May 2005


Eklutna Tailrace — I casted a #4 silver and black Flashtrap Spinner at the tailrace for about an hour this morning without seeing or hooking any fish. Even though I had no action, I believe there are at least 3 reasons why there is a greater chance to catch early season king salmon at the tailrace this year than last year: 1. There are far fewer people fishing the tailrace this year, so if there are only the same amount of fish then a person`s chances of catching them would be greater. 2. Significantly more king salmon should return to Eklutna this year since this is primarily a hatchery produced run and there will be 3 age classes of hatchery king salmon returning to the tailrace rather than only 2 age classes like there was last year. 3. Higher snow levels have resulted in higher water levels earlier in the season which encourages king salmon to swim upstream to the tailrace earlier in the season. The water remains a beautiful green, an ideal color for catching salmon.

Now that many Mat-Su Valley lakes are ice free I`m planning to take some of our guide boats out on Finger Lake for some check runs to make sure everything is working correctly before heading out on one of the rivers. Currently our first guided salmon fishing trip is scheduled for May 8, and altough it is early in the season, conditions look encouraging for that trip.


FIRST KING SALMON CAUGHT — I talked with a friend of mine who told me he caught an 18 pound king salmon on Sunday May 1. This is the first Mat-Su king salmon I`ve heard of being taken this year, so evidently our recent warm weather and resulting higher than average water levels for early May drew some king salmon out of the ocean and into freshwater.

2005 Guided Fishing Trips — One of the guides working with us last year severely injured his knee and will not be guiding until July at the earliest. A second guide has accepted a new job that only allows him to guide salmon fishing trips every other week. These changes decrease our availability to guide salmon fishing trips, especially in May and June, so if you would like to fish with us this summer, now is the best time to call for our remaining available king salmon trips. When I`m guiding fishing trips evenings are usually a good time to call. The best number to reach us is 907-746-2199.


Eklutna Tailrace — I casted a #4 silver and black Flashtrap Spinner for about an hour working my way through the water at the tailrace last night, but did not see or hook any salmon. I started fishing about 9:30 and did not see any other anglers, but saw ducks paddling along the tailrace and in the swamp off to the side. I also saw a beaver swimming up and down the tailrace and 8 moose on the hay flats on my trip to the river, and another 2 moose on my trip home. Water continues to look very nice, but I`ve yet to see a salmon at the tailrace this year. The tailrace is only about a 20 minute drive from home, and I`m definitely a big fish guy, so that is why I keep fishing here. It`s also been quite pleasent having the water all to myself each of the mornings and evenings I`ve fished.


Little Susitna River — Scott McIntosh reported he fished the Little Su yesterday, but got no bites and saw no fish. He saw one other truck and trailer at the boat launch, but saw no one while he was fishing. The road is still rutted and in need of road grading.

Ray Blodgett says the Little Susitna is a perfect green color up at Houston, and a bit dirtier down at the Little Susitna River Public Used Facillity. Ray`s been guiding some trout fishing trips on the Talkeetna River, and said on his last trip they caught some larger rainbows and Dolly Varden.

Ron Wilson at Susitna Landing reported the landing is open to launch boats and ice seems to have completely flushed out of the Susitna River and the tributary streams near Willow. He`s been busy working a the landing, and has not taken time to fish, yet, but expects people we be catching some king salmon at Deshka River by next weekend.

Our first salmon charter of the season is scheduled for Sunday, so check for the fishing report tomorrow evening if you would like to know what we catch.


Little Susitna River — I guided my first two guests for king salmon today, and we backtrolled the entire time without getting a single strike. The river level is considerably higher than normal for early May, however, the water has visibility of obout 18 inches or more, which is plenty clear enough to catch salmon. Little Su Access Road has some deep ruts, however, as long as the weather stays dry and people go slow enough to drive around the ruts travelling to the river is relatively simple.

While fishing today I was consistently impressed with how far spring has progressed on the river this year. Normally at this time I see big chunks of ice in several places along the side of the river, but I did not see any today. Vegetation along the banks is already greening up as well. I strongly believe some kings were present in the holes we fished, but we just couldn`t get them to strike. We did, however, enjoy a wonderful sunny day, and spotted numerous arctic terns, snipe, ducks, and a single moose. Our charter availability in mid and late May is going quickly, so give us a call at 907-746-2199 if you would like to join us on a guided May king salmon fishing trip.


