Monday, August 26, 2013

Week number 3.5

of silver season 2013 is in the books...and what a week it was. There's a lot of silvers here and by and large everybody caught their salmon, with a few exceptions. We were a little out of sync on a trip I did for my friend Keith, fish were everywhere and we just couldn't get em....then when we did have them surrounded late in the morning we were so cold form the driving rain that we kinda retreated, gave up a few fish short. We had a similar day with my old friend Alan Ayo and his friend Karen. She caught the first salmon of her life and turned out to be one of these wonderful people you just feel like you know already. We talked of writing and in a few days she sent me this book she's written. Wow, she's had a varied life. a missionary in New Guinea and street preacher in Europe. She's been in love and seen loss...and shared it with us. So, it was a great part of the season for me Karen. I'll treasure the book and share it as you'd like.
If you have to sit in the pouring rain and fish the three guys I had the other day are the ones to do it with. Keith , John and Dick here are all lawyers and about as fun as anybody I've ever met...and that's saying a lot. We had two limits and when we got down to just John fishing for our last fish it would have been easy to say 'uncle' in the cold rain but we hung in there and the rod finally went 'off'. A nice load of salmon.
It started out kind of  like thick air, not really rain but way heavier then fog. Then it turned into plain old fashioned outright rain, this pic gives you the feeling.
One day I had a cancellation and like Forrest Gump things just seem to go my way. I received an e-mail from a guy named Kevin Day who had his son Conner up from Colorado to fish and see the state. Kevin's been here many a time as he's an airline pilot and has hunted and fished all over the state....well, we had a wonderful time as they're skiers and fishermen and Bronco fans and....people like me. So thanks for coming Kev and Connor. I got the feeling I'll see you again.
I had the weirdest feeling when Scott White and his dad got in the boat that first morning.  When they booked I of course remembered them from the previous trip which seemed to me to be like two years ago. Well a sign of the ageing process works this way I was really 2006, seven years ago since I'd seen them. Yikes. These guys are golden, fishing with old friends. We had two days of great fishing and sunny warm. Hows about the way the sun reflects on the this fish of  Don's ? Maybe that's why they're called 'silvers'.
I had a great visit with their friend J.W. who was a marine in Viet Nam and then followed that up with a career in the Guard. J.W. reminded me a bit of my friend Tony, people who have and have earned a healthy perspective in life. Thanks guys, I hope it not another seven years before I see you again.
One more pic of Don just so you pick up the feel. I wish I could describe it's mid morning and that thermal fog layer is finally trying to burn off. No matter how many clothes you have on on these clear Kenai mornings it's always pretty cool...then this happens. You're warm and the boat is drying out, you feel like the days half done...and it's only 8:00 a.m. I like that.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Feast or Famine

I hate to bore you with another graph but this is so dramatic that I just have to. The river is dropping like a busted jackhammer, anybody that thinks the river is not a living thing that's always in motion and changing day to day needs to see what I see.
Not only that but the Kenai is plum full of gorgeous coho salmon. Coming off the worst King year in recent history (but our escapements were met , a good thing) we're now enjoying what might be a record silver run...but we don't know because ADF+G really doesn't know. Years ago I coined a phrase for when you leave things alone for the best outcome, I call it 'proper neglect'.  Well with silver management I think the dept. has taken a page from the life and wisdom of Jeff King, they're just leaving those babies alone and it seems to be working. Unlike the King runs our silver runs have no, none,  'tools to manage them for 'maximum 'sustained yield'. No escapement goals, no sonar counters, very little creel senses, no weirs to channel ol slimey to where you need him. There's no test net fishery or tag and release program to follow their upstream migration and eventual discovery of their spawning grounds. In other words our fisheries managers just let mother nature take her course's working great ! Keep it up guys. We have a river full of beautiful fish like this one Chris Bidwell caught, he's a musician so we kinda bonded.
And here's a pic of a morning's catch after we let a few go after some calisthenics.
Then I got the opportunity to fish a young couple from Germany. They were touring Alaska with Julien here to finally end up in Fairbanks where she'll do fall semester at U.A.F. They endured a brutally windy and rainy day but she caught the first fish of her entire life....pretty cool.
And you know me it's got to be about more than just dead fish. I snapped this pic as soon as the guys pointed out this coyote. He was  rusty colored and didn't much like that we spotted  him but he was real close for a while and looking over his shoulder at us.
Here's something I never do: how's about a RECIPE ? 

You must know that feeling when you taste something that's different than anything you've ever tasted before, it has to be one of life's simple pleasures, a discovery. Well we had that feeling years ago when our friend Chris Fejes introduced us to 'his' Hungarian Pork chops. Chris being a 2nd generation American decided years ago to visit what was then Czechoslovakia and look up his direct family. He came back with a lot experiences and lessons in love and well as this recipe that we enjoyed again last night.

