Summer 2001 Fishing Logs

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November 3 & 10, Mat-su Valley lake  First Ice Fishing!
Okay you know I am getting lazy when 1) I put my ice fishing trip on my summer logs and 2) I put two weekend into one log.  Dang, here's my advice to all of you single sport fishing nuts.  Don't get married if you want to fish a lot!  Now having said that, I'm glad I got married and all but my fishing time is definitely taking a beating!  Of course when I tell that to my wife, she blames it on me getting older and lazier!  Hmmmm......she may have a point.  Well none of you care about that so let's talk fishing.

Ice on the lakes in the Nancy Lake are was at least 6 inches.  I have reports from friend that tell me Big Lake already has 5 to 7 inches of ice as well.  Since we were looking for some fresh trout for dinner, we head off to one of the stocked lakes in the area.  The first weekend the action wasn't fast but it was relatively consistent.  Between Douggie and I, we manage 10 rainbows from 12 inches to about 19 inches.  We kept the smallest three to eat.  Hot bait was single eggs and shrimp.  Doug uses cooked cocktail shrimp, I prefer small pieces of raw saltwater shrimp.  I don't seem to have as good of luck using the farmed freshwater blacktiger shrimps that are so popular these days.  Peering down our holes we saw several large brightly colored char pass by but none took the bait.

The second weekend was a different story.  Unfortunately it was a slow slow slow day.  In fact we fished for three hours till dark and we had only one small fish to show for it.  As it gets dark, Douggie calls it a day and starts packing up.  But in the past I have caught a LOT of fish just as the sun goes down.  Well in the last 5 minutes with Doug already warming up in the car, I hammer at least 6 or 7 fish.  At one point I had good fish on both rods at once.  I was using super ultra light line.  I bet it's no more than 1 pound test snell on the hooks.  I eventually broke both of my lines and it was too dark and cold to retie the lures.  Once again perseverance pays off!!!!!

There is definitely plenty of ice, but be careful!  It's still thin enough that a little moving water, a spring, or some anomaly can cause the ice to be thin enough for you to fall through.  Always go with a friend.  It's funner and a whole lot safer!!!!!
October 7, Mat-su Valley lake
Douggie took me to a lake in the valley that I had never fished before.  The action wasn't fast but we had numerous bites and I even managed to catch three fish.  I caught a bright 16 inch Dolly on a yo-zuri pin minnow (like a rapala), a beautiful 23 inch Rainbow on an egg sucking leech trailed behind a large pixie spoon, and a 10 inch grayling on a brass krockadile.  I was impressed with the size of the rainbow given it is a stocked lake.  Douggie assured me that he had seen even bigger fish come out of this lake.

This is definitely the time to try to catch a few fish in open water as the fish should be feeding aggressively in anticipation of the long cold winters.  Though we were ice fishing in October the past few years, I think this year the freeze will come a week or two later.  Get those augers ready!  It is almost time to begin the ice fishing season!

Sept 29 & 30, Big Lake "Call of the Wild" Tournament
A group of us fished Big Lake for the annual call of the wild tournament.  The fishing was once again relatively slow in Big Lake.  The top Arctic Char/ Dolly Varden measured in at 27 inches...too bad we didn't catch it!  The tournament rule had the minimum limits for rainbows and Dollies at 20 inches.  The result was that no Rainbows were entered into the tournament.

The fishing for the past two years has not been as good, especially for the larger fish on Big Lake.  I feel a bit concerned that this fisher for us has declined rapidly in the past several years.  We still seem to catch fish but most are much smaller coming in at 12 to 16 inches for the rainbows.  The past two years has been weak for ice fishing as well.  Perhaps tighter regulations are required for the lake.  It could also be that pike are apparently showing up in the lake as well.  Whatever the reason, Big Lake in our group's opinion has declined drastically in the past several years.

For the both the rainbows and dollies, we had the best luck using a nightcrawler on a worm harness like those often used for walleye fishing.  We did manage to catch several dollies using rapala type minnow lures as well. I sure hope this fishery picks up in the coming years.

