May 2007


Finger Lake — I drove into the Finger Lake campground today and from that end of the lake there was no ice in sight. I saw a couple people fishing off the dock near the boat launch, and also spotted one powerboat cruising out on the lake and a canoer out paddling. Finger Lake is the best open water opportunity I know about for people who would like to fish or folks who would like run a boat and make sure everything is operating correctly before going out on one of the rivers.

My boats are scheduled for some preseason maintenance work at Greatland Welding and Machine early next week, and after that I hope to get out on the lower Little Susitna River and try for a king salmon on a boat trip.

Our May king salmon fishing charters will be starting shortly, and with the way spring in progressing this year, I hope to start operating between May 10 – 15. I still have plenty of paperwork to do before the fishing season starts in earnest, but it is hard to stay inside and concentrate on that task now that the weather is so much warmer outside.

Eklutna Tailrace — I fished the tailrace for a while this evening, but did not see or hook any fish. On the way back home I stopped under the Knik River bridge and saw some small fish that may have been outmigrating salmon flipping around. Almost all of the ice bergs look to have melted out of the river. I suspect higher water brought on by even warmer weather that melts Knik Glacier will bring some king salmon into the river by mid May. Driving across the flats I saw a pair of sandhill cranes and a pair of Canadian geese enjoying the late evening coolness.


Lower Little Susitna River — I talked with Doug Lang, a road supervisor with the Matanuska – Susinta Borough today, and he told me the Borough is in the process of working on Ayrshire Road and Little Susitna River / Little Su Access Road over the next few days. The decision was made by the Borough road service people to smooth out and then apply calcium chloride on all of Ayrshire Road and about the first mile of Little Susitna River Road — I would like to extend a huge Thank You!!! to all individuals who took the time to call the Borough and request this work be done. This will definitely make for smoother and less dusty driving conditions to the river this year. THANK YOU!!!

Eklutna Tailrace — I fished the tailrace again this morning with my #5 orange Flashtrap Spinner. No hit, no runs, no errors, no one left on base. Water really looked nice and there are some misquitos flying around, but have yet to see a fish.


Mat-Su Valley Lakes — Ice continues to melt rapidly on the area lakes. Driving over to Wasilla today I noticed Junction Lake along the Parks Highway was nearly ice free, and ice on Wasilla Lake had cleared off significantly from when I was in town last. This evening I drove past Echo Lake in the Kepler – Bradley Lake system and noticed there was a huge patch of open water along the North shore, and both Bradley and Kepler Lake looked like they could become mostly open water in the next day or two. Miers Lake on the Outer Springer system was about half ice free and should be mostly ice free by late tomorrow if not earlier. Scott McIntosh told me that Lucille Lake in downtown Wasilla was rapidly becoming ice free as well.

Eklutna Tailrace — I drove to the tailrace and fished for a short while this evening. The water was quite low in the tailrace channel and continues to be low in the Knik River, so it seemed highly unlikely I was going to find a fish at the tailrace, so after a short while I left. Might have stayed a bit longer if it had not been raining — would have stayed longer if I`d seen a fish. I fished the same #5 orange Flashtrap Spinner I`ve been using in my earlier attempts to catch a Mat-Su Valley king salmon in April. On my way home, I stopped and watched the river for a while down by the Knik River bridge, but did not see any thing of interest.

One of my guests who lives in Anchorage told me that some king salmon had been seen near the mouth of an Anchorage creek recently, so I expect the first early arriving king salmon should be pushing into some of the Mat-Su Valley drainages within 10 days. With the way the season is progressing — the water flows remain low, but the weather has been warm, so I expect an early Mat-Su king salmon to be caught before May 15.


Deshka Landing — According to the Deshka Landing website, the low water launch at the landing is open, and the Susitna River is mostly ice free, however, there is a big impassable ice jam about a mile upstream from Deshka River. It is good to know that the river is opening up, and people will undoubtedly be fishing Deshka River after the ice jam breaks — likely sometime within the next week.

Susitna Landing — I talked with Ron Wilson, yesterday, and he reported that the Susinta River was open up by Susinta Landing, however, conditions were not good. Lots of mud, the potential for ice flows still coming down river, and low water. The boat launch is currently closed.

Little Susitna River Public Use Facillity — I am hoping to have a report on the status of the lower Little Susitna River boat launch and access road by tomorrow evening. Last I heard the road was still rutted and in need of spring maintenance.


