Summer 2002 Fishing Logs
You can click on most of the pictures for a larger image.
October 26 Mat-Su Lake
I can't believe how nice it was out. The ice is going to be at least a week late. Still in the morning's it was cold in the Valley. Small
ponds in the shade were completely frozen (though I wouldn't walk on them) and even a few of the bigger lakes had a thin layer
of ice in parts. No fish today since I only fished for an hour but there was LOTS of surfce activity. Erick tells me these fish are
loaded with sticklebacks. I wish I had my fly rod but today I only had my ultralight. Its likely the last weekend to fish most lakes
in the area as the ice is beginning to form on the lakes. I may try one of the valley streams for the ranibows after the lakes ice up.
Winter is coming but its not here yet....soon!
October 19 Mat-Su Lake
Hit a stocked lake in the Valley by Willow with Erick and Ron. Though the action wasn't hot, I managed to catch a 7 or 8
rainbows from 12 to 18 inches on single eggs under a thill float keeping a few for the table since it is a stocked lake. At the end of
the day, Ron's catches by far the biggest rainbow I have seen from this particular lake. It was a good 26 inches and I bet it went
well over 6 pounds. He caught his on roe anchored off the bottom.
October 5 Kenai Peninsula Lake
Hit a lake on the Peninsula after a 2 week trip overseas. We were looking for big rainbows but they sure were hard to find. We
searched the lake all over but no rainbows. On one pass we did notice what looked like 30 or 40 Dollies schooled together. We
stopped the canoes and cast into the school and we did manage to catch a half dozen brightly colored Dollies but nothing over 14
inches. We had high expectations for this lake but not this time!
September 1 Seward Silvers...attempt #2
One more try! So I head down to Seward and get there around 7:30am for a 9am High tide. I toss out a slip bobber with herring
under it and wait. Not very long! After seeing a few jumping silvers head my way, my bobber takes a dive and I am latched on to
a nice 8 pound silver. Well that was easy! I think. 5 minutes and my first fish is on the shore. Well 2 hours later I get my next
strike and it was 2 hours after that before I picked up my 3rd and final silver of the day.
Kind of the cool thing about this fishery is that most of the time you now when you are going to get hit. The fish jump along the
shore and when they surface 30 yards or so away, get ready. It takes a minute or so to cover that ground an then your bobber
takes a dive.
There were a few fish hopping around but not that many. When you can catch the fish from shore they are jumping within feet of
the shoreline. This time they were farther out. I guess it is still early. All the fish were mint bright. The good news is that it means
I can give it another try next week. I met a friend, Masa who had a guest with him. The guest caught two silvers as well. So
there are fish present but it was SLOW by my standards. I spoke with a trooper cheking licenses and he was surprised that we
had caught any at all. A few other folks who stopped by and spoke with u said the same thing. I guess a few fish were being
caught snagging by the waterfall but I am not into the snagging thing. Well, I better give it a go next weekend again.
August 23 Seward Silvers
Ran down to Seward to see if any of the silvers had hit the shore. The quick answer was NO! Doh! Oh well, they got to show up
August 3 More Parks Highway streams.
Had Bob from Chicago come back up to try some luck fly fishing. He hit a few of the parks highways streams and managed to
find a few nice rainbows tucked in behind the spawning kings. Ran down to Sheep Creek with him on Saturday and we
hammered pinks and chums until are arms ached. We even managed 3 nice silvers in the 3 hours we fished. Once again the green
insert pixie was the best lure. On Sunday Bob heads back down with his 5 weight fly rod and nails a bunch more of the pinks and
chums. People sometimes laugh at the pinks but with the 5 weight fly rod, I am sure they tested his gear. I cant even imagine the
battle the 15 pound plus chums must have put up.
The fireweed is blooming! Fall is definitely here. Get your fill of salmon fishing over the next 6 weeks, because soon well be
braking out the ice auger and its 6 months of cold hard ice to fish in! Too cool! I cant wait till ice fishing begins
.I must be
getting crazy but there is definitely truth to the saying that the grass is greener on the other side. I love this time of year in Alaska
when its not raining, but I am getting a bit excited about getting to ice fish again. Its quiet, no people, lots of fish
winter is a
great time here in Alaska. I guess we dont ice fish till the end of October. Thats still 2 months out. Maybe I shouldnt jump to
gun so much.
July 27 Sheep Creek Pinks & Chums
Headed up North to some of the salmon streams up north to see if I couldnt catch a few silvers. It sure is a whole lot different
now then during the King Salmon season. At least you have a little more space. Ended up fishing Sheep Creek. The water was
pretty low but you could tell there were lots of fish in the river. As it turns out, most of the fish were pinks and chums. I saw a
few silvers caught but I only managed a billion pinks and a half billion chums. Still on light tackle the oinks were a blast and the
chums were down right scary! My mainstay was a ½ oz green insert pixie. The other lures worked as well but there was a
noticeable difference in the number of strikes the green pixie got. I was surprised to see that most of the chums were still in
excellent condition. In fact I almost whacked one over the head because I thought it was a silver but on closer examination, you
could see it was a chum. It was still mint bright. Well it sure was nice doing some catching instead of just fishing. I bet I;ll be
back next weekend.
End of June Beginning of July, Parks Highway King report
Okay I know this entry is not in chronological order but I recently got an email from a group of guys I met who came to fish
Alaska at the end of June. They asked for some info but to be honest, I was a bit stumped. The period from the end of June to
the end of July is a slow time for me since I don't fish the Parks highway streams like the Willow, Sheep, or Montana Creek too
often. Well it looks like these three guys, Jim, Rob and Keith had no problems finding fish on the Parks Highway streams. They
even managed to do so and avoid most of the crowds. They caught some really nice fish with the biggest going well over 40
inches. Take a look at these nice kings!!!!! Next time they come up, I'm going to ask them to take me fishing!!!!!!!
