Friday, September 28, 2007

That's All Folks!

My last Kenai River fishing trip of the year was yesterday. The temperature at 7:00am was 28 and it wasn't until 10:30am before all the frost was out of the boat. I fished John and Mike a second day and wish we could have done as well as the day before ( should've been here yesterday????). Nonetheless, we ended the season with a beautiful 14lb buck. Out of all the fish John caught this one by far gave us the best fight. I'm glad we stayed out a little bit longer because his fish came during the second to last troll of the season. It's good to have a couple of "half full" or "always full" guys in the boat. Thanks for ending my season the way that you did.

Tomorrow Jane and I should be finished winterizing the boats and cabins. I can't believe how fast it comes to an end. My friend Jeff referred to the end of season as a high school graduation. Anyway, we both feel very blessed and fortunate to be doing what we're doing and we'd like to thank everyone of you that made 2007 a great success.

This will not be our final blog/report of the year so make sure you check back once in awhile. I can't guarantee that we'll be writing a lot but we'll do our best to let you know what we're up to.

One last thing. To date we are scheduled to be at two Sportmen's Boat, Camping and Vacation Shows. The first one will be at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minnesota from January 9th-13th.
The second one will be at the Civic Centre in St. Cloud, Minnesota from February 28th-March 2nd. If you get a chance stop by and say hello.

Talk to you later.....

Keith & Jane

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Winding Down

Our 2007 season is coming to a close. While I am anxious to have free time to see family and friends, it is always kind of sad to close things up too.
The photo is of Canyon Creek. I had to pick up Keith at the airport in Anchorage last weekend so I took my time, stopped for photos along the way and just enjoyed the ride. It has been a pretty fall so far with more good weather than bad.
Keith is on his last trip of the season today...I'm sure you will get a final update from him today or tomorrow. We will then take the dock out this evening after he gets in. I have a sneaky feeling we will still launch the boat for another day or two of personal fishing.
I've put a good dent into my fall close up tasks....3 of the 4 cabins are cleaned. All of the bedding and pillows have been laundered, 3 of the 4 ovens have been cleaned (yuck!) and 3 of the 4 refrigerators are cleaned and defrosted. I cleaned out one of the grills yesterday...what a mess...and need to thank whoever cleaned the charcoal grill on the Steelhead. I'm guessing Dan. Thank you! One of the gas grills will be replaced next spring, so that leaves just one more grill to clean. Thank goodness....not a job I do often enough I'm afraid....if I did it more frequently the grills probably wouldn't get so bad, right?
Well, I'm off to my next closing project....organize the paperwork. It shouldn't take long and at least it doesn't require latex gloves.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

XXL Silvers

The season is starting to wind down for me. I've got a couple of more trips this week and then it's time to winterize the boat and cabins. I hate to see it end so soon.
This morning it wasn't raining out, so Jane and I went out fishing for a couple of hours. Fishing was great and the average size was phenonemenal. I'm holding a 17lbs silver that provided the most entertainment of all the fish hooked this fall. We were fishing near the Crossover when the silver hit. He decided the river wasn't big enough so it beached itself on a gravel bar. It eventually found it's way back to the water and peeled out a 100yds of line. For all of you keeping score, chalk up another one on the "Fancy Pants."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Silver Update 9/13

It's been awhile since my last report. We've been enjoying typical September silver fishing. Lot's of rain, cool days, and a consistent bite.
For those who wanted to fish most of the day limits were caught. The average size of the silver's has been impressive of late. Most of the fish have been in the 12-15lb range. The largest topped the scale at 18lbs.
I know the photo is not a recent one but I like it for two reasons: an action photo on the Kenai, and kids enjoying the fight of a salmon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Darn Seal

The last couple of days I've been fishing Robin and Jeff Argir from Brainerd, Minnesota. Fantastic weather and steady fishing for them.

Jeff came back from the fish processor this morning and said they had nearly 40lbs of fillets. He could catch one more silver before he left for Homer so we went out this afternoon for an hour or two to try our luck. It didn't take too long and Jeff hooked up a nice silver on the Fancy Pants lure. It made a couple of nice runs and we dropped our buoy and chased it down the river. We had the fish about 10 feet from the boat but it decided to head down stream. About 50 yards away I saw a swirl and thought it was his fish. Just then a seal popped it's head up and the line went limp. It knocked the fish off of the line. First time ever.

Most of you could guess the rest of the story. No more bites.

