Jan – April 2011



Fish for large May king salmon on our most productive rivers located a scenic 90 minute drive north of Anchorage and 45 minutes from Wasilla. This 6 hour trip includes a friendly helpful Alaskan guide, roomy comfortable jet boat, quality fishing tackle and gear, fishing several of our best hotspots, fish filleting at trip`s end, and a complimentary Fishtale t-shirt. We provide this special pricing for all 6 hour May trips, but charter space is limited, so fill out and submit our reservation form at the bottom of our PRICES page or call soon for best availability and selection of dates. Mention the  May Special to get this price. 907-746-2199.

Note: We will start our 2011 charters on approximately May 9.

Mat-Su Valley ice fishing —

I`ve talked with 3 different individuals who`ve been out ice fishing this winter and had enjoyable trips — catching some rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, and landlocked salmon. This is a Board of Fisheries Winter for me, however, and I anticipate spending my time involved in the Board of Fisheries regulation process rather than ice fishing — at least until after the Board of Fisheries Meeting ends in early March.

I do not foresee any big changes in regulations affecting local Mat-Su Valley lakes where I icefish, however, regulation changes could have a significant impact on the river salmon fisheries located throughout the Mat-Su Valley. I am cautiously optimistic that the Northern End of Upper Cook Inlet might see some regulatory changes that may allow significantly more salmon of all species to return to Valley rivers again this summer.

The Upper Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries Meeting is a public meeting scheduled from February 20 — March 5 at the Egan Convention Center in downtown Anchorage. I`ll try to post positive results form the meeting by the second week of March.



I guided 2 guests on an afternoon ice fishing trip. Ice on the lake we fished was about 2 feet thick. My guests fished with Pautzke`s Balls O` Fire salmon eggs and Orange Deluxe salmon eggs. They caught about 25 very small landlocked salmon each, 4 nice Arctic Char the largest of which might have been 16 inches and the smaller ones were about 13 inches — nice fat fish. In addition they also caught several small rainbow trout — larger than the salmon, but smaller than the char. Weather was beautiful and sunny, but there was plenty of wind out on the lake. Fortunately we were able to fish a relatively protected spot from the wind and they caught all the fish in the one area. All of the fish were released.


I guided two guests on an ice fishing trip today. Ice was considerable thicker where we fished today compared to yesterday. Not much extra shaft left on the auger when we finally punched through today.

We chummed the holes a bit with Fire Cured salmon roe, and fished with Pautzke`s Balls O` Fire salmon eggs and Orange Deluxe salmon eggs. We did not catch near as many small fish today, but did keep 3 nice fish, the largest of which was a rainbow trout of about 16 inches and then two Arctic Char. We also saw a couple bald eagles hanging out along the lake where we were fishing. Weather was just as nice and sunny as yesterday — however, there was only a slight breeze today.


I`m scheduled to guide an ice fishing trip on the afternoon of Friday March 18, so check back in the evening if you would like to know how we do. We had a good dump of new snow today, so I`m planning to take a snow shovel simply to clean some of the snow off the lake ice before we start drilling holes. Weather is supposed to be sunny tomorrow, so it should be very pretty with all the new snow.


I took 2 nephews, 1 niece, and 2 camera people ice fishing. Weather was sunny and beautiful with new snow. We watched a couple eagles that hung out in some trees near us on the side of the lake for about a couple hours. The group caught several rainbow trout, and landlocked salmon, but none of the fish were worthy of any big fish stories. Some days are like that — you never know what you`ll get, and today we did not even manage to hook a fish large enough to peel line off the reel. Everyone did however seem to have a good time and enjoy being outside in some beautiful late winter / spring like weather.



Fishtale River Guides has a booth and will be selling guided fishing trips at the Outdoorsman Show in Wasilla on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday March 24, 25, and 26, 2011. At the show we will have special pricing on our guided May King Salmon trips.

