Delight Creek, McCarty Lagoon

Delight Creek, McCarty Lagoon

by | Oct 5, 2019

Delight Creek flows from Delight Lake to the entrance of McCarty Lagoon, an embayment about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) wide, on the eastern shore of East Arm Nuka Bay, on the outer coast of the Kenai Peninsula in the Kenai Fjords National Park and Preserve, 43 miles (69 km) east-southeast of Homer, Alaska. East Arm Nuka Bay is also called McCarty Fjord. The lagoon is named after the McCarty Glacier which in turn is a local name first reported by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1911. McCarty Glacier is believed to be named after William McCarty of Seward who was a boat builder and owner of the McNeily Cafe or Moose Cabin Cafe in Seward from 1904-05.

McCarty Fjord has average depths of over 100 fathoms (183 m) except for a terminal moraine, with depths of 10 fathoms (18 m) or less, which crosses the fjord between McCarty Lagoon on the eastern shore and James Lagoon on the west. The entrance to McCarty Lagoon bares at low water, but shallow-draft vessels can enter at high tide. The tidal currents in the entrance have an estimated velocity of 8 to 12 knots (4-6 m/s), so that high water slack is the only time to transit. The entrance is narrow and Delight Creek flows through a broad gravel flat on the north shore. The gravel flat was once forested, but the 1964 Alaska Earthquake caused significant subsidence resulting in saltwater inundation that killed the trees. Today, a standing ghost forest remains at the mouth of Delight Creek.

Delight Lake is a major natural producer of sockeye salmon, and along with Desire Lake, contributes to most of the commercial salmon catch from East Nuka Bay on the outer coast of the Kenai Peninsula. This salmon fishery is important for residents of Port Graham and Nanwalek and dates back to the early 1900s. Delight Lake also supports a popular fly-in sport fishery for sockeye and coho salmon, as well as Dolly Varden. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game annually enumerates the number of sockeye salmon returning to a system in order to properly open or close the commercial harvest and to help set future sustainable escapement goals. Read more here and here. Explore more of Delight Creek here:

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