Sunday, April 15, 2018

Established 1988

Steelhead Cabin
It was 30 years ago that Will and Becky Jahrig had the vision of constructing affordable cabins for rent while offering access to arguably the most famous salmon river in the world....the Kenai.
The Jahrig's
After fifteen years of building their business, it was time for the Jahrig's to move on and do something different. Their timing was great because at the same time Jane and I were looking to do something different as well. We made an offer, it was accepted, and we became the new owners of Beaver Creek Cabins.
momma moose and her two children
About the only thing that we changed was the name. What was Beaver Creek Cabins now became Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service. Not a lot of change, but just enough to let people know that we are also a guide service.
sunrise on the Creek
Will and Becky came up with the motto, "Out of the Bed, and into the Boat." At first I thought this saying was a bit too obvious, bordering on cliche. However, it didn't take me long to realize that the Jahrig's were spot on.
twilight on the Kenai
I mean, how incredibly convenient is it to walk a hundred feet from the cabin to the dock, and be out fishing within five minutes?
sunset on the Kenai
We've had a great fifteen years and still have the same passion that we did the first year. My friend Steve Morris often asks me how long am I going to be doing this.
moonset on the Kenai
My standard response has always been, "when I'm sick of people, that's when I'm done. So far, so good, but don't push it....ha!"

view from the Chinook cabin
Steve is just one of the many people we've met through the years that are more than a customer to us. We are so fortunate to have so many lasting friendships.
Chinook Cabin
Jane and I are really looking forward to the 2018 season. We have a nice mix of brand new people coming, along with a lot of old friends. It's going to be fun one....

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Enjoy your retirement, Gary.

Jane and I have been invited to what appears to be the most awesome retirement party event ever. I've been to a few of these and it usually involved a happy hour on a Friday afternoon. A few gag gifts, a few toasts, a few tears, and everyone leaves after a couple of hours. Not a bad way to wish someone good luck on the next chapter of their life's journey.

With that as my benchmark for a retirement party, imagine my reaction when my friend Gary Roeder invited us to a four day retirement extravaganza in honor of his career as a pilot for FedEx. The event includes, and is not limited to, the following:
  • Thursday, April 12th, "Golf Day"
  • Friday, April 13th, "Bike Day"
  • Saturday, April 14th, "Wine Day"
  • Sunday, April 15th, "Dinner Day"
Unfortunately, the Party of the Century is in Gary's recently adoptive home of Boise, Idaho. Due to distance, and Jane's dad recent hospitalization, we will not be able to make it.
Gary and Jackie, we really wish we could be there. We feel fortunate to know you and the many friends and family that you've introduced to us. Say hi to all and we can't wait to hear the stories of what we missed.

p.s. make sure you turn it up to "11" for me.....

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Silver Salmon Cupcakes

Every year Jane will can a couple of dozen salmon. Although great, it's use is rather limited in our household. We either use it for a dip, or for making salmon pattys.

Well, I found another great use for salmon while perusing Bon Appetit. In an article titled, "Canned Salmon: Dessert Treat?", the author, Lirpa Sloof, shared a wonderful cupcake recipe.

Sloof said, "Although not for everyone, the combination of cupcake and salmon can be sublime. Paired with the right wine, or after dinner espresso, your guests will be begging to know the recipe."

I agree. And, here it is.


2                 cups flour
1/2              teaspoon salt
2                 teaspoon baking powder
1/2              cup butter, softened
3/4              cup sugar
2                 pints silver salmon
2                 eggs
1                 cup milk
1                 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1                 cup cream cheese frosting


Preheat oven to 375; line muffin cups with paper.

Cream butter, sugar, and silver salmon till light and fluffy. Beat in egg one at a time.

Add flour (mixed with baking powder and salt) alternating with milk. Beat well.

Divide evenly among pans and bake for 18 minutes. Let cool in pan.

Liberally apply cream frosting to the top.

Yields 20-25 cupcakes.

Ready in: 40 mins.

If you're looking for a new way to use your canned salmon, I wouldn't hesitate to give this recipe a try.

