Monday, August 21, 2017

lotsa

limits. In fact I think it's happened many times and maybe I just don't remember but to go a whole 6 day week and limit every trip is pretty coooooool. Now this pic below are 3 expert fisherman from where else ?, Wisconsin and Minnesota . Heath, Gordo and Dick there caught and released 5 silvers in the first hour and that was without Dick fishing as he had to watch while his fishing license which he forgot was brought to him at the boat launch. Which brings me to a story about being a ' rules guy '. This same day I fished right below maybe the most respected guide on the Kenai River who seems to not have much respect for me.....because...like many many of the guides he party fished his group right up to the last salmon, clearly a violation of ADF+G regulations. Not only did he not put the rod down for the lucky angler that caught his limit he fished all 4 rods right to the last  fish. Yikes....so here's the deal for me if any of you yeywho guides are reading, the rules are the rules. If you don't like them and I know we have a lot of rules then go to the Alaska Board of Fisheries and ask them to change them, you know, convince them on why you should be able to party boat fish and why it's a good thing. Should be easy. Here's the guys with nice fish but only 7 as the last one Heath couldn't catch for an hour with just his rod....And think, if this were to happen to another 50 'legal' fishing guides on this day it would mean 50 extra Silvers escape and spawn and then following the model of 3 to 1 recruitment it means we would have 150 more adult fish return in 3 years....Kapeesh ?
Dick and Loretta Hahn have been our friends since the 80's. They moved to Soldotna in retirement then doubled up and moved to Squim Wa. We love these guys so it was a great couple days as they sponsored Dick and Jean Evenson who are lifetime Alaskan's who don't really sportfish much to a wonderful day. Then I got MP to go and she still has the moe-joe. I love this pic of her, the person I love the most ....sorry baby for being a bit ah....difficult sometimes. Ain't that launch lady hat cute ?
Anthony and Liz brought friends this year and they've turned into a favorite group of mine. Man, what can I say, it's just plane old fun to be with them with or without fish. Thanks for coming you guys and making memories for me to take into retirement.
And to top off a great week on the world famous how about something I've never seen before. Yup, even for me there's new stuff to come and I gotta stay in tune so I notice. These guys were just as good at it as any I've seen in Mazatlan but geared up just a bit differently. Looks like fun eh ?
You might remember that In Mazatlan a couple years back I coined a phrase for people who apply human values to their dogs or dogs that are treated like human beings. I call them ' dogerson's ' , half person , half dog.  Now I understand everybody loves their pets, I sure did but ya know dogs are dogs and people are people and when you love a dog more than you do people or treat a dog better than you do people, well.....what's the world coming to....don't answer that. But I came across this dogerson the other day and my goodness, I was actually embarrassed for a canine. If  you'd do this to your dog I gotta wonder what's going on with the kids. Yikes, never seen anything like this in my entire 64. C'mon let the dog have a little  pride.
Lastly , let me post this picture of Christopher that his dad just sent. I've known him his entire life and never really seen him quite like this   I'll let you decide what it's all about,  we'll do it multiple choice.
1. He's flying home from a dip net trip on the Kenai.

2. He's auditioning for a part on ' Alaska Bush People '

3. He's invented a new way to deplane with a dog from a Dehaviland Beaver on floats at duck camp.

4. He's been playing with mud pies again.

5. It's his staff photo for his new head pilot job at Budget Charters....

OK you guys...pick one.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Finally

