April – May 2017 Alaska Fishing Reports

Preseason Reservation Opportunity for Open – Water Salmon Fishing

Now is a good time to contact us if you are considering making a reservation for our guided Alaska salmon fishing trips for May — early September salmon fishing (907) 746-2199.   Reservations for my personal guide boat have been filling rapidly for the first 3 weeks of June, however, I have good availability for May reservations — and we will also be working with 3 other guides this season who currently have more availability during early June.  If looking for an early June reservation we suggest giving us a phone call to check on morning and afternoon availability for several dates as soon as possible.    — Andy

2017 King Salmon Harvest Opportunities

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced Little Susitna River and Deshka River will both be open to king salmon harvest 7 days per week in 2017.  This is an expansion for Little Susitna River and provides more harvest opportunity compared to how the 2016 season started.    Deshka River will open to bait / scent starting June 1, while Little Susitna River will be artificial lures only unless an inseason change is made later in the season based on king salmon migration numbers past the Department’s Little Susitna River salmon counting weir.

Expect Better Silver Salmon Catching Opportunities in 2017

In 2013 we had good silver (coho) salmon spawning escapements, and we’ve experienced no significant floods since then to disrupt freshwater production.   Those offspring fish have gone to the ocean and should return in stronger numbers from July — early September.  We are therefore optimistic about better silver silver salmon harvest opportunities in 2017.  Most or our best dates July, August and early September are available at this time.

Ice Out on the Rivers — We usually see the ice start flowing on the Susitna River drainage during the last week of April or first week of May.   Spring melting got off to a late start this year, however, as of April 15, it looks like we could be catching up to a normal year.  Currently I’m expecting we should get our first boat out on a river between May 10 – 15.  Last year the first two king salmon harvested from my guide boat were taken on May 13 — I know other people who caught a few Susitna Valley king salmon even earlier.

April 15, 2017 — Today is the date I start expecting to see the first few geese returning to the Matanuska – Susitna Valley.   I have not spotted any geese, yet, but last night I drove over to Eklutna Tailrace and spotted two moose, a bald eagle, two swans and several ducks during the round-trip.   There is still plenty of ice along the Knik River and plenty of snow along the sides of the tailrace — that part of the valley is shaded more by Pioneer Peak, so it usually takes a while longer for the snow and ice to melt over there.

Fishing Preparations — I wrapped the guides on a new fishing rod, and brushed on the finish, and also did some touch up work on a second rod.  I also hope to build 400 — 500 Flashtrap Spinners before I start fishing.    Then there is business paperwork to catch up on before I start guiding trips.   A few days ago I picked up a new impeller at Greatland Welding that they ordered for one of our outboard motors.   I still need to install it, so when the ice goes off Finger Lake I am ready to make a test run.  The worst part about all these odd jobs is that the weather has been so sunny and beautiful that I naturally want to spend more time outdoors instead of inside doing chores.   The hope is always that getting some of the drudgery done now will free me up for lots of outdoor trips once the salmon start running.

April 20, 2017 — Today I wrote my first weekly fishing column of the year for the Frontiersman Newspaper — it may be published on Friday April 21.  Anglers are now fishing a very small amount of open water at  Bradley Lake and catching a few rainbow trout, but if a person made a cast of any length at all at this location it would land on a portion of the lake still covered with ice.  Since my last report I’ve installed the new impeller in my outboard motor, charged the boat battery, and just need a boat launch with enough open water to test run it and see how it works.  I’ve also built two additional fishing rods. I still need to catch up on paperwork, and plan on doing more of that today.   Last night I was re-elected to another term on the Matanuska Valley Fish and Game Advisory Committee, so will continue to remain involved with local fish and game issues in the Mat-Su Valley and southcentral Alaska.  Yesterday Mike Hudson with 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle in Wasilla told me he figured the Susitna River should be ice-free in about 10 days.   That would be about Saturday April 29 — and in discussing ice conditions along the Susitna River with several other individuals, I’m thinking Mike is likely correct.  I expect ice  flowing down the Susitna River in less than a week — with the river mostly ice free by Saturday April 29.