July 18-21 Kenai River
Well the early start to the Kings and reds on the Kenai River had me worried. I wonder if they would be in when I took vacation
starting the 17th. Well as in most thing in life the answer was yes and no. The reds showed up in force with counted of 95,000
and 62,000 on Friday and Saturday. Martin and I head down on Friday morning and we simply hammered the reds dipnetting. We
caught 40 in under 2 hours. Of course we tell Erick and Kelly and Kelly hops into the boat and over the next two hours we
get...3! Bummer. But the tide had turned and it really spread the fish out. Martin goes back on Saturday with his wife and they
managed 40 fish in about an hour. They easily took home their 55 fish limit in less than 4 hours of fishing.. Both days we fished
only one net because we were so busy. We fished for reds with a rod and reel Saturday evening and caught 7 or 8 fish between
two of us in about 2 hours (I had a proxy).
The kings were a bit slower. The kings had been running 1,000 to 1,400 fish per day but dropped below 1,000 on both Saturday
and Sunday. I managed to hook up to three kings over the 3 days I fished for them. The fish went 40, 38, and maybe 15 pounds.
Nothing huge but I still can't believe I didn't take a picture of a single one!. I wish we could have caught a few more fish. 2 of the
fish were caught on spin n glos and the one was on a Kwickfish. On Thursday I did go out by myself on my boat and hooked
four kings in a 15 minute span at 4:30am but could not firmly hook a single one for more than a couple of seconds. ARGHH! Of
course what I would have done hooking a king on the Kenai River by myself is subject to debate. I'm not sure how I would have
landed it. Well I'm sure I would have figured it out. One take down was pretty cool. I had caught a few trout in this particular
stretch so I thought that's what it was when my rod tip started bouncing around lightly. Then a 50 pound king just exploded out
of the water with my rig still in its mouth, cartwheeled once out of the water and then it was gone. My rod tip not having moved
more than an inch. If it didn't make such a huge commotion on top of the water so close to the boat that I could see that the Spin
n glo rig was mine, I would have never believed it. Amazing!
Well a few more reds are in the ocean from what the test number show. This fishery could last another week even if the numbers
fall to a normal 20,000 to 30,000 fish range. King fishing on the Kenai usually ends July 31 so I have one more weekend.
A friend of mine's brother in law went across the inlet to Polly Cr (I think) and hammered the silvers. So the silvers are already
showing up in force on the west side of Cook Inlet. I hear there are a few already showing up in the Kenai River. Well the end of
the King and red season is drawing near meaning the end of summer is close at hand. WHAT? Didn't I just start this summer
fishing log? Well I've always thought the silvers are a fall fish so I guess we are headed into the Autumn season in a week or two.
Bad news is that the summer is going away. The good news is that there will be LOTS more fishing before freeze up in late
October! Life is good here......
July 13-14 , 16th Kenai River Kings
Headed out on the Kenai River with a couple of friends who had never fished the Kenai River for Kings. It was actually interesting
watching their reaction to all the boats and the way we fished. It was completely new to them. Well we get on the water at 4am
to see if we can't pull a few fish out of the river before the guides hit the water. We start at Honeymoon Cove pulling two spin n
glos and one kwickfish. Since we are backtrolling the rods are constantly throbbing as the planer boards dive and hit the bottom.
The two guests are constantly asking me "was that a strike?" I tell them no, its just the action of the lure and they would definitely
know if a fish struck their gear. Well about 15 minutes later, one of my buddies once again asks me "Is that a strike?" I'm thinking
"Geez, not again!" But as I casually glance over to his rod holder, the Lamiglass Kenai King rod is in a major U shape with the tip
buried down into the water. DOH! YES YES YES, that is a strike. As I reach for the throttle to gun the engine to set the hook,
you could tell the fish had let go of the kwickfish. Dang it! I really need to do a better job of explaining what a strike would be like.
Well the guides hit the water and it is just CRAZY busy! This year instead of being spread up and down the river, the guides are
all using the strategy of being as low as possible in the river so they can be the first to present their baits in front of them. Well
that morning the tide was super high and it concentrated EVERYONE guides and private boats in between Eagle Rock and Big
Eddy. The tide was at around 8am so it wasn't until about 9:30am that we could fish any of the holes below Eagle rock. So after
getting no further strikes like everyone else (it was slow slow slow) we head down to Mud Island. On about our second pass my
rod doubles over and it's FISH ON!!!!! Well I have to run the boat and since we were in a middle of 100 boats ( I think
literally...well maybe 75 boats...) I hand the rod off to my buddy and the battle begins! After a 15 minute struggle the fish comes
to the boat and my other friend nets the fish perfectly! A beautiful bright chrome hen in the 35 to 40 pound range. We fish a few
more hours but just as the fishing gets good, our wives call and it's the end of the fishing trip! Oh well, they did let us go out for
most of the day! I ran into Dan France of Salmon Herder Charters and he had boated 3 kings. I couldn't believe it! I don't know
how he does it but he sure is a lot more efficient than I am. I guess when you are on the water everyday, it pays off. Other than
Dan's 3 fish and a few other guide boats, it was a slow slow day despite the sonar counting 1200 kings.
On Sunday I head out with Bob & Susan plus Bob's brother. We go out in 2 different boats. Quite a few boats out there but
nowhere near as bad as when the guides are on the water. Bob hammers a nice bright fish early in the morning near the Pillars on
a spin n glo and roe rig. And on the last pass of the day, Bob's brother nails a beautiful 40 pound fish near Mud Island. As for
Susan and I, I had three take downs landed only one fish. Unfortunately it was like a 8 pound fish that I released. Susan patiently
waited all day long for the big take down and never did get one. Well she's a pretty dang good fisherman so she is a bit perturbed
but she's also a believer in the law of averages. So....
