May 2011



For those wanting to get an king salmon fishing opportunity we offer this special price for our standard 6 hour trip during the entire month of May. In addition, for May trips we will also give a complimentary FIshtale RIver Guides t-shirt to our charter guests. For best of available trip dates call 907-746-2199 soon, or fill out and submit the reservation form on the bottom of the Prices page of this website.

There are usually very few king salmon anglers fishing before mid-month, and fishing at this time provides an opportunity to enjoy some of the best holes on popular king salmon rivers mostly by ourselves. The number of king salmon in Mat-Su Valley rivers continues to build during the entire month, and catch rates often increase during the last week of the month. We currently still have charter space on some of our best late May dates. Let us know if you`d like to get in on some of the fun.


An Alaska State Parks ranger, and a friend both told me ice on the lower Little Susitna River near Little Susitna River Public Use Facility is breaking up. Latest word I received is that portions of the river is already ice free, however, higher spring melt water has been carrying large ice chunks down river that then get clogged up and create ice jams on the corners. It won`t be long until even these ice jams will have washed down river.

The last road used to access Little Susinta Public Use Facility Boat launch is currently soft and somewhat rutted from our spring melt and break up — so I`m planning to avoid driving on it for the next week — and would suggest other be careful and avoid tearing the road and their vehicles up for the next 7 days or so as well.


As I`ve been reporting ice cover is breaking up on several local lakes – I`m confident I`ll get at least a couple of my guide boats out on Finger Lake for first of the season check out runs sometime this week. Right now I`m tentatively thinking it may be Tuesday.

Open water on the Kepler – Bradley Lake System near Palmer continues to expand, and I saw several anglers out trying their luck for early season rainbow trout and grayling, yesterday. There should be good shore fishing along these lakes stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game over the next couple weeks.


Finger Lake –

I had hoped to check run my boats on the lake today, but spent most of my day doing paperwork instead — and there is still more to do. I did have the opportunity to speak before the Matanuska – Susitna Borough Assembly about salmon regulations adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries this past winter.


Although I did not make it over there with a boat today, I did drive down to the state campground and boat launch for a look yesterday evening. At that time there was plenty of open water for me to operate one of my jet boats on a check run – and I had every intention of doing so today – knowing that even more ice would have broken up and melted from the lake.


I spent very little time at the lake, but noticed about 5 people fishing off the dock nearest the boat ramp – which is usually a hot fishing sport shortly after the ice breaks up. Although I did not see anyone catch fish while I was watching, I also stopped by 3 RIvers Fly and Tackle in Wasilla where owner, Mike Hudson told me a gentleman had stopped in earlier that day and mentioned catching some nice rainbow trout from Loberg (Junction) Lake not far from the Mat-Su Regional Hospital.

I`ve got more paperwork to catch up on tomorrow – however – I still intend to do some boat check runs – check back for the next update either tomorrow afternoon or Thursday.


It was raining this evening when I hoped to do a boat check out run on Finger Lake – so I decided to wait for a warmer opportunity. I did stop by the Alaska State Parks office near Finger Lake and purchase my 2011 commercial operator`s permit for the Little Susitna RIver Public Use Facility.

Kepler – Bradley Lakes- I noticed that these lakes still had quite a bit of ice cover as did Echo Lake. Matanuka Lake looked to have hardly any open water at all. The last couple days have been quite cool and seemed to have slowed the melting process once again.



The Talkeetna weather station reports today that snow cover depth has dropped to 6 inches. Bob Meals of Tri River Charters in Talkeetna is now running spring charters for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden out of the Talkeetna Boat Launch. Bob reported that the first two boats for the season launched yesterday – but the river water level in the side channel below the launch is quite low until one reaches the main river. To book a Talkeetna river fishing charter or a drop off trip to Clear Creek call Tri River Charters at 907-733-2400.


For those wondering about launching a boat onto the Susitna River from Deshka Landing there was a picture of a mostly ice covered river taken yesterday, along with the following report posted on the Deshka Landing website:

5/4 The parking lot is closed until further notice while it dries out. River break-up will be updated on the website when it happens, please do not call the office to ask if the river is boat ready. Water is now flowing on top of the ice, but the water level has not gone up to start flushing the ice out. The Deshka had a lot of large ice flow down last evening that stacked up at the mouth. The Big Su has not budged yet.

