May 2015 Fishing Reports

$100 May King Salmon Trip — Save $40 per person off  normal 6-hour trip price of $140 per person when you fish  during the month of May 2015.  For best selection of May fishing dates reserve your trip soon.   The number of king salmon available builds, the later in May one chooses to fish.  For the 2015 season we will be harvesting king salmon 7 days per week from Deshka River and on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays on Little Susitna River.   Note:  We currently have good availability even after May 20.  Go to our Availability and Reservations page, then click on the May calendar date you would like to fish to start your reservation– or give us a call at 907-746-2199 for more information.  May King 2015 is your coupon code for this special price.  — Andy Couch

Note:  You may also reserve prime June, July, August, and September fishing dates with Fishtale River Guides at this time.  Peak season for catching king salmon is usually runs June 8  — July 7,  while July 20 —  August 30 dates provide out best silver salmon action.


May 1, 2015 — Little Susitna River boat launch is open, and I’ve already had my guide boat out on the river two times in late April (including yesterday). So far we’ve caught some nice rainbow trout from this location, and are still looking for our first king salmon. The road to the river is good — although a section of about 1-mile after the Sutina Flats State Game Refuge gate is a bit rough and rutted.

Deshka Landing — the Susitna River is flowing mostly ice-free past the landing, but the boat launch is filled with ice at this time. Check back for updates on this launch, as it likely won’t be long until the boat launch is fully operational.

Eklutna Tailrace — I fished the tailrace in the morning in an attempt of equaling my earliest catch of an ocean–run Mat-Su Valley king salmon. Water looked fine, but no fish were biting the #5 Flashtrap Spinner I was throwing. I saw 3 moose and a flock of geese while driving to the tailrace, While fishing, I also spotted ducks and terns along the tailrace.

May 4, 2015 — Spurred by the warm weather, Frede and I took my guide boat out to the river for a few hours of evening salmon fishing.   Water was low and very clear.   We cast Flshtrap Spinners at 4 different holes, and had one hook up — a feisty rainbow trout which we brought to the boat then quickly released.  Wildlife spotted included a pair of trumpeter swans and several small groups of ducks.

May 7, 2015 — The last time I went to Eklutna Tailrace, there was no significant amount of water running through the power power plant, and so hardly any current in the tailrace.  Made me wonder if the power plant operation was doing their annual spring maintenance.  I recently called the main office and learned that servicing work is scheduled, and the water may not be running again until May 15.  Therefore I will not be fishing at the tailrace at least until that date, and I would suggest anyone else who might be planning to fish the tailrace before May 15  — consider your other options.

May 8, 2015 — Friday — I’m planning to take my guide boat and fish for king salmon on Saturday and Sunday.   Saturday I am planning to attend the Annual Deshka Landing Membership Meeting in the afternoon, so since I’ll be driving  to Willow, I might as well take the boat and fish.    Currently, I am scheduled to run my first guided king salmon trip of the season on Sunday.   We have plenty of space available for guided king salmon fishing trips both on Sunday and  in the next week.   Check back on the weekend if you would like to know what we catch or give us a call at 907-746-2199 if you would like to reserve a trip.

May 9, 2015 — Saturday — I attended the Deshka Landing membership meeting in Willow.   From there we went to Deshka Landing and did a check run on our second guide boat, then I worked with Justin HIgh, the landing manager, getting my business ready to run out of the landing.   I talked with several people who had been out on the Susitna and Deshka Rivers.   From significant rain fall in the Susitna Valley, both the Deshka and Susitna River had risen considerably over the past 24 hours.   Joe Wright told me the Deshka had risen about 6 inches in the  past 24 hours.   While running our second boat near the landing, I noticed a considerable amount of sticks and debris floating down the Susitna River  — an indication the Susitna is also rising.  I had hoped to run over to the Deshka and fish a bit, but decided to wait for tomorrow when I am scheduled to run my first king salmon trip of the season.

May 10 — FIrst 2015 Guided King Salmon Trip — I guided one guests on an afternoon trip.   My guest back trolled the whole trip, and he fished numerous prime holes  along several miles of river.   He did not get a bite, but spring conditions are definitely advanced, and I believe guests on my guide boat will catch king salmon during the next week (7 days).  During the trip we a saw a couple eagles very close to the boat, and several more eagles soaring in the distance.   We also saw lots of ducks and some shorebirds.   There were plenty of moose tracks along the river banks, but we did not spot any moose while fishing.  It was beautiful sunny weather  and we saw only one other group of two boat anglers during our trip.  I have more trips scheduled, so check back for more frequent fishing trip reports this week.  We also have guided space available in the next couple weeks — so give us a call or make an online reservation if you would like to join us on a trip.   907-746-2199.

