Tag Archives: red fishing

2014 KASILOF RV PARK – Summer Blog



“Hi!
My name is Spike Jr., Jr., Jr., Jr. Grandpa Jon just calls me #4. He says too many Jr.’s is too complicated. Mom and I came over this evening to munch on some of the delicious willows that Grandpa and Grandma raise for us and Aunt Debbie and all of the Super Aunts are here watching us eat. So I thought I would just show off for them a little bit. You can watch me battling the willow bush later in the Blog. It was pretty sticky and poky. Grandpa wanted me to narrate this summer’s blog, but I would rather eat willows. So I will just let him do it for me. Be sure and watch me battle the willow.”

 

2014 ALASKA SUMMER

Well, I thought we had a new narrator, but he would rather eat than talk!

Doris & Richard stacking wood
Doris & Richard stacking wood
J&R repair pipes
J&R repair pipes

This has to be one of the more unusual summers that we have had since we opened the park. First of all it was one of the warmest winters that they have had. It created a lot of unusual events such as a very strong storm in November that blew down five of our tall white spruce trees. Richard Pierce sure helped me clean up around the park. Plus he cut up all the trees that had been knocked down by the wind.  Then he and Doris cut and stacked the logs under the electric lines.  One of them fell on the front corner of the well house and put a good dent in the roof and corner of the building. Fortunately, it didn’t knock the building down! We also had three broken water pipes this year when we turned on the water. Probably the most unusual was the fishing season. Huge numbers of red salmon came up most of the Alaska Rivers this year, very early except for the large numbers in the Kenai River, but that was the fault of the Alaska Fish and Game. More about that later, but we had a good year anyway!

 

1 Refuge forest fire
Funny River wild fire

The start wasn’t great and actually pretty scary. The day we arrived in Anchorage, someone started a brush fire just off the Funny River Road, southeast of Soldotna. As I said, it had been a very warm winter and also a very dry one. The fire quickly spread in the huge Kenai Wildlife Refuge toward the Sterling highway on the west and the Kasilof river on the south. The refuge covers a large part of the area east of Soldotna all the way to the Tustumena Lake on the south and into the Kenai mountains on the east. It is almost 1.9 million acres in size and most of it undeveloped. In two days, above is the sight that we saw from our deck looking to the north. The fire had traveled 15 miles to the Lake and along the Kasilof river pushed by strong northern, dry winds. Fortunately it was still east of the homes along the highway, but was getting uncomfortably close. At this point the fire was only about 5 miles from the park and we were getting ash from the sky. We were ready to vacate, but there was no way to move all the equipment and vehicles.  A day later the weather broke. The wind changed and started blowing northeasterly and brought moisture from the ocean and inlet. This stopped the southwest movement of the fire and pushed off toward the north and east. We were saved! The fire went on to burn for the rest of the summer in the refuge. The last we heard it had burned more that 200,000 acres almost all of it wilderness. There was only one barn and one cabin burned.

2 ToddRyanwellhouse
Todd and Ryan at the well house
3 Mark instal antennas
Mark installs antennas for the park

Summer Projects – This year was the first year that we haven’t been building or modifying some of our facilities; however, there is always plenty to be done. Of course we did have to repair the well house, but I waited until Ryan and Todd were here to do that. Todd hauled all the cut logs down to the well house for splitting. Mark came up later and reworked our WiFi system. He added a new system and better antennas in the tree by the kitchen to cover the whole park with WiFi. Christine had come up during the red salmon season to help us with all the people coming and going in the park, then Mark came up the second week.

4 momma moose scar
Momma moose
5 mom&twins grazing
Another set of twins!

Moose in the Park – This was kind-of a mixed season in the park for moose. I think the fire had a lot to do with that. The fire caused a lot of moose, bear and other animals to flee it and many new ones came into the area sometimes pushing the other animals out. In this case our normal momma moose that raise their young in and around the park were pushed further south. Of course the one’s that hadn’t been around people much didn’t show themselves much. We didn’t have any trouble with the bears and never saw any sign of them. We did hear stories of them being around the area though. One of our local momma’s did come around early and as you can tell by her big tummy, she was carrying twins.Then she disappeared for almost a month. She did bring her babies back in the middle of July and they were growing pretty fast.

