Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016


By most measures, the 2016 Kenai king salmon season was a good one. What was encouraging to me was the increase in the average size of the fish. After years and years of smaller and smaller king salmon, 2016 saw the trend reversed. Let's hope 2017 will be more of the same and then some.

This past July, the photo above made the rounds on social media. This mega Kenai king was netted (and released) by ADF&G researchers at river mile 9. It measured  55", but was never officially weighed. Based on guesstimates by the internet geniuses, the low end weight is 77lbs, and the high end weight is 88lbs. No matter how you slice it, that's one heck of a fish.

Long live the king!

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fishing Licenses and Stamps to Increase in 2017

It's been ten years since the State of Alaska last changed the costs of fishing license and king stamp fees. However, if you know your 2017 dates, you have until the end of the month to purchase your licenses and stamps and still get the 2016 rates.

My advice is to buy, buy, buy your licenses and stamps now. You could save up to $50 if you act before January 1st.  Click on this link and it will take you to ADFG's website.

Saving money, "that's a heck of a deal" as my dad would always say.....

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Monday, November 28, 2016

2017 Upper Cook Inlet Late Run Sockeye Salmon Forecast

ADF&G has released its 2017 Upper Cook Inlet late run (July) sockeye salmon forecast and if you're a commercial fisherman you hope the same people who came up with these numbers are the same people who forecasted the 2016 presidential election. The total run forecast calls for 4 million sockeye salmon with a commercial harvest of 1.7 million. The commercial harvest is 1.2 million less than the 20 year average harvest. Ouch, definitely a subpar forecast.
That being said, the Kenai River sockeye salmon optimum escapement goal (OEG) has not changed. ADF&G manages the late run in river goal to fall within 700,000-1,400,000 fish. My forecast is that fishing will be similar to last year. Timing and location will deterermine your success rate. In other words, some fisherman will do fine, others will struggle. That kinda sounds like the text book definition of fishing, doesn't it?

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Family, friends, football, and food. It's a good day to count your blessings.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Friday, November 18, 2016

Bill & Evelyn Matthies

I've had a couple of interesting weeks and it had nothing to do with fishing. I hightailed it down to Minnesota to attend a 60th wedding anniversary celebration for my in-laws, Bill and Evelyn Matthies. Shortly after that, I was off to Las Vegas.

Family and friends were treated to lunch and stories about their 60 years of marriage.  If you wait to the end of this post I'll share with you my favorite story.
Not long after the anniversary celebration, I had the privelege of travelling with Bill to the Dive Equipment Manufacture Association (DEMA) convention in Las Vegas. He was being honored by the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) as the oldest, active dive instructor in the world. You read that right, THE WORLD.
Over the course of a couple of days I was amazed how many complete strangers would walk up to Bill and thank him for being a pioneer in the dive world. Heck, even one group of divers from Texas bought his (our) dinner. He took this award and the accolades in stride and would respond to people by saying he hasn't done anything special, he's just old. Well, after listening to what others had to say, it's much, much, more than that. A side note, thank you Theresa Kaplan, Christine Grange, and Drew Richardson from PADI for making this all happen. From the award to the accomodations, it was an experience that neither of us will forget.

So, the 60th wedding anniversary and the PADI award are tied together by a story Bill likes to tell. I'm not doing justice to the way he tells it, but here it goes.

In his early years, Bill was working as a lifeguard and a man from Hawaii asked if he could use the pool to try out scuba gear. Bill said he could but he had to try it as well. He was instantly hooked and decided right there he wanted to buy gear.

Trying to figure out a way to pay for the gear, Bill stopped at a bank to see if he could borrow money to purchase the equipment. They said yes.

Bill went home and told Evelyn about what had happened and what his plans were. She said, "we're in college, we have a baby, we live in a small trailer, we eat spaghetti every night and we can't afford it. If you're that selfish and want to buy scuba gear, I will leave you." Bill said, "go ahead."

Evelyn said, "we have no room to store the equipment, where will you keep it?"

"I'll keep it in bed, where you use to sleep."

Bill finishes the story by saying he couldn't have had a better partner in life. She has supported him all the way.

That, my friends, is an enduring story of love and I couldn't be more proud to be their son-in-law.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pink Salmon...The New King of the River?

JoRay Delacruz
2016 was quite the year for the Kenai pink salmon. Although the total size of the run was below average, the size of the fish were HUGE. So big that in one day the state record that stood for 42 years was broken twice. The new state record is 13 pounds, 10.6 ounces. This broke the old record by more than a pound. Just to give a little perspective, ADFG has a trophy fish program and the minimum weight to qualify a pink salmon is 8 pounds.

Your Blogger and Guide
The story goes that on August 22nd a gentleman caught a large pink salmon and brought it to the ADFG office to have it certified as a trophy. Lo and behold he found out it broke the state record that that was set in 1974. A few hours later, another gentleman brought a pink salmon into ADFG to have it officially weighed. He was told he broke the record that was broken that very morning. Crazy.