Come back to the blog next week and I’ll share with you another delicious use of Alaska fish, Healthy Trends For 2018: Halibut Smoothies, A Protein Love Fest.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Second Annual Kenai River Silver Salmon Derby

Mark your calendar.

The city of Kenai and the Kenai Chamber of Commerce have announced the Second Annual Kenai River Silver Salmon Derby will be held September 14th-16th, and September 21st-23rd. Ticket prices will be the same as last year, $25 for adults, $15 for youth. All proceeds from ticket sales go to the Kenai Community Foundation, which supports habitat protection throughout the Kenai watershed.

This is a fun derby because it's not a big fish contest. A daily prize is given to the angler who registers a silver salmon that is closest to a randomly chosen, daily mystery weight.

Fishing. Prizes. Money raised for habitat. That's a win/win/win formula. What's not to like about that?

If you like a little bit of gambling to go with your fishing, get a hold of Jane,, and ask about our derby fishing/lodging packages.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Official 2018 Kenai King Salmon Forecast

It's finally here.

The official 2018 Kenai king forecast from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) was made this past week. The takeway is this: although ADFG projects the run will be slightly lower than last year, both the early and late run will fall within the optimum escapement goal (OEG). This means no preseason restrictions to existing regulations. If you're a fish wonk, the actual report for the early and late run can be found here.
The one thing that ADFG forgot to announce is I'll be continuing the tradition of giving away a nifty t-shirt to all my clients who release an early run king (May-June) larger than 36".  I began the t-shirt giveaway last year in support of the regulatory change requiring the release of all early run Kenai king salmon greater than 36".

Fishing+Conservation+Fashion=BIG FUN in 2018.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Tech Tips: Tuning A Kwikfish Lure

I was really hoping ADFG would have released their 2018 king forecast this week. Instead, I'm going to continue the discourse about one of the most popular lures on the Kenai River: the Kwikfish. Specifically, the discussion will be about tuning this lure for maximum effectiveness. Oh boy. I can hear the clicking and swiping away from this page right now...
What separates successful fisherman from unsuccessful fisherman is paying attention to how this lure tracks through the water. What's critical is every time a Kwikfish lure is wrapped with a sardine fillet, or after a fish is caught, there is a potential to throw off the balance. The key is to tune the lure properly so the action/wobble is even side to side. A "swimmer".
How do you go about tuning this lure?

Using small adjustments, take a needle nose plier and turn the screw eye in the opposite direction that the lure is favoring. Sometimes it will take quite a bit of tweaking, but keep making the adjustments until the lure tracks straight.
Here's an example of the screw eye turned to the right.
Here's the screw eye perfectly perpendicular to the lip of the lure.
And here's an example of the screw eye turned to the left.

It should be noted that the Kwikfish K series, Brad’s Killerfish, and Worden's Flatfish lures are the only ones that have a screw eye that can be adjusted. The Kwikfish Xtreme, the Hawg Nose, and the Mag Lip lures do not have an adjustable screw eye. The manufacturers of these lures claim that tuning is not needed. I beg to differ, but I will save that discussion for another day.
Does it pay to hone in on this little detail when fishing Kwikfish lures? You betcha. Good things  happen when your lure is properly tuned.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Kwikfish Lures

Continuing the theme of the previous post, I thought I'd share the particulars of a conversation I had about Kwikfish lures with a well respected Kenai River guide. One spring day we were both taking a break at a boat launch restroom and I told him that through the years I've noticed he's very effective as a guide and that he only fishes Kwikfish lures and never salmon eggs. I asked him about the key to his success and he was quick to tell me he'll purchase 100 lures to find 10 "swimmers". Wow. That's a heck of a commitment. It seems excessive, but it's really hard to argue what he's been able to do (I personally like to mix up salmon eggs and Kwikfish lures and let the fish tell me what they want).
So why do salmon like this lure so much?

I've boiled it down to four factors. I'll list them from the most important reason to the least important.

1A) The action of the lure. This means properly tuned.
1B) The placement of the lure (the seam the fish are traveling).
2) The scent on the lure.
3) The color of the lure.

When all these factors come together.....Paydirt!