today is the last day of the commercial fishing season. I listened to our local call in radio show today and the host who is of course a commercial fisherman was lamenting the closure of their fishery while there were still fish out there...mmmm....did it even occur to her that it's finally somebody else's turn ? After roughly 1000 people have caught 1.67 million, yes , million sockeyes and 165,000 silvers. The Eastside set netters who impact our fishery the most caught 4,800 silvers on their last opener on August 10th, from what I see of it that 4800 fish would fuel a successful sport fishery for a week.....man oh man, this is screwed up. BUT, the fisheries in general seem to be healthy ( accept for those poor folks in the Mat-Su that see the Silver fisheries closed for sport fishing ) and I have to say that I'm soooo happy to see our King salmon back. If I thought we'd have screwed this thing up I'd be sick over it but here's the graph and you can clearly see that every year since the crash has gotten better and all systems are go for Jeff King's ' Adios Amigo's tour in 2018.
Ya know King season is just so dynamic that I seldom have time to notice the things that I'm driven by. It's only a month but I guess I missed this stuff. As we sat on anchor the other morning I shot this sunrise and said good morning to the Kenai River.
One of my maxim's with fishing is this.....never expect to out fish a 12 year old. Well meet a 13 year old named Henry Boles. This last week Silvers were tough to find, there were some a round and we caught them  but not without working hard and having some moe joe. This morning I was headed downriver to get a place at the bluffs when I went by a line up across from fall-in-hole and noticed that the place old Wes Yamoaka used to fish was open. It's fast water and the pick kinda drug me down a little close to the down river boat but I figured we'd start fishing and then I'd adjust the anchor later. Well, 5 minutes in Henry has his first silver in the boat, the first one in all 10 boats we can see. Then 15 minutes in he has his second on and as we're rules people and don't cheat so Henry lets this one go so he can keep fishing. Then 1/2 hour in Henry has his 3rd on and keeps it with a promise from the adults that he can play their fish if he wants which is perfectly legal. So, in the first light of the morning Henry has caught the only fish in a line up of 10 guide boats....man oh man that's gettin er done Henry.
Sharon Smith brought her son Tony and we struggled. Rain storm after rain storm went through the lower river and it looked like we were going to be as fish less as we were wet. But perseverance is the key to success and she caught her limit in the last hour of the day.....thanks for coming.
This week is going to be good. My old friends Dick and Loretta are here and we're going to trip down memory lane. I met them in the early 80's and boy howdy we have done some fishing.....so stand by, as my favorite Dayrl Dodd;s song goes.... 'thing's are fixin to get real good'.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Linda, your ' bugaboo ' wasn't as bad as it looked...

but then again neither was the last landing of the Hindenburg ...hehehe, just joking. The patient actually survived the operation and is fit to fish more tomorrow. But after running my 3,031st fishing trip I learned a new lesson. I really need to enunciate my words better because what obviously happened was that when I got ol slimey into the net and said ' relax' which sounds a lot like ' back lash' you being the perfect guided fisher person just did what you were told, sorry. No worries.😏
And no matter what you can't argue with success. Thanks for coming you guys are a great reminder of what a lucky guy I am.
A picture os Sue and then I had Nanc the day before catch the very first silver of the year for the Pro's from Dover, Team X northern division.
I had the opportunity the witness this scene the other day. The Ranger was polite and professional as she checked our guests licenses here at Mile 14, but.....
At the  very same time right across the river was this scene. The inshore habitat is essential to the small salmon that need the naturally vegetated banks to keep from being washed down river into the ocean before they're due. So most of the government owned property like this has signs and rules to keep people off the banks and to use the area to fish by staying in the water with waders and anchoring your boat just off shore...Obviously that darn thing that we keep bouncing into around here that nobody  cares about called the 'future ' isn't a priority with Alaska State Parks.
I'm often asked ' whats the best time of year for silvers' ? or is early August to early for silvers ?....well the brutal truth of it is that we don't really have a silver season until the commercial fishery is over, which in Jeff's world can't come soon enough. We've had supposedly ' our ' silvers' harvested in abundance for all the years I've been around but what has and is happening to the Northern Cook inlet silvers this year is downright horrible. Here's link to Craig Medred News, he explains it so well...
https://craigmedred.news/2017/08/06/where-are-the-coho/  And take a look at this graph...my goodness....we ( sports people )  have no harvest at all to speak of lately.
Here's the deal. We have management plans that have wording like this ...during so and so time frame ' Sockeyes will be managed primarily for commercial use ' or during so and so time frame ' Coho's will be managed primarily for sport use '....well, that's all jabber wocky and the word primarily means absolutely nothing, notta, nothing , at all. During the last two Inlet wide commercial openers for the drift fleet one harvested 30,000 silvers and the other 50,000 silvers making the catch more of ' primarily' our fish than the reds they caught. Then our area commercial manager fell back on the tired old stupid notion and said that if 50,000 coho's were caught that's a good sign that there are many out there headed your way Mat-Su...or at least there used to be eh ? How can they say they are being managed for reds when silver harvest is way greater. The season should end when that happens. Period.  It's absurd. It's horrible not to mention plane old simple unfair.