April 21, 2017 — New Custom Rods for a New Season   Some of you have undoubtedly noticed I’ve been building a substantial number of fishing rods  for the upcoming fishing season.  The advantages for building rods is I can customize the handle materials and length, I can use Fuji’s new KR guide system that keeps rod weight down / increases sensitivity / increases casting efficiency and provides more support for a stronger built rod, I can build with a variety of rod colors and choose the most appropriate rod blank actions and weights for the particular technique we will be using.  Many of our guests have already fished some of these rods over the past two or three years, and I believe they make our trips more enjoyable and also increased the number of salmon our guests catch.  If you would like to learn more about the specific custom rods I use on my trips, we have posted an article on this website.  Simply go to the Tackle & Articles navigation scroll down / go all the way down to Fishing Articles / choose the latest article: KR Concept Spinning Rods.

The MELT Is On!  — Online Mat-Su Valley weather reports are calling for up to 9 days of continual temperatures above freezing for several locations in the Mat-Su Valley.  Ice on  the rivers is still thick and intact and I don’t expect it to all melt in 9 days — what actually happens is when enough melt flows down the rivers it simply washes the ice away.  As I reported yesterday, if these predicted temperatures occur the river ice should wash away within about a week.  That would open the rivers up for fishing — the most likely catches would be trout, Dolly Varden, grayling or pike for the first week or two after the ice clears off the rivers — then more and more salmon will start migrating up the rivers as we progress through the month of May.

April 22, 2017  —  Eklutna Tailrace – first open water fishing of 2017  —  It’s been more than a week since I last visited the tailrace, this evening my nephew, Paul Warta and I drove over to the Tailrace and tried some open water fishing for the first time in 2017.  The Knik River still has quite a bit of ice along the sides and there was a fair amount of snow along the tailrace, but the water level was good and the water was fairly clear.  The weather was pleasant and it was easy for us to spend about an hour and half at the tailrace.   We fished Flashtrap Spinners, and did not see any fish or get any bites — par for the course at the tailrace in April.    There  was plenty of open water to fish, and I had the opportunity to try out one of the new rods I had built — it worked even better than I expected it to.     Paul started searching around the tailrace for lures and found 7 of them to bring home.    We saw some ducks at the tailrace and a couple bald eagles as we traveled across the Palmer Hay Flats — Paul also spotted and pointed out 6 moose to me as we travelled back home across the hay flats.  Our f first open water trip of the season turned out about as well as either of us could have expected.  Note: on the way to the tailrace I passed another vehicle pulling  a boat, and as we drove past the Knik River we saw another vehicle pulling an airboat up from the river.   The river is shallow and icy enough at this time that it would likely be quite difficult getting some other type of boat into the water and then back onto a trailer at that location — but at least someone is out checking out a boat.

April 23, 2017 –Eklutna Tailrace — In the evening Paul Warta and I fished at the tailrace for the second time in two days.  Once again we did not see any fish or get any bites.   I was able to test out three rods on this trip, with assessment of 1 being quite pleased, about on par with a 2nd one, and less than I expected from the 3rd one.    More of the snow had melted along the tailrace, and on the trip to and from  the tailrace we saw 7 moose, a couple flocks of sandhill cranes, some ducks, and a pair of Canadian geese (today was the first time I had seen geese and cranes this spring).  Also as we were driving past Bradley and Kelper Lakes we could see a few people fishing fishing for trout.  At this location there is only a small area of open water where people are fishing, however, there was a bit more open water today.

April 24, 2017  Eklutna Tailrace — Paul and I fished the tailrace again right during and after the evening high tide — but did not see any  fish or get any bites.   We both fished Flashtrap Spinners the whole time.  I tested out two additional  custom rods and was pleased with the results  (very smooth casting and good sensitivity with both).   The snow continues to melt at the tailrace, however, day time temperatures have not been as warm as predicted, so on the shady side of the tailrace the snow persists.   Driving to and from the tailrace we saw sandhill cranes, 2 bald eagles, ducks, and 6 moose.