Sustina Landing –

still icy conditions with boat launch closed at this time.


WHile I suspect the lower river may now be mostly ice free, the USGS water gauge is only showing a peak discharge of approximately 65 cubic feet per second (as of last night)- so water level is on the extremely low side for luring king salmon upriver. With yesterday`s rain I think Little Susina River Access Road likely remains wet and muddy as well.



I talked with a couple different people today who told me the Little Susitna River was open – which I figured anyway. So I decided to take a drive out and see what the road to the Little Susitna River Public Use Facility looked like. After I turned onto the last road heading toward the campground and boat launch, and passed the farm beyond which the state of Alaska does not maintain the road, the road quickly became rutted and muddy. I proceeded for a little ways, and decided it was a futile effort at that point. With the road wet, rutted, and tore up a bit, I will not be attempting to tow my boat down it until it has a chance to further dry out and firm up — I would suppose at least 5 days or a week. So, I backed up until I got to the better section of road, then turned around and drove home.

All the way out to where I turned around, it looked to me like spring weather had melted nearly all the snow in the area. At this point, it looks like I might be a couple days later getting my boat out to a river to prospect for early king salmon than I had hoped — but I still plan to get out and start fishing for king salmon within the coming week.


Eklutna Tailrace –

I casted and retrieved a #4 silver and black Flashtrap Spinner for a while at the tailrace and did not get any bites. Driving across the Palmer Hay Flats I could not see any chunks of ice remaining in the lower Knik River and most of the small ponds along the way. It is starting to look like a person might have a chance of running into a king salmon WIth that thought in mind, I am planning to fish multiple times later this week – and hope to use my guide boat for the first time this year on my next trip. Fishing for king salmon in the rivers at this time of year often requires plenty of effort for every king salmon caught. Even so, I am hoping to have the first king salmon of the year landed from my guide boat within the next 7 days.

I did see several pairs of ducks, a flock of geese, a couple sandhill cranes, and two moose browsing off the side of the highway. Seeing wildlife was a nice bonus of fishing the early morning.

Palmer – Wasilla Area Lakes –

Kepler – Bradley Lakes and Echo Lake finally looked to be nearly ice free, as I suspect nearly all of the lakes in the Palmer-Wasilla core area must be by now. I will take one of my boats for a check run at Finger Lake today, and also work on getting other fishing gear together.


The guide boat I took to the lake this evening ran smoothly both at idle and when wound up high. We had to search all the way around the lake to find one very small patch of ice hidden in a shadow. Other folks were our checking out their boats and fishing. There were a good number of ducks, gulls, grebes, and a couple loons out on the lake as well. It was a nice evening on the lake, and a good opportunity to run the boat before fishing downstream on a river..


I`ve scheduled myself to fish with a friend, a niece, and a nephew tomorrow. It will be an early season trip, and I have no doubt that catching a salmon would be a bonus. Still, we definitely would not catch a king if we stayed home. Check back Tuesday evening to learn about our first riverboat trip of the season.


I took a friend, my niece, and nephew king salmon fishing from my guide boat toady. We started about 10 a.m. and finished about 4 p.m. We cast #5 Flashtrap Spinners and a Pixie Spoon for a while, but spent most our our time back trolling with K-15 Kwikfish and an M-2 Deep Dive Flatfish. All we caught was grass and debris that was floating downstream in the current. It was however, a warm sunny day, and we saw several eagles, some waterfowl, and a couple moose. There was still some snow and ice along the river in places. We also saw a couple other groups of people boating up and down the river, but did not see anyone else actively fishing.

I`m still hoping to come up with a king salmon within the next week, but it will likely require plenty of fishing time or blind luck to do so. Now that I`ve had a boat out on the water – I intend to use the boat each time I go out now.


I`ll be running a charter tomorrow – but not a normal fishing charter, instead I`lll be providing a tour down the Susitna River, past the Yentna River to Susitna Station and back. I`ll plan on posting a report tomorrow evening of conditions along the lower Susitna River, and what wildlife we see on the trip. Check back tomorrow Thursday evening if you would like to read that update.

