Sunday, June 23, 2019

Fishing Report Week Ending 6/23/19

I didn't think I'd be fishing for red salmon on the lower river this past week, but when another guide asked if I could help him with a family of seven, I gladly, but reluctantly, agreed. I asked if his clients knew that most of the red salmon were further up the river. He said they did but they still wanted to try the lower river. 
They were a wonderful family who just wanted to be out together and not in a crowd. The bonus would be to catch enough red salmon for a barbecue. Mission accomplished. 
As predicted in my report last week, the Russian River is still going strong. How strong? ADFG has raised the limit once more to an unprecedented NINE RED SALMON! Even though I have a group next week that are scheduled for three days of king salmon fishing, I'm strongly encouraging them to cancel a king trip or two and go to the Russian River.
What else is going on? Other than an hour of king fishing that didn't produce a strike, Jane and I have been staining.
The Steelhead cabin was long overdue for a touch up.
So was the dock.
I had these little fella's keeping me company while working.

I'm looking forward to the week ahead. Not only do I end my three month commitment to grand jury duty, I also have several days of fishing planned. Over and above that, this will be the last week of catch and release fishing for king salmon. Although the emergency order has been tough on local businesses (including us), it looks like ADFG will reach the lower end of their escapement goals. That is good news for the future.

See you next week for a new report.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Fishing Report Week Ending 6/16/19

Reds, reds, reds.

We're in the middle of a strong, June run of red salmon. For the next two weeks the red salmon fishing on the Kenai/Russian River should be fantastic.
How strong is the run? Try following this timeline. The Russian River opened to red salmon fishing on June 11th. On June 12th, the Sanctuary (staging area at the confluence of the Kenai/Russian River) was opened early. On June 14th, the limit on red salmon was increased from three to six fish. There's no doubt that ADFG prefers to liberalize a fishery, rather than restrict one.
Speaking of liberalization, we are not the only area experiencing a strong run of red salmon. The Resurrection Bay (Seward) red salmon bag limit was increased from six to twelve fish per day. If you want to fill your freezer for the year, and don't own a dipnet, this is where you'll want to be.
All good things must come to an end, and based on how the action was this past week on the lower Kenai River, I would say the best fishing is now past us. Sure, you can still catch a red salmon or two, but to consistently catch red salmon you'll have to follow the bulk of the run up river. The middle river below Skilak Lake, the upper river, and the Russian River proper are sure bets for action.
Caribou near Bridge Access Road
For the week ahead I plan on staying close to home and will start to target king salmon once again. Better water conditions, and steady king sonar counts should make for decent fishing. At least that's my story right now...

Before I say “see you next week” I want to wish all the fathers a Happy Father’s Day.  See you next week.  

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, June 9, 2019

A blog about a blog (and fishing report).

When my sister visited last week she brought an early birthday gift for me. Best present, best sister, ever! It was a hard bound book of the last two years of the Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service blog. About ten years ago, fellow blogger and friend Dave Anderson, did this for his father and I always thought this was a great way to preserve stories and memories for family. Thanks Heidi, I’m excited to know that Mac will have this book one day.  
What I liked as much as the book itself was the personal note on the first page. It’s hard for a Norwegian to say it out loud, nonetheless type it, but I love you too little sis. 
On to the weekly fishing report. 

In the beginning of the week I was waylaid with cabin projects and jury duty. By the time I decided to go king fishing, the river muddied up.  Not ideal conditions, so I passed.  My neighbors, however, have been spending a lot of time out on the saltwater fishing. They've been doing well. Here are Mack and Carol getting ready to clean a king salmon they caught in Seward.
And here are the remaining three fish to be fillet.
red salmon caught with a circle hook
Although I didn't fish for king salmon the past week, Saturday afternoon Dan Meyer and I (later joined by Boo Kandas) decided to see if we could catch a few red salmon. The reports in the lower river have been good and that is what we found as well. Two legally hooked fish, one fouled hooked fish, and two that were lost. Not a bad way at all to spend an afternoon.
Boo with dinner
My guess is that the river will continue to be muddy for a few more days. My plan is to continue to fish for red salmon until conditions improve. Make sure to come back next week to see what we're catching. See you then. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Fishing Report Week Ending 6/2/19

