Friday, September 28, 2007
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
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
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.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
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
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
Monday, August 13, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
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
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Thursday, July 5, 2007
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 skills....it 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 ....it 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
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
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.