I talked with Bob Meals of Tir River Charters out of Talkeetna River and he shared that a couple of guests that he dropped of with a raft near Clear Creek had enjoyed a couple days of catching a combination of approximately 50 Dolly Varden and rainbow trout each day between them. Bob did mention that these guests were quite experienced at fishing the Talkeetna, and also mention that most of the fish caught were Dolly Varden with a few largest fish in the 24 inch class. Bob says water on the Talkeetna River continues to run quite clear and cold at this time.


Susitna River –

From Deshka Landing I jetboated two people downriver for about an hour, we ended up below the Yentna RIver confluence at Susitna Station. No fishing this was strictly a scientific data gathering trip measuring stream flow of the Susitna River. I didn`t ask how much water they were measuring, but there is a lot of water down there. Was very easy boating all the way down, and ice is disappearing quickly from along the Susitna River. When we boated past the Deshka River confluence I thought the water looked cleaner than it had on Tuesday, but we did not spend much time there, so it was just an impression.

I was expecting we might see some moose along the river, but no such luck – we did however see lots of bald eagles hanging around nest trees below the Deshka confluence. It was a beautiful day to be outside working / enjoying a long sunny spring day in Alaska. We also saw quite a bit more people out boating today. So I`m thinking there will plenty of people out enjoying the river on the coming weekend, and I suspect people will catch a few king salmon.


Deshka River –

Tomorrow is the annual owner / membership meeting for Deshka Landing at the Willow Community Center starting at 2 p.m. This spring I purchased a Deshka Landing membership, and since I`ve never been to one of the annual meetings, I plan to attend.

Bait FIshing Opens for King Salmon –

The following day, Sunday May 15 bait fishing will open in the lower 17 miles of the Deshka River – the specific area where king salmon harvest is allowed. I expect a fair number of anglers will venture to the Deshka to try for king salmon on the first day bait is allowed, and I also expect a few king salmon will be caught .


At the Deshka Landing annual membership meeting held in Willow yesterday, 3 different people told me that the first king salmon they knew about had been caught at Deshka River on Friday May 13 and Saturday morning May 14. As mentioned in my last report, the Deshka opens to the use of bait for king salmon today. I may make an afternoon trip up there with friend and fellow guide, Ben Allen of Miller`s Riverboat Service this afternoon. Kinda depends upon how much work I can get done ahead of time. At any rate, my first king salmon charter of the season is scheduled for Monday May 16, and after that I will be guiding trips on a more regular basis – so there will be considerably more daily fishing reports based on Fishtale River Guides salmon trips.

Little Susitna River King Salmon –

On my way home from the Deshka Landing meeting, yesterday, I stopped by 3 Rivers Fly & Tackle in Wasilla and talked with Steve Runyan. Steve said he herad a report of two king salmon taken on the Little Susitna River during the past week. Just goes to show, that our spring weather and conditions have progressed to the point that the big salmon are showing up in multiple places in the Mat-Su Valley.

May King Salmon –

After a long Alaska winter, our recent run of sunny May days may be calling you to get out on the water and fish. We catch some big chrome king salmon in May, and you`ve got to go fishing to do it. Most of the time we catch May king salmon by either fishing all the holes we can cover during a trip, or by pounding specific good spots for a significant amount of time. Sometimes we do both. There are relatively few other anglers on the river at this time, there is a good opportunity to see wildlife before the riverside summer plant grow erupts, and with some persistence or luck, you could catch a large ocean-fresh king salmon. If you would like to join us for a May king salmon trip, we still have good charter spaces available, and we are still offering our May Special Price of only $100 per person.

Give us a call at 907-746-2199 or fill out and submit the reservation form near the bottom of the Prices page of this website to get in on this special offer. Currently – while dates are available- all May king salmon trips only $100 per person – plus we include a Fishtale River Gudies t-shirt at no extra cost.

We`re looking forward to fishing with you.



Dave Osgood, Ben Allen, Jason Votruba, and I were fishing Deshka River on the afternoon of May 15, when Dave caught the first king salmon of the season from my guide boat. Dave boated about a 23 pound chrome female king salmon on a K-15 silver/chartreuse bill/ blue polka dot pattern Kwikfish. We also fished salmon eggs, Kwikfish, an M2 Deep Dive Flatfish, and a Magnum Wiggle Wart, but Dave`s fish was the only bite anyone got. Although each of us would have liked to catch our own king salmon, we all chalked it up as a successful early season king salmon trip.