September 1, 2, & 8, Seward Silvers
Over the long labor day weekend I decided to head to Seward and try to catch a few silvers off the beach.  I'm not sure why but I love to fish with bobbers.  Maybe its just my old child hood fishing experience but there is something relaxing about watching a bobber on the water and the excitement I feel when all of the sudden the bobber just dips down into the water.  Of course unlike my childhood days when a bobber goes under and I jerk back to set the hook on a 6inch trout, this time its usually a 10 pound silver that blasts up and down along the shoreline really testing my tackle.

Well to make a long story short, I had a GREAT time.  On the Sept 1 & 2, I limit out with six beautiful silvers. I was fishing off the road past Lowell Falls (The gravel road leading up Caines Head Park and Miller's Landing past the Sea Life Center).  Many people here fish near the water falls mainly trying to snag the silvers (which is legal).  The best time to fish here is the few hours ;leading up to High tide and 2 to 3 hours after high tide.  If I had to pick the very best time, I'd choose the period between high tide and about 2 hours afterwards.  Every body seemed to be catching fish but it was pretty obvious that I was catching fish at a much higher rate than the other people around me.  I don't know the exact reasons why but let me tell you the differences I saw.  Probably the most important difference was I was using an elongated slip bobber carefully weighted so most of the bobber was under water.  If you read my logs, you know that I NEVER use those big red and white bobbers.  First of all its impossible to fish the bait any more than 4 or 5 feet below the bobber.  But more importantly, the bobbers are just too buoyant and once the fish strikes, you have to react immediately because since there is so much resistance, the fish often drop the bait after pulling the bobber around for a few seconds.  With my elongated slip bobbers, I have often had my bobber go under while I was doing something else and the since there is little resistance, the fish will actually take and hold the bait for a much longer time.  With a small thread bobber stop, I can also fish any depth that I want.  Though I generally fish about 8 to 10 feet deep, when I get bored I set the bobber stop to 20 feet or more.  I still catch silvers but I also catch a variety of other fish like greenling, rockfish, cabezon, and ling cod (Ya gotta let the Ling Cod go in Resurrection Bay!).

The second trick is that I carefully rig my herring on two single hooks so that under the bobber the herring hangs in a natural horizontal position.  The downside is that when you retrieve the bait, the herring eventually breaks in half so I end up going through 2 to 3 dozen herring in a day's fishing.  The upside is that I catch fish.  You choose!  The next difference is something I picked up from ice fishing.  I use fluorocarbon leaders.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I used fluorocarbon leaders ice fishing.  I blood knotted the fluorocarbon to my mono leader and when I looked down the hole, the mono leader was just glowing then you could see the know but the fluorocarbon line was just invisible.  The lure looked like it was just suspended in the water with nothing attached.

Finally every body casts as far out as possible.  I cast usually within 20 feet or less from the shore.  My theory is that if you cast 100 feet out, you are fishing in the middle of the ocean.  Nothing is "Special" about that spot.  You might catch cruising fish, but you are basically fishing in the "middle of the ocean."  I am sure the fish get "herded" along the banks as they swim around.  The shore acts as a barrier the fish encounter and it concentrates the fish.  It's really the only "structure" available.  The first day it was funny watching a husband and wife fishing next to me.  The husband was an accomplished fisherman but the wife was more of a novice.  She could barely cast beyond the rock shoreline.  BUT she hooked up to 3 or 4 times while the husband caught nothing!  She lost all but one fish but still having fish hooked up is a whole lot funner than getting skunked!

The season is wining down. On Sept 8, I went down and caught only one fish, but I only fished for several hours.  The tides were also much more moderate.  Still there seems to be a few fish jumping so I may go try it one last weekend.  All the fish were mint bright silvers from 6 to 10 pounds.  It's a blast out in the ocean because once hooked the fish can go anywhere.  Give it a try, it's definitely different fishing.  If you aren't into bait, I hooked up to several silvers using a large chrome spoon.  I was using a 2oz Kastmaster spoon but I have caught.

