Sunday, September 30, 2012

Emergency Landing on the Kenai River

Back in  the mid '90's I decided to get a private pilots license.  I remember during my training I had a bumpy landing and I told my instructor I wanted to practice it again.  He said the landing was fine and that we were done for the day.  He said, "any time you can land a plane it's a good landing.  Any time you can use a plane a second time it's a great landing."   What you see above is a great landing.

Friday afternoon Dan Meyer and I were heading out of Beaver Creek with the anticipation of catching a couple of silver salmon.  Just before we made it to the mouth Dan saw flashing lights and asked if there were cops on the river.  I knew that it couldn't be the cops and quickly determined it was a plane that had just landed near the gravel bar.  We motored down to see if everything was okay.  The pilot was fine but he said he could use a tow to Beaver Creek because the in coming tide would surely cause problems to the beached plane.

We rigged up a tow strap and gave the plane a tow.  

Since I had open space on the dock it only made sense to tow it there.  The pilot told me that he was flying the plane for a friend from Lake Clark to Soldotna.  Not long after take off, the throttle stuck and he thought about making an emergency landing on Big River Lake but the waves were too high and most likely the plane would crash.  He decided to fly over Cook Inlet to land the plane on Mackey Lake were a mechanic resided.   Well, he didn't quite make it to Mackey Lake.  He lost all power and luckily dead sticked it to the lower Kenai River right in front of Beaver Creek.  

The plane sat on our dock until the owner could make it down on Monday.  He had a mechanic take a look at the plane and they found nothing wrong....except for no fuel in the tanks.  After filling the plane with fuel he took off from the dock and was airborne in no time.

Here he is banking the plane at the mouth of the creek on his way to Mackey Lake.

Definitely a little more excitement in a crazy 2012 season.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fishing Report Week Ending 9/24/12

Careful for what you wish for.

On my last report I said the weather forecast for the week ahead called for rain.  Holy cow, were the meteorologist right.  So right that on Friday the governor of Alaska declared the Kenai Peninsula Borough a state disaster area.

Luckily, I didn't have a full week of guided fishing so every couple of hours I could run down to the dock and bilge the water out of the boats.  When I wasn't around Dan Meyer did it for me.
On Tuesday, I had a trip and I decided to take a twirl down the river to see if there was any damage from all the rain.   All up and down the bluff by the sonar counter, trees were washed down into the river.   Many of the homes that sit atop the bluff are perilously close to falling into the river.  It's a mess and my guess is that these trees will not be gone until the spring ice break up.
This is the clay bank just downstream from Beaver Creek (for all you Blinn guys this is where you stand to watch for bears).  For the last four days, this has looked like a waterfall and as I write it hasn't slowed down.
 Another photo of the bluff and the damage that has been done.
Here's the only photo this week of sunshine.  I was hoping to have many photos of Dan and Mary Meyer with their fish but I guess this will have to do.   With the challenges of high and muddy water,  I wasn't too eager to be guiding.  I tried hard to talk these two out of fishing but they were adamant and said this is why they are here.  They said they'd take their chances and enjoy their time on the water, fish or no fish.  Wow, I can't say enough about these two.
Well here it is, the only fish photo from this past week  This is Bruce Warden holding up one of the two silver salmon that we caught all week.   Bruce was up here spending time with his son Aaron.  All I can say is they both receive the "Atta Boy" award for patiently waiting for a bite. 

Crazy photo during a crazy week, right?  This story deserves more than just a sentence or two so I'm teasing you with this until my next post.                                                                                                

Until then, stay dry!                                                                                                                                  


Monday, September 17, 2012

Fishing Report Week Ending 9/17/12

The biologists at Fish and Game say that there are two runs of silvers in the Kenai River and that the second run peaks during the middle of September.  Boy, sure haven't seen it so far.  The fishing has been steady and we are catching silvers every day but not once this past week did I utter the phrase, "do you want to end your day early and keep your last fish or do you want to keep on fishing?"  Fish on is what we did.

Above is Bill and Linda Boettcher.  You may remember them from my report at the end of July when they came down to fish for kings but ended up fishing for reds.  It was great visiting with them on the boat and not on the bank this time.  Thought I'd share a couple of adventures we had on this day that both led to a lost fish.  The first happened near the Pasture.  There were only three boats in the entire lineup and a fourth boat came down and decided to fish less than 100 feet from us.   They seemed way too close and when Bill hooked a fish that got into their anchor rope it was obvious they WERE too close.  No apologies, no acknowledgement, no words of sympathy, no attempts to get out of the way when they saw we had a fish on.  Just three guys untangling our lure from their anchor line with nothing to say.   Very disappointing considering the river was virually empty and they chose to fish so close to us.  The second lost fish came about when Linda hooked a nice silver and it ran to the middle of the river.  A seal decided it was an easy meal and grabbed on to it and wouldn't let go.  Took the fish and one of the hot lures of the week.  Oh well, that's just the way it goes.
It's Dan and Mary Meyer time, version 2.0.  They're back again for a little bit of rest and relaxation.  It's all been good but the salmon are making us work way too hard.  I'm fishing them more in the week ahead so I hope to be posting more photos.
Here's Vern and Nancy Gullikson holding up the second double hook up for the season.  It was great to have these two in the boat again.
Team ABC Seamless made their annual silver run to the Kenai.  From left to right is Brian, Jeff, Nate, and Wally.   We've had better days on the Kenai but Brian reminded me we have also had worse.   Never a bad day when I'm in the boat with these guys.
The Gutter Boys from Team ABC Seamless.  James on the left, Karl on the right.
I had to include this photo of Wally releasing the largest rainbow trout ever caught in my boat on the lower river.  Nate thought it measured out close to 30" but I'm thinking it was closer to 27"-28".   Nonetheless, it was huge and no doubt it will be a topic of conversation for years to come.