This winter the Alaska Board of Fisheries made adjustments to the upper Cook Inlet management plan . The chair of the board who is of course a commercial fisherman said that the adjustments just ' reallocated the fish back to who they were taken from'....huh ?....I guess he means the people in the plan that were primarily supposed to get them ,. You see he knows what we all need to know and be proactive on and it's this...in a 100% allocated fishery you have no extra fish, the only place to get them is from who's got them and that sure as heck ain't us.  So here's my call to all you young guys who want a future guiding, all you locals that enjoy a quality of life and all you visitors that pay the way.... STAND STRONG, complain, make fisheries a campaign issue at every level, every election.  And lets' keep an eye out for the coyotes who run the hen house like our local Senator who just kinda glossed over the part where he was a commercial fisherman when running for election. There's  many of us, many , many more of us, so let's stand up, stand strong. Please read this https://craigmedred.news/2017/08/06/where-are-the-coho

We've heard the word ' collusion ' a lot in the news lately....mmm....well next time you drive down K-beach road and notice that both Commercial fishing advocacy groups rent office space in the same building as the ADF+G ask your self why that is.  Heck of a way to run a railroad is all I can say.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Graduation

That's how I feel every year after King season ends July 31st. I've done it so long that I really should do it gracefully but when you do it like I do and being a 100 % guy, it's just one hell of a lot of work. The funny thing is that most people just don't know that, the prep work the pressure to catch ( which comes from me ) and the attention to safety etc....Chris told me one time that it's like flying airplanes in that you are always scanning looking at gages, looking for other airplanes, for anything unusual, I think that's a good analogy. BUT, the fish are simply gorgeous and the people, my people, the best....

And boy did we go out with a bang, King season 2017. We batted exactly 750 . One day we had 4 fish in the first hour, Al Kline released the last of them to fish for a larger which is the same thing I would have done and then...the rain came. Miserable, but you know me, we soldier on.....heres me and Bill Burris with one of them.
It was a week of locals and for me that is sooooo rewarding . Here is Karen Humel's daughter Anya who went to school with Sam and her husband Andrew. Congrats on a wonderful life and a new baby you two.
Jeff Fuze gets the pose of the week award....he fishes all over the world as in kinda automatic on this King deal.  Based on how he has that ' guide look ' down I can only imagine what his trophy room is like .
But the story of the week goes to my friend Seth, a twelve year old who is Kath's son who is Jim Bennett's daughter making Jim his grandfather. You might remember Seth from last year as he's a fisherman for sure and by far the most capable and entertaining 12 year old I've ever met.
Don't think all Seth catches is logs and laughs. Me and his uncle Jim put him on the back bounce and like most he missed the first one but it wasn't long until he swang for the fence and set the hook on a dandy....this fish jumped eye level, it pulled off 50 yards of line, it was just exciting and like the pro he his Seth needed no coaching, and that's no kidding.
It was cool and foggy when I snapped this pic to let you get a feel of what I call the ' fracas '  when the bite is on. Some like to be right in the middle of it all, I think they like to talk and compete but me I usually nibble around the edges is I'm with the fleet at all.....pretty cool eh ?
Here's another pic that gives you the feel of what my July life is like....
Jim Bennett Jr.  here with a nice slimey that he back bounced comes down every year with his own boat.  The day after he fished with me he was enthused to do more back bouncing so I kinda did a ' virtual guide ' deal and walla...sister Kath caught her first King ever and Jimmer got another. Ya know I think when I retire next year there might be a future in this.....on-line guiding, boy howdy....here's Jimmer and a wonderful E-mail he sent MP about his successful trip.


MP,

Jim Bennett's children, Kathleen Lochmann and Jim. Doing what Jeff recommended - when, where and how. Also using his eggs (Jim) and a quickfish (Kath). Not a boat around us. Only a few in the distance each time. 

Kath near Cunningham park in the first 20 minutes. I was back bouncing eggs at the top of the grass hole just below the bluffs a couple hours later. Nearest boats were a couple hundred yards away easy. 

Never would have tried these areas at these times until Jeff suggested I do what he did during our charter on 7/29. He also said I should stay below the bluffs - top of grass hole due to the lower tide. He also gave us some of his eggs to use. 

