Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fishing Report Week Ending 8/31/14

Blinn Week 3 has come and gone.  I look forward to this week of the year like I look forward to a family reunion that I WANT to go to and not the reunion that I HAVE to go to.  It's the kind of reunion that you don't want to end.  This is because the third week of Gary's trip is comprised of the old guard, the guys that I have been coming here the longest.  I'd list them all but I'm afraid I'd leave someone out.  All I can say is 2016 can't come soon enough.
What kind of week was it out there?   It definitely felt like the first run is slowing down.   Fish are being caught, silvers and pinks, but not with the same frequency as the previous week.   If you found the right spot, a boat limit of silvers could be had.  If not, you had to move around a lot to find a few fish.  My hat is off to Jeff King (who guided the Blinn group as well), for finding "the spot" and consistently put his guys on silvers.
So what's this photo all about?  When Chuck Sanders arrived he brought a new fish whacker for me to try. On the face of the club is a logo that says "Club Fishhead".  This is an 8 iron, usually the second club I need to reach the green on a par 5.
I hate to say it but not everyone caught silvers this past week.  Steve Morris was on fire (the whole week), followed closely by Chuck.  Will and Randy on the other hand, well, this photo says it all.
 Chuck posing with the Club Fishhead fish whacker.
Another photo of Chuck and Steve with an early morning silver limit.

Besides the Blinn group, I also spent some time on the water with a couple of old college friends, Todd Laflamme and Ray Rhash.  Ray came up to spend a week hiking Denali.  He had an extra day before he flew out and Todd said Ray needed to go catch a few fish on the Kenai. I'm sure glad they could make it down for a few hours.
We had to sort through ten humpies before a silver would hit.  A fun afternoon.

I also spent a day with Mike and John.  I asked them what they wanted to do and they said "fish". Specifically, they said they wanted to see the river and they wanted to release everything.  We took the old "run and gun" approach and threw spinners the whole trip.   Many, many pinks, and quite a few silvers.
 Here's Mike releasing one of his silvers.
John and Mike working the water.  A great father and son moment.

I've got a busy week ahead and I hope the silver numbers start to improve. Starting September 1st, the limit on silver salmon goes to 3 fish a day.   I've got my fingers crossed that the second run will start early....

p.s. to Steve.  I really, really liked everyone last week.  No fooling.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fishing Report Week Ending 8/24/14

Ben, Drew, John, and Joey
What a great week of fishing (and catching too!).   The river water levels finally started to drop which lead to the first large surge of silvers.  

Not only was the fishing excellent on the river, it was also good off of the dock.   Here's Joey Martin with a one cast, one fish exhibition.
It's definitely an added bonus for guests of ours to come down to the dock and throw spinners for salmon.
Alan, Travis, Liz, and Derek
This was perhaps the dampest, coldest morning of the week but the fish sure didn't mind.

My college roommate, Don Jamieson, sent the Woods' family my way for a fishing excursion.  I asked them what kind of day would they like. Besides just being out on the Kenai, they said they would like to catch a few to bring back to Washington but they also wanted to have some action.  Sure enough, both the pinks and silvers did not disappoint.  It's not very often I can "script" a day because Mother Nature will  have her own plans.  But this day was one of those days were it all came together.   Fun for me, fun for them.
Gary, George, George, and Matt
I also had the good fortune to once again fish the boys from PolyCom. I originally met these guys through my friend, the late Phil Dreyer.  As you can see, they sure didn't lose their touch when it came to catching silvers. If you notice, Gary Blinn is in this photo.  No, it wasn't a "photo bomb" moment but the night before our scheduled trip the fourth in their group couldn't make it and Gary jumped in.  Well, it was kind of photo bomb moment but Gary actually caught his own fish.

Steve, Gary, Alan, and Travis

 Another successful day on the water.

Thought I'd end with a few photos from the camp cookout.  Feel free to make your own joke up about the flannel clad, Team Mississippi pose.

See you next week for a new fishing report.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fishing Report Week Ending 8/17/14

"....And the river she rises, just like she used to do..."

If any of you remember the 1970's soft rock hit, "In the Heart of the Night" you too would have been singing this lyric all week.   With monster tides and a flooding river the Kenai was an interesting place to be.

Sunday proved to be the most challenging day of the week.   Due to muddy conditions, our pink production was cut in half and the silvers were elusive.  Justin tricked one into biting just as we ended the day. I'm not kidding, I told everyone our day was over and as Justin reeled in his line this fish hit.  I've never been more excited to see a single silver caught in my life.

This past week was also the beginning of "Blinn Week 1".  Gary, the Grand Poobah of this group, put on one of the best meals I've had all summer. King crab, grilled salmon, smoked salmon chowder, and his famous Dump Cake were on the menu.  I'm lucky that I get to experience this meal two more times this year.
Now, back to the fishing report.  The river continued to rise everyday this week. That's not always a good thing but what happened was the water began to run clearer (less mud).  This lead to better fishing. On Tuesday, Team Wolfe certainly enjoyed the increased action.
On Wednesday, I once again had the honor of participating in Senator Lisa Murkowski's Junior Classic.   This event is for children of military families, and children from the Boys and Girls Club.  Do you think "Team Alaska" was having a good time?
The event lasted for 3 hours and in that short time these girls wore me out.  
On Friday, Donald had an early morning limit of silvers.  Do you think his son was happy for him?
Mark definitely earned the title of the Man With The Most Patience.   I told him if he could wait that long for a silver to bite he would have no problem fishing for king salmon
Sunday morning the bite was definitely on.   Here's Ben, Jack, Jeremy, and Wally with their catch.
And the bite continued into the afternoon.  Here's Ian, Sham, Nick, and Gary.

