Sunday, June 30, 2019

Timing is everything

I've always been good at that, mostly by accident. Seems like I got into guiding on the world famous at just the right time and now it looks like I quit at just the right time. After waiting through a month and a half of Catch and Release fishing with no / few customers tomorrow is the day it all changes and they can retain King salmon again...but nobody will because it will be nearly impossible due to this rising river and ultra chalky glacier melt water due to this record string of 70 and 80 degree days we're suffering through. Man am I glad  I only need to explain it to you guys and not customers who would have little chance....that is if they got here on time and the road is open through the Swan Lake fire area of 70,000 acres only 27 miles from salmon central here at Mile 14. And of course they would also have to have no respiratory problems to sit tin the boat waiting for a bite in the smoke out we've got going on......jeez....this place can make ya crazy. Only lucky thing for us is that the wind generally blows on shore and to the north so our smoke is no where near as bad as Anchorage, Cooper Landing's pic I took at 5:30 a.m. of the orange sun, kind of an apocalyptic feeling we're learning to live with.
But, if your'e good at flossing and you have en entire day and the stamina to flip for that entire day Mile 14 here is still semi-salmon-central. The red run is so huge they are still getting them here and although there are fewer fish and not the emergency new 9 fish limit like at the Russian River at least here you can breath. KTUU channel 2 news had a fire report in which they showed footage of fisherman at the Russian that looked like ghosts in the fog from just a few feet away....
It's been this weirdest feeling of freedom getting rid of the ' stuff ' of guiding. The other day I gave a 13 year old a Lamiglass Kenai Special and reel to go with....made me smile. So then I decided to take my fish hanging station to the dump. Through the years I've piled all the stuff I've recovered out of the river around it to make it fun and interesting for the people, well, now no people and no fish so no rack....this was it.
It was a trip down memory lane as I's a sample of old stuff and the best and most exciting find ever.
About ten years ago Keith and I were walking the gravel bars around what we call ' secret hole ' when we both spotted that huge packed wallet at the same time. Now I don't remember if I got to it first or if Keith just gave it to me out of consideration for my seniority and the fact that I invented the sport of marine salvage on the world famous. In any case I ended up with the wallet and it has every airline and credit card known to man in it money....not a cent.
So I do a google search and find the e-mail for the medical clinic of Dr. Joe Idicula in Florida and I send him an e-mail with the 42 dollar question....what kind of Doctor runs around Alaska without any money ????  Well he really didn't answer that part but he did let me know that he had replaced everything and thanks for my kinda-semi-almost help. The dollar signs that me and Keith planely seen turned into just a story at Mile 14.

I also came across the answer to another mystery...In about 1985 a Ford Escort went into the river about 8 miles upstream from Slowdotna and was never seen again. But inspector Closeau and full time fish pro Jeff King found the dashboard at Mile 10 of the river.....mmmm..... I wonder is they had any money in the jock box ???? I gotta keep lookin.
Wish I'd been around to see it but apparently a Moose and her calves got onto the elevated boardwalk at the visitors center and created quite a stir....I do believe a human could get killed by a panicked moose ...I just love the way the second sign was stated....only in Alaska eh ?
And speaking of signs... This one tells the story. Just recently we had to amend our dog policy here at Mile 14 for a few reasons and one of them was the reason for this.
And on my short list of achievement's I'm adding radishes. I had to taker control of them myself, we have the wriggly botanical garden out there and never, never did MP's radishes turn out. So enter #003 retired....You have to space them out, they need room. You have to fertilize and you have to rotate which means plant them at different times and walla....nice crunchy icicle radishes and along with quite a bit of stomach gas....
I now I've been a little lazy with my blog...sorry...😎🎸🎀🐟🐟

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Water Haul

That's an old commercial fishing axiom for nothing, you haul your net in and nothing but water. Well us sport guys just simply call it a skunk or some of us post pics of moose and mountains and well I'll get it over with early in this edition of Mile 14...I got invited to go drift boat Monday fishing with my friend Bill Radke and notta, nothing,,,,but the water was chalky, the tide was wrong and the barometer was falling. How's that for the trifecta of excuses errrr....I mean reasons ?