Dirty rotten seal.

Team ABC Seamless

Great weather and a great day for fishing. In the photo from left to right you'll see Steve, Wally, Brian, and Marshall. I can't quite figure out if I should call them Team ABC, Team Minnesota, or Team Raisanen. One thing I know for sure is these boys can flat out fish.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Top of the Food Chain

Last night Jane and I decided to try our luck fishing for silver's. The evening bite is not as consistent as the morning bite but it's the only time that we get to fish together. It was a beautiful evening, we saw a double rainbow, and the fishing wasn't bad. At least it wasn't for Jane. She caught her limit and I netted her fish (felt like a guide trip.....).

When we got back to the dock it was getting dark and a fog was rolling in. I quickly cleaned the fish and we jumped in the car to head home. We saw lights on in a cabin of a guest who was leaving early the next morning. We decided to say our last goodbyes and as we were doing so 50 feet behind the car a big ol' brown bear was casually walking behind the Chinook cabin. Boy, that sure gets the adrenaline pumping. That was the second encounter this summer for me. The first was in July but I didn't actually see the bear. It made it's presence felt down by the dock. He or she left behind muddy footprints and other things that come out of bears (no, I guess it doesn't just happen in the woods).

Now, I don't want to frighten any one about the possibility of bear encounters at the cabins. It is very rare. There are plenty of bears in the area but they are shy and try to avoid people. In fact, most of the time they hear you before you ever see them and they leave. Thank god. Moose, on the other hand, are like pets around here and are habituated to people.

I'm sure glad they're vegetarians.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Silvers Are Coming In Strong

No humorous anecdotes or observations to report but fishing continues to get better. What's nice is the average size is improving. To give credit where it's due, starting at the top and moving clockwise, Bob, Fran and Jane, next it's Konnor, Fred and Kevin, and finally it's Quinn and Steve.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fishing Update, August 15, 2007

After July 31st there are no more guide hours on the river. Because of this a handful guides are getting out on the river before 5:00 am to secure their "spot". Some days we do this, some days we don't. What I have found through the years is if you don't get your favorite spot right away you'll have to grind it out to get your fish. That is what we did with the Peterson group on 8/15. I had a great time and the fishing was not too bad.
In this picture is Jared and Matthew posing with the days catch. One fish we didn't get a picture of was Jared's 40lb king. King's are a lot of fun when fishing with light tackle. Jared will attest to that.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Silver Update

Here's a photo of the Bennett family with with their silver's caught on 8/12. The fishing is improving daily but we're still a few days away from the peak of the first run. The upcoming week should prove interesting......

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Silvers are beginning to show

A quick update on the fishing. The first part of this week the fishing for silver salmon was slow (non existent). We had a lot of activity in the boat because the king salmon, rainbow trout and dollie varden were willing to bite. The old adage that you can't catch what's not here applied to silver salmon but now as the week goes on we're starting to catch a fair amount on each trip. The size has been small but a few have reached 12lbs. The fishing should only get better as August progresses.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The End of the King Season

The king season officially ended July 31st and the photos above are fish taken on that day. Andy Hochmayr is on the left and the Victor family is on the right. Andy has quite the story about his last king of the year. I won't blog about it but you can ask me in person. Let's just say Andy is "Lord of The Rings/Kings." The Victor's put their time in the day before without a fish to the boat. On the last day their three fish came within the last hour of the trip. Once again perseverance and having the right attitude paid off.
Overall the king season was more of a roller coaster ride than I would have liked it to be. July is usually consistent fishing with a fair amount of large fish . Not so this year. Hot and cold and a lot of small fish. The reports that I read in the local newspaper said the fishing was "average" this year. I hope the fall fishing will be a bit better.
To all of you that booked a king trip with me......THANK YOU! Fishing will always be fishing but I hope your experience on the Kenai was an enjoyable one. I can tell you without hesitation that I enjoyed every trip. Many of you have already booked for next year and I know without a doubt that the "trip of a lifetime" will happen again for many of you in the not too distant future.
Well, time to get out my silver salmon gear. Updates will follow as the season progresses.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rattlesnake Bob it is....Rattlesnake Bob's big king. If any of you have read the comments coming on the blog, I'm sure you have noticed a number of them from "Rattlesnake" or "The Snake". Bob's comments have been marking time until he got up here to catch his big king. I'm happy to say that Bob got his king on the afternoon trip yesterday. I don't know about Keith, but I was feeling pretty happy for Bob....this wasn't his first king, but his largest king at around 45-50lbs.
It has been a good week so far. The weather has been mostly clear, in the mid-60's and the king fishing has been consistent.
I will post another update to cap off the week.....gotta share those fish pics and stories!

