Blog Comments

  1. Ard's Avatar
    The good news is that 46 was the high for the area today. Here at home it is currently 33.5* at 6:50 PM so it'll probably get into the 20's tonight but that isn't cold when you think in Alaskan terms. Tomorrow's another day I guess.
  2. Ard's Avatar
    Hey Dewayne

    I'll go point by point: The much anticipated trip down to fish for steelhead was derailed by some sort of flu or plague I caught at a Christmas party on the Saturday evening before my supposed Tuesday departure. You probably could guess I don't get sick much due to limited contact with groups of people. The party was in a residence in Anchorage and while it was nice to socialize a bit I was wondering about the half dozen little ones and the 20 or more adults present. No one was obviously sick but by the following Tuesday morning I woke up not so well. I tried to go on Wednesday and only made it as far as Anchorage before facing the fact that I felt miserable and turned around for home. By the time I was back to normal the temps had dropped back into single digits so I stowed the Mokai back in the shop and here I sit.

    You have made the trip from here all the way down the Peninsula, now imagine doing that alone with your head filled with an infection and coughing so often that you can't stand it. Then toss in the achy joint feeling and think about enjoying some quality time on the water.......... Nope, too bad but the timing was all wrong.

    We had 2 full weeks of warm weather that melted all the snow from here to town and beyond. Then it went into a week of 0 to ten degree nights and days in the teens. Two days ago things started to mellow again and last night at midnight (new year eve) it was 34* here again. today looks like it will top out in the high 30's and the prediction is that this is going to remain for the next ten days or so. If that is the case I'll reload the boat and try again on Friday or Saturday.

    Oh I'll get to the cabin before may I suppose but the excitement has waned a bit with the weather as it is. I really don't like being there when things start to get really warm and it can rain. That turns the snow into slush and things get difficult. All I have to do with the wiring is to complete all the circuits by hooking them into the breaker box and install a ground rod under the building. I also have to run a line out to wherever I decide to build a little generator hut. I'm thinking of an elevated box structure large enough to hold two units with both insulation for sound and ventilation for a generator in use.

    The inside just needs me to settle on some sort of lighting fixtures that will mount to those reassessed boxes all over the ceiling. I'm going to use 12V LED lights and have to get busy with selecting which style and where I'll get them. I may run another line for a couple receptacles on the first floor and that's the extent of any wiring that needs done.

    For entertainment I read with a headlamp for light. Anything from history to fisheries research papers or edited volumes of them. When the spirit moves me I do have a very small notebook computer loaded with Word and there are all the components of what could someday be a book about fishing inside that notebook and some accompanying flash drives. Once you are there for a week or ten days all the things you think need done are finished and I find myself looking at the notebook and wondering why I don't write. Then I wonder if anyone would ever read it. Then I decide that if only one person read it that it would be worth while and I start again. It's only what I've learned, experienced, but it spans at this time over 50 years of wandering along some river, creek or mountain. In all those years it seems to me based on what I read of others that some of the experiences and lessons learned could be worth passing on to some future fisher type so I'll do some writing this winter.

    That's pretty much the list buddy, happy new year.
  3. ia_trouter's Avatar
    I enjoyed the read as always. So Mokai stands for motor kayak? So it's not a native tribal name as I assumed Were you able to get the mokais out much in late OCT-NOV?

    Hopefully you'll get the weather you need to make a voyage to the cabin soon. It's certainly cold enough down here on the mainland the past few weeks to make some river ice. I know you have a lot of cabin work to do this winter, and next summer, and next .... I can't believe I've never asked this before but how do you entertain yourself in your spare time during a long winter stay at the cabin? I realize you work all you can, but daylight hours are scarce and you can only do so many interior projects unless a lot of materials are there. I am guessing the radio gets a bit of a use so you have somebody to talk to Are you going to run some more electrical for the solar this winter? If not, what is on the project list for your first trip?
  4. Ard's Avatar
    Hello and thanks for sharing your experience regarding the down river charge. I didn't go into the business of line tension because I was running a bit long as was but you are quite right about the line bowing with the current and placing tension on the connection at the fishes end. One thing that helps to some degree is that I am using 13 1/2 foot to 15 foot rods so line control can sometimes be a little better than with shorter rods.