May Salmon Charter Special

Experience our standard 6 hour guided trip including a friendly and helpful Alaskan guide, customized roomy jet boat, quality fishing tackle, with fish filleting at the end of the trip and a Fishtale River Guides t-shirt. For those who can`t wait to get out on the open water and would enjoy an early opportunity to fish for king salmon, contact us soon for the greatest availability of May dates at this special price. Call 907-746-2199 or fill out and submit our Reservation Form at the bottom of the Prices page of this website.

Salmon FIshing Seminars

I will be presenting two seminars at the show:

Clobber Salmon with Bobbers and Bait — is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. in Seminar Room 2

Casting Spinners for Salmon — is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. in Seminar Room 2 also.

In addition there will be many other seminars on hunting, fishing, and additional outdoor subjects.

Standard show admission is $5 per person, with free admission for kids under 12, free admission for Military with ID, and free admission from everyone entering the show between 10 and 11 a.m. on Sunday Morning. Parking at the Sport Center for the show is free.

If you would like to attend the Outdoorsman Show in Wasilla this weekend, it will be at the Menard Sports Center with show times of noon until 7 p.m. on Friday, 10 until 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Tony Russ and his staff at Chinook Shows put on a very good show, and I hope to see you there. For more information about the Mat-Su Outdoorsman show copy and paste the following link into your browser:



After spending the last 3 days at the Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show in Wasilla, I will be traveling to Anchorage later this week to present salmon fishing seminars at the Great Alaska Sportsman Show on Thursday March 31, Friday April 1, and Saturday April 2 of this week.

Learn some of the tips and techniques that produce plenty of coho, king, and other salmon on our Alaska salmon charters by attending one or more of the following sessions:


Thursday and Saturday at 5 p.m. in Sullivan Arnea VIP Lounge


Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in Sullivan Arean VIP Lounge


SInce we still have prime May King Salmon Charter space available we will continue to offer special priced May King Salmon Trips — with a complimentary Fishtale T-Shirt included as long as supply lasts . We sold several of these trips at the Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show, and additional people expressed interest in booking some of these dates — so for the best availability of May charter dates give us a call now, while the date you want may still be available. 907-746-2199

Great Alaska Sportsman Show dates and hours are:

Thursday March 31 4 – 9 p.m.

Friday April 1 noon – 9 p.m.

Saturday April 2 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday April 3 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

For more information about the Sportsman Show visit their website at: http://www.greatalaskasportsmanshow.com


Frede and I took 3 nephew and a niece ice fishing this afternoon. We fished a different lake that we had not fished yet this winter, and after drilling several fruitless holes, we found an abundance of decent sized rainbow trout ( about 13 inches). We fished a little less than 3 hours and ended up catching 20 good fighting trout. All of the trout were caught on Pautzke`s Balls `O Fire salmon eggs or salmon roe cured with Pautzke`s Fire Cure. The ice was still plenty thick and plenty storng — although it had been warm all day today, and much of the snow had melted leaving large puddles of water scattered on top of the ice. My youngest nephew said this was the first time he had caught his limit of good sized fish while ice fishing, so this was his best ice fishing trip ever. Everyone had a good time catching fish.


Great Alaska Sportsman Show — Anchorage

I walked around the show for about an hour yesterday, and found a couple show specials that will likely take some of my money over the next two days. One deal in particular seemed exceptional — a person could purchase 100 corkie drift bobbers for a mere $5 at the large B & J Sporting Goods display directly across from the entrance at Ben Boeke Arena. I am hoping to find some super braid line in 20 lb. test or less for use on some light spinning rods — I suspect at least one vendor will have some at the show with special pricing. I also want to check prices on new boats and motors. The show is a wonderful place for one stop shopping on a huge selection of outdoor gear — as well as providing an opportunity to compare many different Alaska charter fishing options.

We has a good 3 or 4 inches of snow yesterday morning, and that somewhat delayed our trip into Anchorage to see the show, but the snow is already gone from the roads and I plan to spend more time at the show today.