Monday, July 16, 2007

"Fun Boat" Sunday

Sundays in July are the days that I get to go out and practice what I preach. Jane calls our second boat the "Fun Boat" because it's not used for guiding/business. Anyway, Jane was anxious to go out fishing and after the day my boat had on Saturday I was less than enthusiatic. It wasn't that we didn't catch fish, 4 to be exact, it's just that they were small and my clients released them.

Well, every trip and everyday is different on the Kenai. By mid morning we caught 8 kings and decided to keep 2. It was a rare day for two reasons. The first is I kept a Kenai king. I haven't done that in a long time. This is becasue I sometimes feel that if I keep a king I may be taking a future king away from one of my clients (karma?). The second is Jane kept one on the same trip. The king I caught is a perfect fish for the smoker. The fish Jane caught is a perfect fish to keep for the eggs. With the type of fisherman I have the last couple of weeks of July I can never have too many eggs. The fish I'm holding is 49" and is close to 60lbs. Jane's fish is about 30 lbs.

What a great "Fun Boat" day. Let the smoking begin!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Kings Are Coming

Well, we are making our way into July and the fishing seems to be picking up. Each day has resulted in kings, some requiring more patience and work than others, but they are coming in.

Pat and Carole ended up with a couple of nice kings yesterday morning and Don and Rocky repeated the count in the afternoon. Keith was really pleased about the afternoon.......both fish were females, so more bait!
A quick update on the sockeye salmon. About 50,000 have entered the river so far. Not a fishable daily amount quite yet, but they are making their way in.
We still have cool, damp weather. I'm wishing for more sunshine, but it certainly beats the heat most of the country is experiencing right now.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Icing on the Cake

July is definitely here. The fishing has been getting better and the average size has been picking up.
Above you'll see a photo of Joe, Kevin, Mike, and Parker. These guys booked 4 half days of king fishing. They experienced the gamut of what it takes to catch a king on the Kenai. On one trip we'd catch a few, on another none. We'd catch a small fish, and then a nice one. We'd miss a strike, then we had one snap off on a rock......Sorry Mike, it may have been the biggest one of the week! More often than not there was a lot of waiting around for a bite.
On our final trip it all came together and 4 nice Kenai kings were brought to the boat in short order. They're patience and perseverance was definitely rewarded. Jane and I have always said that everyone has an opportunity to catch a king on a single trip. However, the more "saddle time" you put in the more likely you'll run into a "trip of a lifetime." Great going guys and I know your first trip to Alaska will not be your last.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy July

Well, July is things are getting busier on the Kenai. Normally, I'd say that July is the best fishing, weather and daylight month. So far July is bringing weather that is up and down (it is raining and cool today), we do have lots of daylight and the fishing is looking up.

On Tuesday, Keith fished with the Voegler family from MN and each of the 3 boys caught kings. Mom and Dad were left out of the loop, but I'm guessing they didn't really mind. Wednesday continued with the Doan family from FL. In the morning the boys again got a couple of nice kings...around 42-45 pounds. Mom and Dad each had chances, but the kids ended up on top. Keith was impressed with the boys' competiveness and made the trip even more enjoyable for him. Tuesday afternoon's trip gave the adults a chance to get even. The group from ME got a couple of kings to keep the week going. These guys will have a chance to even it up with additional trips this week. I'll keep you posted.

For non-fishing updates...the wild flowers are getting thick along the roads. I'm wondering this year if I have haven't been very observant to them in the past or if there are just more right now. The sides of the roads are full of Lupine seems like so much more than last year. They are springing up along our driveway both at the cabins and at our house. We've also got lots of bright pink wild roses. The daisies seemed to have appeared out of nowhere in the last two days as well.....and a bright yellow flower that I can't identify. I think I need a book of Alaska wildflowers! The fireweed hasn't started blooming yet. Normally it starts in July, but it has been so cool this year it could be late. The stalks are everywhere though, so the blooms should start soon. The saying goes, when the blooms reach the top, summer is over. If they start late, do we get a longer summer?

