Sunday, July 22, 2018

Fishing Report Week Ending 7/22/18

King George.

That's it. That's the last retained Kenai king for the 2018 season and I couldn't be happier that it was with my good friend, and AlCan running buddy, George French. George and I have had a lot of firsts together, but this will be his first, last...

How was the week? Well, after Tuesday the river became catch and release for king salmon and I would say the fishing was fair. We had bites every trip, but not everyone caught a king. The amazing thing to me is that everyone was okay with that (at least that's what they all told me).

Here's Team Florida after a day on the water. That's Jimmie, George, Rodney, and William. It was a pleasure to fish and swap a few stories with you guys.
Here's Team New Hampshire. That's Dave, Derek, and Tim. This is a quality family spending quality time together. As Will Jahrig would say, the least important part of fishing is fishing...
After staying in our cabins a few years ago, I finally got to spend a day on the water with Cheryl and Doug (Jane jumped in for the photo). I look forward to our silver trip in 2019. 
I also had the pleasure to spend three days on the water with John and Kris. They are both teachers from the town I grew up in. That's Kris in the back of the boat fighting a salmon.
And, here she is posing with one of two pink salmon she caught. If you're name is Gary Blinn, I know you'll be happy to hear this news so early in the year.
Here's John releasing a king. Hey guys, thanks for your patience and for wanting to king fish when the river became catch and release. Fishing wasn't always good during your stay, but your approach and attitudes were second to none. 
This is my old college buddy Ray with a nice Kenai king release. This guy does a lot of fishing and it was great to see him so excited with his first ever Kenai king.
This photo is a little out sequence, but this is a 45-50lb king that Rodney released. This is the largest fish of the year in my boat so far, but we still have one week to go. 
Finally, I'll end this post with a red salmon report. Fishing has definitely been picking up. There have been steady pulses of reds coming through with most anglers catching their limit. This morning, we definitely had a nice pulse. Here's part of my dipnet crew. Many of you may recognize this young man as Alec Laflamme. Alec has been fishing with me for over fifteen years and holds my boat record for the largest fish ever caught. When he was 14 years old he landed a behemoth of a king weighing 84lbs. Great kid, and many great times.

Well, that's it. I've got a full week ahead of fishing and who knows how it will turn out. Kings, reds, trout, humpies, I only know whatever it is it will be doing it at 100%...

See you next week.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Emergency Order: Kenai kings go to catch and release.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced effective July 18th until July 31st, the Kenai River king salmon fishery will be catch and release only. The details of the emergency order can be found here.

Due to low king numbers, this action was taken to help insure future fishing opportunities. In the meantime, we'll be doing a combination of king salmon release trips, trout trips, and if it's about filling a fish box, we'll chase red salmon. Jane and I will be contacting our guests to let you know of these changes.

Long live the kings!

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Fishing Report Week Ending 7/15/18

Finally, more fish photos than animal photos.

Here's the unbiased fishing report in a nutshell: although we caught some salmon this past week, the amount of rod hours fished per fish caught was very high. Once again, it was a combination of low fish counts, high water, and lots of fisherman. But as you can see in the photo above, these factors did not stop Marcia from doing what she does best on the Kenai....catch fish! She's two for two while fishing with me. Last year she caught a beautiful king, and this year as well. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

Marcia and her husband Dick came to Alaska last year by themselves. This year the came with Marcia's brother Mike, and sister-in-law Karen. With two women and two men in the boat, I knew who'd catch the next fish. Here's Karen's first ever Kenai king. Do you think Mike was happy for her? Next year will be your time, Mike....
Dick was all smiles when he caught this hard earned king salmon. Unfortunately, Dick had the story of the "one that got away". Here's a quick backstory. Just before this fish found his lure, he had a beautiful 30lb plus king next to the boat. As I was about to net it the lure came out of it's mouth. We all thought this fish "spit the hook" but with closer inspection we found the hook on the kwikfish lure failed and broke off at the swivel. It was heartbreak for us all, but at least the Salmon Gods listened and offered up this consolation prize. Well done, Dick, well done. 
The next day we struggled with Rudy, Salomon, and John going fishless. But I finished up the week fishing Don and his son Ryan. Don lives in South Dakota and Ryan lives in Calgary, Alberta. These two fished with another guide for two days this week and did not have a bite. They were due for some action. On the second troll of this morning Don fooled this king into biting. Not only will this fish end up on his barbecue grill, it will also end up on his wall. Don is a taxidermist and he's going to mount it. Way to go Don! 
Dick, Marcia, Karen, and Mike
Thought I'd include this photo of Team Minnesota and their haul while fishing in Homer. They had a trip with our friends at Tall Tale Charters, who never disappoint. 
Okay, how could I not end this post with a photo of  momma moose and her calf. All week these two have been spending their mornings hanging out at the cabins. Just one of the many things that makes the Kenai special.

Speaking of special, this next week will be very interesting. Historically, this time frame is the peak of the late king and red salmon run. Right now, both species have been slow to appear and the whole community is holding their breath hoping for a nice push of fish. If not, there will be a lot of sleepless nights ahead.

Come back next week to see if I slept at all. Until then, tight lines...