I also present my show seminar — Clobbering Salmon with Bobbers and Bait — this evening in the Sullivan VIP Lounge at 7 p.m. Hope to see you there.



Today`s fishing report covers some of the new gear guests will have an opportunity to fish with on our 2011 guided fishing trips. Topping the list are redesigned Flashtrap Spinners I`ve developed after testing prototypes the past couple seasons. For size #4, and #5 Flashtraps I`ve upgraded to premium sharper and larger hooks that have better penetration for hooking and securing large fish. In addition, I`ve changed the swivel / wire wrapping in a way that will provide more fishing time and less time dealing with fouled lures. Finally, I`ve started building some of our #5 Spinners with a lighter body allowing slower presentations which produce more strikes, and because of the lighter body — will also provide less chance for snagging bottom. 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle in Wasilla, Alaska already stocks several patterns of our improved Flashtrap Spinners, so if you`d like to experiment with one of our newest successes stop by and pick up a few — or call 3 Rivers Fy & Tackle at 907-373-5434 to order.

I have some new back trolling rods and reels, and several new spinning reel / bobber rods outfits as well. I purchased a couple extra light spinning rods for casting small spinners in low water conditions — along with some smaller Flashtrap spinners and lighter line to complete a balanced ultra light type fishing experience for those would like to try this approach.

I`m excited about new Ultra Violet (UV) Kwikfish plug color patterns put out by Luhr Jensen this year, and have 4 new patterns to tempt large Mat-Su king salmon at the start of the season. From Blue Fox I have a small supply of purple bodied #6 Vibrax Spinners specifically to throw at Deshka River king salmon.

Of course, I`ve also secured good quantities of our tried and true producers: Pautzke Fire Cure, ESB Bobbers, Jet Divers, and Spinning Cheaters.


Salmon charter operators are already boating king salmon in lower Cook Inlet, however, it will likely be two or three weeks before we will be running a boat, and searching for our first Mat-Su Valley king salmon of 2011. May 9 I plan to start guiding trips if river and launch conditions are favorable. Give us a call to join the fun, and check out some of our new gear on one of our first king salmon charters of the season. 907-746-2199


Eklutna Tailrace / Knik River–

With all the beautiful weather we`ve been having the past couple weeks, I decided to drive over to the tailrace and cast a spinner for a while. Driving over, the Knik River still has a lot of ice in it, but at least some of it is starting to break up. I suppose it will still be another week or more before most of it is gone. I saw a moose feeding not far from the highway as I drove along the Old Glenn Highway.

The water was cold and clear at the tailrace, and I could see several lures stuck on the bottom that anglers had evidently snagged up and lost last year. I cast for about 20 minutes, but aside from a single duck that took off soon after I arrived, I saw no signs of life and did not get any bites. I got what I really expected, however, which was the first opportunity for me to cast into open water since I closed out my charter season last fall.

On the way home I spotted the first pair of Canadian geese I`ve seen this spring. Previously I`d seen Trumpeter Swans, and a few ducks. The waterfowl migration numbers should start exploding soon for a couple or three weeks around here, and then it will, for the most part, be over as most of the birds move farther North or West for summer nesting grounds.

I hope to get out and do a bit more casting later this week, but tonight`s trip makes me think I may be a week or more early.


Eklutna Tailrace / Knik River —

We finally had an evening with cloud cover where overnight temperatures stayed close to not freezing, last night. This time of year that is exactly what we need (maybe even a bit warmer at night) to speed up the break up of our local rivesrs and streams. Anyway, I decided to go throw a spinner over at the tailrace this morning and see how spring had been progressing in the last 4 days since I was last there. For those wondering — I did not see or hook any fish.