Little Susitna River — Scott McIntosh drove to the lower Little Susitna River today, fished for a while, and reports that Little Susitna River Road is still rutted and soft. The Little Susitna River is ice free, but very low. A few people have already been launching boats at the Little Susitna River Public Use Facillity Boat Launch.

I stopped by 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle in Wasilla today and talked with folks for a while. One of the people there had launched his boat at Deshka Landing and drvien down river to the big ice jam on the Susitna River, but could not make it past to proceed down stream to the Deshka River.

I`m planning to spend most of my day tomorrow working on boats. Ii`m hopeful that preventative maintenance now may keep my running with little mechanical trouble inseason. So if you want to talk to me about a fishing trip please leave a message and I`ll call back when I get home.


Deshka River — I talked with Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Fisheries Biologist, Dave Rutz, who told me most of the ice is now gone from the Susitna River. Dave said a couple boat had left Deshka Landing yesterday and travel downstream past Deshka River and all the way to the Yentna River. Dave also mentioned that the Susitna River has risen and that other boaters had travelled from Deshka Landing upstream all the way to Susitna Landing.

Little Susinta River — Water level has been rising slowly on the Little Susitna River, and I believe it has come up enough now to where someone could land a king salmon anyday — perhaps it has already happened — but there have not been very many people out on the river, yet.

I still have one more boat to get ready to fish before I actually take a boat out on the rivers. I hope to get that project done today, and then I hope to fish either Thursday or Friday. So either tomorrow evening or the following evening I hope to have caught a king salmon to report.


Eklutna Tailrace — I fished the tailrace more thoroughly than any other time I`ve been there this year, but did not see any fish or get any bites. Driving over I spotted 3 moose out on the Palmer Hay Flats and also saw a bald eagle. There were several groups of ducks at the tailrace, and Fish and Game has the park facillity open and operating.

I plan to take boats out for test runs on Finger Lake today, and will be taking a boat out to go king salmon fishing about mid morning tomorrow — so check back tomorrow evening

if you would like to know if we catch king salmon.

It`s late now, but a good thing I took all three boats for test runs over at Finger Lake, as I found one of the motors was not working correctly, so hopefully I can get it fixed sometime next week and avoid a problem during the peak of the season. I`m still planning to fish tomorrow using one of the boats that checked out well.


Deshka River — I fished the Deshak River today with Frede Stier and Dave and Linda Osgood. After a few hours of casting, while we were all taking a break to eat lunch a fish rolled right beside the boat where we had been casting for the previous 45 miniutes. None of us got a really good look at the fish, but it looked large enough to be a Deshka River sized king salmon. Needless to say, we spent a good amount of additional time flogging the water in the same spot, but none of us were able to hook a fish. We fished #5 Flashtrap Spinners in at least 3 different patterns, a couple different patterns of K-15 Kwikfish plugs, and a large Spin-n-glo drifted along the bottom.

I was expecting to see considerably more water in the Deshka this early in the year, but would definitely describe the water as low. The Deshka water was good and clear with little or no post break up debris coming down river. We boated down to the Deshka from Susinta Landing and navigating the river was quite easy — some people have been asking if there is still ice in the rivers, but aside from a few small chunks, all the ice we saw was melting up on the river banks. The Susitna River was low enough that I did not run several of my normal short cut routes for lack of water.

For widlife we saw a moose on the drive up the Parks Highway, and then several bald eagles and several flocks of geese along the Susitna River. We started out trip late in the morning making for warmer boating conditions, but may have seen more wildlife or perhaps had better luck fishing if we had gone earlier. We saw 3 other groups of people in boats over on the Deshka, but only talked to one group briefly, and they had not caught any fish either.

Little Susinta River — I phoned the Finger Lake Office of Alaska State Parks and was told that the contractor who maintains Little Susitna River Road has been contacted to smooth out the spring thaw ruts in the last couple miles of road to the boat launch. I`ve also talked with other individuals who have driven to the river, but reported the road still in rough condition. A few boaters have already been out on the river, but I`ve heard of no one catching a salmon, yet.