    Good point you've made,

    Ard
  5. corn fed fins's Avatar
    I'm from the same attic space of thought about fish running down river. The "no force" felt allows them to calm down but this can be for just seconds. When line gets stripped and I release the drag, these down river fish typically eddy out rather quickly(next hole) BUT if they swim back up the eddy and/or the excess line is pulled by the current, many take off again as line pressure returned. So, if I can get down to where they eddied before this occurs I'm golden as I can keep them there. If the bank requires a bit of negotiation I can almost guarantee that this fish resume a down river marathon. In those cases options are limited; attempt it again or break the tippet. So, for me, it becomes a game of should I attempt to turn the fish, risk pulling the fly, or playing a down river game. For me, while wading, this decision all depends on the location in the hole where the fish was hooked. Hooked in the current and I let them run. Hooked outside the current and it makes a run for the current, I attempt the turn. I would say I'm 50/50 on either of the options. Current or turning fish, accompanied with tiny flies, don't bode well for landing odds. lol
  6. Ard's Avatar
    The river was absent of people again yesterday but the air stayed at 32*, things are changing fast. I got one of about 20" I think, I didn't measure, just took a quick shot and let it go.
  7. Ard's Avatar
    Hi Paul,

    I will take a thermometer on Monday just to see what it is, I'll guess now that it may be about 42*.

    The behavior of nipping, bumping and tapping at a fly is nothing new to ne with trout or steelhead. I've read plenty about the ones that hit like a freight train and then bolt like a purse snatcher but the majority of my fish do a lot of playing before they screw up and get the hook stuck in themselves.

    Even last years steelhead were tappers, I was just steady enough to resist budging and therefore didn't prick any of them. About 80% of the tappers turned out to be come back fish and I either hooked and lost or caught them. I had one hit with a vengeance but it was an 18" baby steelhead hen.

    The solitude is what I crave, I always had that on mountain streams in Northern PA. but here it's labor finding somewhere to be alone. We did go up to Talkeetna today for a late lunch at Twister Creek Brewery's restaurant in town. The river up there was clear and only 3 boat trailers at the launch parking lot................... Maybe next Wednesday.
  8. eastfly66's Avatar
    Hey Ard, I think if I lived in AK and knew a spot or two like that it would be where I spend my time. Sure I would want to hit those famous rivers but when you tell me about the crowds it starts to remind me of down here. This type of spot sounds like experiencing Alaska in it's unmolested form.. the fish too.
    What do you make of that fish behavior anyway ? water temp thing maybe ?
  9. Ard's Avatar
    It's been almost seven years since the events I wrote about occurred and Boss is doing well. We just came home from the cabin Tuesday October 10 at about 5:00 PM. He will be 13 this spring and is still chasing sticks and ran all the way from the boat launch up the hill to where the truck was parked yesterday. That hill is over 100 yards long so he's better than I am.

    While we were at the cabin I cut some small trees and made him a new stick, just the right length and weight for a good throw and chase / retrieve. It's hard to imagine anyone being so appreciative for something as simple as a 16 inch long piece of stick.

    Boss has (as best I can estimate) put on over 14,000 river boat miles - 100 miles riding in a Mokai with me - 300 raft and drift boat miles and a few hundred float plane miles. We have walked and snowshoe-ed many miles taking us through all the seasons and he is sleeping on his bed right now as I write this. Of all the friends who happened to have 4 legs that I've had in life this guy is the single most loyal and steadfast that I've ever known. I love that German Shepherd.
  10. Ard's Avatar
    The Gypsum Hills are out the Glen Highway near Sheep Mountain. I don't know the exact mile post but they are not far after you pass Caribou Creek bridge and the gorge. That area is also a good bet for seeing a good aurora if you're up for a long drive. I've went out there to shoot November's full moon a few years back and the place takes on a really different look by then.
  11. Ard's Avatar
    A fella can't just lay in the fetal position and give up so I'm headed down to the river to look for some silvers today. So far there's been no trace of any and we're past mid July...........

    [Correction] I just checked the F&G website, yesterday July 16th three Silver / Coho salmon passed through the weir. Three. Not exactly Marty Stouffer's Wild America of the 1980's TV show is it? For those who may never have herd of Marty you can google the name, he produced some incredible footage of salmon runs in Alaska. When I first came here in 1989 I witnessed some pretty incredible things myself. I saw streams so full of salmon that it was mind boggling and it seemed there were fish everywhere.

    I remember driving along Cook Inlet in June and seeing countless King salmon that had gotten themselves stranded at low tide. There were a pack of Bald Eagles at each fish busy trying to kill the giants and then sitting astride of the carcass's and feeding. The fish were way too large for them to move so they had to get as much as possible before the tide came back in. I can remember watching an eagle hopping on one foot / leg with the other hooked into what was about a 9 pound fish busily dragging the fish onto a sand bar where it could be dispatched. I remember when the streams along Parks Highway got so many Sockeye salmon that the channels appeared to turn red as the fish reached spawning color. I also remember the horde of people taking fish, yes even in 1989 /90 there was tremendous harvest pressure on the salmon from resident and non-resident anglers alike.