Deshka River — I talked with Ron Wilson at Susitna Landing and Sam Ivey with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Both of them had boated down to the Deshka River over the weekend and reported that the lower Deshka looked to be in good shape for fishing, although neither of them saw any signs of king salmon.

Alexander Creek — Sam Ivey also spent a few days at Alexander Creek, and reported the water level had been quite high there, but dropped considerably in the time he was there. Sam talked to a few king salmon anglers near the mouth of Alexander Creek who had had no luck at all. Sam did see some seals and quite a bit of bird activity near the mouth on his trip to Alexander Creek near the mouth of the Yentna River, and figures there must be a considerably amount of hooligan in that part of Susitna River drainage at this time.

Little Susitna River — I`m scheduled to guide my next trip on the Litle Susitna River on Thursday May 12, and am expecting the guests to hook into some salmon on that trip. I should have a new report posted sometime that evening.

I`ve also scheduled to fish Deshka River on both Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15. The 15th of course will be the openning day to use bait on Deshka River this year.


The guided fishing trip I was scheduled to run fell apart, so I drove over to Eklutna Tailrace this morning to bank fish for king salmon, only to find practically no water flowing in the tailrace channel. I later spoke to Dave Rutz with Alaska Department of Fish and Game and learned that they were scheduled to finish installing their weir today near the hatchery located along the tailrace. After that job is done the tailrace water should start flowing again. Conditions looked poor enough while I was there that I did not even bother to fish.

According to the receptionist at Alaska State Parks, Little Su Access Road is scheduled to be graded today. I`d heard a report that it was already graded yesterday, but at any rate, the road should be in much better driving condition for anyone wanting to drive to the lower Little Susitna River over the weekend. I also heard two reports of some king salmon being caught from Little Su yesterday. The water remains quite high with run off from our recent warm weather, but should stabilize or start dropping with the cooler weather predicted for the next couple days.

I am currently planning to fish the next 3 days, and should have a report either from the Little Su or Deshka River by tomorrow evening. Check back if you`d like to know what we find.


Deshka River — I took two friends fishing today, and we fished several hours with spinners, and a variety of salmon plugs, but did not hook a single fish. Both the Deshka and Susitna River are flowing with high volumes of water — although the Deshka water is plenty clear for catching king salmon. We saw several other boat laods of people out fishing, and one woman with a nice bright king salmon. We also saw small fish surfacing, but nothing that looked like a king sized salmon. We spotted some eagles, a beaver, and two moose as we were boating along the Susitna River. It was a good day to be on the water, and I`m positive more king salmon will be caught at the Deshka this weekend as we saw plenty of boats headed up the highway during our drive home. I suspect a good portion of those boaters will be fishing the Deshka this weekend – especially since the lower 17 miles of the river opens to bait on Sunday at 6 a.m.

I am scheduled to guide another trip to the Susitna Drainage tomorrow, so stay tuned for that report tomorrow eveing.


FIRST KING SALMON 2005 — We put the first king salmon of the season into my guide boat today. I`ve been busy working on a new boat and have only taken my boat out 3 times counting today, and we finally hooked, fought and landed the first king salmon of the season from my guide boat.

Deshka River — I guided 3 people and one woman caught a 30 pound king salmon while casting with a #5 silver and pink Flashtrap Spinner. The group also fished with Kwickfish plugs, and Beau Mac Spinning Cheaters, but only hooked the one fish. While fishing Deshka River we saw one other king salmon caught, and drove past a group of people who were cleaning a third king salmon. We probably saw 25 or 30 boatloads of people on the Deshka today. Tomorrow is the first day bait will be allowed on the Deshka, and I expect it should increase angler`s catch rates, however, there is so much water in the Deshka that lots of effort will need to be supplied for every king salmon caught.

While boating along the Susitna River drainage today we saw several bald eagles, one grizzly bear, 2 moose, several beavers and ducks, and one swan. It`s always fun to see the wildlife and we`ve been fortunate to have some good viewing the past couple days.

Tomorrow`s report should cover the first day of bait on Deshka River. You can learn what happened right here tomorrow evening.


