Jan. / Feb. / March / April 2014 Alaska fishing reports

May King Salmon Special    — scroll down for latest ice fishing reports.

Once again we will be offering our guided Alaska king salmon trips for $100 per person for trips booked for the month of May 2014.   Conditions usually allow us to get the guide boats out on the rivers starting about May 10.  Although we’ve caught king salmon earlier than that, on a normal year we often start catching king salmon around the middle of May with the number of king salmon increasing as the month progresses.   May is a good time to get out and fish many of the good holes along the rivers with little competition from other anglers.   It can also be a good opportunity to see wildlife along the river.    If you would like to join us on one of these early trips please give us a call or click on the MAY SPECIAL option under  the Reservations/Prices Navigation link of this website.  Note: Coupon Code is:   May King 2014

2014 Preseason Expectations

Mat Su Valley King Salmon

King Salmon — We expect a  normal start timing to our king salmon fishing season in 2014,and  plan to start fishing  between May 10 – 15.  Our primary destinations will once again be Deshka River and Little Susitna River.  I may guide trips to a couple other locations depending upon conditions and guests’ preferences.   Once again expect to start the season fishing artificial lures with one single hook at both rivers with a one fish daily / two fish season limit for king salmon.

July / August / September-Silver-Salmon-Fishing
July / August / September Silver Salmon

Silver salmon, chum salmon, sockeye salmon, pink salmon — During a 2-week February meeting the Alaska Board of Fisheries made a significant change in commercial fishing regulations in Upper Cook Inlet — specifically allowing more  silver salmon and sockeye salmon to reach Northern Cook Inlet (and Mat-Su Valley) streams.

Expect to see more action and better fishing during the July / August / early September portion of our season for 2014, 2015, and 2016  not only for silver and sockeye salmon, but also for chum salmon and pink salmon that pass through the commercial fishery in July and early August.


New for 2014

Ever wonder what it is like to fish with a high-end custom-built fishing rod?  My guests will have the chance to find out during our 2014 season, as I’ve built 19 new custom rods for you to use on our charters this season.  In addition I also purchased 6 new top-of-the- line Quantum Cabo 50 spinning reels specifically for king salmon charters, but which will also prove advantageous when fishing bobbers and bait for silver salmon.  We’ve also restocked bobbers, lures, hooks, line, and sinkers —  to get and keep you connected to those hard charging Alaska Salmon!


April 26 — Fishing for a new early season salmon catch record at Eklutna Tailrace — I fished with two of my nephews for more than an hour and a half.   Which was enough time for each of us to cast spinners the entire length of the tailrace.  We did not see or hook any fish, but my youngest nephew was quite excited when a large beaver slapped it’s tail and made a huge splash – he thought at the time might have been a large king salmon.  After hurrying down to that spot we could see the beaver swimming underwater in the clear tailrace.   Although hoping for a record early season salmon catch from a Mat-Su freshwater — our results are what one would normally expect from pushing the season this much.  While at the tailrace, and driving there and back early in the morning we saw ducks, geese, and several moose, so we were rewarded for getting up early and trying our luck.  While fishing I casted a #4 silver and black Flashtrap Spinner, Daniel casted a #5 pink Flashtrap Spinner, and Paul casted a #4 Vibrax Spinner.    I hope to get out again possibly for another record attempt (earliest Mat-Su king salmon) on April 30 — the last day of the month.   Check back to learn more.

April 30, 2014  Lower Deshka River  now ice free.  Susitna River ice is in the process of washing downriver — with ice dams forming and blowing out.   I suspect after the weekend of May 3 and 4 that the Susitna River will be easily navigable between Deshka Landing and the Deshka River with most of the ice washed out for the season.   Little Susinta River — I have not attempted to drive to the lower Little Susitna River for fear of what Little Susitna Access Road might be like — But I firmly believe lower Little Susitna River is now ice free and in shape to catch the first early arriving king salmon.   I have no doubt, however, that if any king salmon are currently present in the lower Little Susitna River, they are very few in number.  I expect to get my jet boats out and do some test runs on Finger Lake within the next week — and shortly after, I expect to get out on the rivers and start looking for early king salmon.    While I’m wanting to get out on the rivers, I also know that now is a good time to get caught up on chores before king salmon start arriving in real catchable numbers in Mat-Su Valley rivers.    For our next report —be sure to go to our May 2014 Alaska Fishing Reports page.

