot of beaver, and I hardly don't see no -- just this fall I started seeing them kind of late, you know.

Usually you don't see them, usually you see four or five, and four or five of them every bend we used to see.

CRAIG GERLACH: You're seeing less beaver or more --

HARRY CARROLL: Seeing less.

CRAIG GERLACH: Less beaver, too. And how about the -- you know, with the changes in the winter, what about the quality of the fur?

Have you seen changes in the quality of the fur that -- like you --

HARRY CARROLL: Well, I don't know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: I guess one question would be prime, are they -- are they considered prime?

HARRY CARROLL: Like marten, yeah, like marten right now, you know, they are prime.

CRAIG GERLACH: They are prime?

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. And lynx, they don't get good until Christmastime, you know, before Christmas, December.

CRAIG GERLACH: You said there weren't so many marten in the country right now because of the fires?


CRAIG GERLACH: Is that right?

HARRY CARROLL: Probably. I don't know.


HARRY CARROLL: Because I know they will run up a tree, you know, they will get scared, they'll -- marten, they'll run up. I just wonder when I see those big mushrooms going up in the air, what, you know.

And I know up in here, some of the best marten country was up in here, you know. This Frozen Calf and this Niggerhead Mountain here. All this I think it burnt up this way.

And Cadzow says there's no marten up in the Salmon country, and we used to get 35, 40 marten a trip they used to catch up there.

CRAIG GERLACH: That's pretty good.

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. And Fred, he used to catch a lot of lynx in here. Over on this grayling side, you know.

Well, all these seem to be trappers all from Sam Woods all the way, you know, down this way.

CRAIG GERLACH: So when everybody was working with dog teams and were there a lot more cabins that you could stop at?


CRAIG GERLACH: A lot of fewer now.

HARRY CARROLL: You see a lot of -- you'd see a lot of trappers on the trail, you know.


HARRY CARROLL: I'm lucky I see -- sometime I don't see nobody. Fort Yukon, too, is a big place and not hardly anybody else there, too.

CRAIG GERLACH: Not hardly anybody trapping in Fort Yukon, that I know of.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What are we missing that we -- we haven't covered in terms of changes you've seen in the country or the environment, weather?

HARRY CARROLL: Well, fur prices. You know, I wish we could get a little --



BILL SCHNEIDER: More for it?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. It's hard work.


CRAIG GERLACH: Is it more dangerous to travel now because of the ice, you don't know where open water is going to be, or what do you do, or --

HARRY CARROLL: Well, I never -- overflow...

CRAIG GERLACH: A lot more overflow?


BILL SCHNEIDER: One thing we haven't talked about is fires and their impact on trails, trapping trails. Could you -- could you explain how that works? What happens when a fire goes through, what -- what does it do to your trapping trails?

HARRY CARROLL: Well, see, from here I know we go -- we got a trail back here, you know, and we cut, you know, those trails, I could say probably over 100, you know, 100 or more traps, you know.


HARRY CARROLL: And all burnt from this lake, you know. I come to this first lake and I don't even recognize the place, you know. This part is clean. You can't see our trail. I don't -- you can't see it there, you know.

CRAIG GERLACH: Just everything's fallen?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, everything's gone, different. It's just sometimes if you walk and you could see little -- you know, see a little line of it sometime but it's just you can't tell where you're at. It's just burnt, everything is just burnt.

Find one of your traps maybe, and it's just no spring to it, it's all burnt up, you know.

CRAIG GERLACH: Did you ever mark those trails at all?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. We -- we mark them good. We there used to be a big timber trail, nice, good timber around the lakes, and now I've never been back there since then.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What does it take to reestablish those trails?

HARRY CARROLL: Hard work. You know. A lot of cutting there. And I tried it a few times and it just -- it's just too much. Where I wanted to try to go is toward Circle.


CRAIG GERLACH: But that trail's closed down, too, now, isn't it?

HARRY CARROLL: The old Cat trail don't show -- oh, it does, on this one. That's where Albert Carroll came over across country with that Cat that time.

He made that road. See, Circle is just right over here.

CRAIG GERLACH: Right. So he took a Cat up there?

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. Across the Yukon, and they drove it all the way to there for the runway. It's all grown up now. Willows, big willows in there.

CRAIG GERLACH: Was that part of the burn area too?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, a lot of that is burned now, too. Those trees are all growed in now too, like on the trails, a lot of trails is all growed in.

Yeah, sometime I come to a lake and, gee, I just been there before and I just don't recognize it.

BILL SCHNEIDER: I suppose that's a problem that -- that your parents faced in the old days, too.


BILL SCHNEIDER: Because they had a lot of fires through here.