April 25, 2017  Mat-Su Valley — I drove to Wasilla and stopped in at 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle — Mike Hudson told me people were out fishing, but he had not heard of much catching in the Mat-Su Valley yet this spring.  The streams North of Willow (including Willow Creek) are flowing and open to fishing, and  a few people are getting out and fishing those streams.   Mike showed me a photo of the amount of water open near the mouth of Willow Creek — and it looks to  both of us like there should be rainbow trout staging there any day now.   Mike also had a photo of the Susitna River at Deshka Landing, and a person can see that the river and ice is moving a bit, but it will still be a while before anyone is likely to be launching a boat at that spot.   3 Rivers Fly and Tackle now has a stock of #5 Pink and #5 Flashtrap Spinners.    On my way home from Wasilla I swung by Finger Lake — where there was a small amount of open water near the boat dock and a couple of guys were fly fishing off the dock.  There is enough open water for a few people to fish at this location, and this is often one of the better spots on Finger Lake early in the season.    There is NOT enough open water for anyone to checkout a boat — yet.   Perhaps by the the April 29 / 30  weekend there MAY be enough open water to run boats at Finger Lake.

April 26, 2017 Eklutna Tailrace — Paul Warta and I fished the tailrace again with the same catch results — we did not see or even hook any fish.  We fished the entire  time with #5 Flashtrap Spinners. There were still several large ice chunks floating upstream and downstream with the tide near the Knik River Bridge over the Glenn Highway downstream of the tailrace.   During the drive to and from the tailrace we spotted 3 moose some sandhill cranes and a few ducks.

April 27, 2017  Eklutna Tailrace  — I fished the tailrace for about an hour and did not see or hook any fish.   I casted a #5 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner.  Most of the remaining ice on the lower Knik River seems to have melted or floated away since yesterday evening.  The gate to the tailrace parking lot was  unlooked today, so there is now plenty of parking available down near where the tailrace hits the Knik River channel.  On the ride to and from the tailrace today I saw some sandhill cranes, 2 moose, and some ducks.   It is always fun to see the wildlife, and I may have spotted less today simply because my nephew was not along to help spot.   Late this evening Deshka Landing is reporting that the Susitna River near the landing is now in full breakup mode.

I wrote and submitted my second fishing column of the season to the Frontiersman Newspaper today.  They may print it Friday or Sunday.

April 29, 2017  Eklutna Tailrace — An absolutely gorgeous sunny morning at the tailrace.   I fished my standard #5 Silver / Black Flashtrap Spinner for about an hour, but did not see or hook any fish.   I did see the usual ducks paddling around the tailrace waters, as well as 3 moose and some sandhill cranes on my drive there and back.  Most of the snow has now melted around the tailrace (which is shaded by the mountains so the snow and ice tend to melt a little later over there.

Echo Lake — I’ve been mentioned Kepler and Bradley Lakes for a while, which are just across the Glenn Highway from Echo Lake.  This morning for the first time this spring I noticed a substantial amount of ice – free water in Echo  Lake — intact there is now considerably more open water in Echo Lake than Kepler Lake and Bradley Lake combined.   Good news for trout and lake anglers!   I’m thinking most of the lakes in the Palmer — Wasilla Core Area should considerable amounts of ice and / or become ice – free within the next week.

Finger Lake — There is more ice — free water on a daily basis now.   I am planning to get on one of my guide boats out to Finger Lake for the first test run of the season during the first week of May.  At this point I’m hoping to get my boat out on one of the Mat-Su Rivers for the first time during he second week of May.

Parks Highway tributary streams to the Susitna River — yesterday Mike Hudson told me he knew of confirmed catches coming from several streams with open water north of Willow along the Parks Highway.  Streams continue to open and now some of the first fish have become available for anglers to catch at these locations.  At this point most of the better  catching usually occurs near the stream confluences with the Susitna River.