As I come into work, I have a message in my voice mail. That's odd? Wonder who called so early in the
morning. Well it was Susan bragging that she had nailed two kings in the 50 pound class with the biggest going
58 pounds! (She has a proxy) Both of her fish were nice chrome fish that she caught on spin n glo rig near Mud
Island. Way to go Susan! See, perseverance pays off again!!!! Dang it! What am I doing working today!!!! Well
better hurry up and get down to Kenai.
A few of friends told me that there were a few reds passing through Soldotna. Nothing fast and furious but they
limited out in 2 to 3 hours. I hear the dipnetters were slaying fish near the mouth of the river.
AUGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I need to get down south! More later!!!!!!
June 10th Update Kenai River reds.
Okay I HATE these updates where all I do is pass on information. I need to get on the river so I can pass "REAL" info onto
everyone! But alas, I am stuck in the office. ARGHHHH...only if I was independently wealthy! Well Tomorrow is Friday so that's
the good news.
Fish and Game has posted the escapement numbers for June 10th (Wednesday). The red run appears to have entered a short lull,
partial due to the commercial fishing opener on Monday. However Tuesday's super high test fishery index of 209 and
Wednesday's decent index of 79 means there are still plenty of reds coming through the inlet. On Wednesday 19,000 reds made it
past the counters. This lower number seems to back up the slow day most people had dipnetting on the Kenai River during the
season opener for personal use dipnetting on the Kenai. Given the slow dipnetting on the lower river on Wednesday, I anticipate
that Thursday count of the reds near Soldotna will likely be lower. Then again you never know! The Kasilof River is still getting
good escapement numbers with 6,000 fish passing the counters on Wednesday.
The King counts have been picking up a tad after dropping a bit on Sunday and Monday. Typically the average at around this time
of year is 1,000 kings per day. On Tuesday and Wednesday, 1,600 and 1,500 kings made it pass the counters. That is a good sign.
The good news for those sport and personal use fisherman looking for reds is that the commercial drift fleet on Thursday will be
restricted to a small corridor around the Kenai and the Kasilof River. See map at:
Fishing the "corridor" often means a lull while they are fishing but the narrow area means that reds should be able to enter the
river in force on the very next tide.
King fishing this weekend will be a tad tougher, especially on Saturday. Typically more kings come in on smaller tide series than
on the large ones. This weekend has some large tidal fluctuations. Now that is good news for you clammers, but it makes it
tougher for the King fisherman. Through this weekend the Kenai River above the Soldotna bridge (Approximately mile 20) is still
closed to king fishing. That means all the boats are packed into the river between mile 7 and mile 20 (Mile 7 is about as low as
anyone fishes). But since there is such a large tide, that means from 4am to about 10am the lower 11 or 12 miles of the river will
be flooded with very little current making it tough to fish. That means ALL the boats for a good portion of the morning will be
packed in between mile 12 and mile 19 of the river. DOH! It's going to be crazy on Saturday! I am thinking that Sunday might
have WAY fewer boats fishing kings since it's a no guide day and many of the locals I think will be downstream chasing reds.
But when it's all said and done, I'm not a very good psychic. The best way to know what is happening is to BE ON THE
RIVER!!!!! It's July! Summers are short! Get out there and FISH!!!!!!!
July 9th Kenai River Updates
The red counts have fallen off a tad from the high numbers we saw on Sunday and Monday but still the numbers are good.
23,500 reds up the Kenai River and 4,100 reds up the Kasilof on Tuesday. This fall off is likely at least in part due to the
commercial fishing opener on Monday.
The most amazing stats is the UCI test fishery index which on Monday was a mere 5 and then on Tuesday jumped to 209! Yes
Two HUNDRED nine!!!! That is one of the highest numbers I have seen.
http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/region2/finfish/salmon/uci/uciotf02.pdf I think they do most of the test fishing on the South edge
of the Upper Cook Inlet District. These fish should be in the rivers over the next day or two. If they can avoid the commercial
nets during the next opener, these reds should be flooding the Kenai River come Thursday or Friday. I sure hope this kind of
fishing lasts through the weekend! No updates of the King counts yet for July 9th
July 8th Kenai River reds
Well, dang! Here I am sitting in Anchorage working and the red counts are going crazy! A whopping 53,000 on Sunday and
another 36,000 on Monday up the Kenai River!!!! The Kasilof River is also showing some strong numbers at over 11,000 fish on
Sunday and 9,000 reds on Monday. The only cold water on this current parade is that the Commercial Fishery test index was at a
whopping 5..yes five. The three days prior the index was 74, 66, 36 (Sunday, Saturday, Friday)...ouch. See here at
Still you never know, the only sure way to know is to be on the water. Well the king count is okay yet so there is hope!
July 7 Kenai River red update
Well the red counts on the Kenai have gone berserk! Normally we anticipate seeing 20,000 plus fish per day around July 13th to
the 15th or so. But on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the red counts were 27,000; 26,000; and 53,000 respectively! I guess I was
wrong about a potentially low count on Sunday. These counts are weird! First it starts with the abnormally low king count for the
early first run, now the huge counts for both the King and reds. I'm not much of a conspiracy theory kinda guy but what is going
on here?!?!! The reds are definitely early but from what I saw on Saturday and heard about on Sunday the numbers don't jive.
Some people talk about the red run biasing the king run counts. Okay then, where was the bias in the first run when tens of
thousands extra reds made it past the Russian River weir? If I could pin down who would benefit from these weird counts, I'd go
investigate. Okay so the reds are maybe just super duper early and there have definitely been more reds than ever hopping around
the river but these counts are all a tad strange.
The long and short of it though is there are reds in the river! I can't take vacation till the 17th so I hope the run lasts until then.
Even if the run is early it should be fine. What a strange year. Look at 2 entries below to find where you can get some good info
for red numbers. The UCI test fishery index was up again. More reds are on their way!!!!