Little Susitna River — I talked with Tom Cloninger from 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle today and he told me that Norm Haynes had guided a group of fishermen that caught a king salmon today on the Little Susitna River. This is the first king salmon that the employees of the tackle shop had heard of being caught from the Mat-Su Valley this year — although people have definitely started seeing a few salmon rolling in both the Little Susitna River and Deshka River over the past few days. My latest report is that Little Susitna River Road remains rutted and ungraded. It may be time to request that the Mat-Su Borough Road Maintenance and State Parks Finger Lake Office get together and have their respective portions of the road graded.

Deshka River — I talked with Bill Booth who had been to the Deshka River this weekend, and he reports that the water dropped a few inches while his party was at the river. Bill also mentioned seeing one salmon roll, although they did not fish during their trip. For people interested in fishing with bait for king salmon, the lower 17 miles of Deshka River opens to bait fishing tomorrow. Expect low water every where in the Mat-Su Valley if you go fishing this week.

Eklutna Tailrace — I casted a #4 orange Flashtrap Spinner at the tailrace for a while this morning, but did not see any fish or get any bites. There were quite a few ducks splashing around in the water and attracting my attention, but each time I would turn and look I`d see ducks rather than water disturbed by a salmon.


Eklutna Tailrace — after doing paperwork and working on a boat motor earlier, I decided to fish the tailrace this evening. Unfortunately, when I got to the tailrace it looked like the powerplant had perhaps shut down the water flow for their annual spring cleaning. There was so little flow and water available that rather than fish, after looking things over I decided to drive home instead.

Litttle Susitna River — as of today, the road to the lower river is still rutted and ungraded. I have a report from an angler who was on the river today that the road certainly seems dry enough that it could be graded. If you would like to see Little Susitna Road graded and fixed up sooner rather than later you may call Mat-Su Borough Road Maintenance at 745-9826 (the borough is responsiible for the road into the Wildlife Refuge boundry). You may also call Alaska State Parks Finger Lake office 745-8943 Kurt Hensel (Parks is responsible for road maintenance from the Refuge boundry to the boat ramp). Calls from the public do make a difference.


Deshka River — I talked with Alaska Department of FIsh and Game Area Fisheries Biologist, Dave Rutz, this morning and he mentioned already having a report of a king salmon being caught on the Deshka today. Deshka River remains low, and the Department is hoping to start installing their Deshka River salmon counting weir today. The first king salmon counts through the weir should likely be online Monday or Tuesday May 21 or 22.


I am scheduled to guide my first king salmon fishing charter of the season Friday May 18, so I should have a report posted from that trip sometime Tomorrow evening. I plan to fish either the Deshka or Little Susitna River depending upon which option my guests prefer.

Little Susitna River Road remains rough and rutted, but according to Alaska State Parks Ranger, Kurt Hensel, and Doug Lang with Mat-Su Borough Road Maintenance, it has been scheduled for road maintenance work tomorrow. Thanks for folks who called the Borough and State Parks about getting some maintenance done — if all goes well driving conditions should be improved to Little Susitna River in time for those who will be fishing there this weekend.

Deshka River — I talked with Dave Rutz from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and he told me the Department was able to finish installing the Deshka River Weir today. Dave mentioned seeing plenty of graylling up near the weir.

Talkeetna River / Clear Creek — Steve Runyan with 3 Rivers Fly & Tackle in Wasilla told me that trout fishing had been very good in this area for an extended period of time. Much longer prime fishing than most years, likely because of lower stream flows we`ve had this spring.


Little Susitna River — I guided 3 guests on this morning and one of them caught a rainbow trout near the end of the trip while casting with a Flashtrap Spinner. The only fish I saw that might have been a king salmon rolled near the boat ramp before legal fishing time in the morning, but my guests cast spinners in the area for a while before we headed down river. Most of the trip we backtrolled a variety of lures including K-14 Kwikfish, K-13 Kwikfish, a Beau Mac Spinning Cheater, and a K-15 Kwikfish. The water was definitely on the low side, but seemed deep enough to hold salmon. Water conditions were quite clear, so we fished with smaller lures than I normally use for king salmon.

Like usual, while fishing downstream of the launch, we saw several ducks and shore birds. Later in our trip we also saw a moose with a newborn calf — the first calf moose I`ve seen this year.

Norm Haynes was also out fishing the Little Susitna today and one of the guests in his group caught a king salmon in the 30 pound class on a K-14 Kwikfish.

Little Susitna River Road was in the process of having all or most of those nasty ruts graded out when I was towing my boat home at the end of our trip.