April 30, 2017   Eklutna Tailrace — 11 years ago on May 1,  I caught my earliest ocean-run king salmon from a Mat-Su stream on a #4 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner — So every year I like to put in an effort to catch an earlier king salmon.   So far I have not even seen a large ocean-run king salmon in a Mat-Su stream during the month of April — and that includes today’s trip.   I spent about an hour and a half casting a #5 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner at the tailrace, but saw no sign of a fish.   Although it was cloudy it was still a pleasant morning to be out fishing.   If you are wondering why I spend so much time at the tailrace this time of year — it is primarily the open water at this location provides a chance to fish where ocean-run salmon migrate — at least later in the season.   This year the tailrace has practically been the only game in town during April.   While driving to and from the tailrace this morning, I saw 6 moose, a pair of geese, ducks, and a bald  eagle.

Deshka Landing and Little Susitna River — In the afternoon Paul Warta and I drove to and checked out these two locations.  When we were at Deshka Landing there was still a large ice jam right off the landing, but quite a bit of running water as well.  Larry Heater was attempting to get outboard motor(s)  into the water at the boat launch to do some test running — however at that time there was not even enough open water between the launch and the ice in the boat launch lagoon for Larry to get his motors in the  water.   When I got home I went to the Deshka Landing website and read that the ice jam had moved on down the Susitna River — but the large sheet of ice in the boat launch remains in place.  Even if the boat launch should happen to clear up during the week — Landing Manager Amy Davis told me they will be putting in a new gate system on the weekend of May 6 / 7 and Monday May 8 — and the landing is scheduled to be closed at that time.  As of now I am anticipating the Landing MAY become available for use starting May 9.

The road leading to the Little Susitna River Public Use Facility is passable, although a bit rutted and soft in spots.   The river water level is extremely low and the water is still quite muddy from ice breakup and scouring its way down the river.  At this point I’m thinking river conditions may take several days to improve.  I could possible start running trips out to Little Susitna River with improved river conditions as early as the weekend of May 6 / 7 —  however when fishing this early in May there are very few king salmon available and there is the distinct  possibility of fishing the entire time without seeing or catching a fish.    Call 907-746-2199 if you might be interested in going — or if you would like to schedule a trip later when more salmon are available.

May 1, 2017  Mat-Su Fisheries Available Now — Spring break up / Ice melt is running  later than last year, however, it would appear to be at least average breakup timing — and more likely earlier than normal.   By the second week of May I expect my reports will become focussed almost entirely on salmon fishing through the summer — however — at this time fishing for freshwater species (primarily in the lakes) is likely the best fishing to be had in the Mat-Su Valley.   The ice has started clearing off many lakes in the Mat-Su Valley Core area at this time to the extent that people should be able to get boats out and fish from boats or at least do check down runs before taking a boat out on a river.  I was told that a large number of boaters were launching and checking their boats out at  Finger Lake over the weekend.   A fair amount of people out fishing this locations as well.  While driving around the valley yesterday I could see Echo Lake was nearly ice free, as was Meirs Lake, and Junction (Loberg) Lake.   The end of Wasilla Lake near the city park was starting to break up, and Lucille Lake including in front of the city boat dock was opening rapidly.   Further up the Parks Highway some lakes remained mostly ice covered — although at this point I would avoid waking on the ice — a partial list of ice covered lakes includes Nancy Lake, Willow Lake, Kashwitna Lake — also out Knik Goose-Bay Road, Knik Lake remains ice-covered.

Eklutna Tailrace — I casted a #5 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner at the tailrace in the evening for about 25 minutes, but once again did not see any salmon  or hook any fish.  It was a blustery evening and on the drive to and from the tailrace I only saw a couple flocks of sandhill cranes and 2 moose.    I pulled into Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area and noticed that Matanuska Lake was nearly ice free — for those considering  fishing that location for rainbow trout or Arctic char.

May 2, 2017 — I answered phone and internet fishing inquiries  this morning,  then talked with a ranger at Alaska State Parks about 2017 commercial permit conditions for the Little Susitna River Public Use Facility.  State Parks had not yet finalized the permit conditions for Little Susitna River — however — I expect to pick mine up on Wednesday May 3 at the Parks office over looking Finger Lake.