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Fishing Report Week Ending 7/8/18

Wish I had a better fishing report, but between having two trips cancel for medical reasons, and not finding any biters on the days I did fish, it was a challenging week out on the river. There's been a few fish caught every day by the fleet, and incrementally it got better as the week wore on (much better than the adverse), but overall the fishing has been slow. Thanks, Francis, for sharing a photo of your fish, and special thanks to Rich, Bob, Sam, and Lynn for being patient in the boat. Your attitudes eased the sting of fishless days.
I hate to say it, but so far in July we're experiencing more anglers than fish. The king sonar count is ahead of the 2015 run, but it's behind 2016 and 2017. There's no need to hit the panic button just yet. It's still early in the run and the true strength won't be known for another week or two. 
In the meantime, we're going to keep plugging along and enjoy the ride.

See you next week for a full fishing report. I'm going to try my best to make sure there's more fish photos than caribou photos.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Fishing Report Week Ending 7/1/18

We're back in business.

The Kenai River reopened today for king salmon fishing. I was out this morning with Dan Meyer and here's the report: in the two hours we were out the fishing was slow. We did bring a small king up to the side of the boat, and we did watch another boat do the same, but that was it for our morning. Sure, there are other people fishing other parts of the river, but where we were at it was slow. But, hey, we were fishing and it felt good!

Even when the fishing is off, there's always something interesting happening on the water. Here's an example from this morning. The guy on the left got his fishing lines tangled into his prop. If you've ever done this before you know you have to shut your motor down and take the line out. Not a difficult task on a lake, but when you're free drifting on a fast river, bad things can happen. The boat on the right saw the disabled boat coming his way and luckily maneuvered to avoid a collision.  Based on their conversation, I don't think either operator was happy with what happened. 

I forgot, did I mention the river opened up to fishing again? It was good to see others out enjoying the beautiful day.

The only other area fishing report I can give is for the Russian River. The run has seen it's peak, but with effort, sockeyes can still be caught.

Here's a limit caught by my friend Francis. Thanks, Francis, for sharing your report and photos.

I never get tired of seeing things like this. Here's a moose doing what a moose will do.

Here's another snacking on fiddlehead ferns and wild rose bushes. All of this happened in our front yard.

And, while driving on Bridge Access Road, I saw this small herd of caribou grazing in the tidal flats.

I'll end this post with a quick recap of the early Kenai king run. Not that I want to dwell on the past, but the graph above represents the last four years and 2018 is represented by the red line. As you can see, it wasn't the worse run, but it still fell short of the minimum escapement goal of 3900 fish (the official count was 3000). I've been told by the ADFG biologist that the early run is often an indicator of the strength of the late run, but considering how off the biologists were on their 2018 preseason forecast, I'm cautiously optimistic the second run will be better than the first. If not, and the king fishery is restricted, you know we're geared up to chase sockeye salmon, dolly varden, and rainbow trout. Kings are the priority, but if Mother Nature throws us a curve ball, we've got a heckuva Plan B in place...

See you next week for the first full report of the second run of Kenai kings.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Fishing Report Week Ending 6/24/18

Not much of a Kenai River king fishing report for this week. Tuesday was the only day I could guide before the closure and, unfortunately, the river was in horrible shape. Not only low number of kings entering on this day (24 fish to be exact), but heavy rains compounded with the Snowy River glacier dam bursting caused the Kenai to become high and muddy. The highlight of the day was finding a derelict boat floating down the river. I'm not sure if it's abandoned or lost, but if this boat is yours, or you know who's it is, please get a hold of me.
So here is the brief fishing report for the week....I tried to cancel my trip on Tuesday, but David and Joshua still wanted the Kenai experience. They figured as long as the fishery was not closed, they wanted to be out there. I wish they had a fish story to tell, but helping me tow a boat back to the dock was the "high water mark" of this day. Thanks guys, for your attitudes and for giving it such a solid effort under difficult circumstances. I know I'll see you both again some time soon.
It's no secret, but I have a reputation for being a salvager. Half the fun of finding something is telling friends about my discoveries. I was telling Dan and Mary Meyer about the boat I acquired on Tuesday and Mary was quick to send me a photo of my best day ever for finding stuff. Several years ago, Dan and I were out fishing on a fall day and we came across this float plane drifting down the river. It turned out, the pilot ran out of gas and had to make an emergency landing. We towed the plane and the pilot back to the dock, and as much as I wanted to keep this find, I wasn't able to. Thanks, Mary, for sharing the photo of this unforgettable day. 
"Sorting my sock drawer."

That's my answer when people ask what I've been up to since the river closed on Wednesday. This nonsensical retort is a nod to my mother who would suggest this when I said I was bored and I had nothing to do. Well, my sock drawer really didn't need sorting this past week, but a huge mass of discarded fishing leaders did. For years they've been piling up and I finally got around to doing something about it. Surprisingly, the chore wasn't really as bad as I thought it would be.

This sock sorting thing will be over soon because the Kenai River will reopen to king salmon fishing on July 1st. Oh, heck yeah!!! Although not a day I'm allowed to guide, I plan on being out there. Come back to see how it goes. See you then...

p.s. The Russian River red fishing has been good. Always a nice alternative when you can't king fish.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Monday, June 18, 2018

Emergency Order #2

Long live the kings!
Not the news I was hoping for, but due to lower returning numbers than expected, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has announced the Kenai River will be closed to king salmon fishing starting Wednesday, June 20th. The king fishery will reopen in the lower Kenai River on July 1st. Details of the order can be found here.

On the upside, not all Emergency Orders are negative. A strong run of red salmon at the Russian River has allowed the sanctuary to be opened to fishing on Tuesday, June 19th at 8:00am. Last week, ADFG announced the limit for Resurrection Bay red salmon has doubled. If you want to harvest a bunch of salmon, this is clearly where you'll want to be.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service