No one around and a beautiful morning. All the space to fight the fish and net them to insure rookie success. We packed up and headed in. As we rounded the corner above the ADF&G station in the lower river we ran into the "fracas" as Jeff refers to it. A hundred boats stacked together. It was that way all the rest of the way up the river. 

Thank Jeff for Kathleen's first king ever and for giving me the opportunity to share it with her. It was just the two of us and a matching set of kings on a quiet river. Couldn't ask for anything more. 

I love that pic of me and Seth....hey buddy, ya wanna have my guide business ? You'd be rock star material for sure.....and here's his mom Kath were he first King ever caught on the virtual guided trip...😊
So Saturday night with King season over we always do the same thing....party. We had a great barbecue with all the campers at our boat launch and I played a few of my new songs and it was a special celebration...as we used to say commercial fishing, we've 'made our season '. And low and behold some of our oldest and best friends showed up. Ray and Cindy Olson have been out of Alaska since the 80's but we stay in touch and some day Raymond.....we're going fishing. It was so great to see them on the tail end of their Alaska Cruise....
Bear with me, I've only got one more thing but in Jeff's world it's semi-important. If you wonder like most of us do how government got so screwed up take a look at this from our Soldotna branch of the U.S, Postal Service...If you got time to worry about something like this we got waaaaay to many of ya, and what in the world ya doing selling magnets anyway,,,,hows about delivering a little mail, like on time even....but them again I got to thinking about our refrigerator here at Mile 14... I guess I kinda hate it  when those magnets get shuffled around and Max's high school grad pick is in the wrong place or that 20 year old recipe for root beer funnel cake is upside down or I have trouble finding the Park Rangers business card.....gawd, them Park Rangers, ah, that's another story.....
See ya next week and thanks for reading Mile 14.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Red Update

I hate to be the ' I told ya so ' guy, but..... here's a graph that makes sense to show you the red salmon situation here at Mile 14. It was on Craig Medred's news page on the internet. Guess you have to get something that makes sense out of the nonsensical from somebody beside the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. As you can see it the graph trend clearly shows that minimum escapement is almost impossible now. But so far they let sport and dip net continue fishing on the hopes of a miracle. I just hope that as the season winds down the commercial guys don't get turned loose on our Silvers. That'll be the next drama from ADF+G.

Monday, July 24, 2017

If I were a salmon I'd take the road....

and that's no kidding. This was hell week for us locals, all of Anchorage as well as our usual tourists were here chasing red salmon. And low and behold as things go here on the Kenai the dip netters who formed a parade going to Anchorage yesterday left disappointed.  Today more seem to be hitting the river but with only 330,000 over the sonar ADF+G has once again created as Ernie  says a 'shamoozle'. For the first time in a long time the usual Monday commercial opener is closed and I'd bet dollars to donuts that the Thursday opener will be also. But don't feel to bad for those commercial fishermen, they've already harvested 1.25 million. The problem is it's starting to look like they harvested the escapement, you know, that silly little thing called the future. Oh well....but King Salmon we got ! I just love this pic that my new friends the Hangers and Shepards mailed me. Scott's wife Johni with her King in the net , man that is the essence of sport fishing.
And here's a pic of the slimey she retrieved from the Emerald green waters of the world famous.
It was a great week and if I were counting I'd say we batted pretty well over 500 %....So I'll just give you the highlights, the idea, the mystery... Thane Davis caught about the largest. I encouraged him not to weigh it so he can in good conscious massage the story anytime he likes.
I might Jere and Jen Yates we figure in 2006, they've been on the every other year plan since. Jere is a great fisherman. No coaching and he is even confident enough to net his wife's fish which for me is the real load test of  a marriage. We're simpatico with these guys. They make fishing fun, really fun. so thanks for coming and bringing Rich and Cin.... I know we'll see you guys again. And oh, thanks for liking my new song 😊
Jere sent me the video of about a 30 pounder running around the boat on the surface like silver's do frequently....and crud, I can't get it to load for the blog and it's sooooo exciting. Here's the crew with virtual fish.
Saturday night is debrief for me ya know. As I practiced a few songs and enjoyed a tall orange this object on my prep table caught my writers eye....It's my life man and it's EVERYWHERE. The stuff is like uranium, when it's on you it stays on you. I'll bet I've sent hundreds of people home with enough of that on them that people ask...what the heck is that ????
And campers.....boy howdy is this town full of campers.  All you need is glance at the camp and you can tell certain things. This guy buy's local.
And don't be impressed....this guy has the largest collection of useless fishing junk that I've ever seen.  To some people a fishing rod is just a fishing rod, so why not get the 12 dollar deal that comes already spooled with brand x line and a bobber.....don't let me hear you're having trouble landing fish buddy...and if you do remember.....it's all on ADF+G even if you ain't got a clue.
It hurts me to see this. The person I love the most having to make room for more empty beer cans. Our town is about as full as our dumpster. I pitched in and made a dump run as our guy doesn't come until Wednesday. Someone asked why we didn't have a bigger dumpster and this tells the story, it only gets full for two weeks every July.  Hang in there baby, we almost got it knocked out again.
And lastly..... I got a word for you guy's down in Homer.  Don't think you guy's down there have an exclusive  on this deal.....This Slowdotna can be a test don't ya know.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