2017 Fishing Regulations Booklets are now available at the Palmer office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and should be available at many license vendors and retail stores soon — if not already.

May 3, 2017 — I spent a portion of the day gathering information for my weekly fishing column to be published in the Friday May 26 Frontiersman Newspaper.   I also picked up new logbooks for the first guide boat I hope to operate this season, picked up my 2017 commercial operator’s permit for the Little Susitna River Public Use Facility at the Alaska State Parks Finger Lake office, and checked out Finger Lake and its boat launch for the second time this season.  In a little over a week nearly all the ice is now melted from Finger Lake and there were 4 vehicles with  boat trailers near the boat launch while I was there.   Finger Lake may be one of the busiest Mat-Su fishery locations  this coming next weekend (May 6 and 7) with people checking out boats, fishing, and camping.  I have other busy work on my schedule for tomorrow — but I’m hoping to get a boat or two into Finger Lake and do some spring check out runs as well.

It’s About Trout — I suspect most of the Lakes in the Mat-Su Core Palmer / Wasilla area are likely now ice free or nearly ice free.  While at the Palmer Fish and Game office I learned the Department’s stocking truck should stake releasing fishing into Mat-Su Lakes starting Thursday May 11.  No official word on which lakes would be stocked first — but Bradley and Kepler Lake, Junction (Loberg) Lake, and Finger Lake are often some of the earlier lakes to get stocked and often with the larger catchable-sized fish.  This creates a nice fish catching opportunity — especially for young anglers who are more interested in action and catching numbers of fish over fish size.  Within a week the lakes receiving recent fish stocking efforts should be listed on the ADF&G website.

May 4, 2017 Eklutna Tailrace — I drove over in the morning and casted my #5 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner, but did not see any fish or get any bites.   Spring keeps progressing and as soon as the salmon arrive someone should catch a fish at this location.  This morning I saw a good amount of wildlife including sandhill cranes, a pair of trumpeter swans, 4 moose, and 10 bald eagles.

May 5, 2017  Eklutna Tailrace — I spent about 20 minutes at the Tailrace this morning casting my Flashtrap Spinner and looking for salmon.  Did not see or hook any fish.   Some may wonder why I am exclusively fishing the spinners this time of year.   They are quick and easy to use, and I can cover lots of water in a hurry with a spinner.   When I start seeing salmon or hearing of them being caught from the tailrace, I’d be apt to bring out the Fire Cured salmon roe.    I have more confidence in the bait drawing reluctant salmon to bite, however, before the fish are present I would not want to use up my premium bait.     The Department of Fish and Game has now installed the fish cleaning table near the tailrace mouth, and there was another fellow leaving just as I was showing up.   During the drive over this morning I spotted 4 moose and a bald eagles while crossing the Palmer Hay Flats.

Lodging Tour — My wife and I went on a tour of 5 lodging locations in the Mat-Su Valley where our guests may want to spend a night or several nights during their Alaska vacations.   It was good to talk with several owners and learn what advantages several different places had for fishing groups.  It was also interesting to learn some facilities were already mostly reserved for the summer season.

May 6, 2017  Boat and Gear Preparation — Part of my day will be spent getting my boat and fishing gear ready for my first guided salmon fishing trip of the season.   It will be time for that first trip soon, and shortly after that most of our fishing reports will cover trips run on the rivers with one of my guide boats.  I am hoping to get out on the river(s) multiple times in the next week, so check back throughout the week for updates from Deshka and Little Susitna River.  I am expecting the first few Mat-Su Valley king salmon will be harvested from one of these two rivers during the next week or 10 days.