HARRY CARROLL: But when they had fires back in those days, they used to fight them right away, you know. One little smoke they see, they go and they fight it. They don't let it burn all summer long.

You know, fighting a lot of fires. Now it's just let it burn. Watch the cabins and allotments, and that's all they worry about, you know. They don't care about our trails and stuff out there.

I mean, a lot of people, they depend on what they got out there, you know. And they just hang their traps up on the trail, you know, they can't haul it home. They just...

CRAIG GERLACH: Hang it in the trees and they all burn out?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. Hundreds of traps everybody lost.

CRAIG GERLACH: What is -- what is the price of a trap now?



HARRY CARROLL: Pretty close to $200 a dozen now, I bet. Maybe over 200.

CRAIG GERLACH: That's a lot of money burned up out there.

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. We lost 2- or 300 I bet, this number of 4's alone, not even counting the small traps.

CRAIG GERLACH: And so one question I would have, so this country burned and trapping's changed a lot.


CRAIG GERLACH: And even if you wanted to go down on the other side of the Porcupine, that all burned up, too; is that right?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. Everywhere. And marten, they say marten is good after it burned, you know, and some of our best marten country, I go back in there and lucky I see a couple marten traps in there.

CRAIG GERLACH: I wonder how long it takes for marten to come back in?

HARRY CARROLL: I don't know. Been a few years now, I never seen no marten around. Maybe because a lot of lynx around, too, you know.

There's been a lot of lynx around here the last few years. Seemed like they are all -- no rabbits around this here, too. No rabbits. Yeah. I don't know what that mean.

CRAIG GERLACH: With no rabbits and no lynx -- or no marten, the lynx will start to --

HARRY CARROLL: Maybe if there was no lynx, there would be marten around. There was one in town here not long ago running around, a marten.



CRAIG GERLACH: Just by himself?

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. I guess they smell that fish in the lake back there, I guess, and they...

BILL SCHNEIDER: So this is kind of an unusual year where the -- that cold stretch that happened and the ice got thick and then the flooding occurred.


BILL SCHNEIDER: But in the last few years, it hasn't -- you haven't had that type of breakup.

HARRY CARROLL: Huh-uh. I wasn't here, but I imagine what it was like, you know. I was driving back, I was in Circle that day that high water, when that Eagle was flooding at that time.


HARRY CARROLL: I was picking up my snow machine because I left my snow machine in Circle and I thought it was going to flood there. Started back to Fairbanks,

I was in town there and they called me and they said Chalkyitsik was -- water coming over the bank. By David Salmon's up there, it was coming over up there. And there was nothing I could do.


HARRY CARROLL: So I hope somewhere lakes get a little water upriver, and I don't know what that will do, but...

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, that's going to be interesting to see about your fishing down -- fishing over here for the whitefish when you set net, huh?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. Yeah. And that fire probably a lot to do with the fishing, too, you know, all that.


HARRY CARROLL: Well, I seen it through the river all turn just brown here, it will be like mud water, you know.

CRAIG GERLACH: Silt? Erosion? Just --

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, from rain, it fills, you know, it rain and all, like I seen it running into the river. This mud, this dark, brown mud water.

And ashes and all, everything mixed in, all coming down. High, just high, when it rained, after it burned that time. And I'm pretty sure that got something to do with, you know, fish.

CRAIG GERLACH: Because these rivers -- these were always really clear.

HARRY CARROLL: It was clear.

CRAIG GERLACH: In the past anyway.

HARRY CARROLL: It's really not clear like the Salmon River, you know.


HARRY CARROLL: It's just clear. Really clear water. This one is kind of a -- kind of a brown colored water, I guess. I guess that's why they call it Black River.


HARRY CARROLL: Like glass when it's real calm, you know, it's like glass.

CRAIG GERLACH: Yeah, it's black, but you can still see down through it somehow.

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. Funny river. A lot of people they drive along and they think they are going to just go, you know, be high and dry, and they don't know, which they don't, right where they're going, or...

CRAIG GERLACH: Have you seen changes in the Black River as far as beyond just water levels being low? I mean, is it -- is there still game in that country, or --

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. You know, this -- like moose, I know we used to see moose, you know, just --

we used to see moose all the time on the riverboat, and you know, it just seemed like they are just wild, but you know, you don't -- you see them way down and they just start running.

Bears, I guess, probably scared them. I know there are a lot of bears, you know. Couple of them woke me up last summer.

CRAIG GERLACH: At camp or --

HARRY CARROLL: I was coming up in the boat, and I had piece of king salmon fish Clifton Cadzow (phonetic) gave me, and I cooked that that night in the tin foil,

and it was about midnight. Low water, it was too low, it was shallow where I camped. Woke up -- about 4:00 in the morning they woke me up, I heard that mother and two cubs. Grizzlies.

