Monday, September 18, 2017

There's guiding and then there's fishing....

Even though those two things have common roots there's a certain difference that I need to be reminded of now and then....and that's how much I really enjoy fishing, the chase, the fellowship, the memories that are both old and those being instantly created. And being as busy as I am I seldom get to fish in fact this was only the second time of the year, I started the season with Chris and now we've ended it with Chris. He and Melinda came down for our ritual fall classic that entails great food, even greater wine and some great fishing. Here's a pic of those two wonderful people.
Now of course we have to gamble so we have some serious lettuce at play here. So it's every man for himself and even with me not helping a bit our team lost, big time. Chris had the 1st fish of the day on and as it was splashing next to the boat with me sitting and watching the seconds click by he looked at me and said one word...' OK'... and Melinda handed him the net...Here's a pic of  their team pulling it off the second time. This guy really is a great fisherman.
It took me and MPeasy a looooong time to get hit. I always have been told to never bet a man at his own game and I'm here to tell you that that's an old wives tale. We got killed. But eventually we got hit and I had the great idea to pose this pic that I expected to turn out magically....well it did but I sure heard it about the fish slime.
So the next fish we went for a more refined presentation.
And here's the fish that put Chrisco over the top, his limit fish for all the marbles and prestige which is way  more important.
We were hoping to get 10 pounds of fillets so Chris and Melinda had the right amount to have Lax made at his friends place Alaska Sausage. So we both kept a fillet for that evening and they wound up with 22 pounds of wonderfully fresh silver salmon. Kinda funny, those two flew back to Anchorage and we had given them some wonderful Canadian Maple recipe makings that Erica had gifted us several packages of so it was a Kismet moment....we shared the same food, vibe, the same day just about 75 air miles away, we ate together I like to think. And oh baby Erica, that's some good salmon. So thanks for coming down you two, it made my season...💕😎
I took this sign photo the other day on one of our walks...man I hate it when those moose get this way. Only in Alaska.
So tomorrow I have my old friend Bonnie Koerber out and I have a tentative for Saturday and then it's a wrap for the Pro's from Dover 2017 edition. I hope you come back to Mile 14 anyway cause we'll have some fun. Soon it'll be music and Mexico , hikes and suppers out, sunsets and sun ups and love....

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Why ?

With limit or near limit catches every single day for weeks now it makes me ask that question....I'll get back to that in a sec, first I want to post a few pics like this 0 dark thirty flash shot of my new friend Gary Walker with the 1st fish of the day on the first foggy morning of the year. Pretty cool shot.
We had new I-phones in the boat this morning so the shutters were just a clickin. Chris here with about as big a female Coho salmon as I've ever seen took this cool action photo...I'm usually just a bit too busy to even think of getting a photo like this but as soon as I get my new Go Pro camera set perfectly ( and learn how to use the files which is holding me up ) we should have some cools pics like this.
Just as our King runs here are famous for 70 pounders so it seems our late silvers are known for 16 pounders.... the thing is you seldom see either. All the gorgeous thick bodied males that we catch and remark about being 16 pounders look that way and weigh 14, sometimes 15. In all my years I've seen only a hand full or legit 16 pounders and only two ( that we caught on the same trip )18 pounders. But Gary caught this guy for sure...a legit , not just 16 but a 16 1/2 pounder....excellent.
But Jesse King's 15 pounder was the fish of the week until I got Gary in the boat....this guy is guide material the way he poses a fish. Long arm syndrome.
His dad Craig brings the guys down from Anchorage every fall and I'm flattered to have them. Craig is an excellent fisherman himself and Trevor there owns a boat with Matt that they towed along and fished themselves the day before....look at the overall size of this harvest.
Our friend Teresa Kittridge from Mazatlan recomended me to a Minnesota bunch. In fact they were from Brainerd which is home to a legendary fishing family that I am close to. We got a little late start that morning and by the time we went looking for some real estate all the good ' runs' were pretty full. I worked the edges some and moved around with no success before heading to Soldotna an hour before quiting time without a single fish....and walla, we found ol slimey. This was a pretty good catch for the hand we were dealt. Thanks for coming  Mike Hills and kids......
Of all the stocks we fish this late run of Silvers is no doubt the most steady and stable. For all my years here it has stood up to floods and a growing sport fishery and seems to be getting better and better. I can't answer the question , why ?...but I can offer some observations and a few take away's starting with the obvious....we have wonderful pristine Silver salmon habitat....and....

1. As far as I know the only numeration of these fish are the guide logbooks that we send in. ADF+G doesn't really know all that much about this run of salmon....that could be good , that could be bad.

2. It's not commercial fished...

3. Our in river sport fishery is really quite ineffective. It's just not powerful enough to over harvest a stock in my opinion. When our early run King's were in ' low abundance ' all you heard from the guys with the nets was " we don't fish on this stock at all and look what has happened to it ".....well they don't fish on this silver stock either and " look what has happened to it '....