May 8, 2017  First Guided Boat Trip of the season — I took two guests out on the Little Susitna River for our first open-water king salmon trip of the season.  They fished several holes both casting with #5 Flashtrap Spinners and Back trolling with Kwikfish plugs, however a couple bites from small fish were the only bites detected.  We saw some smaller fish that looked like trout surfacing, but they mostly were not interested in our large salmon lures, and we did not see any large fish today.  Water has cleared considerably over the past week, and even though the river has risen, it is still very low with slow flows.   We were on the river about 4 1/2 hours — as my battery  was not recharging enough to restart the motor after I turned it off the last time.   After getting home this evening I purchased a new boat battery and replaced the old one.   Motor started right up with the new battery, so I should be out on the rivers again this week as planned.

May 9, 2017  Eklutna Tailrace — I casted a #5 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner at the tailrace this morning, but did not see any fish or get any bites.  It was a cloudy drizzly morning and I spotted 2 moose,  a couple pairs of swans, and a pair of ducks.  There was fresh snow high on the Talkeetna Mountains this morning, but birch leaves are emerging and grass is starting to greening up in the Mat-Su Valley.

May 10, 2017   Deshka River & Video  — My nephew and I took my guide boat to the Deshka River late in the morning today.   There were already people fishing at the mouth area, and the water was extremely low for this time of the season — so we worked our way upriver.   We fished several spots with both Kwikfish plugs and Flashtrap Spinners.   My nephew also tried a Panther Martin spinner, some flies, and  another lure or two.   We caught several northern pike, and my nephew also caught a couple fat grayling on the small Panther Martin Spinner.   For wildlife we saw several bald eagles and several ducks along the river.   It was a fun day to be out enjoying the river and some wonderful warm sunny weather during the afternoon.     — Chris Shaffer with Pautzke Bait Company today sent me  a video of a trip where we fished together on the Deshka River last June —- You can view it by copying and pasting the following URL into your web browser:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l41HxJHnECo

May 11, 2017  Eklutna Tailrace — It was another gorgeous morning a the tailrace — the water running down the tailrace is getting a bit more occluded with spring runoff, but still plenty clear.   I casted my #5 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner for several minutes, while watching for signs of fish upstream and downstream along the tailrace.   Did not see or hook any salmon — yet.  On the drive I saw 1 sandhill crane and 3 moose  — with the trees and other vegetation starting to green up, it will become more difficult to spot wildlife.   On the other hand salmon fishing will be kicking into gear with fish caught before long.

May 12, 2017  Deshka River — I guided a morning group of 2 guests to the Deshka River.  The casted Flashtrap Spinners and back trolled Kwikfish in several holes along the river, and caught 4 pike out of a side slough.   We also saw plenty of grayling slurping something off the surface at one location, but the guests could not seem to draw any strikes with small spinners.   After returning to Deshka Landing I talked with a couple anglers from another boat who had managed to land a king salmon.   Only salmon they saw all day.   I’ve yet to see  or have one of my guests hook a salmon, but expect we will get the first one before long.   The Susitna River had risen since I was over to the Deshka two days ago, so there is more water at the Deshka / Sustina River confluence now.

Susitna River Hooligan — At Deshka Landing a man who lives downstream near the Susitna River / Yentna River confluence told me the hooligan had been running past that spot in large numbers for a couple days now — so they are available if anyone would like to run down there and catch them.

May 13, 2017 — I’m working on getting my second guide boat ready to roll for the season.  I need to check run it, and organize all the boat items and tackle I use on a guided salmon fishing trip.  I also have a tire on the boat trailer to replace.  We currently have seats available for guided salmon fishing trips throughout the next week.   Give us a call at (907)  746-2199 if you would like to make a reservation.

May 14, 2017  Eklutna Tailrace — I casted my #5 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner for a while, but did not see any fish or get any bites.   The water is getting darker with meltwater and had only about eighteen inches of visibility today.  There was another couple out fishing this morning as well, and two additional vehicles in the parking lot.  While driving I spotted several ducks, a pair of geese, and one bald eagle.  It rained last night and there is fresh snow low on the mountains.