First off you take some nice high quality lean pork chops and cover them entirely with paprika. And I mean cover them and don't buy the cheap paprika, we use the real imported Hungarian stuff.
Then I get the barbie real hot and sear some real nice lines on the chops. The paprika seems to seal in the juices so these chops ain't going to be them ol dried out milk drinkers that your mom made.
So I got my lines seared and I then put them away from the fire on the top shelf at 350 or so. At about 15 minutes in I'm thinking they're getting close and that's when you pile on the goodies. Each chop gets big ol dollop of authentic saurkraut and then a couple huge spoonfuls of sour cream, MP's partial to the stuff with the chives in it and then sprinkle it with....yes....more paprika.
 I let em go until the sour cream is melted into the saurkraut real well and walla. Chrs's pork chops, they'd make a Bulldog break his chain. And oh, a nice bottle of Malbec.
Now Chris....if I don't have this exactly right hows about a refresher course next weekend when we're done fishing ? Maybe even make that famous Ceaser's salad of yours with the secret ingedient ? 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What Next ?

That's yesterday's graph, today's looks the same and it's also taken a big jump in Cooper Landing telling us one thing...more water is on the way. Surprisingly enough the ole Kenai is keeping it's color and the high water has just made it extremely 'chalky' which wouldn't be a big deal if we didn't have this silly no bait restriction until august 15th. ADF+G politics dictates that because they are keeping the commercials from fishing anymore to help the last of the King Salmon arrive where they should  the dept has to do something to us....'share the burden of conservation' is what they say. So, no bait. We've actually held our own and scratched out some fish and when the water clears the spinner bite will be's disturbing to me how many of my peers are cheating and using bait . Even though I feel for them that the rules ain't right, rules are rules. How could any of these guys have pride in what they do if they cheat? How can you take something you love and cheat on it? Well, not just a few of our Kenai River guides are doing this but a lot of them are, a whole lot.

So for the next few days until the 15th here's what guide boat # 003 will be doing. We'll be looking into the slews and slow water area's where we know the silvers like to get out of this accelerated current. We'll have on our newest and flashiest lures. We'll fish longer and harder....what we won't do is cheat. I'm trying to have a good life and get all my ducks in a row.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Green Thumb...Thumbs up

That's my old friend Porter Pollard with the first Silver salmon of the 2013 season. He caught that baby on July 31st and a few more, for me it's a big day. Porter was a long time Alaskan but like many this place just wore him down a bit and he needed some sunshine so he moved to Kingman Arizona, a very cool town. We miss him and his wife Gena who is MP's bike coach but ya gotta do what ya gotta thanks for coming back Porter and kicking off the silver run which I think is going to be good. It's the way things go around here, it's extreme and I'm seeing a lot of fish early so hang on.....
What I really wanted to do with this blog is to give a nod to my favorite horticulturist, it's absolutely amazing what she and mother nature have done in concert this year. You know how I love people with passion, well MP has that and more. All summer long I see her watering the 'kids' at 4:00 am as she waits to park the folks going fishing here at Mile 14. Kind of like her art she doesn't like labels or organization but she's a 'master gardener' for sure. The flowers are tiring but still gorgeous, like everything in Alaska they're big and bold but only for a while, winter is always  coming.
She's supplied half the Kenai river in cucumbers. The pic doesn't do it justice but the vines are wrapping around the rafters 8 feet up. It's the strangest thing, I sometimes open the greenhouse when she's at work or gone and it just makes me feel's like fresh air and I sense her energy, her passion.
The other greenhouse has the tomatoes coming on, man I dont' know what we're going to do with bushels of them. In the past I've always chided her for growing those little guys, ya know those cherry tomatoes that my mom put in salads and that I never really liked....well this year she's got mombo's, I'm impressed.
The outdoor garden has it all, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, carrots....well you know the deal.  she has what I call 'high rise' potatoes . She grows them in a bucket always adding more dirt as they grow. Then when one bucket is full she slips another one over it with the bottom cut out and continues the process.
But my favorite part of the entire complex is this pagoda I  built for her a few years ago for a pumpkin. She knew what she wanted but it kinda got lost in the blue print stage, it was kind of like working for Will Jahrig, one time I built a bathroom and had no idea what it was supposed to look like and why. They both knew what they wanted... I just couldn't picture it.
So you take the pagoda and put it on top of  a wheel barrel with a flat tire and walla....beautiful peppers grow....What a system MP, I gotta hand it to ya and oh.....I love ya.