Sunday, July 31, 2016

Fishing Report Week Ending 7/31/16

It's over. You can close the books on the 2016 Kenai king season. I'm still in a hazy, semi-conscious state of mind and will probably be more objective after a couple of nights of sleep, but I would say this season was pretty darn good.  Not everyone who jumped in my boat caught a fish, but at no time did I feel like the river was "dead" and we wouldn't have a chance at catching a fish. It was nice to have a normal season.

Above is John with the first fish of the week.  It took us awhile to find it but it was worth the wait.
John's brother Lynn followed up with his first Kenai king. Not huge, but scrappy.
Bryanna showed us that girls in pink hats rock!  What a great first fish ever.
Her husband Jared let her catch the first fish, but he had to catch the bigger fish.
Here's Wayne with a first troll in the afternoon fish.  He told me that he's fished with me three times over the past ten years and he's a perfect three for three for kings. How's that for luck?
Tanna had to show her husband that women out fish men on the Kenai.
John said he was happy to let her catch the biggest fish of the day. He's still proud of his fish, though.
The next morning John had the first take down and after a ten minute fight lost the fish at the boat. Not long after that Tanna hooked this fish and once again proved that women catch more fish than men on the Kenai....

They're heeeere.  The pink and silver salmon are starting to show up in decent numbers. Dave kept these two fresh pinks and actually gave me a fillet for the grill.  These are a very good eating salmon when they're fresh. Thanks Dave!

I was hoping the last day of the season would be the day we caught the largest king.  It didn't happen. In fact, we had six good bites and we're unable to convert them into catches. Rats.  Colton, pictured above, ended the king season with a silver salmon.  A great omen for the months to come.

August 2nd is the first day that I'll be able to guide for silver and pink salmon. Come on back next week to see how it goes.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Monday, July 25, 2016

Fishing Report Week Ending 7/24/16

It was a good week, not a great week, for king fishing.  I definitely had higher expectations leading into it.  I think it was a combination of increased fishing pressure, the sonar count numbers being half of what they were the previous week, and rising water levels that affected the overall bite.  The photo above is a first troll Super Tuesday king for Jeff.  What a way to start off the week.
Here's Riley with a "quittin' time" last troll of the day Kenai king. This fish measured 51" and had a girth of 30". Riley is fifteen years old and the last time he caught a king with me he was seven years old. Hmmm, I think he needs to come back a little more often....
Bob, along with Jerry, are Team Tennessee.  It didn't take too long to add his name to the list of the Kenai king first timers club.
Here's my good friend George, grandfather to Riley, proudly displaying his fish. I think it was his lucky jacket and hat that got this fish to bite.  It was pure skill that got him into the boat.
Riley, on his second day fishing the Kenai, caught this king. This fish was mortally wounded, and being the good sportsman, he decided to keep it. Good call by this fine young man.
Jerry, George's brother, unfortunately did not land a king this year. He did, however, take home the title of the Sockeye Master. Next time we'll get a king to stay on your hook....
Here's Jeff with his second (and final) king of the year. The most interesting part of this battle is that he fought this fish with a seal attacking it.  Two different times the seal grabbed a hold of it, but ultimately Jeff won the war.
My old buddy Ed from Montana worked in a half day trip this week. Ed and I haven't had the best of luck catching kings but this fish marks the beginning of our new streak.
Ian, who came with Ed, caught this nice king on the very next troll.
Mike, who fished with Jeff, proudly shows off his second and hardest earned king.  It was a lot of fun and I look forward to spending time with you guys next year.
Michael last fished with me five years ago.  On that trip he caught one of the largest king salmon ever to be released in my boat. It measured out at 53".  That karma carried on over to this fish hooked on the first troll of the morning.
A couple of hours later on the same trip Gary landed this beauty. He's fished with me several times and I am proud to say this was his first Kenai king.
What a way to end the week. Team X, dad Adam on the left and son Aiden on the right, back bounced this 50lber into the boat. It was an exciting battle that tested the drag on the reel and our nerves.  Their expressions are priceless.  

So the week ahead will be the final week of the king salmon season on the Kenai. My guess is that the fishing will be spotty.  Every tide will be important and if there aren't fish coming up then it will be a struggle.  I am looking forward to how the season will end because historically, the largest king caught in my boat has come during this time.  Come back next week to see if it does.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Fishing Report Week Ending 7/17/16

Lots of fishing, lots of catching, lots of releasing, lots of sun, and of course, lots of fun. Just a whole lotta lotsa's last week.

Greg, pictured above, released several kings on our trip.  The highlight had to be this one. It's a great photo but it doesn't do justice to the length of the fish.  It was all of 50".
After releasing multiple kings, Louie and John decided to keep these two. John will be coming back in August to fish the Kenai. I told him he better rest his arms after this week because he'll need all the strength he can muster to reel in all those pinks and silvers.
The next day Louie and John fished with Terry and Lorrel.  Several kings were released but by noon everyone decided that they had enough and wanted to bank fish for reds on their own.
Nothing like a first troll of the morning Kenai king. Edie sure knows how to pose with a fish.
Here's Maddie with a king that met her expectations. It should be noted that it wasn't as cold as it looks in this photo. Maddie is from southern Texas and she hadn't adjusted to our 70 degree temperatures.
My old buddy Tony brought his daughters down to fish Saturday morning.  Sydney had a big king on early in the day but we lost it after a 5 minute fight.  Soon after, she caught this fish and dedided it was more than enough fish for her.