Deshka River — I guided 3 guests and they fished with salmon eggs and Beau Mac Spinning Cheaters, Kwickfish plugs, and Flashtrap Spinners and did not hook a fish. There was a large crowd of boats for this early in the season at the mouth of the Deshka, but that was to be expected being the openning day of bait fishing. We saw several salmon hooked, faught, and lost, and also saw 4 kings actually landed — considerably more action than I`d seen on previous days. I also saw a full sized king salmon (not hooked on someone`s line) jump out of the water for the first time this year, and one of my guests saw another salmon jump as well, so more fish are likely arriving now on a daily basis. Now that the weekend and openning day of bait fishing are over, I expect considerably less people fishing the Deshka during the week, and consequently better fishing for those who are fishing under less crowded conditions.

Even though Deshka River remains high with spring runoff, the current near the mouth has slowed down in the past three days, so I suspect the water level is starting to drop, however, continue to expect higher water levels than last year. There is small amounts of grass and sticks floating down with the high water, but water visibility remains excellent for catching king salmon once a group of salmon is found.

Little Susitna River — Although I have not fished Little Susitna River for a week now, I`ve been watching the USGS water chart and noticed water flows have stablized on Little Su for the past several days, so although the water level remains high, visibility should be good, and the number of king salmon swimming up river increasing daily. Expect daily king salmon catches from Little Su this week.


Alexander Creek — I talked with Dave Rutz Area Fisheries Management Biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and he told me that a large school of salmon had moved through the Alexander Creek mouth area and while it was there about 3/4 of the people fishing were catching king salmon. That is the best report I`ve heard this year, but keep in mind that even though the fishing was good on one particular day, it may be a while before another group of that many king salmon arrives. Dave also said one of his office staff had fished the mouth of the Deshka on Sunday and saw 8 kings landed while she was there.

We will be running some trips later in the week, and May 20 is about the time that we usually start getting into some king salmon action on nearly every trip. With a few days of cooler weather water levels have dropped and visibility has improved on most Mat-Su Valley streams so I also expect that to contribute to better fishing this week. May 20 is the first day of the Mat-Su King Salmon Derby, which will run through July 13. There are oodles of opportunities to win great prizes in this derby and I will talk about some of those opportunites in tomorrow`s report.

For those of you wondering why I have not fished more in early May this season, I`ve been busy helping build two new boats we are scrambling to get finished, outfitted, and on the water before the king salmon season kicks into high gear. Gary Feaster and his crew at Greatland Welding and Machine in Palmer are doing most of the metal fabrication and welding. The first boat only needs to be painted, and have the seats, and oar blocks installed before it will be finished. The new boats will not be as large as our 5 year old Roomy II and Roomy III, but they are specifically designed for fishing the Little Susitna River, and should handle better when rowed by one of our guides. When finished the Rowable I and Rowable II will be a definite upgrade to our fleet of 4 guide boats, and very comfortable to fish from.


MAT-SU KING SALMON DERBY — The derby officially starts on Friday May 20 and runs through July 13. Several items worthy of note this year include: the grand prize for the largest king salmon will be $10,000 cash, there will be two $10,000 tagged fish available to be caught sponsored by Sportsmans Warehouse and Alaska Roteq, and all ticketholders will be entered into a raffle for round trip airfare for 2 people to Honolulu provided by Hawaiian Vacations.

This year weekly prizes in both the adult and youth division will run 7 places deep. At this time overall derby prizes for largest kings taken will run 18 places deep in the adult division and 12 places deep in the youth division. There will also be additional raffle prizes awarded to any angler entering a king salmon in the derby. Anglers receive an additional chance to win raffle prizes for each king salmon entered (up to 5 king salmon may be entered per person).

BIG FISH NEWS — on May 17 an angler stopped at 3 Rivers Fly & Tackle to weigh a 58.6 pound king salmon he landed at Deshka River. If entered in last year`s derby this king would have been large enough to win the overall 2nd place prize, but this year it was caught 3 days before the start of the derby. Just goes to show that some of the heaviest kings available will likely be taken early, during the first 2 weeks of the derby. Last year`s overall derby winner was also caught during the early part of the derby in late May. We still have good charter availability for people who would like to fish with us during the early part of the derby in late May, and have posted out May King Salmon Derby Special at the bottom of this report. Later today we plan to add a report (from a successful king salmon charter, hopefully) on to this fishing report, so feel welcome to check back to see what is caught.

FISHTALE`S DERBY SPECIAL — We will provide a free day derby ticket for all paying guests fishing with us from May 20 – 31 of 2005. We strongly expect some of those guests will win derby prizes. If you would like to get in on the fun, and join us for our May Derby Special, please call us at 907-746-2199.