July 6 Kenai River Kings
Well as I mentioned in my last entry, the reds have already begun to show up in force. On Friday the red counter rang up 27,000
reds and on Saturday the counters rang up more than 26,000 reds. That is extremely good numbers for this early in the season. I
wonder if it can hold up? If it does continue so strong, can it continue until the 17th when I planned to take vacation? I will be
surprised to see the counts that high for Sunday after being on the river Saturday. Bob was on the river Friday and reported large
numbers of reds jumping. On Saturday, we didn't see that many. Then on Sunday Bob was out again King fishing and he said the
reds were hopping everywhere. So maybe the counts will drop again for Sunday and rise again on Monday when today's
(Sunday) make it up to Soldotna to get counted. It is really an odd year. But if you look at the Russian River and the Kasilof River,
both runs seemed a week to ten days early.
The King fishing on Saturday was slow! The counters rang up over 1200 kings which is pretty
decent numbers for this time of year. Still very few boats were hooking up and a high percentage
of the hook ups we saw were to very small fish. Of course what is my favorite saying for Kings?
Yup.."Perseverance pays off!"
After trying Honeymoon Cove at first light and seeing absolutely no fish being caught, we went down to Mud Island to try a few
passes before the guides came onto the water. Well it was a whole lot of nothing for a long long time. Then about 10:30am, my
rod goes berserk and its FISH ON! Boy am I out of shape. My arms were just burning after the first few minutes. By coincidence
or luck, we were all running lamiglass rods with Shimano TR200 reels. The reels are great because they are high capacity and
geared low to make it easier to crank up large plugs. But that low gear makes it impossible to keep up with a fish that is charging
you. I had slack several times before finally landing a bright 42 pound buck. Too Cool!!! Pictures tomorrow!!! I was backtrolling
using a spin-n glo with roe.
Here's another trick I learned from Danny France of Salmon Herder Charters (www.salmonherder.com). When using a spin-n-glo
and roe rig, we typically use two hooks. We get most of the hook ups on the bottom hook that is trailing the rig and the hook with
the roe on it. Of course on the Kenai you can use only one hook. So how can you get the glob of roe secured ahead of your single
hook? The answer is to tie two hooks like you would normally. But make the bottom hook a bit larger ( we used 7/0 gamakatsu)
and the top hook can be any old beat up hook from 1/0 to 5/0. After you tie the two hooks like you would on a normal rig, clip
off the point on the top hook. Be sure to clip it after the curve begins on the bottom of the hook. This is to avoid the line rubbing
on the shank of the clipped off hook which is super sharp. Now you can attach the bait to the egg loop of the top hook which no
longer has a point on it. Now you're legal and you still have the bottom hook directly below the glob of bait. I have had problems
when using lighter line of having the back hook break off. We use nothing lighter than 40 pound leaders on the Kenai so its no
problem. We prefer Maxima chameleon, ultragreen or their Big game loops. It's a great trick to know! Thanks Danny! I saw Dan
on the water Tuesday with Richard who had emailed me earlier. I don't know how he did Saturday, but on Friday (the day Bob
reported to be slow) Dan had boated 5 kings for his clients. I sound like an ad for Dan, but if you really need the best guide, you
need to get in touch with Dan. I've said it before but there are only a handful of guides I chase around the river. Dan is one of
Well keep an eye on the red counts. See the entry below to figure out when to go after the reds. I sure hope this is a great start
instead of one of those runs that starts hot and then all the sudden all the fish are gone.
July 5 Kenai River Update-
Well Here I am still stuck in Anchorage, but I did get heckled by Bob who is on the Kenai River. Despite the good conditions and
high fish counts, Bob and Susan report relatively slow fishing on the lower Kenai River. They have seen a few fish hooked and
even had a decent take down themselves but no fish in the boat yet.
Speaking of counts, they did report good numbers of reds jumping along the shore line. When you see that many jumpers, there is
usually enough fish to catch. This run of reds could be early just like on the Russian River and the Kasilof. A great page to get
information on the kings and reds can be found at:
You can get the late run king count for the Kenai
) and the Red count for all the Upper Cook Inlet streams (http://csfish.adfg.state.ak.us/Mariner/UCIESC.php).
Maybe one of the best leading indicators for red salmon on this page is the UCI Test fishery summary
(http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/region2/finfish/salmon/uci/uciotf02.pdf). The higher the index, the more reds they caught in test
fishing in Cook Inlet. Often times a high test fish index will correspond to high numbers of fish in the Kenai River the next day.
Anything in the 80's and 90's should yield good fishing. It was 79 on July 3 so I expect good numbers in the river July4 and
today. Well the counts are up for the reds and as expected the red counts have jumped up to 8,800 reds on July 4th for the Kenai.
The bad news is that the test fishing index is down to 34. Its still in the sporadic stage but the runs seems to be building a bit
earlier than normal.
The reds may be making a surge...we'll see. They often announce the counts around 1pm or 2pm by phone. The updates on the
web were available around 10am If you can't be near a computer, you can get daily counts for the reds (not the kings) as well as
the test fishing index at (907) 262-9611 , it's a Soldotna number.
Jun 29th Sheep Creek Kings
Went down to Sheep Creek early in the morning around 6am. The idea was to get down there after the initial wave of people
waiting for the midnight opener. By 6am, the people who caught fish would be gone and the ones who hadn't would be too tired
and leave. Well that was the idea at any rate. We get to the river and there were 100 people literally packed into less than 100
yards of water. The only reason I even attempted to fish there was because I knew that Erick was already somewhere in that
mass and made room for us. It's not so bad when you are crowded out by people you know. But it was CRAZY!
People were catching fish so I stayed but I did not enjoy the fishing one bit. Of course in all fairness I was the only person in our
group of 6 to not hook a fish. Still it was just way too many people for my tastes. Another oddity was that whenever someone
hooked a fish, they would just stand in the same spot and then everyone would have to patiently wait while they landed the fish.
