Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fishing Report Week Ending 6/29/14

Not much of a fishing report to give you for this past week.  Why?  I didn't go fishing.  I spent my time getting ready for the much anticipated king salmon "reopener" on July 1st.   Scrubbing up gear and getting the boats running and on the dock had a higher priority than fishing area rivers and lakes.

But, I can give you a first hand fishing report from people that have been staying at the cabins.   The Russian River is still giving up a few fish but it's definitely past peak.   The Kasiliof is still producing a few kings but very few are hatchery fish so they had to be released.   Red salmon fishing on the Kasilof has been a better alternative with success being attributed to timing.   The most consistent fishery has been the ocean.   All week limits of halibut have been coming back to the cabins with quite a few rock bass in the mix.   The boats that targeted feeder kings out of Homer have been very successful. Two different groups brought back nice 15lb-20lb kings.

On Saturday I jumped in the boat to check out the water levels in a couple of my favorite fishing holes (I keep hearing my father's voice telling me that preparation is the key to success).   One thing that was evident is with limited boat traffic on the river, more wildlife are out and about.   The sandhill crane in the photo above was nicely camouflaged on the bank. On my scouting trip I also saw several swans but unfortunately my camera wasn't ready. Next time!

For all you moose lovers, this photo is for you.  There have been plenty of moose around this summer and it's high time that one of them made it to the blog. This gal just happened to be in our front yard and as you can see she doesn't have a care in the world.

So, Super Tuesday is just around the corner and I'm anxious to be on the water.  As much as I don't want to admit it, I'm already worrying about where to start and what color lures to use.   The first hour is important and I hate to guess wrong and miss the morning bite.  But, the good news is I've got 12 hours to find fish and to find a pattern.   I know I'll be smiling all day and so will a whole bunch of other guides and their clients who are finally getting an opportunity to fish for a Kenai king.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fishing Report Week Ending 6/22/14

Spent the past week fishing the Russian River.   ADFG has reported that the red run at the Russian is strong and at its peak. Don't get me wrong, fishing was mostly good, but as the week wore on the fishing got slower and slower.   Last Sunday a school of salmon would move through numbering 20-30 fish.  Today, the school, if you could call it that, would have 2-3 fish.   When the run is strong you stay put. When it starts to tail off you need to move and move often.

I mostly fished with Dan Meyer this past week.  That's Dan in the photo above patiently waiting for the next school of salmon to come through.   I'm not sure if the people standing above him were worried about his flipping technique (avoiding a hook in the head), or if they thought Dan would get all the fish in that spot. Whatever the reason, it's always nice to have a little distance while fishing the Russian.

Here's a couple of salmon that were put on a plane to Peoria (Dan's hometown).

My preference when fishing the Russian River is to leave around 3:00am so I can be fishing by 4:30am.  I have found the river is less congested and the people who are willing to fish that early understand the rules of the road (etiquette).   It's a great time to be there.  A couple of times this past week I could not be there until afternoon. The photo above is what you're faced with if you don't get out early in the morning.

And, this is another shot looking downstream.   Social, ain't it?

For the week ahead I have no concrete plans of where I'm fishing.   I've heard reports that the Kasilof River has been doing well for red salmon so I may check that out.   All I know is this looking for places to fish stuff will be ending soon.   Unless ADFG makes an announcement soon, the Kenai River will reopen to king salmon fishing on 7/1.   It will be nice to get back in the saddle again.

See you next week.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fishing Report Week Ending 6/15/14

The Russian River midnight opener was exceptionally good this year.   Most anglers got their three fish limit in short order.    The following day, which is when I went fishing with the Bangen group (Team NoDak and Montana) the action slowed but remained steady.  I was hoping for different results considering ADFG has predicted that the Russian River red run would be strong for the next couple of weeks.   Oh well, it's still fishing and you never know what it can be like day to day.

Here's the Bangen group flipping away in the early morning light.   As you can see, for such great reports it wasn't terribly crowded.   And, if you're familiar with the area, you can see the water levels are low which means the current is not too strong.   By the end of the day we released quite a few foul hooked fish and ended up with three legally caught red salmon.

Come Saturday morning it was finally time to get the dock in for the season.   This is the latest that I've ever put it in. It's not that I didn't want to, it's just that the tides were not large enough to float the dock out in April and May.    If you notice in the photo above I had an extra set of hands.  That's Dan Meyer who's helping (and swatting mosquitoes).  Dan and Mary came in Friday night and are here for a week.

Sunday morning (Father's Day) Dan and I decided to run up to the Russian River to see if there were any reds moving through.    As we were walking the trail that's adjacent to the river Dan spotted several fish jumping. On closer inspection we could see school after school of red salmon swimming upstream.   It did not take long to get our limit. In fact, we were done early enough to enjoy a hot breakfast with our wives, Jane and Mary.   Wow, what a difference a couple of days can make.