August 25th, Susitna River Tributary Silvers
Well sorry folks for the lack of fishing but with the in-laws coming into town for my wedding there just wasn't much time to go fishing.  But like a true fisherman, I got all the guests on a red-eye flight at 2:30am and then went fishing!   I decided to head up north and give some of the Susitna river tributaries a try.  The silvers are definitely starting to fade but it was fun all the same.  I went up with Sean and Melissa and though the fishing wasn't fast and furious, I bet we managed to hook a dozen nice salmon, mainly chums.  We did manage 4 silvers but we turned 2 back because they were already turning dark.  Still on an ultra light rod, it was fun.  Besides, any day of fishing beats working....and escorting the in-laws around is definitely WORK!!!  Now don't get me wrong, I actually like my in-laws, but still it's hard work shuttling them and 5 other guests around doing the sight seeing thing...without fishing! Doh!  I have no idea how that happened but the group wanted to golf rather than fish so that's what we did.

At any rate, the hot lure of the day was a green half ounce pixie spoon.  All the chums were kinda dark and 3 out of the four silvers had color but we did manage one bright fish and one that was still nice and firm.  The roe fisherman were doing pretty well also.  The Susitna River seemed a little bit higher than the previous years I've silver fished up there.  Well now it's time to get the last couple of shots at the silvers.  Dang we were ice fishing at the end of October last year!!!!  After a few more silvers, I may just have to sharpen up the old auger and get it tuned up.  Wow!  Where did the summer go?!?!?!?!?!?!!?
August 5, Susitna River Tributary Silvers
With the Commercial nets basically out of the water in Cook Inlet, the good news for Silver Salmon anglers is that there are LOTS of fish making it up the rivers.  This Sunday I went up North to a couple of the Susitna River tributaries to go take a look.  I hear there are LOTS AND LOTS of silvers in Ship Creek, but after taking one look one night, there was just waaaaaaaaay too many people for my tastes.  Part of the reason is that the Ship Creek Silver Salmon Derby is in full swing.  Its for a great charity so if you have to stay in town, why not go try it and maybe walk away with as much as $10,000 for a tagged fish!!!  Still I wanted to fish, not fight the crowds so I opted to go up north to find space.

The first stop I noticed that the Su was VERY high and the creek had a lot of water in it as well.  Since I tore a hole in my chest waders and I didn't feel like getting wet, I just went up the road to another one of the tributaries.  Here I found slightly lower water levels and a bank that I could fish from with just my sneakers.  As I approached the confluence of the creek and the Big Su, I noticed LOTS of wakes making their way up into the creek. oooooooooh This is going to be good I thought.  But where were all the people????  Then I heard a small group of folks a bit upstream and they were basically the only people there!  I usually bait fish for silvers with roe but since I was out to catch anything that would give me a fight, I opted to toss a number 4 fire tiger vibrax spinner to see if there weren't a few chums and pinks mixed in with the silvers.  Well, to make a long story was AWESOME fishing.  In the first three casts I had two mint bright silvers.  Nothing huge, maybe 6 pounds max.  But they were in excellent condition and put a up a decent fight.  The folks I had heard earlier had caught a couple of fish with roe, but in the slower moving water, I think the hardware is the way to go.  That way, you might also catch the occasional pink and chum.  I ended up using my Kenai River sockeye spinning rod which had 20 pound test on it.  It was way too much gear.  In the slower moving waters of the creek I prefer to us my ultralight outfit loaded with 8 pound test.  But hey, I caught fish with very few people around me and I enjoyed my day!  Who am I to complain!!!

You should try to minimize catch and release of silvers in tidal waters because of the low survival rates.  But further upstream like at the popular tributaries of the Su, I think the mortality rates are much lower.  SO I stuck around and in the next hour I bet I hooked up to 5 more fish on every piece of hardware I had.  They weren't too aggressive but the vibrax spinners seemed to out fish the spoons by a considerable margin.  I may just have to do that again next week!  Finally some peaceful non-combat fishing!!!

