Monday, June 27, 2016

It's like night and day

That's difference between our boat launch at Mile 14 of the Kenai and the Public launch the Pillars at Mile 13 of the river. The other day I got to looking a bit and I couldn't help notice that they had a lot of business and us....well....not so much. Now I know people love to give their money to the Government and I guess it becomes habit. And I also know a fundamental that all self employed people learn ' you friends don't mind you making money but they do seem to mind you making any of the theirs' this blog post is just a short sales pitch to all my guide friends, c'mon over to our spot, it's way better, costs the same, earth friendly and of course our unofficial moto for all things is ' we have fun.
That's their sign, very impressive. I was at a house warming party one time when the owner told me " it's amazing what you can do with a million bucks eh"....I'm still amazed.
That's our sign....mmmmm.....does it just feel a little different? maybe ?
That's their check in station. Manned by the head Ranger's sister-in-law .
Our check in station....ran by the old fashioned and an unusual system called ' the honor system' and when you check in you get a big ol dose of good luck, Jeff's world that alone is worth the trip.
At the Pillars you tie your boat up to a clankity clankity , heaving, crowded, paint scratching...dock. Oh, and never mind that pulling into that place on a busy July is the most dangerous thing you'll ever do in a boat, and I'm not kidding.

At our boat Launch we have a plane old river bank to tie your boat to....and if you fall down the grass is nice and soft. What a bonus.
At the Pillars they don't like dogs and they seem to have some kind of weird fish bias. Well we love dogs and here at Mile 14 you can clean all the fish you want as long as they're dead. No kiddin.
We have clean toilets with a view. And this last pic tells our story. So you guys break that government habit and come on over to the fun boat launch. You'll like it, I promise. And for a short time only your payment envelope will enter you in a chance to win a new Toaster Oven....
This last week on the Kenai River the fishing was what I classify as a ' character builder'. The water is chaulky and muddy from run off but it seems to be healing and expect July to be full speed ahead and man the torpedo's. The ADF+G did announce that they will start us in July with no bait so we're going to need that clear gorgeous  tourqouise water that our river is famous for. Every fisherman will have a day or two like the one below, I think I have mine out of the way for a while.
You'll have to excuse me if this blog post is wandering around a bit and to some of you this next pic is most likely no big deal....but for me, it's a dandy. I'm always looking for unique things in life. I want to see things I've never seen before. I want fresh. Now this might be a small example but when a kid lifted his bike off the ground the other day when the rain was just beginning , pretty cool. A home run, or at least a triple on Jeff's score card.
I had a first ever musical request. Here it is. One take on our way out to supper the other night. I'm playing the brand new guitar that I bought at a garage sale after I encouraged the woman to keep it for her kids when they get older. I'll take this guitar to Mexico and find just the right young aspiring musician to give it to.
Ya all come back now, ya hear ?

Monday, June 20, 2016

You gotta be Kiddin me....

That's the first thing I said Saturday morning when I turned the computer on to check the weather and the stream flow before our very first day of cactch and keep early run Kings in 3 years. The entire Kenai River sport fishing culture was mobilised and ready to pounce... and the warm weather has made the Glacier dump muddy silt laden crap into our water. I don't believe a single salmon was caught that morning on the entire lower river. I had my good friends Tom and Nikki out and nadda...just goes to show that things don't always turn out perfect in this ol life just because you want or maybe even think you deserve them to. Here's the chart, as you can see everything was fine until Saturday. For any of you fishing this week, don't panic, nothing's forever around here and I expect it to clear, we'll know by tomorrow.
But up until Saturday when we could keep fish the catch and release fishing was great. It was sunny warm and enough fish around to make it sporty. We hooked up within the first 20 minutes 3 days in a row. Here's pic of Barb exercising a nice King Salmon.
Barb there is Ed Fogels sister in law. I've known Ed for 20 years, ever since I was on the River Board and he was a DNR planner. Now he's the Deputy Chief of the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources which our State Park falls under the management of. Ed knows the way. He's a naturalists who know's all the birds and animals. He's an expert fly fisherman. He's a maestro at his job, he keeps the train on the tracks for Alaska's mining, oil and tourism industries....and he goes fishing with me, what a compliment. We had a great day. So thanks Ed, Lou ann and Barb for coming down, let's do it all again for slimey ol silver salmon in the fall eh ?
The day before I had their relatives out fishing and I took a short 1 minute video of one of Wayne's fishing dancing around on the surface a bit. But the coolest thing in the video I think is the feel you can get from home the early morning is crispy cool and the river quiet with no traffic that goes with catch and keep fishing. Actually it's been great and I expect the ADF+G to use catch and release to start the season next year until they see the size of the run instead of just closing it until they see the size of the would only be prudent, but then when do ADF+G and the word prudent collide in the same sentence ?
I got a hot tip for any of you that have an old boat that you think you can make look new with wax and elbow grease..... DON'T ever use that Turtle Wax product that is colored to match your paint. I had black wax / dye everywhere. It was like a super fund clean up site. At one point I had the bottle on the gunwale of the boat and it fell landing perfectly hard and up right to gloop a big ol glob onto my new Nike's which I put in the sink which also turned black. The yard look liked a gorilla had used it as a dog park and MP refuses to wash my buffing pads...when it comes to a sticky substance that can make a mess it worst than Pro-Cure for salmon eggs....and that's saying something. But the boat looks nice.
I got to use my new waterproof Lumix camera...You know me, never to be deterred. We woke up to a driving rain and when you comit to walking every morning well that's what you do. Here's me and MP on the river walk, driving rain, muddy river, Sunday morning....kinda fun actually. and oh, we were the only ones out.
One last thing that I just gotta say. Here's a pic of the big fish that comes to the Kenai River Festival every year courtesy of the local commercial fishing industry. It's the first thing thousands of people see and always has a message, you might even remember last years from this this blog.  Last year it said ' King salmon drive the news, Red salmon drive the economy'..... These people just gotta keep pushing. It's like running into Eddie Haskell every day, bla, bla, bla, bla....and how are you Mrs. Clever ?....It's like having a Michael Jordan interview on continuous loop telling you how great he is. It's a little bit like Airport sucks and you can't get away from it. So, I'm not sure what this sign means but I think it means support all the fisheries, even the ones that catch all the salmon you might want to have just one of.....whatever it means or you guys over there think it means...CUT IT OUT....we're tired of it.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Yup, King Salmon

