Jan – April 2007


2007 Reports will start after January 1.


Kepler-Bradley Lake System near Palmer — I fished with two other people and we caught 7 nice Arctic Char, the smallest of which was about 13 inches and the largest of which was about 16 inches. One of the guys fishing with me also caught a rainbow trout of about 13 or 14 incheas as well. We fished and caught fish with both Pautzke`s Balls 0` Fire salmon eggs and salmon roe which had been cure with Pautzke`s Fire Cure. We caught several fish on each type bait, although the roe seemed to be working best. We also used small pieces of roe to chum the holes and attract the fish more quickly. In addition we caught some very small landlocked coho and king salmon which were too small to keep.

An interesting highlight of the trip was when a bald eagle appeared and swooped down and pulled a couple of the fish we had caught off the ice.

Ice was good and solid and about 30 inches in depth. We attempted to fish in another location, but when we got to that shady part of the lake the snow was considerable deeper and there was overflow under the snow – about 6 invhrd of water which we did not want to stand in while fishing, so we tried some other spots instead. It was cool earlier in the morning, but by afternoon there was a warm chinook wind blowing that removed all hint of winter weather and warmed temperatures into the mid 40`s or higher. Quite an enjoyable outing.


Kepler Bradley Lakes System — I fished with 3 people who caught some small landlocked salmon and 4 Arctic Char which measure up to about 17 inches. All of the fish were caught on home cured salmon eggs, or Pautzke`s Balls O` Fire single salmon eggs. Ice depth remained at about 30 inches and the condition was good and solid.


Kepler Bradley Lake System North of Anchorage near Palmer — I fished with 5 people who caught some small Arctic char and landlocked salmon which mostly seemed to steal bait without getting caught, but also caught 5 larger Arctic Char, the largest 3 which measured 22, 19, and 18 inches. We used Pautzke`s single salmon eggs and cured salmon roe the whole time we fished. The group also caught a few larger landlocked salmon today, most of which were coho salmon rather than kings. There were about 5 other groups out fishing the same lake, but we spent all our time fishing one area and did not get to see how other groups had done.


Kepler – Bradley Lake system – I fished with 3 people who had flown to Alaska from Hawaii the previous day. We enjoyed a warm and sunny March afternoon on the lake, and I did not hear anyone mentioned being cold – just shows how pleasant March fishing can be – especailly when fishing later in the day when the temperatures have warmed up considerably. We fished with Fire Cured salmon roe and Balls O` Fire single eggs, and caught several small landlocked salmon and arctic char. One member caught an Arctic Char of perhaps 13 inches which he kept. A bald eagle flew over and landed in a tree beside where we were fishing as the guest was catching the Arctic Char which he kept. The ice thickness had increased substancially since the last time I fished, and if it gets much thicker, my hand auger will not be long enough to cut through.


Kepler – Bradley Lake System — I fished with some of my nephews and a neice late Sunday afternoon. We caught 3 Artic Char about 17 or 18 inches in length which we kept and several small landlocked salmon and a few small Arctic Chart which we released. All of the fish were caught on home cured salmon roe or Balls O` Fire salmon eggs. We fished the same area where we had fished yesterday, and although we seemed to have lots of little bites, most of the fish seemed to be very small. The eagle flew over and landed in a tree where he could watch as we fished again today. Even though it is still winter, long sunny March days provide quite a wonderful time to be out enjoying the outdoors. Temperatures should warm up even more during the next few days.


Kepler – Bradley Lake System near Palmer — I fished with 2 guests and we caught a total of 2 nice rainbow trout and 2 nice arctic char and some really small char. Like usual we fished with Balls O` Fire single salmon eggs and Fire Cured salmon roe. Today the roe caught all the larger fish, I suspect primarily because the smaller fish were eating the single eggs off before a larger fish would happen by, while the larger chunks of roe would last longer on the hook giving larger fish more opportunity to egg them. Ice thickness remained about the same as last week (over 3 feet in most places), except when we fished a sheltered part of the lake that had considerably more snow cover, the ice thickness was perhaps 6 inches less there. Weather started out cool in the morning, but warmed up considerably by the middle of the day. We saw two other groups out fishing today, but did not see a single bald eagle. The longer days of March and early April make for a warmer and very enjoyable time to be outside and ice fishing, however, I have plenty of work to do in preparation for next summer`s open water salmon fishing season, so I do not know how many more times I will be getting out to go ice fishing again this year.


The Great Alaska Sportsman Show in Anchorage will be running four days at Sullivan Arena on March 29, 30, 31, and April 1. I will be presenting a seminar on Curing and Fishing Salmon Eggs on Saturday March 31 at 7 p.m. and Sunday April 1 at 2 p.m. On Sunday, I will also be presenting a seminar on How To Catch a Prize Winning Mat-Su King Salmon Derby Fish at 4 p.m.

Each year this outdoor show offers people a chance to attend numerous seminars presented every day of the show along with a chance to learn about and purchase new outdoor gear at some of the year`s best prices.