6 moose calf culvert
One of the new moose calves

 

7 Mom & spike4 2

It was late summer while Jan’s sisters, cousin Marg, nephew Scott and daughter, Debbie were here that we had our next visitation from the moose. This time, one of our previous year’s calves who has now become a momma moose (wow has she grown!) and her baby who we have named #4 (for the previous Spikes). You saw them at the beginning, but you really need to take the time to watch this video. It is really cute and shows how playful the moose calves are. Thanks for the videos, Debbie. And thanks Christine and Mark for modifying them so they can be used in the blog.

 

And while they were here, Scott and Debbie took the pontoon boat out on Johnson Lake just to look around and have a boat trip. As usual, when you are out on the lake in a boat, the loons come around to pester you. If you catch a fish, they might just swipe it from you. The next video is the pesky loon. The first part is of the loon call which we hear almost every early morning (when we manage to get up) and every evening at dusk. The second part is of the loon calling to his mate and if you listen closely you can hear her answer him.


There are some more animal photos that I will show you later when you read about Skip, Debbie and Scott’s bear watching trip on Talon Air and our trip to Denali National Park.

Company – We had a wonderful time with all of our family and friends this summer. Having our family and friends come stay with us for a while is what makes the Kasilof RV Park so wonderful.

8 Sally & Bob
Sally & Bob

Sally was the first of our family to arrive on the 1st of July although since she has a 5th Wheel in the park, she is a regular. However, since I am slow in writing this, there is some news to share. Summer of 2013 Sally was introduced to Bob Bakkedahl at the Elks and they started enjoying each other’s company. This summer they spent a lot of time together and on the 18th of October they were married in Lawrence. Bob has a house in Soldotna so I guess Sally will no longer be a regular member of the park, but we will get to see her and Bob a lot every summer.

8 Ryan & Cheri
Ryan & Cheri

Ryan came just in time to start catching Reds and Cheri came a couple of weeks later. With the kids and her new job, she couldn’t get so much time off. Ryan is such a big help around the park when he is here and Cheri is such a delight to us all.  Todd got to spend a couple weeks with us and also did a lot of work around the park and caught lots of fish too.

 

8A Chris&Mark boat
Chris & Mark on Johnson Lake

Christine came up during the heart of the fishing season and helped Jan with all the hassle of a full park of campers during the last two weeks of July. Mark joined her with us for the last week, got to do some fishing and upgraded our WiFi system. They even got to goof around on the pontoon boat in the lake.

 

9 jon&bill
Jon & Bill

9B Bill H Red

 

I have an old friend (I have known him for 45 years from working with him at NASA) that has been wanting to bring his sons up to go fishing for several years. He and his wife, Penny had visited us in the fall of ’07.  You may have remember the photos and the blog that year. Well he finally was able to make the trip with the boys this year. They flew into Anchorage and rented a camper, then drove down to the park and stayed a week with us.  They were avid fishermen and did each manage to catch Reds plus they got to go Halibut fishing too. 

10 Cazierdinner

 

11 dinner on deck



Todd helped Charley, Bill and Aaron cook dinner on the fire grill for all of us that night.  We certainly enjoyed all of that good food on the deck that evening.



9A arond campfire
Then after dinner, we all got to sit around the campfire and relax.  Of course, the desert had to be So-Mores!

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s group SD



Our final family visitors were Jan’s sisters, cousin, nephew and daughter. They arrived on the 6th of August and I took Debbie, Scott and Marj fishing the next day. Their photos are in the fishing section. Jan took all of them to Homer to visit the sights and Sally went with them. Jan is on the left next to Debbie, then Donna, Sally, Skip across the table, Marj and Scott on the end.