Sure scared me there. Just that old 30-30 I had, too. I jumped up right there, didn't have any coffee or nothing, I took off.

CRAIG GERLACH: Oh, you did.

HARRY CARROLL: That was downriver by Newshoe bar (phonetic).

CRAIG GERLACH: 30-30 is kind of pretty close to --


CRAIG GERLACH: -- what's okay?


CRAIG GERLACH: That's too light, isn't it?

HARRY CARROLL: I -- I was ready, though. About three jumps, that mother wanted me, she could have jumped right in. I was right there in the boat, I was sleeping on top of my load I had, my load of lumber I had.

I know a lot of bears in the country.

CRAIG GERLACH: Do you think the fires impact the bears at all or do they just work their way around it?

HARRY CARROLL: I -- seems like they are just getting more and more. And wolves, I noticed a lot of wolves around, too. And they got a lot to do with the moose, too.

CRAIG GERLACH: Yeah. Do you think the bears or the moose are -- or the bears or the wolves are --


CRAIG GERLACH: Both together --


CRAIG GERLACH: -- a big impact on them?

HARRY CARROLL: That's probably why they are all spooked, too, they see moose, you know. Sometime they just stand there and watch you, they see you and they just take off running.

CRAIG GERLACH: Instead of just standing downriver like they -- yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, we haven't talked much about fishing. Have you seen any changes in fishing?

HARRY CARROLL: Well, dog salmon, I know we used to catch a lot of dog salmon up here with fishnets, you know, and now I notice there are just hardly, you know, none.

A few maybe but not -- not as much as used to be. And whitefish, used to be a lot of whitefish, too. Sheefish, we used to catch a lot of the sheefish.

CRAIG GERLACH: I didn't know you had sheefish here.

HARRY CARROLL: Grayling, we used to catch a lot of grayling. Yeah, you just got to come up here with a boat and go up and check the country out.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Check it out.

HARRY CARROLL: David Salmon always talk about a cave he wanted to find up at that old village up there.

CRAIG GERLACH: Yeah, I heard about that. Where is that supposed to be?

HARRY CARROLL: I don't know. It's up in these hills, somewhere in here, I guess.

CRAIG GERLACH: Yeah, near old Salmon Village.

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. I wouldn't mind seeing that. Yeah, if lynx jump up to 4- or 500 apiece again, you can see the -- you'll see a lot of trappers around.

I remember the fur buyers seem to race each other up here, charter -- the AC man flew a charter in one time, he still had his little apron on. And a bag.

That's all he had. A bag of money.

CRAIG GERLACH: And an apron.

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-huh. Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What about muskrat?

HARRY CARROLL: Muskrat, yeah, we used to -- you know, we used to go to rat camp every year, you know, and they are $5 apiece, and we live on them.

Eat, you know, ducks and rats, that's all we ate all spring shooting rats and trapping rats. Now I never see one rat in the whole -- never did see one.

I never seen another one. This little lake down here should be just full of rats, you see them swimming around night there, now there's none.

And you know, I don't know why.

CRAIG GERLACH: Just no water in these lakes now or --

HARRY CARROLL: Probably, yeah. Probably that, too. Like I said, this big lake here, there used to be a lot of rats in that lake, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What -- what's the name of that lake?




BILL SCHNEIDER: I guess that was a good lake for waterfowl, too.


BILL SCHNEIDER: People used to talk about Ohtig Lake.

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. Another good moose, where they used to hang out all the time upriver, too, there's all -- you know, there's all no more moose around.

Like this Rotten Fish Slough, you know used to be a good -- used to be a moose -- used to be lot of moose in there.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Would you point to it again with your finger, if you would.

HARRY CARROLL: Right here. Rotten Fish Slough. It's between Coal (phonetic), this is behind my cabin upriver, that's where that big monster is. Yeah, big hombres.

We used to go out on that lake and we used to see moose and just standing there, five of them are standing there sometime.

CRAIG GERLACH: Yeah. This is the lake where the monster is supposed to be?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. That's the one I'm talking about there.

And this is another big lake here, too, Chahalie, yeah, I guess that's where, I guess this Fish Creek here,

that's where all the fish goes -- comes from there, or goes -- or comes out of there anyway.

Man, used to be just thousands of fish we used to catch in that trap, we got a fish trap over here across the river, because everybody -- they have camp over there.

Everybody out there, a big cache over there. All their winter dog food they get right there.


HARRY CARROLL: Plus their eating fish.