That guy right there is about a 24 pounder and the 1st of it's kind for us in guide boat #003 at Mile 14 of the world famous Kenai River for the 2016 season We actually went to catch and release fishing a week ago as we now have a clear picture that there's more fish than in recent years but.... this river is about as fickle as a Cheerleader I once dated, the early warm weather had the river rapidly rising and was so cloudy that even with increased numbers it would be difficult to hook up. So we waited until today and walla, my friends Ruth and Ray landed 3and had at least 5 bites that fell off due to barb- less syndrome or the old salmon bite lethargy syndrome or maybe just the plane old bad luck little bitty bite, who know's ,it's fishing .

Our local Radio Shack has a close out sale and I bought the weather proof Lumix camera I've been wanting so it was no wonder that I woke up to rain, fog and sleet this morning. It's kind of like poetry, being prepared for the weather almost seems to make it happen. This pic here taken after our first release at about 7 a.m. shows you the feel of the river , kinda pretty in a fisherman's way. As you can see, only the tough and dedicated are out....
As hard as it was for me to believe Ruth said they had been in Alaska for 10 days and still hadn't seen a moose so I had my antennae up. We ran into a couple down at Beaver Creek for her but the best one was right here below my house where we got the bonus of a single calf. I told them that I didn't know what they were thinking about my King Salmon prowess but ya gotta agree...I'm a moose finding wizard.
It was getting onto closing time and we're just mildly hypothermic when we miss not one but two good pull downs in a row, spin and glo's. So I kinda had the flash back to the days when even if we were allowed bait we'd fish a wiggle wart and they'd bite them hard. So I grabbed a lighter rod and put the old  ' green pirate' on and it wasn't 5 minutes and Ray was fighting this fish. Excellent.
Here's a pic of those two at the boat launch. They are absolutely great. We had a lot in common with travel and fishing. They're the kind of couple that show's their love... I like that. So thanks you guy's for helping me get this started, I have to tell you, I had a great day. A wonderful day and if I seemed excited to be out there fishing, well, I was.
So until they allow us to whack em and stack we're releasing all the fish after a old slimey cardio session. If some of you who might want to go fishing would really like to keep and eat fish this is about the best I can do right now, I'll have a nice big package for ya. and oh, that's fresh.
On a side not, me and MP went to the new Kenai River Brewery. Ya gotta get there. The place is really cool, the beer is excellent and the staff is fun and efficient.  Right outside they have the Blue Moon Burger vendor that makes a pile of pa pa's to die for and only 3 bucks. They intend to have food of their own soon so I got a good pic of the chef in training. She don't say much.
And if any of my readers here at Mile 14 are really missing the song of the week deal just add a request in the remarks....but then maybe you're really not missing that in which case PLEASE don't leave a remark, I can take a hint.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The 2016 Kenai King Salmon Fishery is Underway

Finally. Why it was ever closed remains a mystery but I'm going to let that go....I'm just happy to see the run recovered from the disaster of 2013 enough for us to get back to a life of chasing salmon. I also really hope that the Kuskokwim comes in and that life gets back to normal for all my fellow Alaskan's living in the bush  who depend on the salmon.
Right now the fishing is Catch and Release only. The only down side for some is that you don't get to take him home and eat him....I'll make sure I have some of MP's wonderful smoked salmon along on all my trips to make up for that part a little bit. The up side is that the river is a really great fishing experience without the crowds, instead of quiting fishing when you catch one with C+R you continue fishing and with a little luck and expert guiding you might catch more than another and maybe even another....

I expect ADF+G will allow for harvest later in the month when the run projection makes 10,000. I hope it does but I certainly would urge caution as we have a chance to get all of our needed spawners in 2016. The management changes on July 1st and retention will be allowed....In any case, lets go fishing !..........907-398-1128

Thursday, June 2, 2016

And on the Fishing Front

That graph just published by the ADF+G shows the story. I hate to be a ' I told ya so' kind of guy but....this river is a dynamic place so when I saw other Alaska Rivers as well as the Kenai rebounding from the poor runs of 3 years ago I figured this would be the year we would return to a semblance of normalcy around here.

The blue is 2014 and the black 2015. The black equals the lower end of our escapement goals being met by the end of the run on July 1st. So.....draw the red line out on the same angle and walla, we'll at least meet the upper end of the goal, we have over TWICE as many Kings in the river as we did on this date last it's real simple. LET"S GO FISHING. I expect ADF+G will announce catch and release fishing real soon, it should have been allowed from the get go but that's another story.

So for us, the salmon, our town, our culture and even ADF+G this is great news.
Now the ADF+G in the paper today says the run could be early. That's great news and no reason not to fish. We know that all salmon runs make a bell  shaped curve on the graph so as the 'bell' gets bigger it starts sooner and lasts longer as you can see in the graph above. So if any of you are wondering why we're not fishing today e-mail this guy....let him know, it's time to go fishing, that is if he believes in his own data.