The days before, during and directly after the Sportsmans Show are usually some of our busiest days for reserving summer salmon fishing trips of the entire year. If you are interested in fishing with us during the summer of 2007, you may want to give us a call as soon as possible to reserve your trip while we still have prime fishing dates availabe. Feel welcome to call us at 907-746-2199 or you may also fill out and submit our reservation form located on the Prices page of this website.


Kepler – Bradlely Lake System — I fished with two guests who were interested in finding the larger sized fish than what I had been catching, so we tried a lake I had not fished this year. We used Fire Cured salmon eggs for chum and also for bait, and drilled over a dozen holes, but did not catch a single fish. We watched an eagle land in a tree beside the lake where it perched and patiently waited to see if we would catch a fish, one of the guests got an eagle photo. We also saw another ice fishermen catch one fish shortly after we reached the lake, but aside from that the fish did not seem to be very active. Ice thickness was just a little less than the length of our ice auger. Looks to me like there should be at least another two or three weeks of solid ice to fish on this year. It`s hard to believe that I caught an ocean run salmon in freshwater last year less than a month later than this date.


Mat-Su Valley — it has only been 7 days since last report, and conditions have changed significantly. The warmer spring weather has finally arrived causing snow and ice to melt almost continuously. For a while there was a considerable amount of water on top of the lake ice, but when I looked at several lakes today it looked like most of the water had managed to seep through the ice. I did not venture out onto the ice, but if I was fishing tomorrow, I would proceed cautiously and drill a hole to check the ice condition before I got to far from shore. I would be worried more about the condition of the ice than the depth.

Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show — I will be presenting another seminar on curing salmon eggs and catching salmon at 3 p.m. on Friday April 13 at 3 p.m. In addition we will have a Fishtale River Guides booth at the show to provide our guests an opportunity to talk with us face to face when booking a salmon fishing trip for the coming summer. The show runs Friday from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. , and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. at the Wasilla Sports Complex on Mack Road. For best availability of trips you may also call us during the week before the show at 907-746-2199 in Palmer, Alaska.


Eklutna Tailrace — I went open water salmon fishing for the first time this year, or at least that is what I told myself I was doing. I`ve been trying to catch a king salmon in the month of April at this location for several years, and last year on April 27 I did catch an ocean run salmon here, but it was a silver salmon and not a king salmon. Back to today`s report, I cast a #5 orange Flashtrap spinner for a while, but did not see or hook any salmon. It is still quite wintery near the tailrace with a few inches of snow on the ground. While fishing this morning a little ice was forming in my rod guides, and there was a small amount of skim ice along the bank. From my past experience, I`ve concluded that fishing success at the tailrace is at least partially dependent upon the amount of water released through the Eklutna power plant. This morning there was not much flow, and I believe it is the higher flows that tends to attract salmon up into the tailrace channel.

It was enjoyable to get out and fish some open water for the first time in several months, even if there was no sign of fish. While fishing I was also testing out some new equipment guest on my salmon charters will have the opportunity to fish with. I fished with one of a new Daiwa Tierra 3000 spinning reels and a new model Airrus UXLS701MH spinning rod. I also tested a slightly different pattern of spinner than what I`ve used in the past. Everything worked flawlessly, although it would be nice to test each piece of gear with a salmon thrashing around on the end of the line.

Driving across the Palmer Hay Flats I spotted 4 moose on my way to the tailrace, and on my return trip I saw 2. While fishing I notice a few ducks paddling around the tailrace channel, and thought I heard some geese calling in the distance. Spring is arriving, but it will be a few more weeks before I expect to catch or hear of someone catching a salmon from a Mat-Su Valley stream.


EKlutna Tailrace — I made a trip scheduled around the high tide, but aside from more water and warmer temperatures did not see or hook any fish. As I crossed over the Knik River bridge I noticec lots of ice chunks floating around in the river. River and tailrace flows remain quite low, so there is not a lot of water, and the water in the tailrace itself is quite clear.


Eklutna Tailrace — I tried to fish the evening tide, but it was either too late or too small to raise the water level as far upstream as the tailrace channel. I experimented with another new rod today, and really liked how it casted and the sensitivity when retrieving a spinner. Would be nice to check it out with a fish on the end of the line, but that will have to wait. When I crossed the river quite a bit of ice had melted or drifted out of the main channel since yesterday. Still looks quite wintery, however, for catching salmon in freshwater. I`m beginning to think it could be mid May or later, before a salmon is taken at the tailrace this year.

On the drive to the tailrace I saw 3 moose out in the Palmer Hay Flats, and even though it was getting dusky, I spotted one more on the drive home, and a couple of flocks of geese flying overhead as well. Geese seem to be perhaps a week late this year.


Mat-Su Valley Lakes — I took a drive this evening to look at fishing conditions at several local lakes. Bradley lake had the most open water around the edges, but there did not seem to be enough open water to make very good fishing. I also looked at Kepler Lake, Echo Lake, Canoe Lake, Irene Lake, Junction Lake, and Miers Lake. I tested the ice on Irene Lake by walking out a short ways in a place where I knew the water was shallow. While the ice seemed solid enough, I did not venture out over water deep enough to make it difficult to get out if I should have fallen through, and I believe it may be time to avoid walking on the ice for fear of finding a weak spot. Looks to me like it may be at least a week or more befoe there is enough open water to offer reasonable open water fishing even in Bradley Lake. I have however, heard that people have been catching a few trout near the outlet of Wasilla Lake in the evenings right near dark. Having fished that area in the past, those sound like reasonable reports, however, the outlet of Wasilla Lake is right beside the Palmer- Wasilla Highway, and there is not much area to fish.