I didn't plan on giving a fishing report this week because my sister, Heidi, and my cousin Robin were visiting and the plan was to show them the sights of Southcentral Alaska. That changed when I received a call from Greg and Leslie asking if I could take them out Saturday morning. How was the fishing? Not bad at all. Greg caught one nice king salmon, which was released per May/June regulation change. Leslie, though, was not as fortunate. At least she'll get the opportunity to even the score in July.
The Kenai River experience has been marvelous so far. Decent fishing, and so few people on the water. Twice I was on the river this past week. Once for a tour with family, and the other, a fishing trip. On the tour I saw zero boats. Fishing a six mile stretch on a Saturday in June, I saw 4 boats. That's right, 4 boats on the world famous Kenai River. Sure, being on a catch and release restriction (until 6/30) has obviously affected people who fish for food. But, for people who fish to recreate and decompress from the world, you couldn't ask for a better time.
Speaking of better times, the best time for me is to spend time with family. Here's my sister Heidi, cousin Robin, Jane, and I in Seward.  Aunt Dotty and cousin Rhonda were going to come too, but unfortunately, health reasons kept the two of them from joining us. On the next go round they both plan on being here.

Here we are at Exit Glacier near Seward.

And here we are on the Kenai River. Heidi has been on the river many times, but I had to show Robin where my office is and where Uncle Bert liked to fish. My dad, her Uncle Bert, is no longer with us so it was nice to have a memorial where he caught his first king salmon 34 years ago. 
On Wednesday, Heidi, Robin, and Jane spent the day in Homer. I would have joined them, but I've been on a grand jury since April and this is the day of my civic duty. You're welcome Kenai Peninsula borough...

Heidi and Robin's original Alaska plan had them spending their last two days in Talkeetna to see Mac. With a little bit of cajoling, they were able to get Jane to go with them. Here are Mac, Madison, Robin, Jane, Heidi, and Kiana having a leisurely dinner.

It was quite a week. Lots of stories, lots of laughing, lots of epic scenery, and a lots of great meals. I'm sad to see them go, but am buoyed by one topic discussed: a possible family reunion hosted at Beaver Creek Cabins. I hope it can come together. Family, friends, and fishing. Life is pretty good.

See you next week.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Fishing Report: Week Ending 5/26/19

It's happening.

I fished the river twice this past week. On the first trip, we landed two king salmon. The second, none. Besides the river, I also spent a day fishing the saltwater out of Homer.
I ran into a friend of mine, Noel, at our local Home Depot store. It was rare to see him in May. I told home my boat was on the dock and it's just waiting to be used. I said “if you have the time, call me and we’ll go fishing.”
A couple of days after our encounter, Noel called and said he had a small window to get out and wondered if a couple of friends could join us. Sure, the more the merrier. We agreed on a time and Noel showed up with Don, Shawn, and Risto.
first king of the year
Before we could get all of our lines in, Noel has a take down. Unbelievable. There's no question that was the fastest bite I've ever had on a first trip of a season. What happened next is also unbelievable. Noel has caught more than his share of Kenai kings, so he graciously let the new guy, Shawn, take the rod. It was a nice 10lb salmon and it was released unharmed (the Kenai River is currently under a catch and release emergency order until July 1st). 
Two trolls later, Noel's rod goes off again. Once more, he lets Shawn reel in the fish. My English teacher would kill me for the words that follow, but that was doubly unbelievable of Noel. After a nice fight, a beautiful 30lb salmon was caught and let go.
We trolled a few more times, swapped a few more stories, and then it was time for Noel and his crew to leave. 
Here's Noel in the foreground coaching Shawn on how to fight a fish.
Don wasn't shy and “pointedly” offered his advice to Shawn as well. Overall, it was a tremendous way to kickstart the 2019 fishing season and a day I won’t forget. 

Still euphoric from the previous day, I really wanted to get back out on the river to see if the bite was still on. My neighbors, Mack and Carol, had planned to fish the saltwater, but bad weather changed their plans. I asked them if they wanted to join me on the river to see if yesterday was a fluke or if it was the beginning of a strong run. Well, to put it bluntly, the streak is over. We fished for a couple of hours, and when it started to rain, we decided it was time to pack it in. On a positive note, we did see another boat catch a fish, but it was clearly not a “hot bite”.
Oliver Kandas
I also had the opportunity to fish Homer with my old buddy Boo Kandas of Tall Tale Charters. Boo needed to get his truck and boat trailer down to the "Halibut Capital of the World" and said I could go fishing with him if I would give him a ride back to Soldotna. Would I? You betcha.
I would describe the fishing as "just okay". However, the halibut we caught were of exceptional quality for spring. Normally, we catch a lot of fish in the 10-25lb range. The fish in the photo above were a pair of 45lbers.
Part of the fun of saltwater fishing is catching a mixed bag of fish. Here's Oliver proudly holding an irish lord.  
Here he is with a kelp greenling.

For the week ahead, the only thing I have on my schedule is to spend as much time possible with my sister, Heidi, and my cousin Robin. They are both traveling from Minnesota to spend the week with Jane and I. I'm not sure we'll fish, but a river tour will definitely be on the agenda.