22 Jan sisters
Donna, Jan & Skip (Shirley)
23 Jan & Deb
Debbie & Jan



24 pie crust lessons25 The Jammers


Sister Sally makes the best pie crusts from a recipe she got from her mother-in-law so she had to give a lesson to all the girls. Debbie found a whole bag of berries, cranberries, raspberries and crow berries (AK blueberries) that we had picked last year around the park, so Marj, Debbie and Jan had to make berry jam. It is tasty too!

 

27 canning
Then of course at the end of fishing season, we have to can the salmon strips with bones from the year’s catch. A salmon has a strip of bones on each side of the backbone just above the gut area. We always cut out this strip and cut them into small chunks, then freeze them. At the end of the summer, we can all of those chunks for our winter supply of salmon. This year we canned 192 1 pound cans and 48 pint jars of salmon. The above photo is just part of the bounty! Thanks for the help girls.

 

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27 Talon trip

 

Just before Debbie and Scott left to go back to their homes, the two of them and Scott’s mom, Skip went on a float plane trip with Talon Air to view the bears and fish for Silver salmon (Cohos). The floatplane took them on a tour of the mountains and glacier across the Cook Inlet, then landed on a large lake below the glacier. There they got into a fishing boat and toured the lake watching the brown and black bears catching and eating the salmon.

28 brown bear on lake Deb

 

 

29 Scott&Deb silvers

 

21 jerky


Then Debbie and Scott got to fish for Silver salmon and caught their limit of three each. It was a wonderful trip and one we will want to repeat in the future.Part of that catch was cut into strips and smoked to make the best salmon jerky you could ever taste.

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Denali Trip – After Debbie and Scott left, we planned a trip up to the Denali National Park. We loaded all five of us into Grace, our big old van and headed north.

31A Grande Denali lodge

31B Grande Denali entrance

 

Just as you cross the Nenana River just past the entrance to the park, the Grande Denali Park sit’s on the top of a mountain. It is just off the side of the highway at the entrance to the small town of Denali. It is truly a beautiful resort and the views from it are spectacular! The next morning, we took the bus ride tour into Denali National Park.

 

32A Grizzlie 2

32B Dahl sheep

 

 

 

 

It was rainy and the skies were cloudy so we were unable to see Denali Mountain (Mt. McKinley), but we saw a lot of bears, caribou and Dahl Sheep.
Unfortunately the caribou were too far away to get good photos of them.

 

The bus tour was almost 8 hours long and we went back into the park 94 miles. We had a wonderful time even with the cloudy and wet weather. On our way back home, we stopped at Talkeetna to look at the town and found a wonderful bakery with great food for lunch. We arrived back at the park that evening, tired, but happy with the great time we had together.

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Fishing season – I will have to say that fishing was mixed this year. If you are interested in fishing for Kings (Chinook) salmon, it was not a good year. The King fishing is in a slump and the reasons are questionable. Many feel that it is due to the commercial fishery taking too many of the Kings before they can reach the rivers to spawn. Others, inlcuding me think that it is just the normal cycle of many species of fish. This past year was definitely a minimum number returning to the rivers to spawn and I think it will continue for a few more years so don’t plan on catching a lot of big Kings in 2015.

It was a banner year for Red fishing in Alaska. The warm waters in the ocean pushed the Reds in a couple of weeks early and there were a lot of them. The Copper River had a huge run two weeks early and the fish were thick in the river. The Kasilof River started the first week in June with large numbers going up river. There were so many fish in the Cook Inlet that Alaska Fish and Game (F&G) released all of the commercial fishermen, set-netters, drift-netters and purse netters to catch as many fish as they could. Unfortunately, they did catch almost all of them. That left the personal use dip netters and sport fishermen with very few Reds in the river to catch for their winter supply. It also kept the Fish and Game from meeting their goal of 750,000 to replenish the salmon stock for the future. The final score was commercial fishermen 40.7 million Reds and F&G with 550,000 up the river to spawn plus a bunch of pinks. All in all, the resident and sport fishermen were really upset with F&G!