In addition to checking out the lakes, I also drove across the Palmer Hay Flats and looked at the lower Knik River downstream form Eklutna Tailrace. Still quite a few large ice chunks in the river, and a large ice flow had come down the river and was jammed from bank to bank above the railroad bridge. Driving across the flats just before dark I spotted one moose, a pair of swans, and several small groups of ducks.


Mat-Su Valley — We experienced another warm sunny day today, and after talking with a friend who told me how much ice had melted on the lakes and rivers even in the past 24 hours, I took another drive this evening to see what I could find out. The short summary of my assessment is that fishing conditions had changed very little from yesterday, and I decided not to fish. I saw a family fishing in the little bit of open water between Bradley and Kepler Lakes, but did not see them catch any fish. The Knik River still had large chunks of ice in it down under the bridge at the Palmer Hay Flats. On my drive I did see more ducks, geese, 3 moose, and a bit of green grass that is starting to grow, so Spring continues to arrive. Weather forecasts as of this evening were calling for almost continuous temperatures abvoe freezing fo the next week, so ice should continue to melt at a speedy rate. Bottom line, though, there is not much catching opportunity, yet, when it comes to fishing in the core area of the Mat-Su Valley


Little Susitna River — Scott McIntosh drove into the lower Little Susitna River today. Little Su Access Road / Little Susitna River Road is soft from spring break up and quite rutted. The Little Susitna River is still covered with ice at this time, so anyone thinking about driving to the river over this weekend may want to wait until later. This would allow the road to dry out and improve, and the river will not likely break up before some time next week at the earliest. Based on these conditions, I will not be attempting to fish the lower Little Susitna River until May 7 at the earliest.

Further information about needed road work on the route to lower Little Susitna River — The Matanuska Susitna Borough has more calcium chloride stockpiled this year than they`ve ever had before. In the past Borough road maintenance had applied calcium chloride to Ayrshire Road during one year — with the result being a signifcant decrease in dust on the road and a much smoother road for almost the entire king salmon season. Now is the time to contact Borough Road maintenance and request that calcium chloride be applied to Ayrshire Road if you would like to see less dust and a smoother ride to the river this season. The Borough person to contact is Chuck Braun at 745-9831, please leave a a message if he is unable to answer the phone when you call, and hopefully we can get this issue addressed as sooon as possible.

Eklutna Tailrace / Knik RIver — last night I drove across the Palmer Hay Flats and looked a the lower Knik River again. Ice bergs were still visible in the river and out into Knik Arm, and there was also shore ice along the North river bank. I`ve never caught a salmon with so much ice present along one of the Mat-Su rivers, but I`ll likely try another day or two in April, as for several years I` ve been attempting to catch a king salmon from one of the rivers in April, and the opportunity to do so this year is nearly past.


Eklutna Tailrace — Last year on April 27 I caught my first ocean – run salmon of the season– a silver salmon, so I decided to fish in the morning to see if I could match or improve on last year`s catch. I casted a #5 Orange Flashtrap Spinner for about 45 minutes, but saw no sign of a salmon at the tailrace. It had rained the night before and the air had a clean fresh smell to it. I also spotted 3 moose while driving to the tailrace, saw an eagle perched over looking the tailrace while I was fishing there, and also noticed several groups of ducks and geese. The shore ice along the lower Knik River is mostly gone, now, and the ice bergs in the river and out into Kink Arm, have also melted significantly. The Kepler – Bradley Lakes remain ice covered.

See previous report to learn how you can help improve the roads to lower Little Susinta River for the coming 2007 salmon fishing season.


Little Susitna River — Scott McIntosh talked with an individual who flew over the lower Little Susinta River today, and told him the river was still iced over for at least a few miles both up and downstream from the Little Susitna River Public Use Facillity Campground and Boat Launch.

Susitna Landing — I talked with Ron Wilson and he told me the Susitna River was still frozen over near the landing and there was not even any place to fish let alone launch and run a boat.

Eklutna Tailrace — I cast a #5 orange Flashtrap Spinner for about half an hour at the tailrace, but did not see or feel any fish. I did see a bald eagle, a couple pairs of ducks, and 3 trumpeter swans.

On my way home I pulled off and looked at the Knik River for a while near the highway bridge. I saw some small fish looked to be about 10 – 12 inches working near the bank, so I brought out my fishing rod and tried fishing for them, but none of them would attack my large spinner in the muddy river water.

After I got home I had two phone calls with people from out of state asking about ice fishing. While there is still ice covering local lakes, I would not venture out on it for fear of falling through — and I most certainly would not take anyone else out on the ice. In about a week or so there should be plenty of places to fish open water.