July 24,25, 28  Kenai River Kings
Well Sean, Kevin and I head out late at night to see if we couldn't hammer a King or two.  We opt to backtroll the Falling in Hole.  We jokingly claimed that we were going to hook up to a good fish in less than 15 minutes.  Well, maybe we should start up a psychic hotline.  On our first pass through the hole using chrome and Chartreuse K-16 kwikfish with sardine wrap, my pole doubles over and its FISH ON!!!!!!!  After a battle that took us back and forth between the two banks of the river, I manage to land a nice 40 plus pound hen.  Too sweet.  We glanced at our watch when we hooked up and it was after 11 minutes on the water! WOW!!!!!!!!  Well as you might expect in King fishing we didn't have another take down for the next 2 hours.  Oh well, it was still an awesome day!

We then decide to hit the reds and we just HAMMERED them.  On Wednesday I head out with some Japanese friends and it was an easy limit.  We wait for Sean, Kevin and Tina to stop by and they continued to hammer the reds.  We were fishing in a spot with strong current and fallen logs so the day basically ended when we ran out of gear.  It was AWESOME!

On Saturday morning I was fortunate enough to meet Betty & Chuck who I had been emailing with for 4 or 5 years.  We hit the river early and hard but we just could not hook up.  Boy I felt just terrible.  The only time out this year when I don't hook a king and its with people I met for the first time!  Ackkkkkk!!!!!!  To make things worse I felt like a rookie out there.  Maybe I was just nervous but things went wrong from the beginning.  First I spill gas into the back of the boat and despite flushing it as much as I could, it still smelled like gas in my boat.  Then 15 minutes into the fishing Betty notices that the reel I gave her had "exploded"!  What?!?!?!  Dang it!  Another rookie mistake!  Check your gear every time you go out!!!!!  Save yourself the embarrassment I felt about having mediocre equipment.  Well the day ends uneventfully and its my first time out this year that my boat didn't land a king.  I sure hope they give me another shot to take them out one day!

As always the fishing can change in a heart beat. Tina, Sean, & Kevin still hadn't caught a king as they were busy fishing reds and halibut.  So of course we had to give it a try.  We were all tired so we got out late on the river around 8pm.  After trying up by falling in hole and seeing nothing, we opt to head way down river to the pastures. Kevin hooks up first to a smallish 20 pound male that we released.  Then it couldn't have been 15 minutes later that Sean hooks up into a mint bright 38 pound hen.  Boy I would have sworn that the fish would have gone 60 pounds the way it stayed down in the water and pulled the boat around!  We were all amazed to see it was "only" a 38 pounder!  Man, we are SPOILED up here!  After the action slows, we decide to head up toward Mud Island just below Beaver Creek.  The first drift through the hole, Kevin latches onto another 25 pound buck that fights much harder than I would have thought possible.  Kevin the sportsman releases this fish as well.  It was getting late and Tina was fishing pretty patiently and I was sweating bricks trying to get her hooked up.  At around 11:00 pm I announce that we are done after this pass.  Still no fish for Tina.  It had to be the last 10 yards of the drift, her rod doubles over and right away it surfaces and we know its a good fish.  Oh yeah!!!!!!!  Tina battles the fish for nearly 40 minutes and by this time its kinda dark.  But boy did she do a great job of fighting the fish.  The guys could have been a bit more helpful as we more often got in her way than helped.  But the hook holds and the fish comes to the boat.  As I reach out to net the fish, I miss it!  DOH!!!!!!!! The kwikfish tangles into the net!!! OH NO!!!!!  But since Tina had done such a good job battling the fish it was pretty tired and just laid there for a few seconds.  Both Sean and I are freaking out over the situation and I just about get pushed overboard in the commotion.  But after a second or two we both get our composure back and we get the King into the net!!!!!!!!!  It was a beautiful mint bright hen that weighed 54 pounds.  Way to go Tina!