Since Keith is fishing a couple of trips a day during the month of July, I'll have to post the fishing updates. Getting it straight from him will get you more detailed information (and more entertaining info), but when I post I'll add pictures! I hope they are catching some good photos right now. I guess I have to wait until 6pm to find out.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Honeymoon Jinx Continues

I don't know what it is but for some reason honeymooners do not catch fish in my boat. Last year we came real close. On one trip the bride did not catch the fish but a gentleman in the boat let her reel his fish in and let her keep it. On another trip the bride fought a fish for about 10 minutes before it was cut off on the prop of another boat.

The streak continued this week.

Rebekah and David were celebrating their honeymoon on the peninsula and worked a king trip in. Nothing. Not even a drive by bite. If you're on a honeymoon you may want to rethink fishing with me.

On the other hand, anniversaries and birthdays are another matter. People celebrating these events seem to do very well. In fact, the day Rebekah and David fished with me one of the guys in the boat turned 21. He caught 3 fish. I'm not sure if this just happens to be a coincidence or if my boat is truly jinxed. Who knows, maybe all left handed people haven't caught a fish in my boat and they're jinxed as well.

Overall this past week was up and down. Some days we caught fish. Some days we didn't.
Right now the average sonar count is under 300 kings a day. This is a big factor in why we haven't been doing better. Hopefully the second run will kick into gear soon and the catch rate should jump up significantly. A side note about the red run. Our guests at the cabin had a tough time catching reds at the Russian River. A couple of limits were caught but overall the run is past it's peak.

One final comment and this goes out to Peter Medchill. I fished Jim Nelson and his family today and I had a great time with them. Jim's son Elliot caught a nice king and it's going on the barbecue grill tonight. Like most people visiting Alaska for the first time, Elliot's king was the biggest fish he has ever caught.

Monday, June 25, 2007

fishing report week ending 6/23

Roller coaster ride. Plain and simple. Fishing was good one day, not so good the next day. To me, that is the difference between May/June fishing and July fishing. We've had some of the best catch days ever in May/June but it's inconsistent. Day in day out July is more consistent for king salmon.

The beginning of the week I fished some friends from Minnesota, Jerry Hoffman, Greg Johnson, Jim Vandeputte, and Randy (sorry, forgot the last name but soon to be Jerry's brother in law?). The first day the fishing was slow. We managed a few trout, a small king, and had a few other hookups but did not get them to the boat. The next day wasn't red hot but Greg managed to boat a nice fish that came under the slot and Jim did as well (Jim also caught a small king). Jim's fish was a classic. We were just about to wrap up the day (they were flying out that night) and Randy missed a nice fish. Instead of putting the poles away we decided to keep trolling. BAM. Almost immediately Jim hooked his fish and had him to the boat in short order. What a great way to end the day. It was too late in the day to process the fish so Jim put his fish in a soft cooler and checked it in as a carry on bag. Anywhere else in the world it would be strange bringing fish as a carry on but not in Alaska. What a great State.

On Thursday I fished Brad, Brian, Bob, and Robert and the day could best be characterized as a few missed opportunities. Everyone had a take down but we just couldn't get a hook to stick. "Should've been here yesterday" definitely applied but as Brian said, "Hey, that's fishing."

Rick Zweig and his group fished on Friday. Great, great group who know how to fish but once again the day was slow. A few trout and a small king was all we could produce. These guys were from Minnesota so quite a few stories were swapped all day long. I sure enjoyed having them in the boat.

Saturday featured "Team Nebraska" with Tod, Benny and Brian and the fourth guy is a good friend of mine/customer who moved up here from Minnesota. We caught a couple of nice kings but the bites were few and far between. We worked hard to get the two. And, after a full day of fishing Tod is now an expert on how to catch Dolly Varden. "Team Nebraska" made it to BJ's to see Hobo Jim and they definitely enjoyed the entertainment.

Once again, a great week of people and camaraderie.

Update on the red fishing on the Russian River. All of our guests that have been up there have been doing extremely well. Limits every day.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

End of the Week Fishing Report

With the opening of the use of bait this week the fishing was pretty good. Prior to bait the Dept. of Fish & Game estimated that it took 37 hours to catch a king salmon. After bait they've estimated it at 17 hours. Overall, in my boat we landed about a dozen fish and missed twice as many. The fishing was never hot but if you grinded it out usually a few fish would be caught each day. That's what bait can do. It gives us a shot at catching a fish all day long instead of just a morning bite.

