Sunday, January 14, 2018

.....Looking Forward To 2018

This is my goal for 2018.

I know it doesn't carry the same weight as giving away a car, but for me this means everything. It doesn't always happen this way, but that is my goal every single fishing trip: you get a salmon, and you get a salmon, and you get a salmon....

So, what's the realistic expectation for 2018?

I think the king salmon run will continue the trend of going up, but still below the historic peak. I'm expecting ADFG to confirm my hunch in the not so distant future.

How about the red run? I reported earlier ADFG's projection for 2018. I think it will be average/to below average at best. Timing will be everything.

What about the silver run? Usually, on an even year, the silver run is stronger than on an odd year. Of course, the operative word is "usually". 2017 was a very good year so I expect 2018 to be even better.

Finally, the prediction that all of you've all been waiting for: the humpy (pink) forecast. The last run on the Kenai was down, but what returned was huge. How huge? Well, the state record humpy was broken twice in the same day. You read that right, twice in the same day! I will step out on a limb and predict that the record will not be broken again in 2018. What I do expect is the normal 3-4 week "hump fest" and my back and arms will be working in over drive. Get ready to turn the volume up to 11.

Well, that's it. That is my forecast on a cold winter day. Clearly, Oprah and I like what we see for the Kenai River in 2018.

Edit: This article was written before the Golden Globes. There are no political endorsements, expressed or implied.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Looking Back on 2017.....

January is the beginning of the awards season and, we, here at Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service Command Central, are no different in honoring the participants of the 2017 fishing season. Sure, I'll be using photos of fish that made their way to the grill or freezer, but I also want to highlight the many anglers who chose to release fish. I wish I had more photos, but when I know we're going to release one, I waste little time in getting the fish out of the net and back into the river. Snapping a photo with my phone is an afterthought (I appreciate the people who shared their catch and release photos with me). So, to you, catch and release anglers, I tip my hat and give to you the High Five award for Stewardship. In the immortal words of Bobby Boucher, aka The Waterboy, "slap hands, slap hands, slap hands..."
The first award of the 2017 season is for the Biggest King Salmon. Congratulations Glenda Kunde for being the winner. Sorry, Coon Dog, your wife, (and this fish), is the Big Dog in your house. When I look back on this day of fishing I really think it was meant to be. You see, Glenda and I went to high school together so I think the combination of a shared history, a positive attitude, skill, and the "Warrior Way" put this fish in the box. I don't think Craig will completely agree with this assessment but he's not the guy writing this blog and giving out the awards....Anyway, this was the first trip to Alaska for the Kunde's and their friends the Marlatt's. Do you think it will be their last? Me neither.

The next honor is the Big Silver Salmon award. This years winner is Jason Olson. Jason and I have fished together many times over the years and have experienced great fishing and not so great fishing. We've also experienced all the weather that Alaska can dish out. This day was memorable for two reasons. The first, it was cold, wet and miserable. The second, the fishing was awful up until the last hour of the day. Jason's can-do attitude paid off with this jumbo silver salmon (I'd be neglect if I didn't say that on this day Bill, Brian, and Bob had the same can-do attitude as well). I guess a kid from Fargo knows a thing or two about not letting weather get you down...

The person who wins the award for the Most Experienced Angler is Gene Miller. Gene, Gene the Fishing Machine is 85 years young (now 86) and brings a Zen like quality of positiveness to the boat every time he's out. He's already booked his seat for the 2018 fishing season and my money is on him to repeat this honor once again. Can't wait to see you in July, Gene.

Winner of the Youngest Angler of the Year award goes to JD Webb. This young man was 7 years old when he hopped into my boat this past August. A crummy weather day soon became a very memorable fishing day. The final score: JD 1, the seals 0.

Usually with awards presentations there are Memoriams. It's always sad to see which actor, writer, athlete, quasi celebrity, etc., left us during the year. For me, my very creative, funny, loving, mother-
in-law passed away on December 19th. If you click here you can read a couple of blogpost I wrote about her. A more detailed description about her life accomplishments can be read here. You will be missed, dear Evelyn! I also said good bye to my cousin Renee who bravely lost her battle with cancer. You too will be missed by all that loved you.

Evelyn Matthies at her studio
So, that's it for the 2017 awards; short, sweet, and on point. Next week my blog topic will be about my expectations/predictions for 2018. Come back and see if I have anything important to say.

The music is starting to play me off.

My time is done here. Later.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What To Expect At Our Cabins

99.99% of the time, if you call or email Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service, you will be talking to Jane. She is the best at describing what we do. With that in mind, I decided to go to her and ask questions about our cabins.

KEITH: What does a cabin cost per night?
JANE: It depends on the month. In May and September our rate is $55 per person, per night, based on a minimum of double occupancy. Our June rate is $65 per person, per night, based on a minimum of double occupancy. Our July and August rates are $75-$85 per person, per night, based on a minimum of double occupancy.

KEITH: What about children?
JANE: Pricing is per person. Family rates may be available depending on group size.

KEITH: What about pets. Do you allow them?

KEITH: When is check in?
JANE: Check in after 3:00pm.

KEITH: How about check out?
JANE: Check out is 11:00am.

KEITH: Are the check in/check out times written in stone?
JANE: Check with me if you can get in early or stay a bit later.

KEITH: Can I book a cabin only and not guided fishing?
JANE: It depends. Once Keith's boat is full, the cabins are open for non guided clients.

KEITH: Will I get my own bedroom in your cabins?
JANE: No. Each cabin has an open floor plan. Beds are on the main floor/and or loft.

