Wednesday, August 21, 2019


You look at that river pic I took at sun up yesterday and you'd think that there's something eerily beautiful about our Forrest Fires... I suppose there is but I think I can speak for all of Alaska when I say we're real, real tired of it all. The reality of it all is more like this pic below.
I spent all of yesterday indoors. It seems somehow or another in my social security years the asthma that I had as a child has returned and the air quality has been horrible on my lungs. I've done all the pulmonary tests and we've decided that it's an environment induced asthma that rekindled when I burnt my lungs with chlorine in Mexico. Now I seem to be hyper sensitive to smoke, dust , pollen which is really just every day life....jeez...Just for the sake of this report for any of you non Alaskan's : the Swan Lake Fire whose western front is 25 miles from Mile 14 is now a stunning 140,000 acres making it bigger than all the fires burning everywhere else in the states combined. It's in the Wildlife refuge and they were excited for more Moose browse when it started over 2 months ago...well gentlemen, you got moose browse up the ying yang now. At one time they had 400 people on the fire. Then they decided it had gone about as far as it would go and removed all but a dozen firemen and in true Alaska style our drought continued and then the wind came....OK, call the fire fighters back ! Did I mention that it's still unnaturally hot here and hasn't rained in over a month. We have 3 fires locally now and the Willow / Talkeetna area is under attack by huge devastating fires...
MP's gorgeously lush yard is browning up nicely in the drought. In our attempts to save everything we watered so much that it drew our well down and filled up the system with sand. We are far from having a first frost and all the birch and cottonwood trees are dropping their leaves trying to go dormant. As for the spruce trees the situation is code red...we already have a spruce bark beetle infestation going on and now that the trees are stressed from no water they're dieing by the day....we must have at least 40 new ones on the property, I hate to go look. In the second pic the tree on the right passed away about 2 weeks ago and the one on the left is on death bad because that tree is a favorite of our Bald Eagles. Any of you that need easy firewood, give us a call here at Mile 14 on the world famous.
And Fishing you say ??? Well, that ain't normal either. The silvers seem to be just OK, not good , not bad. In the valley they are saying that the low river and warm water are impacting the coho's upriver movement. It makes sense and I suspect a certain amount of the same is at work here. Here's a pic of Ernie with his catch the other day....rather photogenic ain't he ? 
And here's my pro guide tip / public service announcement for this edition of Mile 14...If you're to cheap to hire a guide don't be so cheap that you want to split your boat rental fee in as many ways as possible... you could drown.  If you have so many in your rental boat that the boat plows and won't could drown. If you don't wear your life could drown. If you've never operated a tiller handle boat in an Alaska Glacier fed river running at 7 could drown.  6 people......way tooooo many.
I hope you come back next week and we'll do more fishing, I promise. In the mean time help us out with the rain dance eh ? As we walked and talked this morning MP had an observation about one of my pet conspiracy theories , you know the chem trails we all see behind airplanes on clear days. She said " where's Monsanto when we need them ".
And yes...that's a haircut you see.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Well, at least the boat stays clean....

it's a long story how we got to this place in time where it's almost mid August and we're under yet another arbitrary ' no bait ' rule....But first here's a pic of our first silver of the year. It was last Monday and me and MPeasy got a late start but there were few boats on the river and I found a good place and threw the anchor right on top of the mother load. We caught this silver and released a couple so we could continue fishing when the phone rang....Chris telling me that the ADF+G had closed the river to the use of bait.
They closed bait to conserve King Salmon that are on the way to the very worst return ever. We actually never catch Kings fishing for Silvers but never mind that, and never mind that we in river sports people are the ONLY user that can selectively harvest AND release  fish to live on to the spawning ground... But our community works this way, if we commercial guys can't make money nobody should make any there, take's mean, it's unfair, old school and just plain stupid to deprive people of opportunity out of spite. So here's the graph of our King escapement 2019 in black and previous years in colored. We're now at 10,900 and we need 13,500 at a very minimum, as you can see that black line is going to drop off the chart real soon. Of course with no set netting going on the river is full of Reds and Silvers and they argue that they should be able to fish because having to many reds in river is worst that not enough Kings....Does that make sense to anybody ? That having no fish is better than having 1.6 million ?
So me and MP went upriver to trout fish and check on the ADF+G fish wheel that catches the fish so they can ' proportion ' the run. We watched it for several fish worth and in this pic you can see the tail of one on the aluminum slide...just before it fell back in the river instead of the catch tank. Yup, we watched it scoop 4 of which only one didn't fall through holes in the system...I think they better hire a fisherman who knows the value of keeping what you catch. And and a pic of MP with a Dolly Varden, I gotta work on that trout deal, we didn't have much luck.
The coolest thing ever arrived in my Mail box the other day. I kid you not , it's the best gift I've ever gotten in my 37 years of guiding anglers on the world famous. About 2 weeks ago we ran into Seth and his mom at a garage sale and Seth who has fished with me as you might remember many times asked me about flossing reds and which rod / reel he needed. It was perfect for me as getting rid of the tools of guiding for me has been both fun and in a strange way, freeing. So Seth and I went to the house and I gave him a Lamiglass Kenai Special and Shimano levelwind.  In the lower left pic I was encouraging him to take a snort if he was sleepy. Later that day I had an old L.A. Lakers T-shirt that I was using for a bait rag and I offered him 10 bucks if he's put it on for a picture...his mom drew the line on that deal. Thanks Kath and Seth, it makes me feel so good about this crazy life I've lead. Ya know, I think I really did important work after all. Fish On Seth !
So we are allowed bait again on the 16th and Ernie arrives tomorrow so please come back and look see....we're going to full military power on this silver fishing deal.

