Sunday, March 26, 2017

Homer Winter King Derby 2017



Due to weather and ice in the harbor, the 2017 Homer Winter King Derby was postponed from March 18th and was rescheduled for March 25th.

Brian Raisanen and his son Owen
Overall participation was down from last year, but it still was an amazing tournament. 314 boats carrying 1012 anglers spent a chilly Saturday afternoon pursuing the largest king salmon swimming in Kachemak Bay. In seven hours, 110 king salmon were caught by the fleet.
Brian Raisanen with a nice Homer winter king
Ron Johnson was the lucky angler this year. His white king weighed in at a very respectable 25.65lbs. What Ron won has not been announced yet, but I'm sure it will be a nice chunk of change. Last year's winner pocketed $31,668.

Who says fishing doesn't pay?




Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Miller Scale




When Jane and I bought Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service in 2003, one of the items we inherited from the Jahrig's was a bathroom scale to weigh fish boxes. Not very efficient and sometimes embarrassing for the user.

This is how it would go down. In order to get a fairly accurate reading you had to stand on the scale to weigh yourself. Then, while standing on the scale, you'd grab the fish box and subtract your weight from the new reading. If you were under the airlines benchmark weight of 50lbs, you'd add a few fillets. If you were overweight, you'd remove a few fillets.


Year after year of using this archaic method of weighing, Dick Miller had enough and decided to build a custom fish box scale. The photo above is the cradle that a fish box will sit in.
In the middle of the bar will be an eye bolt that the scale will attach to. The entire "Miller Scale" will hang from the ceiling by a chain. Voila, a much better mouse trap.

This is a welcome addition to Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service. Many, many thanks to Dick. I know we'll have a lot of happy customers and I bet the the airlines won't mind losing a little bit of revenue from the loss of weight overages.






Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, March 12, 2017

When Kenai Kings Run


Just after the Board of Fisheries meeting concluded, I couldn't help but think how timeless this video is, well at least about fish politics (the style of the 80's is not so timeless). This documentary was filmed in 1984 and it's purpose was to highlight the differences between the user groups that compete for salmon that return to Alaska's most famous river, the Kenai. I don't know if it was a coincidence that this came out in 1984, but there are two novels that George Orwell is famous for: 1984 and Animal Farm. In Animal Farm Orwell makes the claim that, "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." I'll let you decide who I think is more equal in the upper Cook inlet fishery.

It's a rather long video, nearly 30 minutes, but if you'd like to see a historic perspective of the Kenai River allocation issues, it's well worth the time. My own personal history is I was introduced to the Kenai River (and Jeff King) a year after this film was produced. Other than adding a personal use dipnet fishery, I'm amazed how little things have changed. Same arguments, just different people (except Bob Penney).

Make sure you listen to the closing credit song, Ballad of the Kenai River, written and performed by Hobo Jim. I loved this verse in particular.

                                 
        Set nettin', drift nettin' that's how it's done.
        Trying to catch those salmon before they make that river run.
        On the river there's sport fisher's standing by.
        Ah, just trying to get those fish before they die.
        Strange as it seems these two groups can't get along.
        Each claiming rights to the fish, who's right and wrong?
        But the real trouble in these two fisheries.
        Is they can't fish as often as they please....  



Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service              
                   

Monday, March 6, 2017

Board of Fisheries: Kenai Proposals


Today, the Board of Fisheries voted on 21 Kenai River proposals that dealt with management plans, regulations, habitat issues, and guide regulations. For the most part it was status quo. The biggest change, and I feel for the better, was passing a conservative, early run Kenai king management plan. This plan not only helps protect the recovery of the early king run, it gives stability to the industry that makes a living off of the resource (that would be me and Jane).

