Sunday, April 23, 2017

Another Blog Milestone

Since I'm pretty confident I will never receive an Oscar, or an Emmy, this will be the only place that I'll be able to make a thank you speech to my "fans", i.e. readers. Wow. I'm amazed that over 200,000 views have happened on this blog. Just, wow.

So, who to thank? First and foremost, I want to thank my mom and dad. I owe everything to them. Secondly, I want to thank my kid sister Heidi for convincing me to do this blog (sorry Heid, I still haven't got on board with that Facebook thing). Finally, I want to thank Jane for being my wife, partner, editor and guidance counselor. I'm not always the most coherent blogger when I'm in the middle of the summer fishing grind, and your perspective and patience has saved many, many posts. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The music is starting to play me off so I better end this by thanking all of you for coming back week after week to see what's going on. If it weren't for you I wouldn't continue to to this....Oh, oh, oh, and thank you Mac for being a great kid. I love you and go to bed!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Release a King, Get a Free T-Shirt Offer

With the new early-run Kenai king salmon management in place for 2017, I decided it was time to try out a new program as well. Starting May 1st and ending June 30th, any client of mine who releases a king salmon larger than 36" will receive a free t-shirt.
This is not just any t-shirt. This is a one of a kind "I Released a King with Kenai Keith" t-shirt. Who knows what the secondary market for this baby is going to be.
Francis Estalilla, The King of Catch and Release
Depending on how successful this becomes, there's a good chance I'll extend this offer into the month of July as well. Stay tuned...

Long live the kings!

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lars Ohlin

The advantage of living in the digital age is that I'm able to take a lot of photos and have plenty of room to store them all. As I was looking through my library of photos today, I realized I have over seven years of fish photos archived. Not that long in the big picture, but seven years in the life of young boy is a long time. Case in point is this All-American, boy next door, kinda guy, Lars Ohlin. From the photo above to the photo below I'm amazed how much he's changed since his first trip to Alaska.
2008 Employee of the Year
Lars' dad, John, and I have known each other since the 80's. An introduction by a mutual college friend and our shared passion for all things fishing and hockey have kept us connected ever since. Fast forward to 2008. John asked me if his youngest son, Lars, could spend a couple of weeks helping Jane and I out at the cabins. My response: ABSOLUTELY. Lars helped us by mowing the yard, cleaning cabins, and cleaning my boat. In addition, if I had an open seat he'd jump in the boat and be my deck hand for the day. If I didn't have an open seat we'd go out in the evening ourselves and fish until the sun set. The hours were long for a young guy. Some days he'd be up at 4am and he wouldn't find his bed until after 11pm. There were no complaints and everything was done with a smile. How great is that?
2009 Employee of the Year
After the first year, I asked Lars if he enjoyed helping us out. He said he did. I thought he meant it but I didn't know for sure until the following summer. His dad asked if he could do it again. My response was the same as the first time: ABSOLUTELY!

2010 Enployee of the Year
Wouldn't you know a second year soon became a third year.

2011 Employee of the Year
And a third year became a fourth year.

Helping Jane and I out at the cabins came to an end when Lars graduated high school and moved on to college. Apparently, free room and board and all the fish you can eat doesn't help with college expenses......Ha! Anyway, it was a great run for all of us.

Lars has been out of high school for awhile now and is currently in the middle of getting his college degree. This past summer he came up for a week to hang out and to see Alaska again. The first two years Lars was helping us, his dad came to visit him. This time it was his mom Cori's turn to join him. To commemorate his trip back to Alaska, Lars decided to do a little more than take a few photos with his phone. Something a little bit harder to delete.
If you're not familiar with the Alaska state flag, the Big Dipper is prominently displayed in the design. Lars decided that his bicep was a good place to honor his Alaska connection.

It's been a pleasure to watch Little Lars grow up to become Big Lars. He's what the hockey world would call a "character" guy. That would mean honest, loyal, and willing to sacrifice for others. A team player, if you will. And, he's a pretty darn good fisherman to boot.

I'll end with a quote from the great philosopher's Bob Utecht and Casey Kasem, "Keep your head up, stick down....and keep reaching for the stars." See you down the road, Lars.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hydroelectric Power

Richard Lagergren
Associated Press (AP)

In order to provide a consistent electric supply to the Kenai Peninsula, Homer Electric Association has announced a proposal to construct a hydroelectric dam on Beaver Creek, a tributary of the Kenai River.

Lirpa Sloof, vice president of development for Homer Electric Association states, "we all know Southcentral Alaska has plenty of oil and natural gas to provide its residents. But, when the summer tourists arrive, the amount of electricity needed to power the recreation vehicle parks is at it's maximum. We need hydroelectric power to meet their needs."

Damn the Dams, co-founder Francis Estalilla says his organization will fight this proposal.

"Wrong dam, wrong place. Beaver Creek is too important to the Kenai River watershed. If the peninsula's power needs are not being met, they can run an extension cord all the way to my house in Washington State," said Estallila.

When asked for an interview about a power cord crossing their borders, Canada said, "no comment."

Public comment will be taken about the proposal up until midnight tonight, 4/1/17. Click here to comment and to read what others think of the dam proposal.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

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. 311 boats carrying 1007 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?

Update to original post: winning fish paid out $21,147. With side bets the prize was $53,528. 

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