May 2019 Alaska Fishing Reports

May 2019 Alaska Fishing Reports — I will be guiding rainbow trout, arctic grayling, and northern pike fishing trips.   Our King salmon fishing trip option during May  is the Eklutna Tailrace / Knik River fishery.  Scroll down to read our latest May reports — you may want to bookmark this page for easy future reference.

May 1, 2019 — I fished with my guide boat on Little Susitna River yesterday — Ben Allen and I each caught two rainbow trout.   This is one of two locations where I am currently ready to guide fishing trips.  A fishing trip this early in the season will put you on a beautiful Alaska river with good chances of seeing wildlife and low fishing pressure from other anglers.   We will boat to several prime fishing spots along the river, and fish most of them all by ourselves.  During May catching fish can be sporadic.  Expectation for  May 2019 Trips — consider our guided trip as a river tour — with fishing and a chance of catching rainbow trout, arctic grayling, and northern pike.  Call us at 907-746-2199 if you would like to experience our guided Alaska fishing adventure.

Susitna River Drainage –The ice at Deshka River Outdoor Association boat launch is melting out rapidly and water level in the Susitna River bumped up following yesterday’s warm temperatures.  There is still a considerably amount of snow and ice on the hill leading down to the boat launch, but I will be able to launch from Deshka Landing before long to fish tributaries of the Susitna River.

I provided technical assistance as Jason Perrego wrapped and finished his second custom rod.  This evening I also wrote and submitted my Frontiersman fishing column that appears in the Friday paper.

May 2, 2019 — Eklutna Tailrace — I casted and swung a #3 Silver / Black Flashtrap Spinner from the pedestrian bridge downstream to the tailrace confluence with the Knik River side-channel.  It was raining lightly in the evening when I was fishing, and the air smelled so fresh.  Trees are greening up with leaves starting to emerge, and the gate to the parking lot was unlocked, so I was able to drive down and park right next to the tailrace for the first time this year.   I saw one small smelt-sized salmon, but did not get any bites or see any larger fish.   While driving to and from the tailrace I saw some geese, one bald eagle, and one moose.  

I’m planning to take my guide boat out on another river during the next couple days before my first guide trip of the season.

May 3, 2019 — Deshka River Fishing Today — A friend and I took my guide boat out on a scouting fishing trip to see what fish we can find.  This is only the second boat trip of the season for us.   We boated to Deshka River and fished one slough where each of us caught a northern pike on Flashtrap Spinners.  The Deshka was still quite high and colored with runoff.   We did not fish the main river at all, but saw grayling-sized fish surface at several locations along the river.  We boated all the way past the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Weir location.    A department crew was busy setting up the weir camp for the season.   The water looked considerably too high for putting the weir in at this point.   Along the river we saw two moose, some ducks, lots of arctic terns, and one bald eagle.  Deshka Landing Boat Launch is only open for members at this point, and the launch hill should be driven with a 4-wheel drive vehicle.   Note: Susitna Landing was scheduled to have the first boater launching from their launch today. 

Open water guiding fishing is nearly upon us — and it always amazes me how much paperwork is required to be in this business — so I’m also busy getting that taken care of for another season.   There will be one less requirement this part of season which will make keeping up with daily paperwork considerably easier.   YEAH!

May 4, 2019 — Eklutna Tailrace — I fished the tailrace early this morning with a sprinkling rain.   I casted a #5 Silver / Black Flashtrap Spinner for about 45 minutes and  only saw some ducks paddling around the tailrace.  Otherwise I had the fishery all to myself.  On the drive across the Hay Flats going to the tailrace I spotted 9 moose and 1 bald eagle.   Returning from the tailrace I spotted 15 moose on the Hay Flats.  Nice to get out and enjoy an early morning of fishing — and always exciting to spot some moose.

May 5, 2019 — First Guided Boat Fishing Trip for 2019  — This trip was provided a good tour of the lower Little Susitna River with some fishing in prime holes.   All of our fishing occurred upstream of the landing as we searched for rainbow trout.   Unfortunately water volume had nearly double in the few days since I was on the lower river earlier in the week.   With the rising water the clarity decreased as well.   My guests fished both single-hook spinners and jigs under floats, but I was unable to get them hooked up on the trout.   During the trip we saw a couple bald eagles, quite a few ducks, some geese, shore birds, and one moose.   We went several miles above the weir — which an Alaska Department of Fish and Game employee told us is now fish tight.   The only fish department staff have seen at the weir were rainbow trout.   Weather was cool and just a bit drippy at times, however, my guests were dressed well and we enjoyed the entire time on the water with a little extra time taking a look at the river downriver of the landing as well.