FIRST KING SALMON BOAT LIMIT – Afternoon / Evening FIshing Report-

I guided my first two king salmon charter guests of the year today, and each of them caught an ocean-chrome king salmon. Both fish struck a K-15 silver / chartreuse lip Kwikfish, and when landed both kings still had sea lice clinging to them. The larger fish weighed about 35 pounds and the smaller one about 16 pounds.


Little Susitna River –

For people who may be wondering the Little Susitna River Access Road has dried out and been graded, so access to the lower Little Susitna River is now easily drivable.

I worked around the house today, but will be guiding another king salmon trip tomorrow, and will post a report after I get home. My schedule currently looks like I should be reporting on salmon charters for 6 out of the next 7 days. There is still both some morning and afternoon availability for those that would like to book one of our $100 May Trips. 907-746-2199


I guided 4 guests, one of whom caught a king salmon of about 25 pounds on a K-14X UV blue/chartreuse Kwikfish. My guests also fished with K-15x Kwikfish, an M-2 mag lip Flatfish, magnum wiggle warts, Flashtrap Spinners, and a spin-n-glo with salmon roe fished behind a Jet planer. My guests only got the one good bite today.

We did see a few salmon jump, and saw additional salmon hooked by parties in other boats so king salmon were available. On the trip we also saw some beavers, waterfowl, bald eagles, and I spotted a moose, while driving to the river in the morning. I am scheduled to guide another trip tomorrow, so check back in the evening if you would like to see the next report..


I guided 4 guests, one of whom caught a 28 pound king salmon on a K-15 Kwikfish. We saw several other boat loads of people fishing, but only one other salmon that had been caught. Did not see any jumpers today, and our group only hooked the one fish. Typical early season fishing in that we had to put in plenty of time and fished many spots to connect with a fish. Water levels are changing and we`re hoping this might have a positive affect on our catch rates. Check back tomorrow at this time for the next report.


I guided 3 anglers, who caught one king salmon which weighed about 32 pounds. The king was caught on a K-15 silver/chartreuse Kwikfish. In addition, one of the other guests also hooked, but lost a king salmon, and had another strong bite which he was never able to hook. Both of these fish that got away also struck a K-15 Kwikfish. With a bit more luck, we might have had two or three kings in the boat today. A good May trip. Water volume topped discharge of 300 feet per second for the first time today.

We saw two moose and a spruce grouse along the road to the landing, some bald eagles, and waterfall. Submit our reservation form from the Prices page of our website or give us a call at 907-746-2199 if you would like to book a trip.

I will be guiding a full boat tomorrow morning, and like usual will post a report.


I guided 4 guests, who caught 1 king salmon of about 28 pounds on a K-15 Kwikfish. One of the guests also briefly hooked a trout or jack salmon that jumped and threw the hook after striking a K-14X Kwikfish. One other guests had a take down while fishing Fire Cured salmon roe behind a jet planer, but only briefly hooked the fish. Water level continues to change, and I am hopeful that before long that change may increase our king salmon landing success. I`ve been fortunate to have guests who`ve been able to hook and land a good number of the kings that have struck.

I`ve been fishing mostly morning trips, and so far my guests continue to have caught at least one king salmon on every charter I`ve guided this year. Tomorrow I will guide both a morning and afternoon trip, so it will be interesting to see if our May 2011 success continues.


I guided a group of 3 guests, one of whom who caught a king salmon of about 12 pounds while casting a magnum wiggle wart. We saw 3 additional king salmon caught by other anglers, and a few king salmon rolling, but although we tried several different techniques, my guests could not entice any additional strikes.

I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests, who did not hook any king salmon. It was Sunday afternoon with a considerable amount of boat traffic on the river. We did not get any good king salmon bite or ever see any king salmon roll.

I guide another afternoon trip on Monday, check back in the evening to learn what my guests caught.


I guided 4 anglers on an afternoon trip today, and 2 guests caught king salmon that looked to weigh somewhere between 25 – 30 pounds. The first fish was caught on a K-15 silver/chartreuse Kwikfish. The second salmon was caught on a Fire Cured salmon roe fished with a Lil` corky drift bobber.

