Sunday, October 27, 2019

Season Recap Part 2: Silver Salmon

August started out strong with combination trips of red and silver salmon on any given day. By the middle of the month, with declining red numbers, our full attention was given to silver salmon.
Overall, August was a decent month for chasing salmon on the Kenai River. Some days we caught a boat limit quickly, other days we had to grind it out.
September proved to be more difficult than August, and quite frankly, much more difficult that I've been accustom to. An okay day would be followed by a tough day. It was anyone's guess what would happen day after day. There was one overriding factor to the inconsistency of the second run of silvers: there weren't many fish. Except for one glaring exception, we found fish everyday. The exception was the famous banana morning. For those of you who believe in the curse of the banana, your superstition was confirmed. I personally think we were fishless because we only had a couple of hours to find what few fish were in the river, and we ran out of time to track them down. Maybe it was a little of both, maybe...

Well, that's it. It took two posts to basically say we had another fine season of fishing with lots of great people. I look forward to sharing the Kenai experience next year with many longtime friends, and with new ones.

Next weeks blog topic: cabin wipe board thank you notes.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Season Recap Part 1: Kings and Reds

2019 was a challenging season. In a nutshell: reds great, kings not so great, and silvers were some where in the middle.

The early run of Kenai kings (May/June) was disappointing. A low return coupled with warm temperatures made for difficult fishing. The upside was the strong return of Russian River red salmon. It's one of the first times in my career that I pursued red salmon in the lower Kenai River in the month of June and limits were caught. I definitely will be doing more of this in the future.

The late run of Kenai kings (July) mirrored the early run. Low returns and poor water conditions made for difficult fishing. The blessing in July and early August was the strong return of red salmon. Those who chose to pursue these fish had excellent results.

If you’re wondering about the king photo above, that’s Noel Estalilla. In 45 years of fishing the Kenai, Noel set a personal best with the release of this gorgeous 52” king. A thank you goes to his brother Francis for letting me use the photo.
For the 2020 May/July season, I believe flexibility will be the key. If the kings are in, we fish for kings. If the reds are in, we fish for reds. 
See you next week for a recap of the fall silver salmon fishery. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Now It's Really Over...

Speaking of tradition, another blog staple lives on: the biannual posting of dock photos. In the spring, the dock goes in, the fall it comes out. It’s always a bit sad when the season is really over.
I’m always asked how high the tide gets at river mile 10. When I respond that the wood dock will be partially underwater there’s always a look of astonishment. Our area boasts the second highest tides in the world and it’s reach will affect the first 14 miles of the Kenai River. It never fails to impress me.  
In hibernation mode until spring....

See you next week for a recap of the fishing season.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Halibut Time

It's becoming a tradition. The late night phone call from Boo Kandas asking if we want to fish and help him take his boat out of the Homer harbor for the season. With a perfect weather forecast, Jane and I were quick to lend a hand.
It was a pleasant break from our end of the season chores. As Jane said on the boat ride out to the fishing grounds, "it's nice to be able to spend the day with you." And, of course, my response is "yup".  Which I know she knows means that I feel the same and I'm really a lucky guy to have her in my life because being married to a fisherman means long days and not a lot of quality time spent together in the summer.  But I digress....
We first tried to catch a few king salmon. No luck. We switched over to halibut and had consistent action. Here’s Jane with her first fish of the day.
Look close. That's the face of a halibut fisherman realizing how deep 260 feet can be when a 45lb halibut is attached to the other end of the line.
Pay dirt!
By late afternoon we had all the fish we needed. Here's Boo lining up the day's haul for a photo.
Here's the crew (less Boo). From left to right are Brad, Alice, myself, and Jane.

Mission accomplished. The boat is now in storage and our freezers have halibut fillets in them. It was a wonderful day, with wonderful people, and a perfect exclamation point to the end of another season.