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Well Loved Lure

In the winter, I spend time (too much sometimes) cleaning and maintaining my fishing gear for the up coming season. I'm a little obsessive about this. The underlying factor for my all consuming attention to detail is rooted in the core belief that I can't control what the fish will do, but I can control my equipment. If my gear fails, then I've failed you as a guide. I am not a fan of failure.

So, as I'm soaking and scrubbing off the sticky, sardine residue off of lures, I sort out the "swimmers" from the "non swimmers".

Huh? What the heck does that mean?

Well, within the fishing community that I belong to, a "swimmer" is a lure that catches fish. A "non swimmer" does not. It's pretty easy to tell the difference.

Here's a "swimmer."  Notice all the scratch marks on the tail end. This is from the teeth of countless salmon that couldn't resist the action of the lure.
Definitely a "non swimmer." This lure was fished on multiple trips and it looks like it's brand new. Since I don't want this lure in my 2018 line up, it was separated from the "swimmers" and put in box of gear which will be sold at a garage sale to be held at a later date (some day, Jane, I promise). Here's a bit of advice for you, reader of the blog: don't be tempted to buy slightly used fishing lures at a garage sale or Ebay. Most likely it's someone trying to get rid of unproductive lures. Just sayin', wink, wink....
A final bit of advice I'll leave with you about lures. If you're on a guided fishing trip and you get to choose, always grab the lure that has the most teeth marks and the most paint missing. Not to say a lure that is being fished for the first time won't be effective, but why not start with one that has a proven track record. A well loved lure is hard to beat

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Ice Fishing: Elephant Lake

About a fifteen minute drive from Beaver Creek lies Elephant Lake. If you want to know how the name was chosen, it's pretty easy to figure this out when you look at the outline of the lake on a map. If Rorshach tests aren't your thing, I'll give you a hint: the elephant trunk is the south end of the lake.

This beautiful, little lake is 340 acres and is stocked by ADFG with rainbow trout, arctic char, coho (kokanee), and steelhead. I've fished this lake in the summer many times, but I've never ice fished there. That changed last week.
My original plan was to fish it alone, but after talking with a couple of buddies of mine, we put together a nice little crew. With kids, dogs, and snowmobiles in tow, this would be a great day, fish or no fish.
How was it? Well, we did catch and release a couple of fish. Here's Boo with his son Oliver and a nice Elephant Lake rainbow trout. An 18" arctic char was also caught, but it was released before I could capture the moment on my iPhone.

Was I disappointed with the fishing? No, not at all. It's been better for me by boat, but getting outside with friends made it a worthwhile day.   
Elephant Lake wasn't the only place I ice fished last week. I decided to go to an old favorite, Sport Lake. I met up with my neighbors, Rusty, Evelyn, and everyone's favorite beagle, Lilly, and it was an afternoon of non stop rainbow trout/kokanee action. As Evelyn says, "I like to catch, not fish" and Sport Lake is perfect for that.
Here's Lilly letting me know that there's fish down this hole.
The portable ice fishing house was set up on this day just in case it got too cold. With temperatures in the mid 20's, it was barely used.
My guide/coach Lilly letting me know I was jigging all wrong....

All in all, in a couple of hours we probably released 60 rainbow trout and kokanee. Nothing larger than 12", but still, not a bad way to spend a winter day.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Celestial Happenings

photo credit:
I was excited this past week when the local news report said that on January 31st, Alaska would be one of the best places to see the lunar event known as the Super Blue Blood Moon. This happens when the moon is at it's closest point to earth (super moon), along with two full moons in the same month (blue moon), which is then coupled with a lunar eclipse (blood moon). The reason why Alaska is one of the better viewing areas, is because we are dark during the whole event. My favorite local television meteorologist, Jackie Purcell, said to be awake from 2:30am until 6:00am to see the entire eclipse. The best viewing would be at 4:30am. Her forecast called for clear skies throughout South Central Alaska. Right then and there I decided that would be the time I would get up.

I was eager to see this. Last fall I felt like I was robbed when most of the lower 48 got to see an incredible solar eclipse. This Super Blue Blood Moon would be the event I could tell all my friends I got to see and it would be awesome. And, if they didn't believe me I could show them all the cool photos I took on my iPhone.