For those of you who are interested in the red salmon fishing, the Russian River has been very good. In fact, they are opening the Sanctuary one month ahead of schedule due to the strength of the run. Time to fill your freezers.

One last thought, Mike, Tom, and Harv, thanks for hanging in there on Saturday.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Lucky 13....

Anybody that has known me for a long time will know that 13 is a lucky number for me. I wore 13 in every sport I played. This week the fishing has been real good and June 13th was a great day. 5 kings were caught, The Appleby's worked their tails off to get one nice one. Phil and Gary had the hot rods and boated 4 between them.

Today was by far the best day of weather this year and the fishing was pretty good as well. Steve and Kit Lott, along with their kids, managed to boat 3 beautiful fish. They were a lot of fun to be around and it was great to talk about life in Minnesota.

Well, I need to sign off now.....I've got eggs to cure.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

fishing update

My college roommate Bud was in town with his friend Todd and we hit the Kenai a couple of times. The sonar counts have been great this past week but unfortunately the Killey River dumped a load of mud into the Kenai and the catch rate has plummeted. Oh well, it was nice to visit with Bud and Todd. They'll be back a couple of times this summer and I'm sure we'll get even with those salmon!!!!

On the upside, I had a group of three on Saturday and the water conditions improved greatly. We managed to boat one king and had one other opportunity but missed (drive by bite). Rumor on the river has it that the king escapement numbers have reached the minimum and they'll be opening it up to bait on Tuesday. It would be nice. I have a full week ahead and I know that bait will make a difference in our catch rate. Rumors run wild on the river from guide boat to guide boat so I'm cautiously waiting for the official announcement from the Dept. of Fish and Game. I'd hate to be trolling bait on Tuesday and find out it hasn't opened yet.

Tight lines.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

halibut, halibut & Hobo Jim

We spent the day with Capt. Peter and his daughter fishing for halibut out of Homer. Couldn't ask for a nicer day to be out 60 miles chasing halibut. Well, I think the ladies wish it were a bit warmer, but the sea was gentle and the bite was on.

This was the second time that Jane has gone halibut fishing. She's becoming an old pro. She caught the first fish, the most fish, and the only ling cod of the day. Unfortunately ling cod is out of season so we had to let it go. The size of our catch was modest but still managed to bring to the processor nearly 120 pounds of fillets. I may be a guide for salmon but I prefer to eat halibut. Guess what's for dinner tonight?

In addition to the fishing we saw plenty of sealife in Kachemak Bay. Puffins, otters and their babies, sea lions, and one whale. It's not quite the same as a scenic glacier tour in Seward but you can't bring a fishing pole on that trip.

The day was capped off with a great performance by Hobo Jim at BJ's. Andy, Jeremy, Jane and I have seen him many times, but it was a first for Maggie and Joanna. Hobo did not disappoint. I always remember the sage advice that a long time Kenai fishing guide gave me. He said that Hobo Jim saves more bad days on the river than anyone. He truly is the "Official Balladeer" of the State of Alaska.

Friday, June 1, 2007

goodbye May, hello June

I'm glad May is over. In all my years of fishing the Kenai, this was the slowest ever. "Slow" or "slowest" is a fisherman's term for goose egg, nada, zilch, zippo, zero, shut out, etc, etc. This is the first May for me where we didn't land a king salmon. Usually we'll catch half dozen to a dozen every year but this year it was "slow." It wasn't just for me; all my guide friends said the same thing.

Today is June 1st and it's a different month.

Andy & Jeremy were fishing with me this morning. We finally broke out of the slump when Jeremy landed a beautiful 40" hen. I am happy for Jeremy because his perserverance paid off big time. This was his seventh time fishing king salmon (not all with me) and this was his first king ever on the Kenai. He's watched plenty of kings being caught. In fact, he asked Andy how many he caught last July. Andy didn't hesitate and said he caught 6. He can tell you where, when, what color, everything about the 6 kings. Andy knows they're a special fish and after landing one Jeremy now knows it. He's obviously hooked and it will be hard for him not to come back and do it again.

Tomorrow will be our halibut day. They are calling for 2 foot seas in Kachemak Bay. That's not good news, that's great news. Update later.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

post Memorial ramblings

Fishing this past week has been slow, slow, slow. As far as I can tell it's a combination of muddy water and low numbers of fish in the river. The sonar count from the middle of May to now is just under 300 fish.