Gary Blinn
So, why the run of big fish? The only theory that I heard that makes sense came from my friend Francis. He said less fish, more pasture. This theory is definitely supported by the fact that the commercial fishing industry harvested 197 million pink salmon in 2015, and only 40 plus million this year.

Will Robertson
The funny thing about 2016 is I spoke to quite a few fisherman/guides that all swore they caught or saw a pink larger than the new state record. Maybe, maybe not because none of these fish were officially weighed. But, I have no doubt that lots of huge pinks were swimming in the river this year.

Can't wait for 2018 to come to see if this is a new trend or just a one time anomaly.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Lawn Ornament

A couple of years ago a business popped up on KBeach Road in Soldotna selling cement salmon head lawn ornaments. I liked the look of the work but never bothered to stop in to talk to the owner. This spring that changed when two of my neighbor's purchased the piece of art. You know how it goes, since they had 'em, I had to have one too.
There were several spots I wanted to place the salmon head. I ultimately decided to put it smack dab in the middle of the yard. I think it was a good choice based on the conversations I had this summer with our cabin guests.

What do you think?

Update to the original post....I received this photo from my good friend George. This is his grandson Riley. George said, "this is what you do with the monument after you catch a 60+pounder."
Thanks George, for sharing your photo.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Park Ranger

Early in October I was fishing in the middle Kenai River and a Park Ranger made a safety check on us. He basically wanted to make sure we all had fishing licenses. I'm not saying I'm being profiled as a guide, but this was my 8th check of the year. Perhaps my percentage of stops versus hours on the water is in line with the average, but you'd think the Rangers would know by now that I'm a by the book kinda guy.
Because of our check, I was privy to a rather unusual incident. A guide boat pulled up on the other side of the slough and yelled to the Park Ranger, "hey, I found a big bag of dope floating down the river. What should I do with it?"
The Park Ranger told him to bring it over to where we were. As you can see in the photo above, the whole incident provided a lot of levity to all involved.

Since there were less than a dozen boats on the river that day, I hope the Park Ranger didn't "profile" the wrong people........

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dock is Out!

Is it the dock is in, or is it the dock is out? I'm kinda stumped with the terminology. But, no matter how you phrase it, all I know is the dock is not being used until the spring of 2017. Thanks Dan, for helping me take it out/in this year.

The Skilak Glacier Dammed Lake semiannual release happened this week and has caused the Kenai River water to rise 9.6 feet. As I was pulling my boat out for the year I saw this floating at the confluence of Beaver Creek and the Kenai. That's the end piece of someone's dock. The tall part of the structure is a fish cleaning station. It's sights like these that makes me feel fortunate that my dock is protected by an island. I've never, ever, experienced a problem with high water.

As I was saying goodbye to the river one last time, I got to see this sight. Several swans, seagulls, and a lone immature bald eagle seemed to be saying, "see you next year!"  Right back at ya!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fishing Report Week Ending 10/9/16

The mornings are starting to get cold. This is a view of the middle Kenai River at 10am.  The temperature at the time of the photo was in the low 30's. This is considerably warmer than when we started the day....22 degrees.
How was the week of fishing? The lower Kenai was not good. I tried it several times and had no luck. On the other hand, I made it to the middle Kenai a couple of times and the fishing was pretty good. I was with Boo Kandas and a couple of his friends on Wednesday. We caught 12 silvers and kept three of them.
On Saturday, Todd Laflamme, Boo, and I spent the day chasing silvers in the middle Kenai. The fishing started slow but as soon as the temperatures started to climb, so did our hook up rate.
Did I mention that the mornings have been cool?
Here's Boo with a nice, bright silver salmon.
At the end of the day we released 6 silvers and kept these. It was nice to be able to sock a way a few extra fillets for the winter.

I'm not sure, but this could have been my last day fishing on the Kenai. If that's the case, it ended on a pretty good note. Thanks Boo and Todd for making it such a memorable day.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fishing Report Week Ending 10/2/16

The symbolism is appropriate. The sun hasn't completely set for fishing on the Kenai, but it's not far away. The only people still fishing the lower Kenai River for salmon are the stubborn few. I'm sure if fishing were better there'd be more people out. That, of course, leaves it to the diehards who always think the bite could pick up at any moment.
Here's my partner in crime not wanting to call it a season just yet. If you look closely at this fish, you can see all the scars it bears from getting away from a hungry harbor seal. Too bad Jane's kwikfish was in the river when it was passing through.....NOT!
I snuck out for a couple of hours one afternoon and this fish fell for my gear.
On another afternoon these two fish weren't so lucky.

I did fish several more days during this past week but did not have a bite, ergo, no additional fish pictures.

So, what's next? I've received a few reports of decent trout fishing in the middle river with a few nice silvers scattered in between. Besides fishing near home, I plan on fishing there in the next few days. Come back next week to see how I did.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fishing Report Week Ending 9/25/16

Not much to report because I didn't do a lot of fishing last week. Oh, I wanted to, but I'm saving my effort for when the water conditions improve. Based on the rain fall last week and the current forecast, I would think by Wednesday or Thursday the river should be back to normal.