KEITH: Are there stairs in the cabins?
JANE: There are stairs in all the cabins except the Steelhead cabin.

KEITH: What is furnished in the cabins?
JANE: Sheets, towels, pots, pans, silverware, plates, glasses, dish soap.

KEITH: Do you make the beds and change out the towels daily?
JANE: Yes. Light cleaning is also done on a daily basis.

KEITH: Do you provide meals?
JANE: No. There are many grocery stores and restaurants in the area.

KEITH: What should I bring?
JANE: If you don't eat all your meals at a restaurant, bring your own food and everything related to preparing food. This includes aluminum foil and spices. Although, I often leave spices in the cabin I can't always guarantee they will be there.

KEITH: Who does the dishes?
JANE: You're responsible for that.

KEITH: Do you have barbecue grills?
JANE: Yes. Each cabin has it's own. We have a combination of gas and charcoal.

KEITH: Are the refrigerators/freezers in the cabins large enough to store my fish?
JANE: No. We have a freezer room with three large chest freezers. It's rare that the freezers are at capacity, but if it does happen the priority is given to clients who book cabins and guided fishing with us. There are plenty of facilities near us that have freezer lockers and will rent space for a small fee.

KEITH: How about processing fish. Do you do this?
JANE: No. We have a vacuum sealer that you can use. All that we ask is you buy the bags from us. The cost is $.50 a bag.

KEITH: Any other things I might have missed about the cabins?
JANE: Well, you should know that we do not live on site. We live a short distance away and we're always available for your needs.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, December 10, 2017

What A Guide Can and Can Not Do For You.

Last week I addressed the question about our overall operation. This week I'm going to address what a fishing guide does. This blogpost should be filed under the category of "Managing Expectations."

In general, a fishing guide can:
  • Help you catch more fish. Guides are on the water everyday so you are more likely to catch fish with one than with out one. A guide keeps up with what the fish are doing and most likely can put you on the right spot at the right time
  • Help you learn the water. If you are new to a river/lake/ocean and have your own boat/gear, a guide can help you understand where to run your boat and where to fish.
  • Teach you how to catch fish. This includes different techniques or refining an existing one.
  • Introduce you to new equipment, baits, and lures. Guides are on the cutting edge of the industry and often you will get a chance to try something new before buying your own.
  • Be quick on a story or a joke when the the fishing is slow. Most "good" guides are part entertainer, educator, historian, psychologist, and hopefully a friend by the end of the trip. To quote my mentor, Jeff King, "guiding is what happens when you don't catch fish..."
A fishing guide can not:
  • Walk on water. No matter how adept a guide is they have no bearing on when or where fish will appear. Nature alone handles this little detail.
  • Control the weather. Some days it's going to be too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry or too windy. My grandmother always told me there's no such thing as bad weather. It's bad clothing. Plan accordingly (I don't cancel trips because of the weather).
This is what you can expect when you hire me as your fishing guide.
  • Coast Guard licensed, CPR, First Aid, insured, certified and permitted to fish the Kenai River.
  • Never late, always on time.
  • Intimate knowledge of all fishing regulations.
  • Top notch fishing gear (including rain gear) and bait provided.
  • Clean your fish at the end of the day.
  • I will not be fishing alongside of you. My whole day is about helping you catch fish and not you watching me catch fish. 
  • Guarantee the opportunity to catch fish, not the fish themselves. If you're looking for a sure thing, you can buy fish at the Fred Meyer grocery store.
  • You won't hear about my personal problems. Who'd want to pay for that?
  • Respect to everyone in my boat, and respect to the boats fishing around us. 
  • I'll never know it all. I'm constantly learning.
  • An occasional Ole and Sven joke, or maybe not.
  • No guarantee that I won't repeat a story (raise your hand if you heard this one before). 
  • Hey, it's your vacation, and this should be happy stuff. I'm going to keep things positive throughout the whole trip. Jane says that I'm not a "half full" kinda guy. She says I'm a "always full" kinda guy.

If you're still on the fence about whether or not you should hire a guide, here is one last thing to consider. It's relatively inexpensive compared to owning a boat, motor, trailer, buying gas, bait, and all the right fishing gear. Why not sit back, fish, relax, and let me worry about all that other stuff.

Next week, my topic will be about the things you can expect when you rent one of our cabins. Come back then to hear what Jane told me to say....ha!

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Are We An Outfitter?

We're getting a fair amount of calls for the 2018 fishing season. A frequent question is, "Are you an outfitter?" The answer is yes and no. Yes, when you book a guided fishing trip all gear is provided for you. No, when your reservation is for a cabin only and not guided fishing, you provide your own gear. 

If you are looking for an all inclusive lodge on the Kenai, we will not be a good fit for you. Our number one recommendation for this experience are my friends Mark and Mike Tuhy of Tower Rock Lodge. Below is a sample of the packages they offer.

If you don't want to bring you own fishing gear, or buy it in Alaska, Alaska Boat Rental will rent it to you by the day or by the week. Below is their pricing schedule.

That being said, do we loan gear to our guests staying in the cabins?  Absolutely. Should you expect gear? Absolutely not. We have quite a few fishing rods, waders, coolers, etc on hand, but they're loaned out at no charge on a first come, first served basis. They're "as is" and when they're gone, they're gone.

Next week, my post topic will be about the things you can expect from a fishing guide. You know I'll try to make that post as entertaining as possible....

Beaver Creek Cabins and Guide Service