So, here's my prediction for the week ahead.  With the river cresting Monday morning, I expect the fishing to get better.  Make sure to check back next week to see if I'm correct.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fishing Report Week Ending 8/10/14

The silver run is starting to build.  Every day this past week the silver fishing got better.   Wish I could say that the photo of Karen and Susie came from their day on the Kenai but these fish came from a fly out trip across the inlet.   Peg and Kathy were also on the trip but were unavailable for the photo.

On Tuesday, Susie had the honor of boating the first silver salmon in my boat for 2014.

Kathy quickly followed up with this silver on an incoming tide.  There's nothing quite like the feel of the tap, tap, tap bite when you're back bouncing a sinker on the bottom of the river.

It's always sad when Team Oregon packs up to leave.  Jane and I value their friendship and truly enjoy being around them.  Who knows, maybe this will be the winter that I schedule a fishing trip to their part of the world.

On Thursday, Steve caught a silver that forgot what month it was. This fish is just under 14lbs.
Besides the silvers we caught, Team Smagala decided to save a boat limit of fresh pinks.   This represented just a fraction of what was caught and released that day.
On Friday I had the pleasure of spending the day with Bill, Gail, Gary and Mary.  Do you think Gail is happy that she's outfishing the boys?

Here's Bill with the largest fish of the day.  He also managed to catch another silver and limit out first.
Here's Gary and Mary after their day on the river.
Lance and Ethan Anderson

Talk about a small world.  When Jane and I were at the Minnesota Sportsmen Show in St. Paul, Lance Anderson stopped by our booth to talk about fishing and hiking in Alaska.  It didn't take long to realize we knew each other. Lance and I were freshman together at Gustavus Adolphus College 33 years ago.. Lance was planning an Alaskan trip with his son Ethan. They came to Beaver Creek Cabins at the end of their adventure (Saturday).  They told me they had a great time fishing and hiking in Seward, Homer, and in Kenai.  I have the feeling that this won't be their last trip to the 49th State.

I usually wait until after my Sunday trip to write this report.  But, because of an evening commitment, I had to put this report together Saturday night.   I'm a little concerned about fishing conditions over the next couple of days. Waters are rising and it's turning muddy.   Sometimes it affects silver and pink fishing, sometimes it doesn't.....time will tell. Make sure to come back next week to see how it all shakes out.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fishing Report Week Ending 8/3/14

I'm a lucky guy.   I love my life and I'm surrounded by a lot of great people.  This past week epitomized my good fortune:  the boat was loaded with a lot of people I really enjoy being on the water with.  

The majority of my time was spent with Team Oregon, which consists of  Kathy, Peg, Karen and Susie.   About 12 years ago they first fished with me and they immediately earned the status of Beaver Creek All Stars.   Let's just say their fishing ability and attitudes are second to none.

Team Oregon methodically plying the waters for red salmon
They weren't too concerned when they learned that the king salmon season had closed early.  As long as they could be fishing for something it was all good.  Our attention turned to red, silver, and pink salmon.

Not a bad haul.  In fact, a couple of these reds were pushing 12 pounds.

Last year at the Duluth Sport Show we met brothers Rick and Kevin. They originally planned on taking a cruise to Alaska but after a long conversation, Jane and I convinced them they should see the State on their own. They were happy they took our advice.  We were too.   I had such an enjoyable day fishing with these guys.
With the red run dwindling, on August 1st, I took Don (longtime fishing friend, and a Release A Hog recipient), Shannon, Karen and Doug out after pink and silver salmon.   We had no luck on silver salmon but everyone caught as many pink salmon as they wanted.   Here's Don with his Charlie Brown fish.   "I got a candy bar, I got some bubble gum, I got a rock!"   All I can say is it takes a lot of skill to put a hook in a rock.
Do you think the pink salmon are in?   On Saturday morning I ran down to the Pasture to meet the incoming tide.   The pinks were everywhere.   The silvers, not so much.
Do you think Conner had a good time?   When our trip was over on Sunday I asked him if he caught more than 30 fish.  His response, "way more."   I had a lot of fun with Conner, his dad Steve, and Aunt Carol and Uncle Jim.

Hopefully, the week ahead will bring more silvers into the river.   There's been a few caught so far but I guess I shouldn't be too alarmed because it's only August 3rd.   See you next week with another fishing report from the Kenai.

Oops, I almost forgot.  My friends Eric and Terri Barclay came down to fish Friday evening.  I feel proud that Terri caught her very first salmon in my boat.  Unfortunately, I have no photos of our time on the water, but I figure they at least deserved a shout out....