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

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Looking Back on 2017.....

January is the beginning of the awards season and, we, here at Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service Command Central, are no different in honoring the participants of the 2017 fishing season. Sure, I'll be using photos of fish that made their way to the grill or freezer, but I also want to highlight the many anglers who chose to release fish. I wish I had more photos, but when I know we're going to release one, I waste little time in getting the fish out of the net and back into the river. Snapping a photo with my phone is an afterthought (I appreciate the people who shared their catch and release photos with me). So, to you, catch and release anglers, I tip my hat and give to you the High Five award for Stewardship. In the immortal words of Bobby Boucher, aka The Waterboy, "slap hands, slap hands, slap hands..."
The first award of the 2017 season is for the Biggest King Salmon. Congratulations Glenda Kunde for being the winner. Sorry, Coon Dog, your wife, (and this fish), is the Big Dog in your house. When I look back on this day of fishing I really think it was meant to be. You see, Glenda and I went to high school together so I think the combination of a shared history, a positive attitude, skill, and the "Warrior Way" put this fish in the box. I don't think Craig will completely agree with this assessment but he's not the guy writing this blog and giving out the awards....Anyway, this was the first trip to Alaska for the Kunde's and their friends the Marlatt's. Do you think it will be their last? Me neither.

The next honor is the Big Silver Salmon award. This years winner is Jason Olson. Jason and I have fished together many times over the years and have experienced great fishing and not so great fishing. We've also experienced all the weather that Alaska can dish out. This day was memorable for two reasons. The first, it was cold, wet and miserable. The second, the fishing was awful up until the last hour of the day. Jason's can-do attitude paid off with this jumbo silver salmon (I'd be neglect if I didn't say that on this day Bill, Brian, and Bob had the same can-do attitude as well). I guess a kid from Fargo knows a thing or two about not letting weather get you down...

The person who wins the award for the Most Experienced Angler is Gene Miller. Gene, Gene the Fishing Machine is 85 years young (now 86) and brings a Zen like quality of positiveness to the boat every time he's out. He's already booked his seat for the 2018 fishing season and my money is on him to repeat this honor once again. Can't wait to see you in July, Gene.

Winner of the Youngest Angler of the Year award goes to JD Webb. This young man was 7 years old when he hopped into my boat this past August. A crummy weather day soon became a very memorable fishing day. The final score: JD 1, the seals 0.

Usually with awards presentations there are Memoriams. It's always sad to see which actor, writer, athlete, quasi celebrity, etc., left us during the year. For me, my very creative, funny, loving, mother-
in-law passed away on December 19th. If you click here you can read a couple of blogpost I wrote about her. A more detailed description about her life accomplishments can be read here. You will be missed, dear Evelyn! I also said good bye to my cousin Renee who bravely lost her battle with cancer. You too will be missed by all that loved you.

Evelyn Matthies at her studio
So, that's it for the 2017 awards; short, sweet, and on point. Next week my blog topic will be about my expectations/predictions for 2018. Come back and see if I have anything important to say.

The music is starting to play me off.

My time is done here. Later.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service