I'll close this post by updating the Kenai River king salmon early run. Right now the run is nearly a thousand fish more than ADFG predicted.  If the trend continues we should land somewhere in the middle of the 5300-9000 escapement goal.   This is definitely one time when I'm happy that ADFG biologists got it wrong.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fishing Report Week Ending 6/8/14

When the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced in March that they were closing the Kenai River to king salmon fishing until July 1st, I knew that some of the people that booked a king salmon trip would cancel and not subsitute another guided fishing adventure on the peninsula.  No doubt, the closure has certainly hurt my business, but instead of feeling sorry for myself I thought I would use this opportunity to explore things in my backyard that I haven't had the time to do.   So, this past week I went sea kayaking in Seward, and shrimping in Prince William Sound.    Two completely new things in my life.
Jane and I booked a full day kayaking and hiking trip with Miller's Landing in Seward.   The plan was to leave Lowell Point in the morning and kayak five miles to Caines Head. From there we would get out of the kayak and hike 2 miles to Fort McGilvray.   If you like World War II history, this is definitely an interesting place. Construction of Fort McGilvray began in 1941 and was finished in 1943.   It was built to protect against a perceived Japanese invasion of Seward (it is the terminus of the Alaska Railroad).    Fortunately, no invasion and not a single shot was fired from Fort McGilvray.  It was ordered abandoned in 1944.  

On the hike up we came across several ammunition magazines and a pill box.   What amazed me the most is how pristine looking they were.   At a price tag of $6 million dollars (1940's money), I guess it should be built to last.

2 miles from our kayak, and an elevation change of 650 feet, sits this firing platform for two 6" gun.   As you can see, we weren't the only people taking advantage of such a perfect day of weather.    

In the background is Resurrection Bay.   With this view I can see why they chose this spot as a lookout for enemy combatants.

Adventure number two this week came when Jeff and Brian Raisanen (Team ABC) called and invited me to go shrimping with them in Whittier (Prince William Sound).   They have invited me many times in the past but I was always too busy guiding.   The photo on the left is Brian and Jeff getting the shrimp pots ready.   While we let the pots soak we did a little bit of fishing.   The photo on the right is Jeff's son Jack (holding one of several rock fish caught), and on his right Brian's son, Tucker.

The law is you can only fish 5 pots per vessel.   We dropped three in one spot and dropped two others in another area.    I asked Jeff why we dropped the pots where we did.  He said "steep and deep" is where you will find shrimp.   He wasn't kidding.  We were about 200 yards from shore and fishing in 400-600 feet of water.   After a five hour soak we pulled in the pots and the biggest shrimp I have ever seen came out of the them.    Hard to tell how large the shrimp are when you see Tucker holding them.

This is probably a better representation of their size (Jeff's hand).   This is a Spot Tail shrimp.  The other species we caught were Coonstripe shrimp.

Because of their size you only need a few for a meal.  And let me tell you, if you haven't had shrimp caught in the cold, deep waters of Alaska, you probably haven't had the best tasting shrimp in the world.

So, how about a few reports on king fishing around the state.   The Deshka River run is underway and the fishing has been slow to good.   Jeff, of Team ABC, was there and caught one.   My new friend Franz has been fishing Ship Creek in Anchorage and he is proud to say he landed a king salmon.    The streams on the peninsula have been slow with the Kasilof fishing the best.    Even though there is no king fishing on the Kenai I have been keeping track of the run.  The last reported sonar count was on 6/6 and it was 1,322 kings.   We are coming up to the traditional peak of the first run so hopefully the numbers will surge.

Next post I should be back on track with my own fishing report.  The Russian River opens on 6/11 and I've got a couple of trips planned. See you then.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fishing Report Week Ending 6/1/14

Jane and I had an opportunity to fish out of Homer with Boo Kandas of Tall Tale Charters this past week. All I can say is the halibut and black bass bite was non stop; not so much for king salmon fishing. Boo said the king fishing has been hit and miss so far this season and we were going to give it a couple of hours.   I'm glad we did give it a try.  Even though we never had a king bite it was nice to place our rods in a rod holder giving our arms and backs a much needed break from reeling in fish all morning.

Here's Jane kneeling by a small portion of the total haul.  Overall, the size of the halibut were typical for May: nothing large but perfect size for eating.   The black bass were in the 2-7lb range.

One of the most interesting and unusual fish caught on this trip was a wolf eel.   The photo above was not the fish we caught but it looked exactly the same.   How rare is this in Kachemak Bay?  No one on the boat had ever seen a wolf eel in the flesh before and that included Captain Boo and deckhand Kevin.  It just goes to show that you never know what can happen when you're on the water.

Jane and I had a great day fishing but the highlight of the trip was seeing humpback whales up close and personal. I may be repeating something you already know, but humpback whales migrate back and forth between Alaska and Hawaii.   They spend their summer here and then when it's winter they swim off to Hawaii. This is not so different than a lot of my neighbors, by the way.   Definitely a lot of fun watching these massive creatures swim and feed around us while we were catching fish.

Since the Kenai is still closed to king fishing, I'll close this fishing report by using a line that John Gillespie, host of John Gillespie's Waters and Woods television program uses.  "I don't know where we'll be fishing next week, but I'm sure it will be a lot of fun."   See you then.

Oops, almost forgot about the Funny River fire.  As of Saturday, 193,243 acres have burned with 54% containment.   The fire personnel are continuing to mop up and herd the fire away from structures.   Kudos to them for a job well done.