Sorry this is so slow in being posted! I had prepared it last fall and thought I had installed it, but it never installed. Hope it happens this time!
Say Hello to Mr. Prickly! He was supposed to be our spokesman for this year’s blog, but he crawled under the deck and wouldn’t come out again. So I guess I will have to be the spokesman for 2016.
IT WAS AN UNUSUAL YEAR!
It was really warm in Alaska the winter of 2015-16. It was the 2nd year in a row with no snow and high temperatures (generally higher than Kansas). The summer was warm in the seventies and got up to 85 locally and up to a 100 in the Mat Su Valley! No squirrels, very few moose and calves, but we got a porcupine! The glacier rivers never stopped dumping water.
On top of that the fishing was WEIRD!
The rivers were full because of the extra glacier water and the river water was warmer than normal because of the higher outside temperatures. The salmon came into the Cook Inlet early, but then seemed to be confused by the higher river water temperature and didn’t enter the rivers. So we had lots of salmon in the Inlet but few in the rivers. THE COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN LOVED IT! But we bank fishermen did not! Thus we had a very poor early run into the Kasilof river and Kenai runs through to the Russian river. We started catching red salmon in the Kenai the 10th of July. The fish were smaller and there were not as many of them (I think it was part of the Russian river run of fish). By the third week of July, the water in the Kenai was running over the banks (the highest I have seen it in 24 years) and the first salmon run was over!
Finally, the 31st of July the second run of red salmon enter the Kenai and they were huge. However, the high water made it very difficult to fish from the river banks. Normally we step off the banks to fish in the water. The edges of the river are gravel and rock. This year the water was above our knees (almost to our waists) and the fish were often behind us against the banks. We had to fish from the top of the banks and through the tall grass that grows along the shores. We caught fish into the second week of August.
Jan and I arrived back at the Kasilof RV Park on the 5th of May. We were surprised at the greenery. The trees were all leaved out, the horsetails and fireweed were twelve inches high and the grass needed to be mowed already. Our first job after getting the water on and place opened is to plant flowers and the garden. This year the flowers in the nurseries were all picked over because the planting season had started in April, but we managed to get enough to make the place pretty again.
A few days later, Richard and Doris Pierce arrived to open up their camper that is here year around to stay the summer. That weekend the Pettit’s came to spend the weekend in their camper that they store with us over the winter and enjoy on the weekends during the summer. The Christensen’s brought their new camper down from Wasilla to also spend the summer. And our Texas friends, John and Kim Brooks arrived in early June. Within a couple of weeks, the place was hoping again.
Early in June, Jan’s daughter Debbie arrived to spend a week with us to start the season. The photo was taken at the Kenai Airport where the Alaskan Scene was painted on the outside of the building.
The weather was beautiful and warm and the flowers were just begging to start blooming.
Later that week we just had to make a fishing trip to the Kasilof River to catch that first red salmon of the year. Unfortunately, it was raining and a little cool, but we braved the walk down to the river and tried our luck. It was still a little early and we didn’t have much luck although I did manage to catch a nice one.
Yes we did use the old Salmon Mobile and Debbie found out how to stop the problem of running out of gas. She bought us a gallon can of gas to carry with us. Now why didn’t we think of that!
Ryan and Kameron arrived on the 7th of July and they were ready to catch fish. Of course Kam didn’t wait until to test out the trout in Johnson Lake and sure enough they were still there to his joy
Fortunately, Uncle Bob came to Kam and Ryan’s rescue and took them Halibut fishing out of Deep Creek. Kam managed to catch the biggest Halibut of the group.
Although it was still early for the Kenai salmon run to start we waited until Sunday, the 10th to try. Sure enough Kam caught the first one that day and the catch in the Kenai continued through the rest of the week.
Now unfortunately Jan’s iPhone camera lens cover was damaged about the time that all of the other groups got to the Park. As she is the one that takes most of the photos, many of the photos of family were too dark or dull to show in the blog. We did get some from the rest of the group that I can use.
Cary arrived on the 14th, Cheri on the 15th and Chris on the 16th. Lots of trips to the Kenai Airport, but we love to share the park with our kids. On Tuesday, the 19th Jan and I drove to Anchorage to pick up Jordan, his girlfriend Heather, Jake and their friend Paul.
Mark arrived on the 21st which completed the first group to come. At one time or another we were able to take them all fishing in the Kenai.
The water was getting so high that in most places we had to fish from the back or wade too far out in the river. In some cases, the fish were swimming behind us close to the bank.
Our fishing in the Kenai was not all peaches and roses though, we had a terrible time with our boat. The engine kept giving us trouble not running with any power and finally quit while we were trying to get back to the dock. Jordan and I had to pull it back to the ramp in the water.
Jordan’s group were a big help to us also as they chopped up a large amount of the saplings and trash limbs that we collected from the park this summer.
As July came to an end and the fishing had dwindled to just a few a day and of course that was the time when Fish & Game decided they had enough fish in the river to spawn so they raised the limit from 3 to 6. Although there were not enough fish in the river to catch 3, let alone 6. By the end of July, most of our group had left.
But Cody and his friend, Scott came to spend a week with us on the 27th and were disappointed that there were no more fish available. But they kept fishing and then the second run of salmon finally entered the river.
We had a great time then each catching our limit of 6 a day. It kept Jan and I busy cleaning the fish that we caught.
The second week of August, Todd and Karen came to visit. It was Karen’s first trip to Alaska.
Todd talked her into fishing with us and she caught her first fish, a nice bright Silver salmon. Then she proceeded to catch two more, a Pink and a Red.
Todd and Karen went hiking at the Exit Glacier just outside of Seward.
Then we all went down to Homer for a day and we had to stop at the Greek Church above old town, Nilnilchik first. Of course we couldn’t pass up a Kalua Coffee at the Shady Dog Saloon.
Todd didn’t go away empty handed. He managed to catch the largest Halibut of the day on another trip with Brother-in-Law Bob
By then it was mid-August and was time to start getting things done for the summer.
Kim Brooks helped Jan with preparing the salmon for canning and John Brooks helped Jon with the sealing of the cans.
Altogether we canned 146 cans and 13 jars of salmon.
John and Kim Brooks were summer campers with us for the past two years and this summer they bought sister Sally’s older King of the Road 5th Wheel for permanent placement in campsite #7 for the future.
They also helped us put up the long gate at the main entrance to the park when we closed for the winter.
Just before we left for the winter, we got to celebrate Brother-in-Law Bob’s 78th birthday with a fun party at Bistro Flats.
Coming Up in 2017
KASILOF RV PARK
21377 Crooked Creek Road Kasilof, Alaska
www.kasilofrvpark.com 907 262-3704
Yes, we have finally decided to make the Park an Extended-Stay Campground which means that we will no longer be willing to accept overnight campers. By eliminating the short term campers, Jan and I will have more time to spend with those who are visiting us. Plus we won’t have the hustle and bustle of people coming and going so often. We really enjoy getting to know the people who visit the park and the best way to do that is to have them stay long enough to get to know them. So starting in 2017, we will only take 7 day reservations in June and August, 30 day reservations and seasonal reservations (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Hopefully, this will be something that we can all enjoy together.