Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We Be Fishin

Well I don't know if it's good news for the fish but it's certainly good news for guide # 003 and the community. ADF+G just announced that the July King fishery will start Tuesday with only one adjustment to help make a predicted weaker than usual run go farther, no bait. So that means that although I'm not expecting 3 alarm fishing (but ya never know) we will fish darn  good and hard and whatever you  catch ....you grill. I've had a lot of experience fishing with no bait, back in the day we routinely fished without it even when we could. So, game on.
I think it was a sign. MP took the camera to get a pic for the blog just now....I mean I gotta have something visual and it might as well be me. AND, this Grouse and all her babies were crossing the road not 50 feet away. We didn't want to get to close and disrupt them but if you look close you can see a chick on the right of her. That's how things unfold here at Mile 14.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Return to the Russian

With over 40 years of Alaska behind me I had only been to the famous Russian River once...in 1963 with my dad and a friend of my Uncle Rannals. I was the only kid they took and I remember so well winding along the Turnagin Arm in the middle of the nights twilight like we have this time of year. I remember casting a black and white Daredevil spoon and I  remember the clear coldness of the water ...and the sound. So this morning there I was again, so many years later and just as excited, that's the magic of fishing, it makes you young for a while. My friends Gordy and Dennis invited me up for a refresher course. Like most of my friends these days these guys started out as customers, they're Russian River experts and they showed me the way....Here's the scene at 4:30 this morning and a cool pic of Gordo sliding another red onto the stringer.
Naturally this river is famous for the abundance of Red Salmon that it returns year after year, decade after decade. But the story is really about the people. Being on the road system and being doublea hot fishing it attracts loads of people, good people, fishin people. I have to tell you that I've been a little bluesy lately so this morning was just what I needed, to be around people that are like me. I fished semi hard but mostly to watch and chat and have the fellowship that people like I us have. I stopped a lot and took pictures and I think I hit home run with this one. It really shows the story.
I don't know....I hear quite often about people being turned off by fishing with other folks, the 'combat fishing'. I just don't get it. All these people sharing , no problems, no worries, in a simply gorgeous location. We had some belly laughs and just plain fun. The 1st red I landed was hooked on the top the head, technically illegal. As I released it a guy says " that's close enough to the mouth for me" so I told him that I'm a guy who can't have any violations. He then said :oh, been caught before eh" ? Hows this next pic for a scene that's worth getting up at 3:00 am for ? Beautiful. That would be at the Russian River Ferry.
So the last pic is me with my 2 sockeyes. I could have fished harder and got my limit of 3 but that just didn't seem to be such a priority this morning. I just needed to feel good and I certainly did, you know what I say.....'it's impossible to worry and fish at the same time'. So thanks Denny and Gordy. Tonight we're having Pizza for the NBA championship and then fresh grilled pescado tomorrow. And oh....we'll see ya in the morning, I gotta do this again.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

King fishing closed until July 1st

ADF+G announced it yesterday afternoon. They always post emergency orders and the sonar counts right at 4:55 and then head home for the night at 5:00....I wonder what that's all about. In any case the sonar counts have been terrible and I expect to them to also cancel the first commercial opening to protect what Kings are out there so politics dictates that they close us as well. I personally think the catch and release we are under does no harm what so ever, it's used all over the world as a use full management tool.

The good news is that July 1st starts a new management plan and it will re open with catch and keep. Then we just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope the 2nd run does better than the 1st. Of course I will update this blog as we go along. All of  you that are booked for July please...please....know that nothing has changed and if it does I will contact you immediately. And also please keep in mind that our August and September silver fishery remains the same as always.

This King salmon problem is all over Alaska. It's now obvious that somebody or something is getting them on the high sea's. I want ADF+G to succeed in their management, they've got to get off their duff's and find out what;s going on, it's their job...do it !  But instead I see us facing an entirely new dynamic and using all the old tools and all the old expectations. It has to be frustrating for ADF+G as chances are that part or all of the problem is with ocean fisheries that are managed by the Federal Government and they are just slower to respond and well....it's the feds, we all know how they operate. It's terrible.

So that's my short synopsis. Personally I'm just sick with seeing this thing we love so much, this thing I've dedicated my life to doing so poorly. I really hope that the early run King's 2013 is the bottom of it all and we'll rebuild from here on  out, it has to be....Sorry I didn't post any pictures here, not in the mood.