The lower Knik River is now flowing well and all the ice on the lower end of the river looks to be broken up. The ice is still around, it is simply broken up into great big chunks laying all over the riverbed. I think the main thing that broke the ice up was not necessarily warmer weather, but rather the unusually high tides we`ve experienced in the past 4 days. Tides for those days were the highest we will experience for the entire month. While at the tailrace i saw several lures that anglers must have snagged on bottom last season that I originally thought someone with a pair of waders and as long stick with a hook on the end could easily retrieve.


Closer inspection, showed it may be a bit more difficult than i fist thought. The water is so clear a person can see much deeper than it would be easy to wade — most of the lures i could see were lost in deep enough water that it would be somewhat challenging to retrieve them without getting wet — even if wearing waders.


I`ve resumed writing a summer fishing column for the Frontiersman newspaper, and the first 2011 column should publish in the Friday April 22 issue. Check back tomorrow and I`ll have a URL address in our fishing report where you can read the Frontiersman article online.



In my last report I mentioned I`d started writing this column once again for the 2011 Mat-Su Valley open water fishing season. This first article should have appeared in the Thursday edition of the newspaper, but because of a glitch was not published until today. If you would like to read it copy and paste the following URL into your address bar and hit return: http://www.frontiersman.com/articles/2011/04/24/sports/mat_su-outdoors/doc4db3c6f27c2d7500558546.txt

Open Water FIshing on Susitna River Tributaries —

On Saturday April 23 Ben Allen and I fished several streams going north on up the Parks Highway from Wasilla. First stop was the mouth of Willow Creek — where there was not much open water and very little room for casting. There was also plenty of snow in the parking lot and on the hike back to the stream mouth. Although we did not see or hook any fish, I suspect people may be catching rainbow trout at this location by next weekend or the following week. There was considerably more open water upstream where the Parks Highway bridge crossed Willow Creek, however, we did not stop at that location.

Next stop was Susitna Landing on the Kashwitna River — once again there was very little open water. Ben was fishing flies while I was casting spinners, but with little water to fish at this location, we did not spend much time here. Walking was difficult in deep soft snow near the river.

There was plenty of open water showing when we crossed over Montana Creek, however, we`d decided ahead of time to turn take the Talkeetna Spur Road into town where we proceeded to fish the Talkeetna and Sustitna Rivers. At this location, although there was still plenty of snow and ice along the bank, there was lots of open water to fish — such an expanse that neither Ben nor I could cast to the far side in any spot. We spent a considerable amount of time fishing from just below the Alaska Railroad Bridge down stream for about a mile. The only fish we saw were very small salmon, but we had our fishing licenses checked by State Trooper Dan Valentine, who told us that a friend of his had recently caught 4 rainbow trout while fly fishing the same water we were working. We also saw one other fly angler indicated he had not caught any fish.

After spending a couple hours on the Talkeetna River we drove back to Montana Creek and tried our luck there. The creek near the highway and down toward the mouth looked really pretty, but was quite shallow in most spots, and we found no fish as we walked down river. At the confluence where Montana Creek flowed into a branch of the Sustina River there seemed to be very little water flowing down the Susitna River channel. We walked and fished along the open water for another 1/2 mile or so, but did not get any bites or hook any fish. Although there was plenty of open water — it was quite shallow and it did not seem like any fish were present at this time.

The conclusion that Ben and I made after fishing out trip was that Talkeetna River seemed to be the best option for a real chance of catching any type of fish along the Susitna River road system at this time. The boat launch in Talkeetna should open up within a week or 10 days at which point Bob Meals of Tri River Charter will start running river boat drop off trips for fishing men upriver to Clear Creek. Bob said fishing from that location back down the Talkeetna toward town can be extremely good for trout in early May while water in the main river is still nice and clear.


Eklutna Tailrace

Water conditions are highly variable depending upon what is put through the power plant, but in the morning while I was at the tailrace there was good volume of nice green colored water coming through the tailrace. I cast a #4 silver and black Flashtrap Spinner, but did not see any fish. This trip was somewhat of a celebration of the anniversary of catching a freak silver salmon back in 2006 on this date. I was giving history a chance to repeat itself, however, no such luck.