Maybe there are snags or something 30 yards below but it seems to me it would be a whole lot more efficient if people with fish
would walk their fish down and battle them unobstructed by a hundred other anglers. Its like they feared losing "the spot." I
always thought it was combat fishing etiquette to let someone back in the spot if they moved to fight a fish. I guess not.
It was definitely a party and people were enjoying themselves but I'll never do that again. Even if I lost lures, I'll walk an extra 50
yards to get away from the crowd. Though keep in mind there is usually a reason so many people are in ONE spot when it seems
like other areas are too crowded to fish. Often times its water clarity, snags, or simply that no fish hold in that area. I should have
taken a picture. It was crazy. Like I said, other people were having a good time. Most of the people were really polite, and people
were catching fish, but there is no way I would consider what I was doing "fishing". I did notice that many of the fish appeared
to be bright or semi-bright fish with very few "red" fish caught. Usually when I fish this time of year, most of the fish are at least
turning pink with half or more of the fish a brick red color.
As a side note, we heard at least two fishermen complaining that they got $110 tickets for not marking their fish down on the
harvest record. Well DUH! The regulations are perfectly clear about that. If you don't mark your fish, you are going to get
ticketed. So don't forget your pen!!!!
June 25 Ship Creek Kings
Ran down to Ship Creek at the opener at 6am with a friend. High tide was around 8am so I thought the water would just be
coming up but when I get there I notice the water is already flowing upriver. Hmmmm...not good. Well like I am fond of saying,
the fish are in the water so we give it a go. With the still water we opt to toss vibrax spinners.
As we fish we notice there are lots of fish surfacing and rolling around. I'm actually kinda surprised. The run should be past its
peak but most of the fish I could see rolling were still nice and bright. 30 minutes into the fishing, my buddy hooks up to a nice
mint bright hen of about 20 pounds. Too cool. Well after casting 15 more minutes we call it a day. I just don't have the
confidence to catch fish when the water is super high and slack. Besides, tomorrow at 6am should be even better than today in
terms of tides. I'll give it another go then. For me, Ship Creek is not the scenic kind of fishery that I can just sit there and kill time
on. I fish Ship Creek by fishing an hour or two max at the peak times of the day as often as I can. I always seem to catch a fish
every other time I go. While that ratio may not sound all that great, in terms of fish per hour, I know its a lot more productive.
Well that fish are still there in Ship Creek and they seem to mostly still be bright. The fish and game gal taking samples was also
saying that most of the fish she has surveyed were bright. That's a good sign. Maybe the run will last another week.
June 20-24 Ship Creek Kings
Four days in a row I head down to Ship Creek to give it a try. Although Ship Creek is always crowded, it is so close to home that
its easy to toss the gear in the truck to give it a try for an hour of peak time or so. It is definitely getting to be the tail end of the
run with seemingly fewer and fewer fish entering the river. Still, its been amazing how most of the fish I saw caught in the four
days were bright chrome fish. All the ones I landed save one were super bright with loads of sea lice on them. In case any one is
wondering, having a bunch of sea lice (a dozen or so) on the fish is a good indicator that the fish just entered the fresh water.
The sea lice don't hurt anything and they fall after a day or two in the rivers.
I like to bait fish. There is something about feeling the taps of a fish, the eventually take down, and the adrenaline rush when you
rear back set the hook and the rod doubles over with a heavy fish. Lure fishing is fun, but most of the time the fish takes the lure
and the next instant there is a fish on the line. For whatever reason, I love that split second of "anticipation"as I get ready to nail
the fish. Maybe that's why I like to bobber fish so much. BUT this year, the spinners especially the Vibrax, seems to be
outfishing the bait by a considerable margin. In every other year, the bait ALWAYS seemed to out fish the hardware. Strange
Thursday and Friday morning the action seemed slow. I never did hook a fish in the hour before work. I had some good raps,
but no solid hook ups. On Thursday I did see a few fish hooked up but not that many. Of course that evening Bob and Erick go
to the river and see a bunch of fish caught including two they hauled up. So of course I run back down Friday morning and I did
not see a SINGLE fish even hooked up. Hmmm...strange year....It really has been a bit different At Ship Creek for us this year.
In the past, if you went down to Ship Creek during the peak time, say June 7th to June 20th or so, it was virtually guaranteed
that you would at least hook a fish. This year it seems to vary from tide to tide.
Saturday was another story. I go down once in the morning and I hook and land what looked to be the largest King I have ever
landed at Ship Creek. I bet the fish was pushing 40 pounds. It was HUMONGOUS. The only problem was it was also brick red
with a big old nasty hooked kype. So I released the fish (well, actually while I was staring at the fish to see how dark it was, it
took off so I just grabbed my spool and broke it off.). Later that evening I head back down with the gang and manage to land and
release a 10 pound chrome king on bait. As the tide went out we started to flip for the kings and eventually I tag a nice 20 pound
chrome hen. Man, even the 20 pound kings can tear your gear up in the fast current at low tide. It was a blast. A pod of fish
must have just moved up into the hole because there was no fish one second and then all of the sudden there were 6 people
hooked up at once. 5 of the 6 fish got off but I got lucky and landed mine. Not an easy task on a 7 weight fly rod. I need to
hurry up and replace my 9 weight rod I shattered at the Kasilof River.
Speaking about flipping, I have to air out a complaint against a few inconsiderate fishermen. We are fishing bait at high tide. The
water starts dropping but still there is plenty of water left to fish with bait. But as soon as the water gets below chest wader high,
we have these guys (same guys every time) who simply feel obligated to wade right into the hole we are fishing. Of course they
aren't set up to fish the high tide so the second they can wade into the spot to flip they do without any consideration to the fact
that our bait and lures are still exactly where they are wading into. That is just downright rude! The worst part is, the time right
as they wade into the spot is one of the most productive time for bait fisherman. The fish get funneled into the hole, the current is
fast but not fast enough to cause our bait to drift. As bait fisherman, we wait for over an hour during the slow slack water time
to make sure we get a spot to fish that productive time. Then these guys ruin it by just stomping into the hole. I've said this in my
log a bunch of times, but if the water is deeper than your knees, it can hold salmon. These guys wade in up to their chest so they
can reach the "hole". I've got news for them, if you are chest or even waist deep, you are IN the hole! And if someones bait is in
the spot you are standing, then you are DEFINITELY IN THE HOLE! Have a little common courtesy out there! It makes it more
enjoyable for everyone. There's plenty of fish and plenty of space even in a tough spot like Ship Creek.