Well it sounds like the red run has fizzled.  That's too bad.  But still the silvers should be coming up shortly!!!!!  Get the lines ready!  Those silvers can be a blast!!!!!!!!

July 13,14,15,17,18,19  Kenai River King Salmon & reds

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I had a buddy of mine fly in from Malaysia to do some fishing.  We had a GREAT week of fishing.  The week starts off Friday evening (13th).  We head down to the river after driving down from Anchorage and I immediately hook into a 40 plus pound King!  It was kind a red so we released it.  I also manage a much smaller king but a king nevertheless! We were backtrolling kwikfish at the cross over hole below Eagle River.  The next day we are once again sitting at the Cross over hole and my friend hammers a 30 pound king on a k16 kwikfish which he releases.   An hour later I hammer a mint chrome bright king of 30 pounds or so that we release.  A little while later I nail a smaller king of 20 pounds or so that I release as well.  Boy, what a great start.  We fished only 4 hours or so each day and we nail 4 fish!!!  The next time out we are fishing in the evening of the same day and my wife nails a beautiful 45 pound mint bright hen below Beaver Creek. Once again the k16 kwikfish seemed to be the ticket.

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Having our fill of Kings, on Tuesday we decided to fish reds.  Boy we sure hit the jackpot that day!  I bet in a 3 hour period, my buddy and I nail over 100 reds with a rod and reel!  It was by far the hottest red fishing I have ever experienced!!!!!!!!   After that, there was really no choice but to continue fishing the reds.  The fishing was never as good as Tuesday and for the next 2 days it was a whole lot tougher to scratch out a limit of least for the guys!  My wife goes out and easily limits out in less than 2 hours on both days.  The two guys catch 5 fish combined both days!!!!!  ARGHHHHHHHH!  It's tough to act like you know so much about fishing and getting out fished on two consecutive days by your wife who has fished no more than 5 days total in her life!!!!!!!  To her credit, after a 5 minute flipping lesson, she looked like pro.  The amazing thing was she had a much higher rate of mouth hook ups than all us!!!!!!  Reds aren't easy to hook in the mouth unless you know what you are doing.  Even I have to sort through a few fin caught fish before getting one properly hooked in the mouth.  To make matters worse, I would say my red averaged 6 to 7 pounds per fish.  Pretty dang respectable.  But the 6 she caught on Thursday I swear averaged 10 pounds!!!  They were MONSTER reds!  I couldn't believe my eyes at first.  They looked like Kasilof River Kings!!!!!!!

Well its back to work but I'm headed back down to the Peninsula on Tuesday to spend a few days with Sean and a friend of his on the river!!!!!!!

July 7,  Kenai River King Salmon

The REDS ARE IN THE KENAI!!!!!!!  I haven't fished them yet but the latest sonar counts show that nearly 30 thousands reds went up the Kenai river on Sunday July 15th!!! More than enough to catch by rod and reel or dipnetting.  We have been fishing kings and the king fishing just has been too good to fish for reds...YET!

On July 7th I head out on the River with a buddy of mine and I proceed to hammer a dark 40 pound hen out of Big Eddy. That was in 4 hours of fishing and we missed several good take downs besides that.  Nailed it on a k16 kwikfish with sardine wrap.

For all of you trying to hammer a few reds you need to know the following phone number 262-9611.  It's a recorded message in Soldotna that not only gives you the escapement for the previous day, but they also give you the test fishing index.  Anything in the 100's is pretty good!  Last Sunday the index jumped up to 99 from the 70's & 80's.  You can also find the information on the web.It's at Look at the In season summaries.  A wealth of info!!!!!!!