The forecast this week looks like normal September weather.....lots of rain and when it doesn't rain  there will be frost in the morning.   This gives me hope that we'll have a normal silver salmon fishing week as well.  You know what, even if we don't we're going to have fun doing it anyway.

See you next week.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fishing Report Week Ending 9/10/12

And the beat goes on.

So far September has been just like August....except less pinks.   We're getting silvers every trip but trying to find a consistent bite has been difficult.   Here's Bruce Miller showing off his first Kenai silver.
This is Brenda Miller with her first silver as well.  Let me tell you I had a great time visiting with these two.  Bruce and Brenda seem to have life figured out.  They are able to spend half of the year in Minnesota (summer) and the other half on Little Cayman Island.   No doubt I sure enjoyed spending the day with people who like their life.

On Tuesday I had the great pleasure of fishing with these three guys, Jimmie, Eric, and Rohan.   All three are college seniors at Northwestern University.   If you're familiar with this college they're known as the Wildcats but after seeing what was on their heads I decided to call them the Northwestern Racoon Skin Caps.
We spent the morning trying to catch silvers and we had some success.  Before the day was over I asked them if they wanted to have some fun and catch a few pinks.  
And, catch we did.  It didn't take too long before Jimmie, Eric, and Rohan had a triple humpy!  
Here's Team Qdoba from Anchorage.  Back in 2009 Paul, Alex, and Amanda fished with me.  This time they brought Ashley and Meghan with.  As you can see they still have the touch.
Here are longtime friends, Jackie and Gary Roeder from Anchorage.   Jackie started the day with a nice silver and then...
Gary finished the day with these two beauties.  It was Gary's birthday on Sunday and I was glad to spend it on the water with him.  Oh, I almost forgot, thanks guys for the great birthday dinner.    I can now officially cross of my list that I've tried boar that came directly from Germany.  Seriously, what an excellent cut of meat.
Finally, here's Jane with her limit of silver salmon.   I had Friday afternoon open and we decided to see if we could catch dinner.   She did, I didn't, but I'm glad she shares.

I have a busy week ahead and I'm excited because it's with a lot of old friends.    Make sure to check back next Monday to see how we did. 

Thanks for readin'.   

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fishing Report Week Ending 9/3/12

What Leonard Bernstein was to the New York Philharmonic, Gary Blinn is to the group of quality individuals that he assembled to bring to Alaska this year.   Let me say this, the catching of silver salmon in August was subpar but the character of everyone involved with Blinn 2012 was outstanding.   These guys helped me to remember a valuable lesson; that this business is not about the fish, it's about relations.  Sure, we all wish we could have caught more fish but they reminded me that it was all good and being out was more important than how many fish boxes they took home.   I'm sure the other people involved with this group would say the same thing.  From Jeff King of King's Budget Charters, Lisa at Custom Seafood Processing, Matt and the folks at Talon Air,  the Fish Connection, Tall Tale Charters in Homer, Jackie and John at the Fish Hut, and everyone at Troutfitters:   WE CAN'T THANK ALL OF YOU ENOUGH FOR MAKING US PART OF YOUR ALASKAN ADVENTURE.
On to the weekly report......This past week was another difficult one for catching silvers on the Kenai.   Low numbers of fish and muddy water made the catching tough.  The photo above is a 13lb silver that Steve Morris tricked  into biting his hook.  It's all skill.
Skylar proudly shows off his first Kenai silver.
Early morning humpy casting for Tom and Skylar.
Forrest shows off his hard earned silver.  I think he was the one this week that said their name should be changed to gold because they're harder to come by and more precious.
The A Team (actually, everyone is the A Team) on the final day of Blinn 2012.  From left to right: Randy, Joe Ray, Joey, and Reese.  
Here's the crew from one of the many fly outs taken this past week.
Joe Ray making the best fajitas that this bland Norwegian will eat.
Relaxing at Tex-Mex night on the porch.  Food by Joe Ray and guitar and banjo playing by Jeff and Chuck.   My apologies for not having photos of the other great chef, Will Roberston.  When he emails his photos I will be sure to post them.   Oops, I almost forgot mentioning the Master Chef, Gary.  Seafood night is my favorite and I'm glad he does it several times during the three weeks he's here.  Hard to beat the chowder and dump cake.
Jane and Joe Ray hanging out at Command Central.

Guys,thanks again.  It was great to renew our friendships and to forge new ones.  I'll end this post by paraphrasing the unofficial motto of Blinn 2012:   This was another August in Alaska that didn't suck.

On to September....