The alarm went off and I immediately went to the windows on the west side of the house with iPhone in hand. I could see moon shadows and the outline of trees in our backyard. Oh yeah! I looked straight west. No moon. I looked overhead for stars. No stars. Crap. Clouds. Robbed again. So much for the clear sky forecast for Kenai, Jackie. Thanks for nothing.

Sure, I was disappointed but there is a bright side to this. The previous Super Blue Blood Moon occurred 152 years ago. Thankfully, I only have to wait 10 years before I'll have the chance to see the next one.

Okay Copernicus, this little story is all fine and dandy, but are you going to write about fishing anymore?

Yes. I promise next week I will. In fact, it will be about ice fishing at a local lake.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Thursday, January 25, 2018


At 12:32 a.m. on 1/23/18 my sleep was interrupted by the familiar movement of an earthquake. After the huge temblor I experienced two years ago, any little shifting of the earth makes me think it could easily morph into something much, much bigger. In other words, I was not comfortable when the house slowly started to shake.

Fortunately, the duration of this earthquake was short-lived. My relief did not last long when an emergency alert chimed on my phone warning of an impending tsunami. As instructed, I listened to local news and noted the tsunami forecasts for coastal Alaska and British Columbia. After several landfalls came and went with no appreciable change in wave heights (the most was less than 6” in Kodiak) the tsunami alert was cancelled. Whew. That was lucky. 

Needless to say, I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep Tuesday. One thing I thought about was the ice conditions on Beaver Creek. Did the quake affect it? As soon as the sun came out I walked down the dock to check it out. No change upstream. 

No change down stream. If you are wondering about the large chunks of ice, that is normal. That’s just how a tidal river/creek freezes. 

If there is a silver lining to this event it’s that our federal and state government have put in place an effective, coordinated emergency alert system. My fingers are crossed that the post tsunami plan is just as effective as the pre tsunami plan. I hope I never have to find out. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Smoking Salmon, A Twist On An Old Recipe

The big smoker. It can handle 10 salmon at a time.
I've been smoking salmon for decades, and quite frankly, I don't appreciate it like I use to. Sure, it's hard to beat when it's hot out of the smoker, but after that I really don't eat much of it. Maybe it's a case of too much of a good thing.

The little "Big Chief" smoker. 
That all changed last October when I experimented with the brine I've been using for over thirty years.

Perfect size to smoke 1-2 salmon at a time.

My basic brine recipe can be found here. The new twist happens in the last hour of smoking and all you do is add two simple ingredients: honey and cracked black pepper. With an hour to go, take your fillets out of the smoker and liberally brush honey over them. Next, use fresh, cracked black pepper and sprinkle on a healthy dose. Put the fish back in the smoker and in an hour they will be done. Deeleesh.
I, once again, have become a fan of smoked salmon.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, January 14, 2018

.....Looking Forward To 2018

This is my goal for 2018.

I know it doesn't carry the same weight as giving away a car, but for me this means everything. It doesn't always happen this way, but that is my goal every single fishing trip: you get a salmon, and you get a salmon, and you get a salmon....

So, what's the realistic expectation for 2018?

I think the king salmon run will continue the trend of going up, but still below the historic peak. I'm expecting ADFG to confirm my hunch in the not so distant future.

How about the red run? I reported earlier ADFG's projection for 2018. I think it will be average/to below average at best. Timing will be everything.

What about the silver run? Usually, on an even year, the silver run is stronger than on an odd year. Of course, the operative word is "usually". 2017 was a very good year so I expect 2018 to be even better.

Finally, the prediction that all of you've all been waiting for: the humpy (pink) forecast. The last run on the Kenai was down, but what returned was huge. How huge? Well, the state record humpy was broken twice in the same day. You read that right, twice in the same day! I will step out on a limb and predict that the record will not be broken again in 2018. What I do expect is the normal 3-4 week "hump fest" and my back and arms will be working in over drive. Get ready to turn the volume up to 11.

Well, that's it. That is my forecast on a cold winter day. Clearly, Oprah and I like what we see for the Kenai River in 2018.

Edit: This article was written before the Golden Globes. There are no political endorsements, expressed or implied.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service