Deshka River — Pat Donelson guided two fishing trips today on the Deshka, and his groups caught several rainbow trout and whitefish, but did not hook any king salmon. Pat said he saw one fish roll near the mouth of the river that might have been a king salmon.


Mat-Su King Salmon Derby — Today is the first day of the Mat-Su King Salmon Debry which will run through July 13. Any king salmon over 10 lbs. is eligible to enter and like usual there is a large number and variety of prizes. Like last year, Grand Prize for the adult division will be $10,000 cash. Weigh stations this year will be 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle in Wasilla and at their new location coming soon in Willow, Mat-Su RV Park near Sheep Creek, and Mahay`s Riverboat Service in Talkeetna.

3 Rivers Fly and Tackle has been the largest volume seller of tickets and weigher of king salmon entered every year since the derby started. New this year, derby tickets can also be purchased online at

Frede and I will be attending the annual passholders picnic at Susitna Landing today, but I am scheduled to guide salmon fishing trips for the next 40 days, so we should have first hand daily fishing reports posted for most of the coming king salmon season. Guest on our salmon charters usually win some of the weekly prizes during the first week of the derby, and I expect that to happen again this year, possibly as early as tomorrow.


Little Susitna River — I guided 4 people who caught 2 rainbow trout, but did not catch any king salmon. Water remains low and clear on the Little Su, and when I talked to the attendant at the fee station Parks knew of one king salmon that was taken there today.

One of the guests on my guide trip briefly hooked a fish that we thought was a king salmon, but it came off shortly after being hooked. The group also had one bite without a hookup, and one additional bite where a trout was hooked but lost. We fished a magnum wiggle wart, two size 15 Stingfish plugs, and a K-14 Kwikfish plug. The wiggle wart produced the larger trout – probably about 22 inches which was released. A silver and blue Stingfish produced the other trout – probably about 16 inches, and the 3rd trout hookup and a possible salmon hookup. The second Stingfish produced one bite, with no hookup, and the K-14 Kwikfish did not get a bite today.

On the river we saw the usual assortment of long legged shorebirds, ducks, geese, bald eagles, a sandhill crane, and a porcupine.


We had a change of plans, and I am not fishing today. If I get new information I may add it to this report later in the day.

Deshka River Weir — the king salmon count through the weir as of this morning was 3 fish total. At this time most salmon available at the Deshka are near the river mouth.


Little Susitna River — Greg Acord and I took my nephews, niece, and sister fishing today in two boats. We had 8 people fishing, who caught two rainbow trout, and hooked but lost two small king salmon. The river remains low, but has risen slightly.

The trout were caught on a magnum wiggle wart and a size 15 Stingfish plug. A Stingfish also drew strikes from both of the salmon.

Deshka River — According to Susie Hayes with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Deshka River water level remains extremely low for this time of year, but stable with average stream temperatures. I guide I know guided 4 guests who caught 2 king salmon from the Deshka today. Yesterday`s weir count was 3 king salmon swimming throug the weir.

I`ll be guiding a group again tomorrow morning, and am expecting to put some salmon in the boat, although I expect, like the last couple trips, we`ll likely get only a few chances to catch a king salmon. So far the fish seem to be few and spread out.


Little Susitna River — The river rose aa few inches overnight, and when I got there this morning, I thought for sure the higher water would have brought more king salmon upriver and my guests would land some today. Wrong. I guided 4 people who fished hard for about 7 hours using size 15 Stingfish plugs and a K-15 Kwikfish, but none of the lures were able to draw even one strike from a salmon, and we did not see a salmon roll the entire day. We fished lots of holes and covered plenty of water in our search to find some receptive salmon. We saw other groups who had landed a few fish. Although there were several groups out fishing the river today, there were few boats going past us and it was a good quiet day on the river. We saw some ducks, geese, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, and one moose along the river.

Frede and I will both be on the river Friday morning, so we will not be able to answer the phone until late afternoon, but feel welcome to call and leave a message at 746-2199.


Little Susitna River — Water dropped a bit overnight. I guided 4 people who caught one rainbow trout on a K-15 kwikfish. In addition to Kwikfish we fished size 15 Stingfish, a Beau Mac Spinning Cheater, a #2 Spin-n-glo, and magnum wiggle warts. We fished hard and came up with a few additional bites, but no solid king salmon hook ups. We saw one king salmon roll and another swim up past the boat in a shallow spot. A few more king salmon had been harvested today than yesterday by other anglers along the river.