HARRY CARROLL: And moose, they used to never go more than 20 miles upriver, I think. 20 miles is as far as they used to go to get their moose.

And now you've got to go all the way to the border. Last fall everybody did pretty good.

CRAIG GERLACH: It was a good year for moose, wasn't it?

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. And some years, it's pretty hard to get moose. Stay out two weeks sometime, some people stay out two weeks. I heard Porcupine wasn't too good this year.

CRAIG GERLACH: That's what I heard from Bruce, yeah. But is this the best moose year you've had in awhile?


CRAIG GERLACH: The way it was just the last 7 or 8 years, seemed like they've been pretty bad. Is that true?

HARRY CARROLL: Well, I don't know. Black River seem like everybody always, you know, has always -- just, I don't know, right time, or maybe just don't know where they are at, too, you know, they just pop out of nowhere.

And people come behind you and they hunt for a week, two weeks some people, and somebody else come along, you know, same day, kill a moose.


HARRY CARROLL: I knew this one guy upriver, Peter in town here, this Peter Druckee (phonetic), up at Rotten Fish Slough, the second year in a row now,

he got a camp there and he just stays in there and hunts from there, calling moose and stuff.

And I guess both years, you know, people shot moose above him and below his camp while he was there.

He hear them shooting. And that's just the way it goes, I guess.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What are we missing?

CRAIG GERLACH: I don't know. A lot of questions. Do many people from -- you know that fellow that's got that guide service out of Fort Yukon,

I forgot his name, he's from Anchorage, he's got a plane and he flies a lot of, you know, White guys from town out. Does he ever come out this way?

HARRY CARROLL: Gee, I don't know him.

CRAIG GERLACH: I've forgot his name. But he's got a little --


CRAIG GERLACH: -- 180 or a Cub, yeah. And --

BILL SCHNEIDER: So the question you're asking, is there an impact of guides coming in?


HARRY CARROLL: Well, I don't know. Sometime we hear a lot of planes flying, you know, back and forth. And we don't know who they are. I mean, you know, float planes and Super Cubs.

Especially our moose hunting time, you know.


HARRY CARROLL: Everywhere.

CRAIG GERLACH: So they are out there, you just -- they don't necessarily land here in town, then?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. I counted four of them flying by here this fall. Four planes going by. No, they were going this way. Four, right in a row.


BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, I think this has been pretty good.


BILL SCHNEIDER: There's some good information here.

BILL SCHNEIDER: I was particularly interested in the barging and how that stopped because of the lower water level.

HARRY CARROLL: Of course, over in the spring, you know, as soon as that ice goes, they start hauling before it gets too low to haul.

And where my dad had a spot downriver, he used to go down there, check it with a boat, you know, he'd get a pole and he'd check that one spot all the time. See if he got enough water there, he know he'll make it.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What was that spot called?

HARRY CARROLL: There's a little island down there, he called it Albert's Island, his brother, Albert's Island he called it because he ran over that little island with that barge when the high water, and willows -- willows were sticking out.

BILL SCHNEIDER: I'll be darned.

HARRY CARROLL: And he called it Albert's Island. It's about 10 miles downriver.


HARRY CARROLL: It's kind of an old crooked place, too. You've got to go...


HARRY CARROLL: I don't remember my dad ever getting stuck with that barge on the river. Not on this river.

CRAIG GERLACH: How big was the barge?

HARRY CARROLL: It was a good size. Wooden -- old wooden barge I remember. And they had another one after that.

Metal. It was all, you know, made out of metal now. And they had fuel in that. Put fuel in the bottom.

CRAIG GERLACH: Was it an inboard, a diesel inboard or something?

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. Two big inboards on there, diesel.

Yeah, they used to unload, go back down, and another load they'd bring. Now they fly everything.

BILL SCHNEIDER: You'd think it would be more expensive.


CRAIG GERLACH: To run the barge or to fly?



BILL SCHNEIDER: Fly everything in, yeah.

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, I sure wouldn't mind doing that from Circle, even just my little stuff, I haul quite a bit up here in my little boat.

2000 pounds of material and all my gear.

CRAIG GERLACH: Well, you said your boat was 28 feet long?


CRAIG GERLACH: That's a pretty good sized boat, eh?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. Brand new. I bought it couple years ago. All --

CRAIG GERLACH: It's an Alweld?

HARRY CARROLL: Alweld. 40 on it.


HARRY CARROLL: I can make Circle 8 hours, I guess, 9 hours from here.



CRAIG GERLACH: That's a lot of boat to push with a 40. It does okay, though, huh?

HARRY CARROLL: Oh, man, it moves.