April 25, 2014   Finger Lake –Wasilla Lake — Lucille Lake  Open Water & Ice Free

I’ve been watching local lakes over the past week, and today is the first Big News to report.   I drown to the State Parks campground and boat launch at Finger Lake and the entire lake was ice free for as far as I could see.  There was a boat in the water at the dock with a couple people and a fishing rod.   This is indeed an early season ice breakup on FInger Lake, which regularly provides one of the first ice free boating and fishing opportunities in the Mat-Su Valley.   I hope to get out on the lake within the week and test run the two guide boats I plan to operate during the 2014 season.   Always better to get the bugs worked out before launching on a river.   Other lake news — Kepler and Bradley lake continue to loose ice and it may all be gone over the next 3 days.   Across the highway Echo Lake is now rapidly loosing ice as well and I would bet it will be ice free in 3 days unless we get an amazing cold snap —- which has not been predicted.

Talking with Mike Hudson — owner of 3 Rivers Fly & Tackle a little later on April 15 — Mike told me that Lucille Lake and Wasilla Lake were also ice free or nearly ice free as of today.


I took two of my nephews and a niece fishing at the tailrace.  Because of the slightly warmer water drawn out of Eklutna Lake, the tailrace and lower Knik River along the south shore below the tailrace often stays open most of the winter.   We did not see any fish or get any bites, but it was a great opportunity to get some open water casting in, and during the process we fished 3 new rod and reel setups for the first time.  All of us cast the entire time with Flashtrap Spinners.  With our recent warmer weather nearly all of the snow has now melted from along the sides of the trailrace.  On our trip to the tailrace we also noticed several people fishing a small bit of open water in the channel between Kepler and Bradley Lakes — although we did not stop and talk with anyone at the lakes — this would obviously be a much better location to catch fish, than the tailrace at this time — however there is much more open water to cast in at the tailrace.

I also had a potential guest call about fishing earlier in the day — but because of the recent warmer weather and melting ice on the local Palmer – Wasilla area lakes decided against guiding one last ice fishing trip.  I suspect there is still about 2 – 3 weeks before we can get out on any reasonable amount of open water and do some open water fishing with a decent chance of catching fish.  Note: most flowing water in the Palmer – Wasilla zone is now closed to fishing to protect staging / spawning rainbow trout populations — so be sure and check regulations before you fish.

April 13, 2014  Ice Fishing — which turned out to be our last ice fishing trip of 2014

After fishing the previous day, Frede and I decided to go try the lake again and see of some of the chum we had put down holes the day before was still holding fish near those holes.    It had been warm over night so I did not even take the ice auger.  We only needed to skim a small amount of ice out of the holes and the ice remained solid.   At the first couple holes we fished, Frede and I immediately started catching fish as soon as we dropped our hooks baited with Pautzke’s Orange Deluxe salmon eggs down the holes.   We fished 11 holes I had chummed with Fire Cured salmon roe the day before, and although we did not keep an exact count I am certain between us we caught over 20 fish.   Most were rainbow trout, but we also caught a few Arctic char and landlocked coho salmon.    We released all of the fish.   While the ice was still about 2 feet thick and solid — the most recent weather predictions are calling for temperatures that could stay above freezing for several days and nights.   For that reason this may have been my last ice fishing adventure of the season — and I would certainly advice anyone thinking about ice fishing to check out ice conditions before venturing out too far onto the ice.

April 12, 2014 — Ice Fishing

My brother was taking his family ice fishing, and called from the lake after his son caught their first fish — so Frede and I hurried on down to the lake and joined them.  My brother and his family had not been having much luck, so I moved around the lake and drilled 8 new holes in an attempt to find them some fish.   Ice was about two feet thick and had remained good and solid form the last time I was out.  It was a cool and blustery day and my brothers kids were cold, so no one stayed around too long.   My brother’s family left while Fred and I were still scouting some of the holes on the far side of the lake.   Before they left I know my brothers son had managed to catch one arctic char and one landlocked silver salmon.   The fish were not biting very well, however.  I did catch a couple small rainbow trout on Pautzke’s Orange Deluxe single salmon eggs, and put them back down the hole.   We had chummed some of the holes with a mixture of Fire Cured salmon roe and Pautzke’s Nectar — but I suspect we simply did not stay around long enough to get many fish attracted to our holes.