    I believe that the combined impact of the commercial fishing - recreational and subsistence fishing and habitat degradation have taken a toll on these fisheries and the only road to recovery (partial recovery) would be a moratorium on fresh water harvest combined with reductions i the commercial harvest. Being that all of the five species have different lengths of time between the egg stage and adult such an action would need to be in effect for at least 6 years to have any effect at all. You see, we cannot base what may happen next year on what is witnessed this year, the fish next year were spawned anywhere from 2 to 6 years ago depending on species. It's a complicated mess but managing for the people will surly bring the situation to an even worse condition. Unless the State were to mandate that the fish will be managed for the continuance of the species (which I believe won't happen) then the salmon of south central Alaska are in a downward spiral that will end with them being a protected species. If that were to come to fruition the fishing here will totally collapse because of the relationship between the five salmon species and the other fishes. Trout and char especially rely on the salmon as their source of subsistence, the eggs, fry and flesh of the dead adults are what the other fish eat. Reduce the food source to a trickle and the other fishes are affected negatively as well.

    I am not optimistic.
    Updated 07-17-2017 at 12:43 PM by Ard
  12. Ard's Avatar
    WOW! Comments. I love comments

    First off Steve, I'll shoot more for sure as I have to go to the cabin and get to work any day now. I'll tote the tripod with and try to capture the area out there. Thanks for the positive feedback buddy.

    Dewayne, those hills are along the Glen Highway just past Caribou Creek. I'm not sure of the mile marker but it's almost to Eureka. I'll shoot some stuff along the Skwentna when I go up to trout fish.
  13. ia_trouter's Avatar
    Old cameras or not, very impressive photography Ard. Where are the gypsum hills located?
  14. kentuckysteve's Avatar
    Ard,
    These photo's are fantastic.The glacier shots are really amazing.The D80 is a great outfit.I used the same camera years ago before i started using all my Canon equipment and i remember it was an easy camera to get used to and sensor produced brilliant colors.I think i still have it somewhere.It was the only digital nikon i ever used and i liked it but its hard to keep up with several different brands of cameras.
    I like the different perspectives and your focus is spot on.These photo's really show how big and how open alaska is.Landscape photography can be a bugger but you really did a great job capturing the views.
    I am looking forward to your next posting of photo's.
    -Steve
  15. Ard's Avatar
    Things aren't looking good here. My local river has a weir on it and at this date (June 22) has passed only 570 salmon. This could be considered a catastrophic situation although the greater minds at AKF&G apparently don't see a problem. The river remains open to harvest 7 days a week and people are thoughtlessly fishing down near the estuary picking off what fish they can find!

    Frankly I am disgusted that the river has not been closed to any harvest at all. 570 fish in a river over 100 miles long and people in boats pursuing upriver trying desperately to fiind any of that sparse number. They aren't that difficult to find in the upper river, a 30 pound fish has a hard time disguising its presence. When ten of them are together in a tailout on the gravel they are easier yet!

    Dazed and confused here.
  16. ia_trouter's Avatar
    Looks like a mod you needed long ago Ard. No reason to suffer on the coldest days. The small windshield on my boat makes all the difference in the world when you can remove most of the 30mph windchill factor.
  17. Ard's Avatar
    If I'm lucky Duh, it won't need mowed too many times this year. I missed a deal on a bush hog for 900 dollars this spring but hope to get one next year for the cabin mowing. Then it won't matter how high it gets by the time I arrive.

    I put another entry on here, a windscreen on the boat finally
  18. ia_trouter's Avatar
    The "mowing portion" of my primary residence is just a bit bigger than yours, and 25% steeper grade. Not owning a high quality lawn tractor would be unthinkable. But one of us doesn't mow their lawn 25 times a year.
  19. Ard's Avatar
    Good to hear from you

    It's been a dry spring here and I've only had to mow twice so far. The bank on the west of the driveway is just starting to grow and hasn't been cut yet. I think that next year I'll get a lawn tractor so this can be done quicker.

    Given a choice between a riding mower for home or a Brush Hog for the cabin I'll take the Bush Cutter every time though. That's the real job.
  20. ia_trouter's Avatar
    Looking really good Ard. I roto tilled and hand seeded about an acre once. Yeah, your way is better. That should look pretty nice by fall.
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