Deshka River — I was expecting to guide two groups today, but ended up only guiding one group. I guided two guests to the Deshka River and they fished salmon eggs under ESB bobbers the entire trip. We had several light bites, and some that pulled the bobbers completely under, but when my guests set the hook they either did not hook anything, or hooked rainbow trout. One guest caught 4 of the scrappy rainbows. During the trip we saw 3 king salmon roll right in front of where we were fishing, but never managed to hook one of the salmon. The Desehka water had it`s usual dark color, while also having excellent visibility, so the fish had to have seen our baits, but just decided not to strike or to only strike so lightly that we could never hook them. It was fun to fish a different river, and we got to fish several of the more popular holes. As could be expected for this time of the season, the water is nice and cool at the Deshka.


Deshka River — I was expecting to guide two groups today, but ended up only guiding one group. I guided two guests to the Deshka River and they fished salmon eggs under ESB bobbers the entire trip. We had several light bites, and some that pulled the bobbers completely under, but when my guests set the hook they either did not hook anything, or hooked rainbow trout. One guest caught 4 of the scrappy rainbows. During the trip we saw 3 king salmon roll right in front of where we were fishing, but never managed to hook one of the salmon. The Desehka water had it`s usual dark color, while also having excellent visibility, so the fish had to have seen our baits, but just decided not to strike or to only strike so lightly that we could never hook them. It was fun to fish a different river, and we got to fish several of the more popular holes. As could be expected for this time of the season, the water is nice and cool at the Deshka.

Mat-Su King Salmon Derby update –I talked with Mike Hudson at 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle and he said they have not had a singe king salmon entered in the Youth Division yet this week. Also they had only had 5 king salmon entered in the Adult Division. Tomorrow is the last day of eiligible for prizes fromt he first week of the Derby — so anyone catching a fish over 10 lbs, and entering it before closing time on Sunday has an excellent chance to win a prize!


Little Susitna River — In the morning I guided 4 people who caught 2 king salmon and briefly hooked a 3rd salmon. All 3 kings were hooked on K-15 Kwikfish plugs. We also fished a #2 spin-n-glo with no luck.

In the afternoon I guided 3 guests who caught 2 king salmon on K-15 Kwikfish. As far as I could tell those were the only two bites we got.

Water has come up to about average level for this time of year and was muddy today.


Deshka River — I guided an afternoon group of 6 people to the Deshka and two people briefly hooked king salmon on salmon eggs, but none were boated. We spent all of of our trip fishing upstream from the mouth, but perhaps we should have stopped and fished at the mouth, as we know some king salmon were taken there.

The Susitna River has risen considerable since the last time I fished the Deshka two days ago, and there was plenty of debris floating down the Susitna. “Even while attempting to dodge most of it, I sucked up enough debris that I had to stop and clean out my motor on the 10 minute cruise from Deshka Landing to the Deshka River. The Deshka River weir count as of this evening totalled 56 kings passing upstream during the past 10 days.


Little Susitna River — I guided a morning group of 3 people who each caught a king salmon. All of the kings were caught on K-15 Kwikfish with individual fish weighing 38, 35, and 27 pounds. Water had dropped and cleared slightly form the previous day.


Little Susitna River – I guided a morning group of 5 fishermen who caught 3 king salmon weighing 36, 20, and 9 pounds. The first salmon was caught on a Spin-n-glo, the second fish was caught on a K-15 Kwikfish, and the third fish was caught on a magnum wiggle wart.

I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests who caught one snagged king salmon that was released and also briefly hooked but lost a second king salmon. Both fish were hooked on K-15 Kwikfish.

The water has continued to drop and clear and salmon have become spooky.


Little Susitna River — I fished with a group of 4 people who caught 2 king salmon. One fish was caught on a K-13 Kwikfish and weighed 25 pounds, one fish was caught on a Magnum Wiggle Wart and weighed 31 pounds. We also fished with a Beau Mac Spinning Cheater and K-15 Kwikfish in an attempt to draw strikes. The water has dropped even more and become quite clear. Salmon numbers headed upriver seem to have dropped with the low water, and I suspect that a new surge of kings should shoot upriver with the next bit of higher water.