May 6, 2019 — Eklutna Tailrace — I casted a #4 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner along a decent stretch of the tailrace this evening.   I spent a while talking with a couple other men out trying their luck, but none of us had any bites or saw any big fish while I was there.   I did see a couple of bald eagles, some ducks, and a beaver at the tailrace.   Driving between the tailrace and home I saw 3 moose, a couple geese, a flock of sandhill cranes — and a black bear.   I don’t see a bear very often and this one was very close to the road so that was a treat.  Spring is progressing nicely with birch trees starting to leaf out after our recent rain.   The weather report is calling for more rain tomorrow evening.

May 8, 2019 — Cold Rainy Morning — I built 4 rod handles and wrote my weekly fishing column for the Friday edition of the Frontiersman Newspaper.  If I did not have the column deadline I may have gone fishing this evening.   I am planning to fish early tomorrow morning.

May 9, 2019 — Rainbow Trout — I drove a Mat-Su Valley lake recently stocked with catchable rainbow trout by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the trout proved to be just that.   I fished  for a while without much luck before I noticed a fish surfacing.   I walked enough to get in range, and game on.  I caught 8 or 9 trout and hooked, but lost several others, and also had bites I did not hook.   The fish were fat and sassy on one of my lighter weight trout rods.   All of the fish were caught on a #3 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner with a single hook.   I released them all and hope someone else can experience the joy of catching some of them.   While fishing and driving to and from the lake I saw ducks, swans, sandhill cranes, geese, and moose.  What a wonderful clear morning, after a very wet morning yesterday.  I’m taking my mother out for dinner this evening, so it is doubtful I will do any additional fishing today.  I am hoping to get out again tomorrow.

May 10, 2019 — Eklutna Tailrace — I casted a #5 silver/ black Flashtrap Spinner for about an hour, but did not see any fish or get any bites.  I fished late in the evening and the water was much cloudier today after our recent rain.  I only saw ducks and swans today — possibly because it was so windy.  

May 11, 2019 — My wife and I  attended the Deshka Landing Outdoor Association annual meeting in Willow.  I had the opportunity to talk with several individuals that had recently been out on the Susitna and Deshka Rivers.  Sounds like water levels have gone up after our most recent rains, but may already be dropping again.  It sprinkled a bit while we were in Willow, but not enough (at that location anyway) to keep water levels up.  It was windy again today, but died down by evening.

May 12, 2019 — I guided one angler and his wife to the Deshka River.    The river remains high with runoff, however, it has dropped somewhat and cleared up a bit as well.   We worked 3 sloughs in hopes of catching pike, but did not get a single solid hookup.  We also fished 3 stretches of the main river for arctic grayling, and although we found a small concentration of grayling at one location we did not manage to catch any.   We fished both small single hook spinners and also a small jig under a float.   We saw a variety of ducks, arctic terms, and a couple bald eagles during the trip.   Deshka Landing is bar far the busiest river boat launch in the Mat-Su Valley at this time, with several boatloads of people heading down the Susitna River in search of hooligan, some bear hunters, cabin and homeowners along the river, and river business owners.

May 13, 2019 — I fished Eklutna Tailrace late in the evening with a new custom rod and a #5 silver/black Flashtrap Spinner.   Did not see any king salmon yet or get any bites.   Spotted 6 moose and a bald eagle on the drive to the Tailrace — then spotted 8 moose on the drive home.

May 14, 2019 — Fished with Jason Perrego of Alaska Lakes Guide Service from his boat on Crooked Lake near Big Lake.   Jason wanted to explore this lake that he had only fished once previously and invited me along.   Beautiful lake and we fished around most of the shoreline with swim baits, spinners, and tube jigs.   We caught several rainbow trout — all of which we released, but we had to make lots of casts to catch each one.   It was a wonderful day of fishing and we were the only ones fishing on the lake.  We saw loons and ducks during the trip.  In the evening I drove into Anchorage for the Alaska Sportfishing Association meeting.

May 15, 2019 – I drove to Anchorage for an all day first aide / CPR class.   In the evening  I wrote my fishing column for friday’s Frontiersmen Newspaper.