June 19th Ship Creek
Okay, I am sorry I haven't been updating my logs during one of the most important salmon fishing times in Alaska. With the new
baby I am lucky to have time to check my emails when I am at home! Still that's no excuse! I'll try to keep my stuff updated
more on a timely basis. Information in salmon fishing that is one week old is 6 days too old! Please accept my most humble
Okay enough of the junk....the fishing!!!!!!!
I took two guest of a friend out fishing on Ship Creek. Well Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage is not the most scenic place in
the world to catch a King and in the middle of Alaska's largest city, there is always a crowd. Still Bob and Paul had to get on a
plane at 8pm and they turned in their RV at 10am so the choices were kinda limited. They were game so off we go to Ship Creek.
We get to the River about 1:30 pm for a 3:12pm high tide. We start by tossing assorted color size 6 vibrax spinners. 15 minutes
into the fishing, I nail a small but bright chrome buck of about 18 pounds or so. I have a proxy and I wanted to make sure and
send some fish back with these folks so we keep it. As the tide comes in and the current stops (and even goes upstream on a big
tide), the action slows as it always does. Then about 4pm, the current starts to pick up again. I look over just in time to see
Bob's rod double over and he is onto a fish. Another beautiful bright fish. It's not huge but its mint bright and a hen maybe 15
pounds. A perfect eater fish and besides they had to go return a rental car at 5pm so with only an hour left in their Alaska trip,
we opt to keep this one as well. So Paul is patiently waiting around for a strike. We saw maybe 7 or 8 kings landed mainly on
Vibrax spinners but we just can't get Paul hooked up. I hook another king that's the best of the day but after a brief struggle it
gets off. Dang! Felt like a good one. Well Paul is patient but we glance at our watch and it's 4:45pm. Ooops, we gotta go! By
this time I had switched to a spin-n-glo and roe rig. I tell Paul to hold my rod for me while I clean up our gear and get the two
fish we landed prepped for the trip. I told him to make sure he yells if he gets one. It couldn't have been 2 minutes later, I hear
from behind me an excited voice yelling "Hey, I've got one! I've got one!" Well who is the lucky angler I think as I turn around.
It can't be Paul.....can it? HOLY COW! Well what do you know! He does have one. Oh yeah baby!!!! FISH
Unfortunately he was using my rod which was a medium weight GLoomis rod (8-17 pound rating) with 20 pound test. Plenty of
rod and line at slack high tide but no where near enough backbone or line while the current is starting to flow hard. To make
matters worse, I'm right handed and Paul is left handed so everything was on the wrong side. The king takes off down river and
then the next thing you know the line goes slack. " I lost him." says Paul. "Are you sure? Reel really fast for a second" I say .
Ummmmm...no......wait.... Oh Yeah!!!! The fish is still on!!! The fish takes off again and the battle is back on!!!!! The fish
must have made a U-turn and just shot straight back towards us. Well even with all the slack line the fish is still there! We were
fishing between two bridges and now Paul was literally at the end of his rope as the fish shot downstream and we couldn't go
any further. Oh oh.....But Paul makes a stand and the fish cooperates by coming back upstream. It was a MAJOR battle with the
medium weight rod. But after a round trip or so in between the two bridges, Paul finally gets the fish near shore and I net it.
WOW! A near 30 pound mint bright chrome hen! It made Bob and my fish look like bait! The morale of the story is
"perseverance pays off!" I know I have said that more than once in my logs. So that's twice in a week where the last cast thing
pays off. I know I have said this before but my dad taught me there is only one sure thing in fishing and that is "Son, the fish are
in the water." No matter how hopeless it seems, if you have your line in the water you ALWAYS have a chance. Way to go Paul!
Hurry up and send those pictures so I can get them posted. The action was okay but I was pretty happy to be walking up the
bank with three bright chrome fish straight out of the ocean....in downtown Anchorage!!!!
Paul and Bob also manage two nice kings from the Kasilof and Bob also during the trip manages a few nice rainbows out of
Dang, I tell you what... Alaska is just too AWESOME! I know I have said that before but that's still my story and I am
STICKING to it!!
June 15th Homer Lagoon and Anchor River.
Went down to Homer just to go take a look. With the restrictions on the Kenai and Kasilof River, I thought it would be a great
time to go check out a few different places in case anyone was interested.
The Homer lagoon had LOTS of fish in it. I got there as the tide was falling so there wasn't much action. I bet if you went as the
water was running in to the lagoon, the action would be better. Despite the fact that it was still very early in the morning around
6am, I saw no fairly hooked fish in the 2 hours I was there. This fishery will end about the end of June. In fact they typically
open the lagoon to snagging in the last week of June.
I had not fished the Anchor River since my Junior High days. It's hard to believe. The Anchor is a nice little river. Well I got there
after high tide so there wasn't much water in the lower section of the river I was fishing. In about 95% of the river I walked, I
could see the water was no more than a foot or two deep and I could see the bottom clearly. Then I came up on a hole that I
couldn't see the bottom. Hmmmmm....the hole was only about 10 feet long along a cut bank and when I probed it with a 3 ounce
sinker, I noticed it was only 4 feet deep. Well that's 2 feet deeper than anything else I had walked by so I tossed a chunk of roe
out there to see what would happen. Nothing.....then a slight twitch of the line....hmmmm.... was that a fish? I had no idea. But
then my wife calls asking when I was coming back to Kenai. Dang it. I HATE cell phones! Why do I even carry one with me???