You know, I never knew I had such a devoted readership worried about my lacking of fishing! I have been getting a few emails asking why I haven't been fishing as much. I do have to apologize.  Things have been a bit crazy.  Not the least of which is my grandmother has been hospitalized again and our family is taking turns watching her.   this happened a few years back but she recovered and I got back on track to fishing again in a month or two.  This time may take a bit longer but I am telling you that that is about the only thing that could keep from the rivers.  Anyone who has ever fished with me knows how valuable my grandma is to all of our fishing and she is definitely my top priority.  Fortunately for me I have an awesome family who are all dedicated to helping my grandmother recover as quickly as possible.  Basically what that means is my family is allowing me to go fishing during the peak part of the days so I can watch over her at the other times.

July 1, Kenai River King Salmon

With all the hoopla about poor river conditions, I really didn't know what to do this weekend.  Well as it turns out, I head down to the Kenai River because I needed to visit my Grandmother.  Good thing.  The river was HIGH and the water was kinda muddy.  Still it didn't seem as bad as all the reports were making it sound like.   Since July 1 marks the first day bait can be used on the Kenai, I decided to give it a go.  Martin drives down from Anchorage and since we weren't expecting too much action, we lazily head down to the river and launch at around noon.  The weather once again was AWESOME!

Well it takes about 2 hours but I nail a 40 pound Hen at Big Eddy on a chartreuse K16 Kwikfish with a sardine wrap at 2pm.  Then it went dead for a while.  I saw only one net in the air the whole day.  I did run into the Salmon Herder, Danny France, and he was out on his day off fishing the river with some friends and he had turned back one smaller fish at Harry Gaines hole.  Well the weather made for a nice day so we just fished and enjoyed things.  But as the day wore on and the clock quickly approached 6pm, we decided to drop down by Eagle River for a final go.  Good thing.   In less than one hour, we hooked up three times landing one mint bright king.   Too bad it was tiny 15 pounder! Oh well it was still a lot of fun.  One of the fish we lost hit the kwikfish and ran directly upstream.  We didn't even notice the fish was on till it was upstream of the boat and as soon as we tightened up, the line hit the boat and snaps!  BUMMER!  All of our fish that day were caught on chartreuse K16 kwikfish with a sardine wrap.  4 fish hooked and two landed seems pretty dang good since non-guided anglers were averaging a fish every 85 hours last week!!!!!!

A tip I picked up from the Salmon Herder last year was that in high water you need to lengthen the leader a bit and go with a bigger jet-diver.  Most people on the Kenai River pull the size 30 luhr jensen jet -planers.  We have had MUCH better luck moving up to the size 40.  The #50 size are still large for my tastes. They just pull too hard on the rods I have.    Even though the river is never 40 feet deep, the larger planers help to stabilize the lures behind the boat.  It sure worked for us.  Thanks again Danny!

June 16th  Deep Creek Halibut

Went put fishing with Bob on his private boat out of Deep Creek.  The weather was awesome and we were pretty happy to be on the water.  However things didn't seem too fishy and we waited and waited and waited for a strike.  Nothing came as the slack tide came and went.  In desperation, we make one more move out to slightly deeper water.  The tide is already flowing out and things looked grim.  Just as we were about to call it a day, I latch into a nice 30 pounder.  A few minutes later Bob hooks up to a 30 pounder himself.  Okay at least we didn't get skunked.  As we discussed leaving for the final time my pole just buries into the water but as I lift the rod out of the holder, the line goes slack.  BUMMER!  Seemed like a good fish.   Well that keeps around for a few more minutes and good thing.  Bob gets a hit and the fight is on!  After a 15 minutes or so, Bob manages to land a 110 pound fish!   Too cool!  Especially cool since we were in his 18 foot riverboat.  I tell ya, even the 110 pounders look huge in a river boat!  Well that got Bob and I some good eating for a while.  We were using herring on circle hooks fishing in about 90 feet of water.  We were slightly south and about 4 miles out of Deep Creek.

June 8 & 10  Kasilof River

herder2small.JPG (18343 bytes)Let's hear it for THE HERDER!!!!!!!   Danny France, A.k.a the "Salmon Herder", comes through for me again.   Danny is the owner of Salmon Herder Charters and most of you already know he is my "go to guy" for catching salmon.   June 8 was my wife's birthday so what better way to celebrate than a drift trip on the Kasilof River!  Well the trip was just AWESOME!