March 29

It’s been a while since I’ve been out on a lake and the weather has been wonderfully sunny for quite a while, so this afternoon I went ice fishing by myself.   I went to Irene lake and checked the ice before venturing out too far.   Ice is still over 2 feet thick and nice and hard.   I drilled six holes and caught fish in 3 different holes.   All the fish I caught were rainbow trout with the biggest ones about 12 inches in length.   I did not keep an exact count, but figure I caught between 15 and 20 trout — all of which I released.   All the fish were caught on Pautzke’s Orange Deluxe single salmon eggs fished just up from the bottom.   I saw 3 different bald eagles during the trip — one who perched right above me as I fished.   I fished the whole time in a sweatshirt and tennis shoes — on a warm sunny day this is absolutely my favorite time to year to ice fish.  There was only one other group of people out on the lake this afternoon and they were catching plenty of fish as well.

March 27 and 30, 2014 —   Great Alaska Sportsmans Show in Anchorage — I  presented my “Clobber Salmon with Bobbers & Bait”  seminar at the Great Alaska Sportsman Show in Anchorage on Thursday evening March 27 from 7 – 7:50 p.m.  and once again at 12 noon on Sunday March 30 — both sessions were in the Sullivan VIP Room.   On Thursday evening mine will be the last seminar of the day — so the VIP room should be available for me to talk and answer questions as long as people are around.

March 21, 22, 23 — MAt-Su Outdoorsman’s Show in Wasilla — I had a booth at the show selling guided salmon fishing trips for the upcoming summer fishing season.  In addition I  presenting one seminar each day.   My seminar topics over the 3 days of the show were Spinner fishing for salmon,  Clobber Salmon with Bobbers & Bait, and Backtrolling for Salmon.


At their annual awards banquet in Anchorage, the Alaska Outdoor Council presented me with this award:    “To recognize those in the private sector who have given their time, effort, & resources without reservation to champion sound conservation & the rights & privileges of Alaska’s outdoor users.”    I was very honored to receive this award — but would be the first to acknowledge additional work by the Matanuska – Susitna Borough FIsh & Wildlife Commission, Matanuska Valley Fish & Game Advisory Committee, Anchorage Fish & Game Advisory Committee, Kenai River Sportfishing Association, Southcentral Alaska DIpnetters Association, Mat-Su and Anchroage area legislators, and the Alaska Board of Fisheries in getting meaningful changes made that will provide passage of additional salmon over the next 3 years to Mat-Su area rivers and streams.

March 11

I guided two cargo pilots visiting from Hong Kong.  It had warmed up and started raining the previous evening, so there was a considerable amount of water pooling in spots on top of the ice covered lake.  The weather was warm enough that we did not even drill a single hole — instead we simply fished two sets of holes that I had drilled the previous day.   Action started immediately after the first salmon eggs were dropped to the bottom and then pulled up about a foot.   The guests caught fish nearly continuously with only a few minutes waiting for a bite at any given lull in the action.   We only switch locations one time to a second set of hole, and the trip provided some of the best ice fishing action I’d seen in several trips.   Each guest caught about 25 fish with a good mixture of both Arctic char and rainbow trout, and each guest kept both a limit of trout and char.  We saw another bald eagle during this trip — a treat as my guests have not being seeing them as frequently as earlier trips during the winter.

March 10

I guided a couple from Texas and their Alaskan host on an ice fishing trip.  All three guests kept a limit of rainbow trout, and one guest kept a couple Arctic char as well.   In addition they each release some smaller fish.  All fish were caught on Pautzke’s single salmon eggs fished near the bottom.  After each guest kept a limit of trout they decided to quit a bit early rather than keep catching and releasing more fish.