May 11 — Susitna Ice Flowing — With recent rains raising water levels along the upper Susitna River there has been a considerable amount of debris and ice washing past Deshka Landing both yesterday and today.   I am expecting the water level to stabilize or even drop slightly starting tomorrow.  I will be running a fishing trip on the river tomorrow and will try to post  results of that trip tomorrow evening.

May 12 — FIRST 2 KING SALMON LANDED — I took 4 people fishing today, and two of them caught a king salmon.  These were the first king salmon landed from my guide boat in 2015.   1 king salmon was caught on a Kwikfish, and 1 king salmon was caught on a Vibrax Spinner.  I estimated the first king salmon at about 25 pounds and the second fish at between 25 and 30 pounds.   During the trip we also saw some moose, a pair of trumpeter swans, ducks, 1 beaver, and  bald eagles.   A bluebird weather day with a few bites that turned into landed king salmon.   We still have good availability for May trips if you would like to get in on the fun!

Larry's king 5-12-15 Lois' king 5-12-15

Larry Engel with his king salmon in top photo.

Lois Swensen with her king salmon in lower photo.

Photos by Evan Swensen  of Publication Consultants

I am scheduled to guide another trip on Wednesday May 13, so check back in the evening if you would like to know what we catch.

Wednesday May 13 — I guided 3 people who briefly hooked 2 fish, but did not manage to land either one.   Like yesterday, 1 fish took a Kwikfish and 1 fish took a #6 Vibrax Splinner.   The fish hooked on the spinner was smallish — maybe 20 inches and could have been a Jack king or rainbow trout as we saw it completely out of the water, but I did not get a good enough view for good identification.     In addition, we saw either multiple king salmon roll or perhaps one king salmon rolling several times.  That provided some excitement, but no additional hook ups.   During this trip we saw and heard some bald eagles, saw one beaver swimming around where we were fishing, and saw several ducks along the river. 

May 14 — I did not fish or guide.

May 15, 2015 — I guided a group of 4 people in the morning who did not catch a fish.   We saw some king salmon rolling, but only got one bite, and were unable to hookup.   We saw one other group of anglers land a small king.

I guided an afternoon group of 3 guests, and although we did not see or hook any king salmon, each of the guests landed an Arctic Grayling on a #3 silver / black Flashtrap spinner.  There were more anglers out trying their luck today, and I expect even more tomorrow.   I’m scheduled to guide two groups again tomorrow, and hope to have a report posted by the evening of May 16.

May 16, 2015 — I guided a morning group of 3 guests and although we once again saw king salmon rolling, we were unable to hook any of them up.   The guests did catch one rainbow trout on a Mag Lip Flatfish and one mussel on a #6 Vibrax Spinner.   During the trip we saw a couple other anglers hook a king salmon, one of which was landed.   We also saw some bald eagles, a beaver, shorebirds, some ducks, and a moose.

I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests, and we were unable to hook any king salmon.   One of my guests caught and released a whitefish on a #6 Vibrax Spinner.  We did see one other angler fighting a king salmon, but it was lost before it could be netted.   During the trip we saw a large moose wading in the river, and we also heard eagles calling, but did not see any of them up close.

May 17 — No Trips — guiding and reporting again on May 18.

May 18 — I fished along with 3 friends in the morning, and although we saw a few king salmon rolling and saw 1 king salmon caught, we did not hook any king salmon.   We did catch 8 northern pike on Flashtrap and Vibrax Spinners.   We saw a beaver, bald eagles, and ducks during the trip.

I guided two guests in the afternoon, and they did not hook any king salmon nor did we see any of the other anglers we were fishing near hook into any king salmon.   One guests caught 2 northern pike on a #5 silver/black Flashtrap Spinner.

May 19, 2015 — I took today off to have my truck worked on, attend a meeting, and get work done at home.   I will be guiding tomorrow, and we currently have charter space available both tomorrow (May 20 and Thursday May 21).   If you would like to join us on a trip to the Deshka River give us a call at 907-746-2199.

May 20, 2015 — I guided a group of 2 guests, 1 of whom caught a nice king salmon on a Mag Lip Flatfish.  We also saw two other king salmon landed by other anglers, and saw another king salmon hooked by other anglers but it pulled free before they could land it.  We spotted a couple king salmon rolling, and several beavers where swimming near our boat during the trip.   A pair of trumpeter swans also flew past us while we were fishing.

Hooligan have now migrated up past the mouth of the Deshka River, so they are available much closer to the landing.  Ben Allen of Miller’s Riverboat Service is running people down to catch hooligan — give him a call at 715-1095 if you would like to fill a cooler in a manner of minutes.