On to the (limited) report...Just before the deluge of rain, new neighbor and old friend, Dan Meyer and I went out for a couple of hours. Dan's Funky Chicken kwikfish has been on fire this fall and this day was no exception. All bites and all fish came on this lure. I offered him a $100 for it but apparently that's not enough money for a proven swimmer.
The next day the rains began but it didn't stop Dick and Kim Miller, Jane, Dan and I from going out out for a few hours of fishing. Jane caught a couple of silvers and Kim caught this one. Once again, they proved that women catch more fish than men. We all went out the next day but the conditions were just too tough to have a chance at catching any fish.  We called it after an hour...
Dick and Kim Miller could very well be out last clients of the year. If so, what a great way to end our season. These guys are very good friends, I kinda hate using the word "client", and we enjoyed the time on and off the water together. See ya guys down the road!
Thought I'd end this post by showing the US Geological Services graph of water volume on the Kenai River. For this time of year the trend should be downward. But, as you can see, several inches of rain can have quite an impact on the water flow. The good news is the weather forecast this week is clear and cool. That should do wonders for clearing up the river.

Make sure to come back next week to see if the fishing and the river conditions have improved.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fishing Report Week Ending 9/18/16

The fishing this past week has remained the same.....steady, slow. Since I didn't have a full week of guiding I had some time to reflect on the silver salmon season. Since August 1st, we've caught no less than two silver salmon on every guided trip. This, could be a record for my boat and speaks of the consistency of the run. However, the frequency and total daily numbers are not what I and other Kenai silver fisherman have grown accustom to. Overall I'd say it's been a mix of humble pie and frustration. What has stood out the most to me this silver season, the "silver lining" if you will, is that my clientele has been outstanding. I want to say thanks for reminding me that it's effort and attitude that's in my control; what the fish decide to do is not.

Since I didn't have a full schedule this week, I'm using a photo that I should have posted on the prior week's report. Above is Joe and Rafeal from an evening trip we took. Pretty good action considering we were one fish short of a limit.
I promised you I would get Jane out this week and we found a couple of hours to fish. We're slowly starting to fill our freezer.
Friday, I had the pleasure of being out with Team ABC Seamless from Anchorage. An okay bite with cold and wet conditions didn't dampen their spirits.
Saturday was Day Two of fishing with Team ABC Seamless. It was better weather but the bite was a little bit off from the day before. Thanks Jeff, for bringing down the crew once again.  

This could be the end of my guiding season. I have no other bookings on the calendar. However, I have hunch that I'll have some walk up business before I winterize my boat. Even if that doesn't materialize I plan on fishing myself at every opportunity. Come back next week to see what we caught. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fishing Report Week Ending 9/11/16

The first day of the guide week was like the last day of the previous week. It was wet and only a handful of silvers were being caught on the lower river. Here's Joe with the morning haul. I was underwhelmed with the catching but was reminded that three silvers are better than none. Way to keep a positive attitude guys, even though your guide had a lot higher expectations.  
The next day felt like old times for a couple of reasons. The first is I was guiding long time guests Judy, Bob (yes, he made the photo and was the first to limit out), Joe, and Rafeal. The second is the silvers were biting they way they're suppose to. 
The fishing remained hot the next day. I had the pleasure of fishing with former Kenai residence Ernie and Bonnie Rimer, who brought their daughter Easton and son in law Andrew to see their former hometown. I have a strong hunch that when it's time to retire these two will return to their roots. 
On Friday the bite started to slow down a bit. Still, not a bad effort on a great weather day. I'm glad Bob and Judy ended their 2016 trip to Alaska by catching fish. See you guys next year!
Saturday was the last day of fishing with Joe and Rafeal. The early morning bite wasn't happening so Rafael decided to grab a spinning rod and cast a Vibrax. I told him I hadn't seen a silver caught on a spinner in three weeks. That was all he needed to hear to prove me wrong. This silver put up one of the most acrobatic fights of the season. That was a good thing but there was some bad catching this fish. At one point during the battle, Rafael lost his rental car keys into the river. Ouch, bummer deal. Rafeal spent the next four hours on the phone trying to find a solution to this problem.
Not wanting to end his vacation on such a sour note, Rafeal said, "screw it, let's go fishing." So we resumed our trip. It didn't take away all his headaches of dealing with a rental car company, but it was nice to be in good weather and to be able to catch a few more silvers.  
The final day of the week I had the pleasure of spending the morning with these two Texans. Rick and Vern worked in a fishing trip before flying out for a week long bear hunt. They'll be staying in our cabins on their return and I'm sure they'll share a few stories about their adventure. Can't wait to hear them. 

So I'm sad to report that leaves are starting to fall off the trees and frost is appearing on my boat seats These are signs that my guiding season is almost over. I'm not guiding every day this week (my first break in a long, long time), but plan on being on the water every day. In between the scheduled trips, Jane and I will be going out. Our freezer is low and it will be nice to have a chance to sock away a few salmon for the winter. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the silvers will be there because Jane is one tough customer if she's not catching fish. Ha!