The day starts out kinda slow ... sort of .  I hook up a beauty above the traps on a spin n glo and roe combo bottom bouncing after 5 minutes of fishing.  Unfortunately I lose the fish 5 minutes later.  Danny has been saying he has seen a lot of fish getting off when hooked from the boats. The bite slows down and we see very few fish hooked in the "people hole."  The day is just beautiful so we don't really care if its a bit slow.

BUT it wasn't!  After dropping down into the Cohoe Cove area, it was strike after strike after strike all the way down to the take out.  It was AWESOME!  I bet my wife hooked over 7 fish in a 2 hour period!  My dad not to be outdone caught a steelhead, a dolly (4 inches long), a red salmon, and a bunch of Kings.... A four species day!  During the 5 hour trip, we hooked well over twenty fish of which we boated 11 kings!  The best thing was that Danny kept us away from the crowds.  There must have been over 50 boats on the water but we never saw any of them!  Too cool!!!!!   My wife boats two fish that exceeded 30 pounds this trip.  That's a good size king for the hatchery run on the Kasilof.  All of the fish were just mint bright!!!!!Akidadfishbsmall.JPG (9370 bytes)Akiking2small.JPG (6580 bytes)

Interestingly on this trip, the backtrolled spin n glos and kwikfish seemed to be getting all of the good hard strikes.  Bottom bouncing produced a lot of hits but the takes were very subtle.  It was tough hooking and landing a fish that we hit bottom bouncing.

On Sunday I head back down to fish from shore.  Typically as the run progresses, the flippers start outperforming the plunkers.  This was the case on Sunday.  I had one good strike on bait but was cut off by my line running into a guided anglers line.   Doh!  But the people flipping were hitting fish.

Ship Creek seems to be producing LOTS of fish for my friends.  I know Martin hammered a nice chrome hen on Saturday and Bob& Susan have landed at least 5 or 6 fish in a couple of days bait fishing at high tide.  The run is peaking now!  If you want to catch a fish while staying town, Ship Creek is a great way to go!

May 25-28  Kasilof River Kings & Ship Creek Emergency Order

kasilofking52701aJsmall.JPG (15168 bytes)Martin and I took our annual Memorial Day pilgrimage to the Kasilof River.,  The action was slow but the Kings are definitely in the River.  I managed two more nice mint bright Kings over the 4 days. Lots of hours put in for those two fish though.  The biggest news of the weekend was my wife caught her first ever King Salmon. Congratulations Aki! Now you are on your way to becoming a "real" Alaskan!!!  All three fish were caught plunking bait rigs.  Early in the year, the bait fisherman always seem to catch more fish than by flipping.  As the run progresses, generally the flippers outfish the bait plunkers.

Bob & Susan are on the river on Sunday.  By the time I get there Susan has already tagged two nice fish! One for her and one proxy for her mother in law.   Amazing. The proxy is a great system to allow our parents and grandparents to still enjoy fresh wild salmon as they get less inclined to fish.   It wasn't much longer that Bob hooks up so they manage three fish between the two of them. Another buddy of mine Sean drives all the way from Fairbanks to try and catch his first king of the year.  He manages a nice bright 16 pound fish in the first few hours if fishing!

kasilofking52701dJsmall.JPG (14427 bytes)Another big news is that Fish & Game has closed Ship Creek fishing at night.  You can now only fish from 6am to 11pm.  That's a bummer for our group who likes to fish the off hours to avoid the crowd.  Still Fish & Game did the right thing.  Fisherman are so good at catching the Kings that hardly any make it up to provide eggs and milt for the next generation of fish.  Also there are too many unscrupulous poachers that use the cover of darkness to poach the kings.  If you see anyone poaching or keeping an illegally hooked fish, you should report the incident.  It is these people who are cutting back on your fishing opportunities.  Having said that, last year they implemented the same restrictions and it really didn't hurt us too bad.  My group still caught fish.   Remember its because the people are catching too many fish that they closed the fishing at night.  It is NOT because there is not enough fish.  Check the tides, pick a time and GO FISHING!  You'll still have a good time! Check out Fish & Game's announcement here.