LITTLE SUSITNA RIVER — Greg Acord guided two people who each caught a king salmon. One of the fish was caught on a K-15 Kwickfish and weighed 38 pounds, and the second salmon was caught on a Magnum Wiggle Wart and weighed 28 pounds. While Greg was at the river he talked with other people who had caught kings as well.

Greg and I are both guiding fishing trips tomorrow, so check back then for reports from both the Susitna River system and the Little Susitna River. Perhaps one of our guests will be in a leading position for a derby prize.


Deshka River and other Susitna River tributaries — I guided a group of 4 guests, 2 of whom caught king salmon. The first king salmon was caught by fishing a corky and salmon eggs along the bottom and weighed 25 pounds. The second king salmon was caught fishing a Beau Mac Spinning Cheater and salmon eggs along the bottom and weighed 32 pounds. We also watched and talked to some other fishermen who had caught king salmon as well.

Little Susitna River — Greg Acord guided a group of 2 guests, one of whom caught a 33 pound king salmon. The water may be going back up from snow melt, but the kings are in the river and will be for several coming weeks.

We should have another report from both Deshka River and Little Susitna River by tomorrow (Saturday) evening.


Deshka and other Susitna River tributaries — I guided a group of 3 guests and one of the ladies caught a 18 pound king salmon on salmon eggs and a Beau Mac Spinning Cheater at the Deshka River. It rained most of our trip, but there was still plenty of boats fishing at the mouth of the Deshka. One of the guests spotted 2 moose along the Susitna on our boat ride to the Deshka. The water had dropped considerably on the Deshka, but I would not be surprised if it goes up agian with this rain, as other Susitna tributaries were definitely coming up today.

Little Susitna River — Greg Acord guided a group of 3 guests who fished about half of their trip and decided to call it a day rather than continue fishing in the rain. They caught no fish. Greg also mentioned the water was coming up on the Little Su.

We are scheduled for another trip tomorrow, so feel welcome to check back an find out what happened.


Little Susitna River — Greg Acord guided a group of 3 guests who caught no salmon. Although the water was up from yesterday`s rain, Greg said some of the holes he fished looked good. The water seemed to be coming up as the day progressed, but since the rain eased up and then stopped today, water levels should start gradually dropping again before long.

I`ll be fishing with relatives tomorrow, but feel welcome to check back tomorrow evening to learn what we caught. We are planning to fish Deshka River.


Deshka River and Susitna River tributaries — I took relatives fishing and had 8 people who caught 3 king salmon and 2 rainbow trout. Two king salmon were caught on a K-13 Kwickfish, one king salmon was caught on a Spinning Cheater with salmon eggs, 1 rainbow trout was caught on an M-2 Flatfish, and the other rainbow trout was caught on a Spinning Cheater with salmon eggs.

Most of the other rivers have gone up with the past couple days of rain, but as far as I could tell the Deshka has dropped since I last fished it on Saturday. I will be fishing the Susitna Drainage again on Tuesday.


Deshka River and Susitna tributaries — I guided a husband and wife who each caught a king salmon. The first king salmon was caught on a magnum Wiggle Wart and weighed 24 pounds. The second king salmon was caught on a Spinning Cheater and salmon eggs and weighed 34 pounds. Water level seemed about the same as yesterday.

Tomorrow I`ll be guiding another Deshka – Susitna trip and Greg Acord will be guiding a Little Susitna River trip. Check back late in the evening if you would like to know what we caught.


Little Susitna River — Greg Acord guided a group of 4 guests who caught one 33 pound king salmon on a K-15 Kwickfish. The river remains extremely high following several days of rain, but conditions should improve before long. Increased numbers of king salmon continue to arrive in the Little Su.

Deshka River and Susitna River tributaries — I guided a group of 4 guests who caught 2 king salmon weighing 17 and 19 pounds. One king salmon was caught on a K-13 Kwickfish and the other was caught on a Spinning Cheater with salmon eggs. In addition on this trip we saw a moose swimming one of the main channels of the Susitna River and spotted several other moose along both the Susitna and Deshka Rivers.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game increases limit and fishing hours on Deshka River. Starting 6 a.m. Friday May 27, the daily bag limit for king salmon on Deshka River will increase to 2 per day and the fishery will be open 24 hours per day. I would expect this to attract plenty of fishing and camping pressure to the Deshka River over Memorial Day Weekend. Guests on my boat fishing the Deshka River will be able to continue fishing for king salmon after they have landed and kept a king salmon, but until early June I would expect most anglers will likely not catch more than one king salmon on a trip.