March 7

I guided two guests on a morning ice fishing trip.  One guest caught about 20 fish and the other caught about 15 fish.  Most of the fish were rainbow trout, but they also each managed to catch a few arctic char.   All of the fish were caught on Pautzke’s single salmon eggs fished about a foot off the bottom.  I drilled lots of holes and we moved continually during the trip to find better action.

March 3

I fished with one guest on an ice fishing trip and we caught about 10 fish each.  All of the fish were caught on Pautzke’s single salmon eggs.  Most of the fish are being caught in about 10 feet of water or less as the fish do not seem to be as active in the deeper water like they were earlier in the winter.

In the afternoon I guided another group of 4 anglers — each of whom caught some fish, however the action was slower.  During the trip we saw a bald eagle who landed in a tree behind us on the edge of the lake and watched us while we were fishing.  The guests caught their fish on Pautzke’s Orange Deluxe single salmon eggs, and did not fish the entire time of the trip as they needed to catch a plane out of Anchorage.

March 2

I guided a a group of 4 people on a short ice fishing trip this morning with each guest catching a couple fish.   Most of the fish were rainbow trout, but they also caught some Arctic Char, including the largest fish of the trip a nice fat char over 20 inches in length.  All of the fish were caught on Pautzke’s Orange Deluxe single salmon eggs.  Ice depth was about 2 feet (close to what it was the last time I guided a trip.   We enjoyed a beautiful sunny morning on the lake, but the guests wanted to leave with plenty of time to go on a flightseeing trip to Mount McKinley in the afternoon so the trip was shorter than normal.

February 20

I guided a husband and wife visiting form the Washington D. C. area on a very successful ice fishing trip.   Ice conditions have changed significantly since my last trip with cold weather increasing ice depths and freezing solid overflow that had pooled atop lake ice during our earlier warm spell.   I made an approximate measurement of about 2 feet of ice.  On our trip we used Fire Cured salmon roe, Pautzke’s Balls O’ Fire single eggs and Orange Deluxe single eggs.   The fish were biting well and each guest caught and release approximately 20 fish up to about 12 inches in length.  One larger fish of about 16 inches was kept for pictures and brought home for dinner.   The fish were mostly rainbow trout, with a few Arctic char, and 2 landlocked coho salmon.

Jan. 31 — February 13

I attended the Alaska Board of Fisheries Meeting at the Egan Convention Center everyday, and along with many others from the Mat-Su Valley and Anchorage Areas requested the Board make a change in commercial management to allow more salmon to reach Northern Cook Inlet streams for spawning escapement purposes and also to allow a reasonable fishing opportunity for all Northern Cook Inlet user groups. I am happy to report the Board did make that change.

January 25, 2014

I guided three ice fishing guests after a long January warm spell — most of our snow had melted, and the ice depth which had been about 18 inches the last time I fished was down to about 12 inches.    Each of the guests was ice fishing for the first time, but all of them caught a fair amount of fish.   Like usual, the fish were biting Balls O’ Fire Salmon eggs and Orange Deluxe salmon eggs fished on a single hook within about a foot of the lake bottom.   Most of the fish caught were rainbow trout and Arctic char up to about 12 or 14 inches in length, but guest also caught a few small landlocked coho salmon.    We did not keep an exact count, but I would estimate the group caught about 30 fish.  All of the fish were released.   Weather conditions were quite warm and pleasant for a late January trip with temperatures in the 30’s.


January 10, 2014

I guided one ice fishing guest, who caught and release about 25 fish on Pautzke Balls O’ Fire and orange Deluxe salmon eggs.   He caught one landlocked salmon and about a dozen each of rainbow trout and Arctic char.    Ice depth remained at about 18 inches, but because of warm weather and snow melt there was a considerable amount of overflow on parts of the lake and we did not fish some locations I normally would.

January 3, 2014

I guided 3 people on an ice fishing trip this morning.  Two of the guests were my nephews, and I pretty much left them to fend for themselves — and they both caught and released several fish.   I had a new guest who I spent my time helping and in addition to the fish he released, he also kept  a limit of rainbow trout, a limit of Arctic char, and a couple landlocked silver salmon.   All of the fish were caught on Pautzke salmon eggs.   Like usual we saw some eagles watching us fish from the side of the lake.   Today we saw more than the usual two eagles.   The ice remains about 18 inches thick.