Well I guess she is my wife and the mother of my baby daughter.....so I promise 15 minutes more and I would head back to
Kenai. So after 15 minutes I tell myself.."Last cast." So I flip my line out there after collecting all my gear...c'mon you can do
it.....10 more feet.....5 more feet.....rats! nothing....okay, I lied "one more cast!"...tap..tap...BANG! A bright 20 pound chrome
hen busts out of the water and the battle is on. It was the strangest battle I have ever had with a King. It leaps out of the water
several times and screams downstream out of the hole. Well like I said, most of the river is under 2 feet deep so this fish is
ripping up and down the river with half of its back out of the water just going berserk and throwing up water everywhere. Instead
of reeling her in, I basically ended up chasing the fish around the shallow water until I finally cut it off from the deep water. But
since it is so shallow I can't get my fingers into the gill plate to grab it. But finally I manage to wrestle it down and pin it down in
the shallow water. Sweet-OH! My first King salmon ever from the Anchor River. Well that's embarrassing but I guess there is a
first for everything!
June 8th Kasilof River with the Salmon Herder
I took my annual trip with Danny France, AKA the SALMON HERDER (www.salmonherder.com) on June 8th. What a great day
of fishing! As always, Danny delivers! Good thing we booked the charters before restrictions on the Kasilof River were in place. I
know I 've said this before but Dan is my "go to" guy for salmon fishing and he proved it again on this day. If you have ever
fished from the shore at the Kasilof, you know how all the guides work the "people hole" so close to shore that you could literally
spit and hit the boats. Then they stay there all day long. The way I see it, the guides do that because they don't have the
confidence to catch fish consistently through out the river. They feel they have to catch at least a fish or two before turning the
corner to Cohoe Cove because the take out is not too much further downstream. Why else would they endure the "death glances"
from the shore fisherman who are thinking "Why is the boat parked right in front of me, Don't they have the whole river?"
Frankly if I was a paying customer, I'm not too sure how much I would enjoy having an ounce of lead being tossed at me by the
hundreds of bank fisherman. It's not all the guide boats, but its a lot of them!
Before we get to the people hole, we fish the traps. We get several major take downs but no fish. Hmmmmm..... Okay Dan
decides to row like heck upstream so we can make another pass. Sure enough...BAM! Fish on. Hmmm...Kinda small....huh? ITs
a red! The third one I have caught from the Kasilof this year and the second one that inhaled a spin and glo and roe rig. Weird!
Well that's one bonus fish in the boat!
Danny heads down to the people hole and it is crowded. We leave our gear in the water as we pass through the 30 or more boats
there. I know Dan has the confidence to catch fish anywhere and he know we don't like fishing in a crowd so down the river we
go. We don't get our first King until Grassy banks but my wife hammers a nice chrome female on a kwikfish with a sardin wrap.
We then make our way into the boulder field and immediately Dan has us hooked up bottom bouncing. The bad news was that
Erick nor I cannot keep a fished hook to save our lives. Dan, thanks for your patience. In a 15 minute span, I bet Erick and I lose
10 fish. To make matters even worse, my wife nails another beautiful buck. So far the score is wife 2, the guys 0...arghhhh...well
it is her birthday! But no matter, Dan keeps working hard and its only a matter of time before we Erick nails a slightly rosie buck
and a nice chunky jack, and I hammer two more nice kings. All but one of the fish were caught on a spin and glo and roe rig. The
other was on a kwikfish.
As we get ready to call it a day, you could tell that the other boats hadn't fared as well as we had. When asked "how did you do?"
more than one boat replied "What great weather! At least it didn't rain." Translation: "we didn't catch many fish." The other reason
I know things were slow for most boats is that once we took the boat out and ran back to the Kasilof Bridge our 7 fish total
instantly attracted a crowd. Since my wife and I fish proxies, we are allowed two kings each. Erick got his, plus a jack and a red.
Since a lot of other folks were finishing their day as well, the crowd immediately cleaned Dan out of all his business cards. Dang
it. Now its going to be that much harder to get a day with him. As a side note, Bob and Susan go out with Dan the next day and
hammer four nice kings! They had another slow day but Dan works hard and puts them onto fish. Thanks again Dan.
I won't go skunked next week! I am taking my annual outing with Danny France of Salmon Herder Charters
(www.salmonherder.com) anyone who reads my logs knows he is my salmon mentor. I'm taking my wife out on her birthday.
Erick is coming along as well. We'll see how we do. It should be prime time for the Kasilof.. Barring some freak of nature, I fully
anticipate that we will be HAMMERING fish next week. I CAN"T WAIT!
May 31 Ship Creek
The Kings are definitely in Ship Creek. Went down during my lunch break and gave it a shot for an half hour. I didn't hook up
though I had a good strike. Saw at least 5 fish landed in that half hour. It seemed the folks tossing the hardware like vibrax
spinners and pixie spoons were outfishing the roe chuckers (that was me). I'm going to give it another go sometime this week.
Even if its only 30minutes at a time, if I keep at it, I know I will hook one!
May 25-27th Kasilof River King Salmon
We made our annual pilgrimage to the Kasilof River over Memorial Weekend. Boy the weather was just AWESOME! Still it was
cold cold cold at night. Nevertheless, our 2002 trip was pretty much par for the course in terms of catching Kings. The run
seemed to be getting better and better each day we were there.
Maybe its a tad early but at 6 weeks, my baby daughter gets her first fishing trip of her life in! Way to go! You know she gets
those good genes from her dad! At any rate the fishing....