Tomorrow I will be fishing the Susitna tributaries including the Deshka once again.


Deshka River and Susitna River tributaries — I guided a group of 3 guests who caught one 26 pound king salmon on a Spinning Cheater and salmon eggs and a rainbow trout on a K-13 Kwickfish. Our group also had a few additional bites which we did not manage to hook. Water came up a bit on the Deshka, but remained nice and clear. The river was busier with people today and I expect it to be even busier over Memorial Day Weekend.

I`ll be fishing the Big Susitna system again tomorrow. Check back to see how we do.


Deshka River and Susitna River tributaries — I guided a morning group of 4 guests in the morning who caught 2 king salmon on a magnum wiggle wart and rainbow trout on a Spinning Cheater with salmon eggs.

I guided an afternoon group of 5 guests who caught 2 king salmon on a Spinning Cheater and salmon eggs and 1 king salmon on a K-13 Kwickfish. They also caught 3 rainbow trout on a magnum wiggle wart, a spinning Cheater and salmon eggs, and a K-13 Kwickfish.


Deshka River and Susitna River tributaries — I guided a group of 4 guests who caught 5 king salmon salmon on Spinning Cheaters with salmon eggs. The largest king salmon probably weighed about 25 pounds. Water level on the Deshka River continues to drop, but the misquitoes are present in clouds, so remember to bring some repellent if you fish here.


Deshka River and Susitna River tributaries — I guided a group of 5 guests who each caught a king salmon. The two smallest kings were released while the three fish that were kept weighed 17, 19, and 26 pounds. 4 salmon were caught on Spinning Cheaters and salmon eggs and the remaining fish was caught on a magnum Wiggle Wart. Water level continues to drop on the Deshka. Alaska Department of Fish and Game`s counting weir was only recently installed in the river. When we talked to ADF&G technicians at the weir 8 king salmon had swam through this morning. I`m planning to fish the Deshka again tomorrow.


Deshka River and Susitna tributaries — I guided a group of 4 guests who kept 6 king salmon weighing 38, 33, 28, 26, 25, and 25 pounds. One king salmon was caught on a K-13 Kwickfish and all the others were caught on Spinning Cheaters and salmon eggs. We only saw one moose and calf along the river today, but while driving to the river in the morning I spatted a black bear and two foxes along the Parks Highway near Willow.

Little Susitna River — Greg Acord guided a morning group of 3 guests who caught 2 king salmon weighing 15 and 29 pounds. I also talked with Nathan Drake, who had a guest catch a 47 pounder in his boat in the afternoon. Water conditions continue to improve on the Little Su, and could be considerably better even by tomorrow.

Mat-Su King Salmon Derby Update — weekly prize winners from the first week of the derby should be listed on the Derby website sometime Tuesday, May 31. You can visit this website at I also talked with Tom Cloninger at 3 Rivers Fly & Tackle in Wasilla and asked what he knew about derby leaders. Tom did not know what was being weighed at other weigh stations, but said at that time the heaviest Derby king salmon weighed through the 3 Rivers Shop was a 47 pounder

I`ll be fishing the Susitna system again tomorrow, and Greg Acord will be fishing the Little Su, so check back if you`d like to know how we are doing.


Deshka River and Susitna Tributaries — I guided a group of 5 guests who caught 3 king salmon weighing 32, 20, and 15 pounds. Two kings were caught on a Spinning Cheater with salmon eggs and the third king was caught on a bare Spinning Cheater. We found some king salmon breaking water, but simply were not successful getting many bites. Water in the Susitna River and tribtary streams has been dropping for several days now and should be quite fishable in other streams besides the Deshka. After our trip I stopped by 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle in Wasilla and talked with a fellow who had a gentleman fishing in his boat catch a 58 pounder recently from the Deshka. He did not have a derby ticket or that fish would undoubtedly be the leader for the $10,000 grand prize at this time. I was hoping to see the weekly results posted on the Derby website today, but have not found them yet.

Little Susitna River — Greg Acord guided a group of 3 guests who each caught a king salmon, the largest of which weighed about 40 pounds. Water remains high, but has stablized and cleared a bit over the past few days. We`re expecting to catch kings on every trip now — especially with the water conditions we now have or improved conditions that should come from additional cloudy days without much rain – as is forecasted.