May 15, 2017 Deshka River — The charter I had scheduled for the Deshka River cancelled, however, I fished in the morning with two friends.   We casted with spinners and spoons, back trolled Kwikfish, and also casted small spinners for smaller fish.   We did not hook or see any king salmon surface near us, however, anglers in another boat caught a king salmon near where we were fishing.  All three members of our group caught northern pike, and one person also caught an arctic grayling on one of the small spinners.   We saw ducks and bald eagles along the river and enjoyed some beautiful sunny weather.

On the TV evening news it was reported that an angler harvested the first king salmon from Ship Creek in Anchorage.   I’ve also heard some reports of good king salmon catches in the saltwater on near Deep Creek on the Kenai Peninsula.

May 16, 2017

Still working on getting all the gear together for my second guide boat — which I’m hoping to operate on my next fishing charter.   I also still have plenty of chores to do around home before we start guiding salmon fishing trips every day.    If I fish for king salmon today — it will likely be to Eklutna Tailrace sometime in the evening.      An Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokesperson told me they hope to install the Deshka River salmon counting weir on May 17.  Check back late this evening or tomorrow for our next fishing report.

May 17, 2017  Little Susitna River — I guided a morning group of 6 guests and fished extra time, but we did not see any king salmon or even get any bites.    It was a cold morning on the water and I figured my guests would likely be warmer back trolling than if we started the trip casting, so we back trolled the entire trip.   The river had come up since I was there last week, however, there was still quite bait of grass and debris in the water.  During the trip we saw a flock of Canadian geese that flew almost directly over us, one member of the group spotted a moose along the river, and we also saw and heard shorebirds and saw a good number of ducks.   While driving to the river before the trip both the guests and I saw a moose along the road.  I was really hoping we would come up with a king salmon today, but it is still early in the season, with few king salmon available in the freshwater.   I did manage to get my 2nd guide boat checked out on Finger Lake and geared up before this trip — it performed splendidly on this trip while running a group of 6 guests.    I plan to post another report tomorrow — late in the day.

May 18, 2017  First King Salmon of 2017 — I took 3 guests fishing today and Larry Engel ended up catching the first king salmon of the season from sky guide boat.   He hooked a fish of about 30 pounds while back trolling with a Kwikfish and it put up a good fight before Larry could led to the net.  It was a cool  rainy day, but persistence finally paid off.   During the trip we also saw 3 moose along the river and a swan.

May 19, 2017  Eklutna Tailrace — I drifted Fire Cured salmon roe under an ESB Bobber for about a half hour this morning, but once again did not see or hook any salmon.  Fishing conditions keep looking better at the tailrace and I think people should be running into some salmon at this location soon — one of the reasons I finally fished bait for the first time at the tailrace this season.   While driving to an from the tailrace I looked for moose, but did not see any.  I have my truck in to be worked on later today — so we not be out with the boat today.

May 20, 2017 — This is the date after which I figure we should catch, see, or hook king salmon on nearly every trip.   With our first fish taken last Thursday I’m already feeling fishing withdrawal symptoms — today we are attending to functions not related to fishing — but I need to get back on the water soon.   We have good availability this coming week — even better than what shows on our website — so if you would like to check on availability or reserve a trip please give us a call at 907-746-2199.

May 21, 2017  Eklutna Tailrace — I spend about 45 minutes drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under an ESB bobber and looking for any sign of a king salmon this morning.  There were are few other people at the tailrace this morning as well, but I did not get any bites or see any king salmon.   On the drive I saw two Canadian Geese and one moose.  I’ll be working around the house today,  but am scheduled to run a group in one of our guide boats tomorrow.   Check back tomorrow afternoon if you would like to know how we did.

May 22, 2017 — I guided a morning group of 4 guests, 2 of whom caught nice-sized king salmon while trolling with small Kwikfish.  During the trip we saw several bald eagles and 3 moose.   It was a bit rainy and blustery, but a good time was had by all.  Water is extremely low, and I bumped bottom a couple times in spots I would normally boat right over.