Friday, August 2, 2019


That's what the river, the town and the semi- friendly staff here at Mile 14 are feeling right now.  The Sockeye fish fest of 2019 is almost over with July 31st signaling the end of Dip netting and the sport fishery starting to move upriver. It's intense and I have to say that being gone in the boat for all of our years here at Mile 14 I have new appreciation for what it's all about and how hard MP works to make sense of it all along with making $$$ for us while everybody remains safe. To give you an idea here is a 5 a.m. shot of the dippers and the flossing line up at Centennial Park...salmon fever.
For the first time in all these years I was able to ' put up ' our own salmon and that felt good. I caught a total of 14 on my new fly rod and we canned 3 and froze the rest for the smoker. By Kenai standards 14 salmon isn't very many but for us it seems like just the right amount....begging the question, what the hell is everybody doing with the dozens and dozens they kept ? Here's the gutting table on a typical day here at Mile 14 and one of our customers running a sockeye through the last minutes of it's life.
Strangely enough it all goes pretty smooth except for the daily off river trespassers that act like the property is there only for their personal convenience...and they're mostly so called professional fishing guides. Forget your license and didn't notice until you had a dead King salmon in the boat ? Go to Stewart's. Need a pizza delivered ? Go to Stewart's. Wife needs to bring you dry socks ? Go to Stewart's....So if any of you know this clown please tell him that I'm actually a nice guy and this is how business works around here on the world famous. If you want to use our business it takes three things if you're a fishing guide, money, a signed liability release on file and Be Nice ! You see if you stop here without  permission or paying  it's like shop lifting, we certainly want  business but if there's no lettuce in it for us it Ain't business....kapeesh ? ....whew, I feel better now.
In July the truly dialed in stay away from the local Fred Meyer's a frenzy and a good way to get your arm chewed off during sockeye season. But ol guide 003 had a lapse of attention and found himself there one morning, these three photos tell the story. The empty wall was once full of fillet knives and now that the shipping boxes are all gone we're working hard on the cooler supply...

I've always wondered how long it would take for sport people to follow the commercial guys lead and start using aerial spotters. Well, it's something new here. Not only can you spot the fish you can fly right over the road construction delays and even med e vac yourself if you get a hook in the wrong place.
Our people are serious...hows about stealth mode for your snaggin wagon ? Yup, they never see you coming cause it's just another school of fish headed up the world famous. I used to look at the thousands and thousands of hooks and nets in the water and tell people that if I were a salmon I'd take the road... well now they are.
Rick and Cath use Mile 14 every year and so we've become friends and I really enjoy seeing / being around their grandson Cam. This guy ain't no scaredy chicken. He hooks his own, kills his own,  cleans his own.... I took this pic right after all of us sought shelter from a cloud burst, all of us except Cam that it is. Carry on buddy, you have a lifetime of fishing, the mystery and wonder of it all ahead.
Maybe it's the warm weather but we have Spruce Grouse everywhere here at Mile 14. We've always had some but this year it's group after group of them. I took this pic last night without getting up from watching the ( yawn ) Democrat debate.  Kinda crazy, we got it all, fish eagles , grouse, gulls, terns , seals , moose, caribou.... and a few humans. 😎🐟🎸🎡