Here's a pic of our first stop at Fall-in-Hole taken from our Koffler driftboat. I don't mind telling you that after having walk around room in a 21 ft. Alumaweld for my entire life being sooooo close to the water felt really strange. Then throw in the rocking of the boat with any movement and the cushion less Fish-On's just different.
All B.S. aside this really is a wonderful way to fish, you have time to notice things. We talked all things Kenai, watched a young guide show his people how to catch reds and fished along side of a powerboat trolling for Kings...I didn't have the heart to tell him he was breaking the rules.  Here's Bill pulling us on down to Eagle Rock for the take out and our view from there. Thanks Bill , I had a great time.
Everybody knows I'm a 100 % guy but until I go fishing with other people I guess I  really never new what that meant. Bill's a great fisherman, he really is.....But....I guess the best way to tell you the difference is with two simple pictures, the first is my tackle box and the second is Bill's tackle box.
We are experiencing a glut, a record or at least close to it sockeye run to the Russian River. The usual 3 per day limit was raised to 6 several days ago and yesterday the daily limit was raised to 9....Yikes, only in Alaska could you legally catch more salmon than you can carry.  The gravel bars around Mile 14 are full of fishermen everyday, we've got some energy going on. Here's a pic I took yesterday from my house.
Our house is surrounded by fledgling Bald Eagles. They shriek and carry on continuously as they learn the way. I've seen them do it all through the in trees that won't support them etc but the other day I got as close as I've ever been to one and this one has a bright future. What better way to make a living that to hang out on a gutting table and not move until you get your share. I drove up to him and snapped the first pic and then I drove down the ramp and stopped right nest to him. Both pics are without any telephoto...AND,  he never did fly off . We're gonna name this guy and help him along.
And in the ' thank goodness ' dept. MP is finally walking well. We've done two short hikes now. This morning we did 1 1/2 miles at Centennial Park and visited with my friend Ivan . It won't be long before we're back up to our 3 to 4 miles everyday and a normal life here at Mile 14....even if the ' hell week ' that is July is right around the corner.
People have asked me what I'm going to do with my time now that I'm not guiding....well...I guess the typical response from any of us retiree's is something like  "  I'll have time for all the other things in my life that I've wanted to do "  Check out them fingers, ya think I've been busy ? Maybe have a spanking new song for you next week at Mile 14 ....😎🎡

Monday, June 10, 2019

Mon de lone

That's how you spell it phonetically . A few of my Mexican Team X members pegged that name for me years ago....' man who wears apron'. Yup, that's me lately. I've learned to make dirt for all the greenhouses, I'm mulched and mowed no less than 6 times now. I've roto tilled , I've planted veggies and arranged all the Dalia's just right for max viewing effect and I've declared war on dandelions. . In the house I'm the iceman, the machine gets filled every morning and at least every evening so the woman who lets me live here can try and keep the swelling down after her part of life at Mile 14. Standing is worse than walking for her so I do 90% of the dishes..... ( did I ever tell you that we don't have a dish washer because when we remodeled the kitchen a person I love very much wouldn't give up any cabinet space...I should have vetoed that deal ) and of course I'm still doing all the driving because of pain pills , especially on physical therapy day. Does it sound like I'm complaining ? mmmmm,,,,,O.K. you get the idea why this blog has gone from an action packed insiders look at Pro Guide # 003's life to a crumpled up copy of Readers Digest sitting next to the commode....

So with the earliest case of cabin fever ever reported in the State of Alaska I volunteered to work at the River Festival this last weekend...Manual labor, I hate that. We set up all the tents in about 3 hours and I have to report that being the oldest guy there I carried the standard for the geriatric division of River savers.
I was asked to show all the young people who intern for the Watershed Forum how to tie a few knots , especially a Bolen . So I got everyone together and gave them the ol ' rabbit goes up the hole around the tree and back down the hole'  deal and so I thought we had it and off we went to secure the tents for the safety or our River saving community....well, it didn't take long before the old ' if you can't tie a knot, tie a lot ' mentality took over.
I escaped from my job just long enough to wander over to the boardwalk above the world famous and a couple guys reminded me of what I ought to be doing, and will be doing. Our early run Sockeye's that are Russian River bound are going through our part of the creek as we speak. Traditionally this run doesn't get targeted in Soldotna because it's smaller so they're hard to catch and we usually have King salmon. Well a lot has changed and I'm very impressed with the success anglers are having by adapting to and trying new fisheries, As I type this we have some campers down the hill at the boat launch and they have several Red's on the stringer .
The catch and release fishing on the World Famous is turning out to be a bit more unpopular than I expected...but what do I know. I guess it's a little like kissing your sister, a little is O.K. but a lot is kinda weird. We fished Eagle Rock hard the other day without anybody in sight...or any fish for that matter. But still, who wouldn't enjoy spending time right here, right now ?
This guy here was thinking hard about crossing . We encouraged him but he finally decided he didn't need to, It's my weekly ' we didn't catch a fish ' photo.
As the month moves on I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe ADF+G is going to keep the status quo and allow the very few people who are enjoying the C+R experience to continue. We're about 400 fish ahead of last year which was closed to ALL fishing until July 1st. I expect we WILL meet the lower number of escapement ( 3700 ) and as soon as the water clears from all the warm weather we've had I'M GOING  FISHING !  Here's the graph, we're the black line compared to the last few years,