May 23, 2017 — I took my brother and his 3 kids fishing this afternoon, and we saw one king salmon surface, but were unable to draw any strikes.   The water came up a little bit overnight and was also a bit darker.   During the trip we saw quite a few bald eagles, one moose, and a beaver.  I will be guiding guess tomorrow, so check back later in the day if you would like to know how we do.

May 24, 2017 — A windy and rainy day.   I guided 3 guests, each of whom caught a king salmon while trolling with the same small Kwikfish.  During the trip we saw 3 moose and the usual selection of ducks.  Water remains low.  I’m scheduled to guide again, and hope to post a fishing report again late in the day.

May 25, 2017 — I guided a morning group of 2 guests, each of whom caught a king salmon.  1 king salmon was caught on a Kwikfish and the other was caught on a Spin-N-Glo.  It was a cold and windy morning.

I guided an afternoon group of 3 guests, 1 of whom hooked a king salmon on a Kwikfish, but ended up losing it when it ran into some underwater brush.  It was warmer in the afternoon, but the wind was stronger making it difficult to fish at times.  I will be guiding again tomorrow check back if you would like to know how my guests do.  We have another monster tide coming in tomorrow morning — 33 footer.

May 26, 2017 — I guided a morning group of 3 guests, each of whom caught a king salmon.  2 king salmon were caught on Kwikfish and 1 king salmon was caught on a Spin-N-Glo.  During the trip we saw a few bald eagles, ducks and a crane.

I guided an afternoon group of 3 anglers, 1 of whom briefly hooked a king salmon on a Kwikfish, that was the only bite we got the whole trip.  It was a windy afternoon.   I’ll be guiding again tomorrow — check back later in the day if you would like to know how my guests do.

May 27. 2017 — It was a bit busier on the river today and I guided a group of 3 guests, but we failed to get a bite.  We saw one nice king salmon surface in a hole we fished through without a bite.   We spotted  a single moose and another moose with a newborn calf.  We also saw a beaver, an eagle, one sandhill crane, and a pair of geese.  It was somewhat cool, but not near as cool as the past couple days.  I’ll be guiding again tomorrow, so check back late in the day if you would  like to know how we do.

May 28, 2017 — I guided a morning group of 4 guests, one of whom caught a king salmon on a Kwikfish.  One other member of the group had a bite, and made a great hookset, but did not hook the fish.  During the trip we saw a beaver in a big hurry to get away from our boat.   There was a fair amount of fishing pressure in the morning and it was a dark cool morning.

I guided an afternoon group of 2 guests, one of whom had a bite on a Kwikfish, but was unable to hook the fish.  We spotted a mink along the bank at one of the holes we were fishing.  It started raining in the afternoon and the guests were cold and decide to come back early.  I plan to guide and report again tomorrow.

May 29, 2017 — I guided a morning group of 4 guests, 2 of whom caught a king salmon.  Both fish were caught on Kwikfish.  During the trip we saw 3 beavers and a bald eagle, and a moose that crossed the river just downstream from where we were fishing.  Weather was wet and cold.  The river has once again dropped in water volume.

I guided an afternoon group of 3 guests, 1 of whom caught a king salmon while trolling with a Kwikfish.  We covered lots of water but only had the one good strike during the afternoon trip. Weather was once again cold and wet for a good part of the trip.  I plan to be guiding and reporting again tomorrow — so check back later in the day if you would like to know how the group does.

May 30, 2017 — I guided a group of 4 guests, one of whom caught a king salmon on a Kwikfish.  During the trip we saw 5 moose along the river and a pair of swans.  The group also had some more action, but were unable to land any other fish.  Water dropped and is now lower and clearer.  Check back tomorrow for the next update.

May 31, 2017 — I guided a group of 5 guests, 1 of whom caught a king salmon while trolling with a Kwikfish.  Another guests hooked a king salmon and fought it for a little while before it came off.  We fished lots of holes and covered plenty of water, but those were the only bites the group had.  During the trip we saw several moose along the bank, and also saw  few bald eagles.

I am scheduled to guide guests again tomorrow, and since it will be a new month you will need to check on our June 2017 Alaska Fishing Reports page to learn what we catch.