May 21, 2015 — Of Note — The Alaska Department of FIsh and Game’s  (ADF&G’s) Deshka River weir has been in the river 2 days and the first 15 king salmon swam past the Deshka River weir today.  ADF&G’s Little Susinta Salmon counting weir has been in the river 11 days now, and the first single king salmon passed Little Su weir today.

No Trips Today.  Working on gear for the next trip and attending a Mat-Su Borough Fish & Wildlife Commission meeting in the evening.

May 22, 2015 — No Trips booked — Preparing 2nd guide boat  for guiding — will run the first guide trip in it  on Saturday May 23 — check back to learn what we catch.

May 23, 2015 — I guided a morning group of 4 guests who caught 2 king salmon on Kwikfish plugs.  One of the morning guests also caught a rainbow trout on a Kwikfish.   I guided an afternoon group of 2 guests, 1 of whom caught a king salmon on a Kwikfish.    During the morning trip our group saw a moose down along the river.   I will be fishing and reporting again tomorrow — time to get some sleep, now.

May 24 — I guided an afternoon group of 5 guests, 1 of whom hooked a king salmon at our first spot, but he lost it.  After that we had one other bite which we did not hook and we had some king salmon bump the line, but not grab the lure.   So we did not catch any king salmon.   On the way to the river I saw a fox cross the road only a little ways from my vehicle.

May 25 — I guided a morning group of 5 guests, and although we kept the lures in the water a maximum amount of time we were unable to get any bites — so no fish either.  One of my guests had a fox cross the road in front of him while driving to the boat launch.   We also had a close view of bald eagle in the morning.

I guided an afternoon group of 2 guests, and once again we fished long and hard without a bite.   Was a beautiful afternoon after a drippy morning.   We did see a couple bald eagle soaring in the distance during the trip.

May 26, 2015 — I guided a morning group of 4 guests, 2 of whom caught king salmon.  1 king salmon was caught on a #5 Flashtrap Spinner and the other king salmon was caught on a #6 Vibrax Spinner.  In addition, we saw some beavers and 4 moose during the trip.

I guided an afternoon group of 5 guests, who did not catch a king salmon.   1 guest hooked a king salmon and battled it all the way to the boat only to have it wrap around the anchor rope and we ended up breaking it off.   The fish was hooked on a #6 Vibrax Spinner.   We saw more salmon surfacing than I had seen on any other afternoon fishing trip this season.  We also saw several bald eagles during the trip.

May 27 — I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests, who did not catch a king salmon.  We saw a few king salmon roll along the Deshka River, but could not get any hooked up on our single hook artificial lures.   We saw one angler briefly hooked up with a king salmon, but the hook pulled loose before he even got the fish near the boat.   During our trip we also saw several bald eagles and a moose waded across the river below us at one of the holes we were fishing.   Was a beautiful warm sunny day — perhaps too much so on the Deshka River for good fishing.  Hoping for better luck tomorrow — especially in the morning.  Check back in the evening for the next update.

May 28 — I guided a morning group of 5 guests, 1 of whom caught a king salmon on a Vibrax Spinner.  During the trip we saw another king salmon caught by other anglers, and also saw several bald eagles.

I guided an afternoon group of 3 guests, 1 of whom caught a king salmon on a #5 Flashtrap Spinner.  That was the only bite we had, and the only fish we saw caught in the afternoon.   During the trip one member of the group spotted a yearling moose, and we also saw some bald eagles, and ducks.   I plan to guide and report again tomorrow.

May 29 — I guided a morning group of 4 guests, and we only managed to hook one fish — a jack king salmon which was caught on a #5 Flashtrap Spinner.   We had another bite, but were unable to hook up, and saw a few other salmon hooked by others.   It was a slow morning.  We did see some bald eagles.  Lots of folks fishing in the morning.

I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests, one of whom caught a king salmon on a #5 Flashtrap Spinner.   Another member of the group hooked a king salmon on a #6 Vibrax Spinner, but lost it before we could bring it to the boat.  We saw some more bald eagles and some ducks.

May 30, 2015 — I guided a morning group of 4 anglers, 3 of whom caught a king salmon.   All 3 kings were caught on Kwikfish.  It was a nice pleasant morning with warmer than normal temperatures.

I guided an afternoon group of 5 anglers and 1 of them caught a king salmon and another 1 caught a king salmon jack.   Those were the only two bites we had the entire trip.   There was little angling pressure in the afternoon and the weather was hot with a blue sky day.   We saw an eagle and a variety of birds during the trip.

May 31 — I worked on a boat in the morning.

I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests, who caught 1 king salmon and 1 king salmon jack.   The king salmon was caught on a Mag Lip Flatfish and the jack was caught on a K-15 Kwikfish.   It was another hot sunny day, and although we found some king salmon we had a difficult time getting them to bite.

For NEXT REPORT see our June 2015 page.