The last several years my Memorial weekend fishing has been fantastic. My group this year experienced just the opposite. However, they were FANTASTIC and truly enjoyed being on the water. We didn't see any fish caught but the wildlife viewing was unbelievable. We saw a lot of moose and eagles but perhaps the biggest event of the day was a 10 minute view of a grizzly bear walking down the gravel bar from the Pillars to Eagle Rock. The bear even decided to swim across the river which meant we could get a close up view. I told the guys that this was the third time in 22 years that I've seen bears in the lower Kenai River. One of the guys said, "this is the first time in 53 years that I've seen a bear." I wish the fishing would have been better but I know memories of a lifetime were made that day.

Pretty neat.

This week I do not have very many fishing outings (which the timing isn't bad considering the condition of the river) so will help my friends Andy & Jeremy remodel the Coho cabin. We've got most of the work done but need to apply paint and carpet. As soon as the work is done we'll have to go out and see if the river has cleared up.

Update on the saltwater fishing. Halibut fishing has been great and the salmon are starting to cooperate. Jane, Andy, Maggie, Jeremy, Joanna and I have scheduled a halibut trip with Capt. Peter on June 2nd. I'm taking my dramamine well in advance....

Sunday, May 20, 2007

first day fishing on the Kenai

Today was my first official trip on the Kenai River. The event was the "Take A Kid Fishing" day sponsored by Kenai River Professional Guides Association. I've guided in this the past 4 years and have really enjoyed it. Our clients are area elementary school students that have achieved some sort of milestone the past school year and are rewarded by their teachers/principals with a day on the Kenai. One year I had a boat full of kids that had perfect attendance, everyone in this year's group won a school essay contest.

As guides we know that the fishing will be great but the catching is another matter. We take about 120 kids each year and anywhere from 3-10 kings will be caught. This year we managed to land 3 and unfortunately my streak of landing a king 2 years in a row was broken. Anyway, because we know the catch rate is low we tend to make this a day that involves things other than being in a boat. We meet at 8:00am and McDonalds donates breakfast for everyone. We load up the boats, fish, and then get off of the river by noon. We all meet again for a lunchtime barbecue and then we give each kid a new fishing pole and tackle box. All in all a fun 1/2 day for everyone.

One last thought. What amazes me about this event is how very few of these kids have been on the Kenai. This river is in their backyard and for a number of reasons they have not been in a boat on the river. I feel happy to show it to them for the first time and hope it's not their last.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Les Anderson Day

May 19th, 1985, local fisherman Les Anderson caught a new world record king salmon on the Kenai River. The leviathan weighed 97.4lbs and the record still stands today. Les passed away four years ago and in his memory the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce started Les Anderson Day. Not a lot of fanfare other than a salmon bake/barbecue at the Soldotna Creek Park but it is well attended. Rumor has it that Hobo Jim will be playing so Jane and I will try to make it this year.

The Kenai River has produced 8 out of the top 10 king salmon caught on rod and reel but it's not the world record that makes May 19th, 1985 a special day for me. I was a college student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks at that time and at the end of the school year my dad and brother decided to see Alaska and to fish. While they were here the headline in the Anchorage paper said "New World Record King Salmon Caught on the Kenai." My dad asked where is this "Ken-ay" River. I told him it was about a 12 hour drive from Fairbanks. Needless to say we jumped in the car and the next day we were fishing the mighty Kenai. My dad caught a 30-35lb king that day right out in front of Beaver Creek (karma?). My brother and I didn't get a bite but I was truly impressed with the river and the size of my dad's first Kenai king salmon. 22 years later I'm still impressed with this river and can't imagine being anywhere else in the summer.

Updates on the spring cleaning/maintenance. The Chinook, Sockeye, Coho cabins and the office have been stained, 2 new hot water heaters have been installed, 2 natural gas lines have been run, the dock is in, and new steps have been installed. The only major item left is to add a loft to the Coho cabin and that work will begin next week.

Tomorrow is the first guided trip of the season. I will give an update later.