4.....Think I'll leave the fish politics at that....

And just to take the edge off the serious stuff, thanks Chris for sending this along.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Rain, rain, go away....

...better yet, go to Montana.

We're having a  bit of a struggle here at Mile 14 lately with the weather, it just keeps raining. But ya know one thing age gives you is perspective and with all the displaced people from Harvey and the new Hurricane Irma closing in and my family and loved ones in Montana choking on smoke...my problems are nothing. I just want the world to know I really hope and pray that all this chaos ends for all my fellow travelers on this trip around the sun.

The fishing was going just so gooood...so ya know something is about to become shamoozled around here, it's the way it works. Here's the graph that shows the river rise and then it began to behave again a few days back and then walla, another leap. This ol creek is full.
And you know what high jumpy water means....junk, sticks, logs, you name it. So today I was headed for Soldotna to fish new pattern I found and I hit something about as hard as I've ever hit anything. It stopped the water to the prop to the engine over revvs so I get shut down and just gulp with anxiety....but once again my luck seems to hold. I don't think I got it with the prop as it would have bent it for sure. But I did stop it with the lower unit hard enough to chomp 2 inches deep into a 4 ft log that was semi submerged as it was so heavy, it had been burned so it accepted a lot of water....Man, the sound of that collision will age an already ageing fishing guide.
So with the fishing difficult and pouring rain we give 100 % plus...Got Jay and Brad Gammel some nice silver....these guys are great and tell me they're ' Irish Twins'....born in the same year is what that means eh 😀.
I got to fish with 3 young guys that make you feel like the USA is on the right track. These guys met in college and all three are working Engineers in their mid 20's. Thanks for bringing the crew Alex, it was a great day.
You talk about an endorsement, I got a call from Mr. Tanaka from Hawaii that taught my nieces and nephew at Kenai High in the 1980's. I guess I came recommended by some of his old staff mates. So here is Aki and Teva who were just plain fun to fish with. Mr. Tanaka was visiting old friends while his Hawaii friends were making new ones. Enjoy the salmon you guys.
So wish us luck on the days ahead and especially....lets all think positive thoughts for those in peril.

Monday, August 28, 2017

about those tips....

Now don't any of you guys that like to tip a brand spanking new Franklin think that I don't just love that and it even keeps me in business but......the other day I got the coolest tip / present ever, the coolest. Everyone that knows me and my fishing knows that I'm big into Licorice. For fishing I put anise oil on my cured eggs, I eat all kinds and have a particular weakness for that good Australian brand. I even think it's just plane old good luck to have Licorice on board so the ol Minnow 4 lets off just the right aroma....So here's what I got from a 10 year old, my friend Caleb Morton.
I's never had that particular brand and boy howdy is that stuff good. Here's Caleb with Grampa Nate. Love you guys, thanks for coming down and thank for being so thoughtful. Oh and one more thing about Licorice. When we discuss this stuff as we discuss just about everything from soup to nuts in the boat I often hear people say that they like red Licorice...Licorice is black, period. If it's red, green, purple or fire safety yellow it AIN'T Licorice, it's candy.
Being a little ahhhhh....grand children challenged I just love to have the kids in my boat. And staying with my theme of ' it's not just about dead fish' here's a shot of 10 year olds acting like 10 year olds. These two Alaskan's , Landon and Caleb have many , many pescado in their future. Get after at it boys and welcome to the club.
Pose of the week goes to Heath... we caught some really exceptional Silvers . I know you think I caught him blinking with this pic but the truth is that he fishes with his eyes closed to give the fish a chance....he's that good.
And here's him with his dad and running buddy Gordy. Nice fish guys.
As we fished that day which was the only dry day of the week we were kept entertai...ah....kept busy by watching ADF+G employees break down the sonar site for the year. All I have to say is just a bit of advice from a guy with 45,000 hours of boating experience.... 1. ) pump the water out of the boat BEFORE you leave the beach.  2.) Buy a real boat. 3.) and pull your pants up man, that bent over hand pumping was ugly.
So you have a wonderful place on the river and just because you fish 14 hours a day doesn't mean you oughta deprive yourself of watching every Mariner game, or Steeler games, or recording ever epsiode of  ' Day's of our Lives ' ....all at the same time.
You might remember that this time of year a couple back I had one of these guys trussed up a bit from my traffic abatement project here at Mile 14. Well I learned my lesson and am leaving these guys well enough alone. So when he was resting at the start of what we call the ' Black Forrest ' I got just close enough for this, pretty cool eh ?
I'm gonna end this episode of ' finding my way at Mile 14 ' with a little diet tip....It's simple . DON'T have Ernie visit. Yikes. This pic wasn't posed I'm telling you. There's enough carb calories there to fuel the New York Jets for a week. For the first time since childhood I'm having dreams about Ice Cream....I've gained 4 pounds in 3 days... So here's his diet  and here's Ernie, my friend.

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.