CRAIG GERLACH: It's probably not that -- it's kind of efficient for fuel, too, I bet.


CRAIG GERLACH: What is it, is it a Honda or --

HARRY CARROLL: It's a 40 Yamaha.

CRAIG GERLACH: It's a four stroke?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah -- no. Next year I'll probably get a four stroke. And if I go any bigger than that, I don't -- I don't think I'll make it.

You've got to have a lift, too. You've got to use a lift.


HARRY CARROLL: You've got to use a lift, too.

CRAIG GERLACH: And if it gets bigger, then you've got to have hydraulics --


CRAIG GERLACH: -- and you can't just have it. Yeah.

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. A lot of them on it, they don't know how to get over. A lot of times alone I come up with a big load, low water. Full of speed.


CRAIG GERLACH: So with all this country burned and no fur, if -- if you could choose a place that you think might be good to go to that you could get to, where would it be? Where would you --

HARRY CARROLL: Where would it be?

CRAIG GERLACH: Yeah, where would you go?

HARRY CARROLL: I would go right -- right up in here, right under the Niggerhead Mountain here.

CRAIG GERLACH: That'd be good country, huh?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. This is all green. I seen it up in there. I wintered at '94, I think that year my dad died. I just got to the end of this, I could see the green over in here, you know,

I could see green, so I said, I'm going to go to that green. This is all burned here. And on top of this mountain, you know, it's all marten, what's up there. And on top of here, too.

CRAIG GERLACH: They like --

HARRY CARROLL: The Cat Mountain.

CRAIG GERLACH: They like high places, don't they?

HARRY CARROLL: Seem like it, yeah.


HARRY CARROLL: And under these -- underneath, you know, on the side of these mountains here, it's all green, and I started seeing marten tracks that time all over.

And there was no marten down here, in the flats.


HARRY CARROLL: My dad was here that time and he only -- this lynx he was catching, and sometime I come back with 10, 11 marten sometime.

CRAIG GERLACH: That's a good run, 100 -- would you say $100 a piece or something like that?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, a 100, over 100.

CRAIG GERLACH: That's a good run.

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. Nice big, dark marten, too, not like down -- down river there where they get those orange, kind of orange-colored marten.

CRAIG GERLACH: Yeah, I've always wondered about the color differences. Is it what they are eating, or --

HARRY CARROLL: I don't know. Because they always said -- probably the one of the best, you know, marten up in here.

And lynx, too. That's when I took my lynx to Fairbanks, I sold to Joe Mattingly (phonetic), he said, gee, best bunch of lynx he said he seen yet. And that's just up in -- along the river I caught them, you know.

Nice long silver hair they had. White foot, it was all white foot they had.

CRAIG GERLACH: So Joe's still buying fur, he just doesn't come out anymore?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, he said he just can't do what he used to do. You know. He just -- he got his plane, you know, he just go to lake to lake, set a trap here and there.

CRAIG GERLACH: Is anybody trapping up in this area or --


CRAIG GERLACH: Nobody, huh?

HARRY CARROLL: Not a soul. Let's see, night -- I'll have to battle going through that burned, too, and all these willows grew up, you know.

CRAIG GERLACH: To get even here?



HARRY CARROLL: Marked it pretty good, though. What I was thinking, I'll get some reflectors and I can see in the dark, and just wait until dark to travel.

CRAIG GERLACH: Those are great because you can pick them up with your headlamp or your -- yeah.

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. In Fairbanks, we drove -- we trained those dogs over in the White Mountains, you know.

CRAIG GERLACH: Oh, that's -- yeah.

HARRY CARROLL: Have you ever been there?

CRAIG GERLACH: Yeah, a lot.

HARRY CARROLL: I sure like that place.


HARRY CARROLL: Windy Gap and all, and the 100 Mile Loop we went around.

CRAIG GERLACH: And there's cabins.

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah. Nice little cabins.

BILL SCHNEIDER: You did that with dogs?

HARRY CARROLL: Uh-hum. I always drove a snow machine out. One time we got through that Windy Gap one time and there was a guy and woman there, we didn't want to bother them, kind of late at night, so we camped a couple miles away.

Pretty cold it got that night, about 30 below. That was at Windy Gap. And it was 20 miles to that next Cache Mountain I think it was, Cache Mountain.

CRAIG GERLACH: About 20 to 30 between there.

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, we went to there.

CRAIG GERLACH: Were those Cadzow's dogs or somebody else's dogs?

HARRY CARROLL: Yeah, those were Clifton's. Josh was training that time for Junior Quest, I think.


BILL SCHNEIDER: I'm going -- I'm going to shut this off now. This is has been good.