Happy Les Anderson Day, and happy birthday big brother Tim.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

First fish of the year

Yesterday I decided to break in my new motor . The manual says it takes 10 hours so I prepared for a long day. Now if you ever "broke in" a new motor you know that it's a tedious process. For the first hour you cruise at 1/4 throttle, the second hour at 1/2 throttle and the next 8 hours at variable speed. It was during the variable speed (i.e. trolling) that I decided to wet a line. After about an half hour I had my first bite and first fish. It was a small northern pike. A little bit later I had my second bite and it was an arctic char. It was gorgeous, probably 6 pounds. After I let the fish go I thought of my dad. He has never caught an arctic char. How do I know this? If he did it would be mounted and on the wall. Except for rough fish my dad has mounted nearly every species of fish he has caught. There are no arctic char on his walls. The last count of mounted fish (which my mother can tell you exactly how many there are) is over 90 fish. 90 fish! His accumulation of fish began with a northern pike he caught in 1969 in Pierre, South Dakota. I was there with him when he caught it. The addiction continued shortly thereafter with a bass from Lake Carlos. I was with him when he caught that one too. I think he needs to come and catch an arctic char....I digress.

Every thing worked great with the motor, caught a couple of fish, and had a great day on the water in Alaska. My only company on the lake were the moose, loons, and bald eagles.

One last thing, I mentioned that the sun is coming up at 5:30 and setting by 10:30. Everyday it's gaining over 5 minutes of daylight. On my drive to the lake I heard on the radio that we have over 19 hours of usable light right now. Incredible.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

And the fun begins.....

The annual rites of spring have begun for Jane an I. After filling up two vehicles in Anchorage with box store goodies we made the three hour drive to Beaver Creek. I forget how beautiful the drive is through the mountains and around the ocean. Every time I make the drive it's not until we reach Kenai Lake (the headwaters of the mighty Kenai) that I feel like I've truly arrived. For those of you who have made the drive I'm sure you know exactly what I mean. The glacial, tourquoise tint of the water is like none other in the world. Jane and I feel fortunate to call this home for six months out of the year.

We arrived at Beaver Creek to find everything in good shape. Jane has already finished painting the inside of one cabin and I've replaced an old set of steps. We plan to stain the exterior of two cabins, replace two water heaters, put out the dock, and remodel the Coho cabin. We hope to have all this done by the end of the month. Shouldn't be a problem because we are not that busy yet and the sun is coming up at 5:30am and setting at 10:30pm....lots of daylight makes for long, productive days.

Some new news on my office (boat). Because Jane had to bail me out on several occasions last season, due to motor difficulties, she insisted that I put on a new motor for this season.

Poor me.

Tomorrow I will try to find a lake that is ice free and slowly break the motor in. It'll take about ten hours and I'll need to have it done before my first trip on May 20th. I could take it out on the river but the water is extremely low and I don't want to damage my lower unit on my first outing. Most of you see the Kenai in the summer and would be amazed how low it is in the spring. Unlike most rivers in the lower 48, the Kenai, which is glacier fed, is at it's maximum water volume in the heat of the summer. This is always a strange thing for a kid who grew up next to the Mississippi River/Minnesota River.

We will soon start adding pictures to the blog. I'm not quite sure how to do it, but I know Jane will figure it out.

To steal my brother's sign off.........Later.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Beginning of Self Indulgence

Apparently my sister believes that my wife and I lead an interesting life and that the cyber world would like us to share our stories. I'm not so sure but after a lengthy discussion we decided that a blog about our life in Alaska would be a good way for our families to keep tabs on what we are doing and also for our clients to read about their adventures on the Kenai River.So, we begin......On Tuesday, April 24th we loaded up the car and left Brainerd, Minnesota for Alaska. This year we decided to take a slightly different route so we could visit our friends and clients, Rattlesnake Bob Swan and Eddie Stamper in Montana. We had lunch with Rattlesnake Bob and Eddie along with three other friends of theirs that will be joining them in Alaska this July. It was a great way to change up our trip and enjoy the company of friends.We left Montana on Wednesday and made it to Alaska on Saturday. It was a fairly uneventful trip. We encountered the usual sights, good roads/bad roads, good weather/snowy weather and a fair share of wildlife (caribou, sheep, moose, buffalo).The highlight of the drive, and it's been this way since I first drove the AlCan highway in 1983, is the soak in the hotsprings at Liard River. As one of my friends said years ago, "The good Lord knew what he was doing when he placed them there." It's unbelievable. You soak in the springs for an hour and you completely forget about the 2000 miles you just traveled. Jane and I are now at our cabin in Trapper Creek, Alaska. We'll spend a little bit of time here recovering (and fixing things that are broken)and then we're off to Kenai to open the cabins and get the boat ready for the upcoming season.We'll keep you updated when we get to Kenai.