Happy Memorial Day. If you see a vet, thank them. Heck, thank them every day. 

See you next week.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Road Trip Part 2: Talkeetna

Before our weekend in Seward, Jane and I headed north to Talkeetna. The purpose was twofold: to attend Kiana Schorr's high school graduation party, and to see the new adventure that my son is involved with.  After working for Showdown Productions/Shirt's Up since he was in college, Mac decided he wanted to be his own boss. Along with his girlfriend Madison, they've opened Uncle Leroy's Coffee Bus. In addition to the coffee business, they are also involved with VRBO rentals. This includes a house, a VW van, and an RV space.

Mac and Madison
If you are familiar with Talkeetna, their location is perfect. When you drive into the historic downtown district, they are on the left, next to the post office.

They've been up and running for a couple of weeks now and every time I talk to Mac he says the coffee business has been great. This weekend starts their first VRBO adventure. I hope your first summer is a good one!

See you next time with a fishing report...

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Road Trip Part 1: Seward Mermaid Festival

This past week, Jane and I carved out a little time from getting the cabins ready to take a small road trip. We try to do this every year before our season gets underway. The two things we need to agree on are when can we go, and where do we go. Our neighbors, Ron and MJ, have talked to us about attending the Seward Mermaid Festival and Boat Harbor Opening.  It’s a three day festival of pub crawls, live music, made in Alaska vendors, and food trucks. With travel trailer in tow, we made our way to Seward. 
It’s a relatively new festival. This year is the third year, and the locals say it’s only getting bigger and better. I know it didn’t take long for us to feel a certain synergy the event has with the community. It’s embraced by young and old and several hundred of the best behaved dogs in the state. 
Not only did we see pirates and mermaids all day long, a one of a kind merman was available for photos and autographs.
What's the ad campaign again? Got a little Captain in you? Methinks he has a lot of Captain in him...
Lots of families came out to enjoy what the vendors were offering. I'm not sure whose idea it was, but there were several buckets of soapy water sitting out for kids to blow bubbles whenever they wanted to. Best day ever!
Ron and MJ have kept a sailboat in Seward for the past 18 years. Our trip was not only because of the festival, it was also to hang out with them. We got together mid day to listen to live music. When the final band of the night came on and started to play club music (we are several generations removed from this demographic) they turned to us and asked if we wanted to be in the boat parade/blessing of the season. Are you you kidding me? A chance to take a boat ride in the bay? It was very unexpected, and instantly became the highlight of the weekend for us. 
Iconic Mt. Marathon in Seward
Our parade route was from the harbor to the Sea Life Center. The most fun was cruising by the RV park blasting our air horn to the kids that gathered on the beach. Perhaps they thought we would travel close enough to them to throw candy, but a traditional parade this was not. After our boat ride, we had dinner, bid our neighbors farewell, and in the morning headed back to Kenai. Thanks Ron and MJ for a terrific weekend. We sure hope to do it all over again next year. 

Next post: The road north to Talkeetna.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, May 12, 2019


Hooligan. Eulachon. Candlefish. Whatever you want to call them, these small, silvery fish are now entering the fresh water streams of Alaska to spawn.  No one has ever estimated the size of the pacific run of hooligan, but I would guess whatever comes after a gazillion would be about accurate.

The spring run of hooligan usually coincides with the return of salmon. Like salmon, hooligan are anadromous and return to their natal stream to spawn and die.  Based on the number of people netting the smelt-like fish, I would say that the 20 Mile River in Upper Cook Inlet has the strongest run. The Kenai River might be second.
Recently, I was at Cunningham Park and watched two guys catching hooligan with a gill net. I've always used a small dipnet when I've harvested hooligan. My harvest has been for bait, not consumption which is why most people do it. Anyway, this was the first time that I’ve watched a gill net in action. From what I observed, it's simple, effective, and best when it’s a two person operation. 
A gillnet is stretched out over a 2" diameter by 10' long spruce pole. At the end of the pole is a small buoy which helps keep it afloat. A second 10’ spruce pole is attached by a hinge mechanism to the first spruce pole with the gill net.  The technique is simple: the gill net operator floats the first spruce pole out into the river and then deploys (pushes) the second spruce pole to get the gill net further offshore. 
When the gill net is parallel to the river bank, the operator pulls the net in and swings it to the second man on shore. The gill net is picked and the hooligan are placed in a basket. To summarize: push the net out, let it drift, pull it in, pick, then repeat.
When the hooligan are running, it doesn’t take long to get all you need.
And when they’re in, they’re really in. Gazillions.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service