Like usual, we saw some bald eagles, and I saw a large group of gulls gathered in a shallow portion of the big river, so I suspect there must have been a large school of hooligan present. It is about time or the small fish to start showing up in huge schools. The run usually last about a week or two and then is over. Gulls, eagles, and bears all feast on the abundant food source, and Alaskan residents are also allowed to dip what they want for their personal use on the Susitna.


I guided 4 guests in the morning, each of whom hooked and fought a king salmon. Two of the guests kept king salmon of about 23 and 27 pounds. One of those fish was caught on a K-14X Kwikfish and the other was caught on a Spinning Cheater and Fire Cured salmon roe fished behind a jet diver. One guest caught 2 small king salmon both of which he released. He caught one of the fish with the K-14X Kwikfish and the other with a Spinning Cheater / bait/ diver. The remaining angler hooked a nice sized king salmon, but lost it when the hook pulled loose. That fish was hooked on a Lil`Corkie / bait/ jet diver rig.

We also saw some other anglers have success along the river today, saw a moose on the shore, and saw a group of people skinning a black bear they had evidently just harvested.

I`m scheduled to fish tomorrow morning and plan to post the next report when I return home in the afternoon.


I guided a group of 4 guests, 3 of whom caught king salmon. Two of the king salmon weighed about 30 pounds, and the 3rd king salmon weighed about 6 pounds. It was a good king salmon trip in that every one on the boat had a good king salmon bite, and we did manage to land 3 of the fish. The first fish was caught while casting with a Magnum Wiggle Wart, and the other fish were caught on Spinning Cheater / salmon roe / jet diver rigs.

We saw a few bald eagles, and some ducks for wildlife today.

I`ll be guiding again tomorrow, so check back to learn what my guests do.


I guided a morning group of 4 guests, one of whom caught a 30 pound king salmon on a K-15 Kwikfish. We fished hard and saw another king salmon rolling in once hole, and one of the guests also hooked a trout on a large Kwikfish, but the one king salmon was our only hookup.

I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests, one of whom caught a 19 pound king salmon on a K-15 Kwikfish. Once again we fished hard and covered lots of new water, but only had the one hookup.

We fished the Little Susitna River today, and although the water was low it was rising, and should come up considerably over the next few days. Higher water should bring more king salmon into the river, but will also likely muddy things up for a bit.


I guided 4 anglers in the morning who caught 2 king salmon on a K-14X Kwikfish. The fish weigh about 28 and 20 pounds. One of the other guests also briefly hooked a fish on the same plug. Some rain showers inhibited people getting out and fishing early, so we had a quiet morning to work several holes.

I guided an afternoon group of 4 people, each of whom had a bite, but only one of whom hooked a good – sized king salmon, unfortunately, the hook pulled loose before we could get the salmon to the boat. The river was very busy with boat traffic in the afternoon.


I guided a morning group of 4 guests, each of whom hooked and battled a king salmon. 3 of the 4 people caught king salmon with the fish weighing 22, 25, and 25 pounds. One fish was caught on a Spinning Cheater / Fire Cured salmon roe/ jet diver rig, and the other two king salmon were caught on Fire Cured salmon roe drifted under an ESB Bobber.

I guided 4 people in the afternoon, and I moved them to several different holes, but the king salmon were simply not responding in a positive manner. We did see one salmon roll, but that was the only action we had. Several boat were driving both up and down river, and may have helped spook the fish along with our bright sunny weather. Water on the Susitna River is now very high with lots of debris drifting with the current.

We`ll be guiding more trips tomorrow.


I guided a morning group of 4 guests, 2 of whom caught king salmon on a K-14X Kwikfish. We saw a few king salmon rolling, but those where the only two salmon hooked.

I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests, who fished several locations with 3 different techniques, but were unable to hook any king salmon.. I don`t think anyone in the group even saw a salmon roll this afternoon, we did however see a moose along the river that allowed the group to take several pictures.

I`ll be guiding more trips tomorrow.


I guided 4 guests in the moning, one of whom hooked , but lost a king salimon on a K-15 Kwikfish. Water was somewhat muddy, but seemed fishable, both in stage and in color.

I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests, one of whom caught a king salmon on a K-15 Kwikfish, and one of whom hooked but lost a king salmon on a magnum Wiggle Wart.

I`ll be guiding a trip again tomorrow, so check back in the evening to learn moe.