Wildlife Spotted

Driving to and from the tailrace i saw both snow and Canadian geese, 3 moose feeding near the Knik River, and some ducks at the tailrace.

Palmer – Wasilla Area Lake Report

I took a drive to look at how much open water was available at some of the typically earlier thawing lakes in the Mat-Su Valley. Here`s what I found:

Echo Lake – mostly ice covered, but ice looking especially rotten on the East end of the lake.

Kepler / Bradley Lakes – Mostly ice covered, however the small channel between the two lakes was ice free with one angler fishing there in the evening. There was also a small amount of open water along the edge of the north shore of each lake.

Matanuska Lake – ice covered.

Junction Lake – ice covered.

Wasilla Lake – open near the Cottonwood Creek inlet and outlet, and also in a small area near the island. This lake will likely be one of the first to become completely ice free.

Lucille Lake – small patch of open water near the East shore – mostly ice covered at boat launch.

Finger Lake – significant patch of open water toward the first island from the state campground, and also a small amount of open water near the boat launch (not enough to run a boat, yet.

Bottom Line of Lakes Fishing Report

While there are small areas of open water, it may be a week before any of the lakes are mostly ice free. Looking at previous years` ice cover break up times — there is a pattern of ice free lakes sometime during the first 10 days of May. Spectacular catches of rainbow trout, arctic char, and arctic grayling are frequently made by anglers willing to invest time fishing these lakes as, or soon after, the ice melts.


Deshka Landing –

I talked with Jason Votruba today over the phone, and he said there is still plenty of ice on the river and snow in the Deshka Landing Parking lot, but he was estimating the Landing and boat launch could open for the first early bird boaters by the weekend of May 7 and 8.

Talkeetna River Boat Launch –

I talked with Bob Meals of 3 Rivers Charters in Talkeetna last night, and he was estimating it may still be another week (May 5) before he will be able to get a boat in the river and start running guests up to Clear Creek. Bob hopes to start running trout drop off trips and charters as soon as conditions permit. Call him at 907-733-2400 if you`d like to know more about his May trout fishing trips.


Eklutna Tailrace –

Today is the last day of April, and I made one last attempt to catch a king salmon before the start of May. I cast a #4 silver and black Flashtrap Spinner for about an hour at the tailrace. I saw no fish and had no bites. There was very little outflow from the power plant this morning, so not much current in the tailrace. I could see the stream bottom quite well, and specifically looked for fish today while wearing polaroid sunglasses — but could not see anything moving under the water`s surface.

On the drive to the tailrace, I noticed that most of the large ice chunks in the lower Knik River have greatly decreased in size, and should be fully melted or flushed down to Knik Arm before long. During the drive I also spotted 3 moose grouped near the highway, some ducks, and a goose. Just 3 days ago I was seeing many flocks of geese, and am now wondering if spring has progressed enough that most of them may started migrating further North.

Echo Lake –

On the trip back home, I pulled into the Echo Lake turnout and walked down the hill to cast my same #4 silver and black spinner in search of trout or landlocked salmon. There was only a little section of lake ice free enough to fish, and once again I did not see or hook any fish. The wind is blowing today, though, and I suspect the remaining ice on Echo Lake may be broken up entirely within two or three days if the brisk breeze continues.


Since this is the last day of the April, remember you will need to click on the link for MAY 2011 in the Fishing Report selection chart below in order to view our next report.

Since we still have prime May fishing charter dates available, we will continue to offer these trips at our special price of $100 per person with a Fishtale RIver Guides t-shirt included. This is a savings of $40 per person for our regular 6 hour trip and one of our exclusive t-shirts. To reserve your space for a fully guided May king salmon trip, click on our Prices page link, fill out and submit the reservation form near the bottom of the page, and we`ll let you know if we have charter availability on your chosen date(s). If you prefer you may also call us at 907-746-2199.