A couple of trolls later her sister Chelsea hooked into what may have been Moby King.  This fish had a head of steam and ran staight up the river. I tried to spin the boat around to avoid a disaster but unfortunately the fish and my fishing rod got caught in the prop. The line didn't snap but it was hung up long enough with no give that the hook eventual tore out of the fish. It sure would have been nice to see how big that fish really was.

A little bit later in the morning Chelsea caught this salmon and decided it was good enough to end her day of fishing.
I ended the week fishing with Lane and Jerry. Lane, on the left, has fished the Kenai for 23 years and I am proud to say I put him on his first Kenai king.  Equally impressive was the fish that his 86 year old father-in-law reeled into the boat.  20 minutes into our first troll of the afternoon and a 20 minute fight later, he eased this 41" king into the net. He said it definitely had more fight than the walleyes he's caught at Lake of the Woods.

It was hard to top last week, but if history repeats itself, we will be coming into the peak of the king and red run. I've got a lot of people this week that I really enjoy fishing with and I hope the bite will continue.

Come back next week to see if it did.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fishing Report Week Ending 7/10/16

In the beginning of the week the king salmon fishing was slow for me. A few boats did well, but I just couldn't seem to find any pattern at all.  I worked a lot of water. At the end of the week that all changed. Friday night the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced they would allow the use of bait on the river and bait is a difference maker. All I can say is the fishing on Saturday was EPIC. First fish of the morning, and the largest of the day, fell to Bob Laflamme.
Janet Laflamme did well too, but Bob is quick to remind her he did just a little bit better.
Todd Laflamme kept this nice fish.  He is now officially limited out for the season on the Kenai for king salmon.  I only point this out because Todd has fished with me for many years and this is the first time he has done this.
Another first on Saturday morning.  Dan Meyer has never caught a legal Kenai king with me. I can now officially cross him off of my bucket list.  Hey Dan, your first summer in retirement is looking pretty good.

Here's Chase Crawford. After releasing a king, he decided to keep this one.
Nikki, "all I do is catch big fish" Crawford continued her mastery of the Kenai king.
Gary Crawford let a small king go and when he hooked this one he decided it was a good time to end our trip.  Nice job, guys.

I usually post fish pictures chronologically and I apologize that this fish is out of sequence (kings trump reds). Earlier in the week Lisa caught this red salmon while we were bactrolling for king salmon. Now your friends can believe you when you said you caught a salmon while vacationing in Alaska.
In related fishing news, my friend Boo Kandas of Tall Tale Charters called me this week and said he had a couple of seats open for a saltwater trip in Homer. I couldn't make it but Jane and our friend Renee could. Boy, did I miss out on a terrific day.  Jane is pictured above with a huge yellow eye rock fish.
Here she is with the big halibut for the day.
And, Renee had the honor of catching the largest ling cod on the trip. Way to go ladies!

On to the forecast for the week ahead. The red salmon fishing has been steady this past week and I expect it to get better.  As far as king salmon fishing is concerned, I think we'll have moments of good fishing during every day, but not steady all day. This is because we are dependent on what fish are coming up with the tides. We're just not at the stage of the run where king salmon are pooling up in the holes (I'm not sure I should call that a forecast or not because that actually sounds like king fishing in general....patiently waiting for a monster bite!).

See you next week.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service  

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fishing Report Week Ending 7/3/16

Happy 4th of July, America! I was coming out of the creek the other morning and thought these eagles would make the perfect photo to commemorate the birth of our nation. My only regret is I wish I had a better camera. Well, I do have another regret. I wish the bottom eagle would have turned it's head to the camera when I said "cheese". Must be lactose intolerant.
So, it's happening.  On July 1st the Kenai slot limit expired and the river opened up to retention of king salmon of any size.  Nancy started the month with this fish.  It was the largest of her life.
The next day, Mei landed this salmon.  It too was the largest of his life.  I wouldn't exactly say catching two fish the first two days was red hot fishing.  But, I did receive perhaps the best compliment ever in my guiding career.  At the end of our trip Alex said to me, "this is the most fun I've had in a boat when I didn't catch a fish."  I immediately thought of what my Kenai River mentor Jeff King told me years ago.  He imparted this wisdom on to me.  Guiding is what happens when you don't catch fish. I hope I've been making it fun, but it was nice to hear someone say that out loud.

I ended the week fishing this motley group.  Actually, these are some of my closest friends in the world.  That's Bob "Dean-O", and Janet in the back of the boat.  That's Renee and Todd in the front of the boat.

Renee is my second favorite 4th grade teacher.  My favorite is my actual 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Ylinen.  You really get to know a teacher well when you have her for three years....anyway, I digress. Renee takes the honor of big fish of the week.

And Todd places second in the big fish of the week category.  Thanks guys for making it fun in the boat, especially you Dean-O and Janet.  I hope to have a few fish photos of you two holding fish later this month....

The week ahead I expect the size of the kings to improve. The transition from the early run to the late run usually has smaller fish in the mix.  It's just a matter of time before the late run will be underway and the average size will improve greatly. I also believe red salmon fishing will be getting better.  I few guide friends of mine have been fishing for reds and have had success. They've been getting any where from 4-8 reds in a full day of targeting them.  It is still early for reds but it's a good sign that they're starting to arrive.

See you next week.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service