May 16, 2019 — I participated in two Mat-Su Fish & Wildlife Committeee meetings.

May 17, 2019 — started catching up on paperwork.

May 18, 2019 — Fishing from my guide boat — Ben Allen, his father, and I took my guide boat and fished for king salmon in the Knik River.   We did not see any salmon or get any bites, but we did see 5 other boatloads of people all doing the same thing.   Conditions looked good, and we saw some ducks, sandhill cranes, a trumpeter swan, and a pair of bald eagles.

May 19, 2019 — worked in the yard with my wife.

May 20, 2019 — I guided a group of 2 guests looking for king salmon on the Knik River. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we fished every spot we wanted to fish, but we did not see any ocean-run salmon, and we did not get any bites.   Art and Justin were great guests and worked the river well the entire time, but there did not seem to be much available today.  My guests fished both Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers and also back trolled with Kwikfish.

May 24, 2019 — I guided a group of 3 guests for king salmon, and we did not see or hook any of the big fish.   Water conditions were good, and we fished several different holes, and saw several other anglers out at the Eklutna Tailrace / Knik River fishery.   During the trip we saw 4 trumpeter swans and a bald eagle, along with a floatplane flying low over the river.  King salmon are running in the area, so it is like only a matter of time before we connect at this fishery.

May 26, 2019 — Eklutna Tailrace — I drifted Fire Cured salmon roe under an ESB Bobber for several hours at the tailrace this morning.   I also casted a #5 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner for a few minutes with no bites.   I fished nearly all of the way from the highway to the tailrace confluence with the Knik River, and all I got was wet.   I only saw 3 other people fishing, and the rain did a good joy of keeping the mosquitos at bay.   As far as I could tell I did not get any bites — my bobber dipped underwater a few times, but only in extremely shallow water near where the tailrace met up with the Knik River.   I figured the hook was simply hanging up on the rocks, but set the hook a few times anyway.   Nothing on the other end.      While at the tailrace I saw some ducks, and during the drive across Palmer Hay Flats I saw a bald eagle.  

May 27, 2019 — Eklutna Tailrace — I fished the tailrace in the morning with my nephew, Paul Warta.  We both fished with Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobber and then switched things up and casted spinners.   We did not get any bites, although I saw one small fish surface that looked like it might be a jack salmon.  We saw and heard trumpeter swans and ducks.   Driving across the Palmer Hay Flats I spotted a pair of yearling moose, but I have not been seeing as many moose lately.   I suspect the cow moose have been having their calves and are more secretive and not feeding out in the open as much.

May 28, 2019 — Susitna River — The Susitna has risen following our recent rain over the weekend. Talking with Steve at Susitna Landing, he mentioned the water had risen and got muddy with the rain.   Likely because of this change people fishing near the landing have not been catching as many rainbow trout recently — it is also getting a little later in the season and rainbow trout tend to migrate further up the tributary streams.   Steve did mention that there are now some grayling present near the landing — with a drop in water level or increase in clarity the will likely provide some opportunity primarily for bank anglers in this area.   I talked with Dan Suprak who took some guests fishing Deshka River sloughs for pike recently.  Dan mentioned that the group saw some pike swirling around in the shallows, but did not managed to catch any of them.  Although king salmon fishing is currently closed throughout the Susitna River drainage (including Deshka River) Dan mentioned his group seeing king salmon breaking the surface near the confluence of the Deshka and Susitna Rivers.   Also through May 27 a total of 113 had swum upstream past the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Deshka River weir.

May 30, 2019 — My wife and I were busy getting things done in Anchorage this morning, but in the evening we took my guide boat to the Knik River and fished for king salmon for about 2 1/2 hours.  There were already two other boat out fishing the side-channel of the Knik River where it is legal to fish king salmon and there was also some bank anglers out fishing the river as well.   We fished both Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers and Kwikfish plugs.   We did not see any king salmon and we did not get any bites.   While fishing we saw some bald eagles and a sandhill crane.   On the ride across the Palmer Hay Flats we spotted one moose.

Call Fishtale River Guides for more information about out  2019 guided salmon fishing trips or  if you would like to make your June, July, August, or September 2019 reservation.  907-746-2199.

For our next Alaska Fishing Report update view our June 2019 Alaska Fishing Reports page.