On Saturday morning, I start fishing at around 2am. Flipping a corky rig in the dark, I manage to latch onto a real nice king but
after 5 minute struggle the hooks pull free. DANG! Well I usually lose my first king of the year anyways! So I patiently wait and
as the sun comes up around 4:30am, I switch over to a bait rig. After catching several nice dollies in the 16 inch range, things
slow way down! But as I always keep telling myself when things are slow for kings..."It only takes one fish to change your day."
Well this one fish sure changed my day! I glance down at my rod...or where my rod was and there IS NO ROD! Doh!!! Double
Doh! I peer into the water and sure enough my rod is laying in the water..that's odd...then my rod takes off into much deeper
water. I rush in after it and dive literally into the water. I barely get my fingers around the end of the rod, I stand up wet up to my
shoulders and then the fish takes off again. Well I wasn't about to let go so the king literally pulled me horizontally flat face first
into the water! I roll over and realize I am sitting on my butt in neck deep water. What can you do? So I started laughing to save
face. Then the rod surges again! Dang, the fish is still on! Well I lose the fish but it made for good conversation. 2 lessons learned
from this trip. 1)Don't be lazy and prop your rod up...hold your rod. If you look back at my logs from past years, you will see
this is not the first time this has happened (see my 97 logs May 17th). You would think I would learn. 2) I also state somewhere
in my logs about the importance of dressing warm. It is still very cold during the nights. But after I got soaked, I managed to fish
another hour an half because I was wearing polypro underwear and fleece. It kept me warm even though it was wet. Wool is the
same way but it could have been very bad if I was wearing cotton. Remember in Alaska, cotton kills!! Always be prepared for an
accidental dunking. I had a change of clothes packed so no big deal.
Oh yeah, I did manage to land a king on the second day. I was using a corky rig with roe and very light
weight and drifting it in the current. No mistake about this one. It hit like a freight train and when I landed it,
the hooks were down to its gullet. Out of our group of 6 we caught 4 kings so that's not bad. Sean landed a
nice steelhead as well. This trip was getting some of the early season jitters out of the way. The king fishing
only gets better from here!
I also caught a red and saw several others caught. Its as early as I have ever seen this many reds coming out of the Kasilof. I
caught the red flipping a yarn fly in faster current.
The king fishing should improve. Ship Creek waters are still high but it seems like its subsiding a bit. For a great page to show
you the water levels. Take a look at the Alaska River forecasting center on my web links. you can go to the Southcentral Alaska
summary and outlook at: http://aprfc.arh.noaa.gov/products/SRAK48PAFC.shtml
It looks like the water is subsiding a bit with the cooler weather. If we don't see any rain and this slightly cooler weather persists,
the water level should begin to fall in Ship Creek and Make the fishing better.
May 19th Kasilof River
Well the Kings are definitely in the Kasilof River. Unfortunately none were at the end of my line. I saw maybe 10 boats and 30
people on shore and I saw 5 kings landed. A few more were rolling. If you go down this weekend, you may want to bring an
ultralight rod down with you. LOTS of dollies chasing smolts around and a few steelheads and jacks as well. Traditionally during
Memorial day weekend I would say that everyone in our group catches fish but I would say the average is something like 1.5 fish
per person for fishing all three days. Of course we put in relatively long hours and we fish when there are fewer people around.
These early run fish tend to be small but they sure are feisty.
If you really want to land a King, the Ninilchik River may be the way to go. I've heard water levels are high at both the Ninilchik
River and the Anchor River. If the water is too high the fishing may not be as good. Look at my links to find the river forecasting
center and see if the hydrogrpahs for the two rivers are online yet. If not check out the "observation" links. I like the Kasilof
simply because there is usually more space. But if I can't catch them there, I may just have to run down to Ninilchik and give it a
May 12, 2002 Kasilof River
It's that time of year again to start another chapter in my log book. Went down
to the Kasilof river to see if I could luck into one of those early run kings. Well
I sure didn't see too many fish. I heard one guy pulled a king out of the river
but I didn't see it. I didn't get skunked though. After about 1 hour of fishing
using a yarn fly, I managed to latch into a nice 26-27 inch steelhead. Not bad
for the 3 hours I fished. The water was low. It should only get better. It's
still early in the year but I plan on heading down to the Kasilof again this
coming weekend. The other option is to try to hit a few of the tributaries on
the Susitna River up north for some big wild rainbows.
Bait is okay after May 15th so I will definitely try a spin N glo and roe rig next time out. I think bait has a better chance in the
very early season.
The other piece of news is that I have heard of a few fish being caught from the Kenai River. Also it is my understanding that the
New 2002 Kenai River regulations are still NOT in effect. The regulations needs to be signed into law then a 30 day waiting
period. So far it has not yet been signed. That means we will be using the 2001 regulations till at least June 15th. Check with Fish
and Game on this one. You don't want to get caught on the wrong side of the law! No big deal for me. I usually release most of
my kings in June always hopeful for the bigger fish.
LET THE KING SEASON BEGIN!!!!
June 2 Kasilof River
Somedays no matter what you try things don't work out. This morning I went down to the Kasilof River and began flipping a
corky rig. In 3 hours I hooked 5 fish, landed 2 but they were both snagged! Dang! Of the other three I saw 2 of them and they
were tiny, but the last one looked fairly hooked and at least 30 pounds. Dang dang dang! Getting tired of not fairly hooking a fish,
I decided to do some bait fishing. Well wouldn't you know it, I catch a red salmon. Huh? Usually reds won't hit bait but this one
hammered it! Well, no fresh king for supper so I had to "settle" for a fresh sockeye salmon...am I spoiled or what? Another
interesting thing I noticed was all of the hooligan (smelt) in the river.I bet I snagged 10 of them while flipping. A young guy next
to me was actually lip hooking them with a small fly. I wonder if the 2 I saw him "lip hook" were just lucky or if they really do hit
tiny offerings in fresh water. This could be interesting if they actually hit something. So no king this weekend but I only fished
three hours and many opportunities. Th king season is now officially in full swing.