The new, early run Kenai king management plan moving forward is:

  • If ADFG's preseason forecast is below the large fish goal of 3900-6600, the season will start off closed.
  • If the goal is forecasted to be met, the season will start off catch and release only, single hook lure with no bait, or/with possible retention if the projection is within the optimum escapement range. An angler can retain one king a day, two for the year. All king salmon over 36" must be released.
  • Once in season research is under way (sonar counts, test netting, log book info, etc.) and ADFG is confident the escape goals will be met, an angler can use a single hook lure with no bait. An angler can retain one king a day, two for the year. All kings over 36" must be released. 
  • If the early run will exceed the escapement goal, a single hook lure with bait will be allowed. An angler can retain one king a day, two for the year. All kings over 36" must be released. 
As always, the early Kenai king management plan ends June 30th. The late run Kenai king management plan begins July 1st, and ends July 31st.

This plan was supported by the guide association, the sportfish association, and a private angler association. As long as I can remember, there has never been a united effort like this from the three associations. The Board took notice, and voted 7-0 to adopt this new plan.

Long live the kings!





Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Board of Fisheries: Week 1 Summary


After one week of meetings, here's a recap of a few of the changes for Upper Cook Inlet (UCI) that affects the Kenai River.

The Kenai red salmon in river goal was raised which will allow more fish into the river. The 1% rule for commercial fisherman was moved from July 31st to August 7th (this can definitely impact early river silver fishing). The parity issues from three years ago have softened in favor of commercial fishing interests. Specifically, if the king sport fishery is restricted to no bait, the set netters fishing time per week will increase from 36 hours to 48 hours. If the king sport fishery goes to catch and release fishing, the set netters fishing time per week will increase from 12 hours to 24 hours.

The Board of Fisheries also established a new, large fish goal for the late Kenai king run. The goal is 13,500-27,000 fish. In theory, this should result in a greater abundance of large kings in the Kenai River. What I found out during the deliberations of the large king goal is ADFG has projected 30,000 large kings, and 10,000 small kings for 2017. This is an increase from last years forecast. It's good to see that the trend is going in the right direction. Hip-hip-hooray!

This upcoming week is what I'm looking forward to the most. This is the period when Kenai River regulations will be discussed. Make sure to check the blog often. I plan on posting as decisions are made.



Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Board of Fisheries Meeting 2/23-3/8


The Alaska Board of Fisheries Upper Cook Inlet Finfish meeting is being held right now in Anchorage. The purpose of this board is to conserve and develop the fisheries resource of the state. What makes Alaska different than the other 49 states is that this is an open process with rule changes submitted by individuals, private organizations, and the department itself. This happens every three years and the seven member board will listen to testimonies and presentations for two weeks. Ultimately, they decide if proposals are adopted or rejected. It's not over stating things to call this ground zero for the FISH WARS experienced in our area. It's a contentious battle between subsistence users, sport fish users, and commercial fishing users.

If you click on this link you can listen to the Board of Fisheries process. Be warned, listening to testimony and deliberations can be a lot like touring a sausage factory. Sometimes it's just better to find out what the new rules are rather than knowing how they got there.

Since I won't be able to attend the meetings, I plan on listening to all things related to the Kenai River. Check the blog often because I plan on giving updates as they happen.




Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ice Fishing Part 2

After posting about ice fishing in Alaska, I received a few photos from friends of mine with fish they've caught this winter. I might as well start out with the biggest and it's a photo of my buddy Andy with a monster northern pike.
This is Andy's son, Drew. A chip off the ol' block, wouldn't you say?
Here's Peter with a great eating size northern pike.
 Esko Bill with a sturgeon.
....a steelhead,
...and a monster walleye.
Thompson Kenny with a beautiful winter sturgeon.
Had to include a few photos of my old buddy Dave. Here's a nice eating size walleye. Pretty good multi tasking for an older fella to take a selfie and hold a fish at the same time....ha!
...and here's a HUGE perch. Uff da!

I'm sure a lot of my southern friends are confused about why anyone would want to ice fish. Well, quite simply, we do it because it's a lot of fun and it's not as cold as you would think. You either fish in an ice house that has all the features of a comfortable home (propane heat, satellite tv, bathroom, couches, etc.), or you wear the right clothing and fish outside. As my grandma Ina use to say, "there's no such thing as bad weather, it's bad clothing." That's sage advice no matter where you are in this world.




Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service