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's a record run.....

of mosquito's, and I ain't kidding. Old time Alaskans have this kind of perverse view of their own toughness and it seems everything was  always worse ' back in the day'....you know, the winters were colder, the summers rainier, the hike to school longer...but EVERYONE agrees right now that the mosquito's are by far the worse anybody has ever ever seen them. Yikes, this pic was posted on facebook the other day.
When we ride the bikes you come across these clouds of them and you put your head down and hold your breath. Crazy. This morning as we were turning onto Marydale on our way home I heard MP let out a screech, we stopped the bikes and I picked a dandy out of her eyeball. Then this afternoon we found our way down to Beaver Creek to look at a property that she just sold. We pulled up in the driveway and the sky was moving with them. During a 5 minute inspection tour I got bit 3 times and I think I pulled a muscle in my bi-cep swatting at them. So....enough of that deal, we're off  to the Alaska Industrial Hardware store to arm ourselves for an offensive, we need some ordinance.
And boy were we lucky, this was the last one of these little babies they had. The look on that ladies face sold me. There she is just blissfully weeding her garden as her 'dyna trap' shields her from the hungry  swarm. The machine emits carbon dioxide which the bugs like and it has a black light that attracts them to a fan which blows them into mesh holding cell, so if you're the humane type you can release them somewhere else....maybe take em over and dump em by my neighbors house who's dog bit me. The next pic is my Dyna Trap up and running. The blue light is just mesmerising and it got it's first mosquito in about 3 minutes. Take that.
Our strategy is simple. We come and go through the garage which also acts as my music studio and jeffkingfishing.com world headquarters. We'll intercept them buggers (pardon the pun) by making a skirmish line at the door where they enter the house and in a few days we'll have a mosquito free environment, kind of like that shelter doom in Ray Bradberry's Illustrated Man. I should of gotten a pic of the end aisle display they had this store of Deet products and all varieties of mosquito defense, only in Alaska. I asked a guy if the electronic machine you wear on your belt works and he said that it did...but he applies Deep Woods Off as well, double glove-up kinda deal.  We grabbed another one of these nets for walking the Jet-dog.
We've had 10 days of the very best weather I can remember. Chris called from Nancy Lake and he had 82 degrees, we've been in the 70's everyday. But boy howdy, ya gotta be tough to break out the shorts, sandals and wife beaters. That's life in Alaska I think, you just gotta be tough....or crazy...or both.

The Kenai river is still on Catch and release emergency regulation and I suspect it will be the rest of June. If your charter is later in the month I'll be calling soon. But , the Dept. of  Fish and Game is on top of things. It'd be easy to say they obviously don't have anything to do with managing  mosquito's...but I won't do that...or did I ??? Here's a picture of the weir they installed on Stewart's Island below our house.....mmmmm.... well, it's sitting there high and dry but it's supposed to channel the fish so they can count them. I asked an ADF+G guy about why. Why so big, why there, why???? He said they had to "cover all their bases". Well, that makes perfect sense because there sure ain't going to be any salmon walk around it or jump over it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's Flattering

Funny how it goes, just when I needed it the most I had some old friends show up and help me gain some perspective... help me to kind of reconfirm what I've been doing all these years. With turning 60 in a few weeks weighing on my mind I've been kind of ruminating over the last 30 years or so...ya know, just what have I done ? What did I create ?  What good did I do ?  After all, for the last 31 years every summer all I've done is chase salmon and laugh a lot, just have fun.  So lately I've wondered if maybe it's been a life squandered and maybe I should find some meaning before its to late, maybe another job.....Well....Enter Larry and Elaine Reiter from Loup City Nebraska.
That's just part of their wonderful family that came to fish with me. Larry last fished with me 24 years ago. he was part of a group of guys lead by my old friend Don Dzingle that came many years in a row to harvest silvers. The family wanted to do something special to celebrate Larry and Elaine's 50th wedding anniversary and he wanted to do Alaska and to share the wonders he'd found here on the Kenai river with his kids and grand kids. When they put Elaine in charge of the travel plans the first counsel Larry gave her was this..." the first thing you have to do is find  Jeff King".  
Naturally I explained that we're under a Catch and Release emergency order and that we needed two other boats so I could only really cut them so much of deal. Elaine was unfazed, she told me they wouldn't 'quibble' over anything and they just want to see what Larry's seen and she new that they would have a good time with me, and the river....and boy did we ever. That's a pic of Larry, Elaine and their son Troy and his wife Wendy taking pictures of  a Kenai River double feature.
Our boat didn't catch a fish but I think Larry would have rather seen his grand daughter Colby catch one anyway and she sure did. My friend Keith helped her catch and release this nice King, her first fish ever. That's pretty darn cool.
The Reiters could have gone anywhere in the world and they chose to share part of their special occasion with me, I'm honored. And as frankness goes with friendships we had this exchange....Larry's a cancer survivor. They found it after he had waited until his was 66 for his first colonoscopy.  When I told him that for whatever reason I still haven't  had one he made me promise to get that done. And I will. Shortly after that as I recalled my stricture emergency a couple years back and he admitted that sometimes he gets dense food stuck in his throat. Well, I told him what it was and explained that it's just a matter of time until his does what mine did.... he promised to see the doctor and Elaine winked at me....maybe I am doing some good.
Me and this moose have a lot in common. They always do it, like there's something better on the other side, he knows there's not but still he  has to look. He doesn't hesitate, he just goes. It's what he does, it's part of being on the river, you gotta go have a look, everyday is different, every chance, every effort just might  make that surprise you hope for, maybe the grass really is greener, maybe, you don't know unless you look. And when things work out the way they do sometimes....well, maybe a nice cool swim and a look at the other side helps you make sense of it all, maybe. That swim just might give you perspective and that's all....but that's enough.