64

and so much more....' I been first and last, ain't it funny how the time goes past'.  Actually the fact that today is my birthday and that on July 16th 1945 the first Atom bomb was exploded the real importance of this day is that it's the night for the first new season of ' Game of Thrones' on HBO . Boy is MP ready for that deal.
In Jeff's world getting older is a cool thing. I finally feel like I'm running my own life. I'm healthy and loved so what else is there....Well, aging for me is also about comfort and freedom. As I get older I get more secure and comfortable with life, we get used to it. And not being a real church going guy I think that when the end game comes I'll be comfortable with that too, it seems to be the way life works.... don't take me wrong, we ain't in a hurry. That's me on salmon egg duty. I had a guy tell me one time that my gutting table had a better view than his hot tub, I'm a lucky guy.

The Dip's have taken over the area until July 31st when their season is mercifully over. The other day in the rain and the fog I thought I saw the U.S.S. Nimitz headed down river but it just turned out to be safety orientated dip netter....good work.
We've had a few snafu's . This guy launched his pick up truck on the South Beach of the Kenai River and blamed it on his dog ( who drowned ). He says he got out of the truck and the dog must have engaged the transmission like they do all the time.....mmmm.....in any case it's a bad deal.
Any time the Fire Department shows up it's not a good thing. The guy who owned the Camper Van under stated that he ' noticed it had been running a little hot'.
And here at Mile 14 things are in their usual state of confusion. The reds haven't really hit to hard yet so we are only at 120% percent of capacity instead of the usual 200. Right by the gutting table I couldn't help but notice something and I tell you this....it's kinda cool to look at something and totally and honestly not have a clue what it does or what it's for.
This guy here is outstanding and certainly not part of the 'Orvis ' crowd. Check out them wading shoes eh ? AND, he's an expert fisherman, no kiddin, he really is. Tony Lama would be proud.
And yes...we did some fishing this week. It had been kind of quiet, at least by Kenai standards but this week things got back to normal. Here's a shot of the fleet working the high tide at Chicago, this is my life.
John and Deb Adams are just sterling. They both caught and we just got along famously. In fact we just met and when I talked of next years retirement and my plans to save July trips for my friends and steady customers we got them signed right up. Thank you guys....and hey, wasn't it cool that you learned that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day of the same year and it was the 4th of July 😊
This guy below is Russ Hickman and being a salmon boat owner form Portland he's caught a lot of salmon, probably more than me. And he's fished the Kenai a lot so when I asked him what was the biggest King he ever caught he said 72 pounds....mmmmm......pause......ah..... Well I told him with a big ol smile " you ain't gonna catch one that big today". But he did catch a beauty and it was so cool to do absolutely NO coaching as he fought it to the net.
The photogenic award for the week goes to Brent Mattson. He missed several opportunities on the back bounce but he kept a smile and a positive vibe and walla.....gorgeous fish.
I gotta lot to do so this edition of Mile 14 has to be a bit short. We're cooking Halibut cheeks and Shrimp tonight for my B-day feast. I've got to change line on several reels. I need to clean a boat and tie some gear. Help MP look after the launch and......Game of Thrones....But we find time to train the Stellars Jays here at Mile 14, they're cool but arrogant little buggers.
video