May 19  Kasilof River Kings

kasilofking51901ccsmall.JPG (15799 bytes)The King Salmon season has official begun for me!  I hooked and landed my very first king of the year on the Kasilof River on Saturday.  That rarely happens!  It's early and I usually seem to lose the first couple of fish I hook.  Well I guess every dog has his day!!!!   The fishing was slow despite the fact that there were a number of kings rolling in the river.  I saw maybe 20 boats and 30 fisherman fishing early Saturday morning.   As usual in the early season, the boats were doing much better than the shore fisherman.  Still I would say that I saw only one person in every other boat hooking up.  Virtually all the fish I saw looked they were caught on kwikfishes.  The water was LOW!!!!  We need some rain to jump start the run I think.

Since I had driven all night I was just too dang tired to flip so I decided to toss out a spin n glo with some roe into one of the pools I like to fish.  It didn't look good.  Of all the people fishing from shore I saw only one other fisherman hook up and he was using roe under a bobber.  Of course he was using one of those huge stupid round bobbers and he broke his line immediately.  Too bad.  I warn all my readers NEVER EVER buy those cheapo red white round bobbers. THEY ARE NO GOOD!  They are okay for catching 8 oz bluegill or trout on 8 pound test but you CANNOT catch 20 pound kings on 20 pound test with those bobbers.  Use a slip bobber or one that attaches with a single spring on your line without wrapping the line onto it.  See my stupid episode here.

After starting at 4am and hours of nothing, I told my self at 7:30 am I was headed home at 8am.  Fortunately after the sun warmed me up I fell asleep.  Waking up at 8:15 am from my nap, I get up to put away my goods and all the sudden my rod goes crazy!   Oh Yeah!!!! FISH ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I set the hook and the battle begins.   Well the fish was tiny by King standards at around 12 pounds.  But it was mint bright and I had promised my folks and wife fresh salmon so I kept it.  I felt kinda stupid at first but boy it turned out to be the right thing to do!  Fresh salmon grilled on the barbecue was AWESOME!!!  Besides I have a proxy license for my grandmother meaning I can catch her limit of fish too.  It's a great thing because there is no way my grandmother is going to fish for Kings but she sure loves to eat them.   So I can basically catch fish for her.  Well the FISH ARE IN THE RIVERS!!!!!!!!!  This Memorial Day weekend should be good at Ninilchik, Deep Creek, and the Anchor River.  With little snow to melt off and lack of rain, all three rivers should be fishable on the weekend.  If it rains and the water rises, I like my chances at Ninilchik.  I'll probably fish the Kasilof and Ninilchik this weekend.

If you go to the Kasilof, take along an ultralight with you.  I saw good size trout rolling everywhere and the terns were also out chasing the smolts around.  If you get bored with the kings, I bet there is some good action to be had fishing for the Dollies.  I'd try small silver spoons or spinners or a roe or single eggs under a bobber...NOT THE ROUND ONES!  The trout won't break your line but still the round bobbers have too much resistance.  Use a pencil bobber or the bobbers made by THILL.   Weight them so most of the bobber is under water.  That way when a fish takes, it feels very little resistance.  It's a deadly technique for Silvers in the fall.   Even in the local lakes for stocked trout, by using light line and the match style floats, you'll increase your hook rates by at least double.

I'm definitely starting to get a lot more emails about fishing kings in Alaska.   I am going to work on a Q&A section for my page.  But in the mean time you can find my king tip sheet right here.  On the other hand, definitely send me an email if you have specific questions.  It's definitely not a bother because I am trying to write a book and the questions allow me to gauge what people new to fishing Alaska find different about our fisheries.  It's never a bother and frankly you will be helping me out!!!!!


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