Halibut was another problem and will be in the future. F&G changed the regulations for Charter boats with rod & reel fishermen to one outing a day. That really hurt the Charter boat people causing them to raise their day trip prices to $300-350 plus each fisherman can only keep one fish any size and the other has to be under 29 inches long (under 10 pounds). That makes Halibut very expense!

                                                                                

13 Early morning red fishing

R&D fishing



It was the first year Jan and I have had any success fishing for Reds in the Kasilof River. Jan took this picture of me and Richard, Doris (the 2 on the left) and others on a foggy morning just as the sun came up over the tops of the trees across the river. We would get up early and take Richard and Doris Pierce with us and find the good spots on the river before everyone got there. Jan and I caught 50 Reds in the Kasilof between June 16th and July 4th. They are smaller fish weighing 4 to 8 pounds whereas the second run Kenai Reds weigh 8 to 12 pounds.

The second run of the Kenai started on the 7th of July (also a couple of weeks early) with about 25,000 fish entering the river. Ryan arrived on the 9th and the next morning we decided to see if the fish were in the river yet. We caught our limit that day. From then on it was slow, but there were still enough fish in the river to catch your limit of 3 per day if you worked at it and we did. The run also lasted a long time and we caught fish up until the 29th of July. Plus we had a great time when Jan’s sisters, cousin, nephew and daughter came in early August.



Altogether, all of us caught 268 Reds, 9 Silvers and 58 Pinks. A banner year! So here are all the pictures.

 

Jan with her Reds
Jan with her Reds
Ryan & Jon with Reds
Ryan & Jon with Reds
Cheri with a Red
Cheri with a Red
Mark's Red & Jon
Mark’s Red & Jon
Todd fighting a Red
Todd fighting a Red
He got it!
He got it!
Scott with a Pink
Scott with a Pink
Debbie with a Pink
Debbie with a Pink
Marj with a Pink
Marj with a Pink



We were persistent and everyone had a lot of fun!

 

Then everybody left except Sally and an occasional camper guest. We closed down the park a couple of days early (no Labor Day reservations) and rented a log splitter to make firewood out of all those trees that were blown down last winter. It was hard work, but in 2 ½ days, Jan and I have enough firewood to last for several years. Sally and Bob closed down her winterized it and then she left on the 3rd of September. Jan and I winterized the park after that and finished off the season on the 9th.

It was another wonderful summer in Alaska with lots and lots of good memories. Hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as we enjoyed living it. We would love to have you all come and enjoy it with us.

UNTIL NEXT YEAR!

( I am working on the France Blog – coming soon!)

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ANOTHER GOOD YEAR – 2011 at Kasilof RV Park

Sammy Squirrel

Hi, I’m Sammy Squirrel!  I am kind-a taking over for Spike this year as he hasn’t been around to do the talkin.  I saw him early this spring and he told me that he made it through the hunting season OK since he broke off both his spikes.  He said the hunters thought he was a girl.  I thought to myself that he was really smart to break off his spikes, but I expect that he was really clumsy.  Anyway, he headed up into the hills at the base of the Kenai Mountains where most of the other bulls hang out for the summer months.

My old lady and I took up residence in the bird house in the cottonwood tree next to grandma and grandpa’s house.  It gives me good access to the goodies on the deck in front of the camp kitchen.  Gramps puts out the best sunflower seeds with the bird seed.  I just love those things!  Although I sure have a lot of trouble getting to them. I had to chew up two of the plastic bird feeders to get to them.  Gramps called me a ‘fluffy-tailed rat’ for doing it.  That was the first time he threatened with the pellet gun.   All the visitors thought I was really cute and would throw out peanuts for me to eat and then take pictures while I was eating them, but I got into trouble by chewing up the deck boards trying to get to peanuts that fell in the cracks.

The Bird Seed Bucket

It was the Bird Seed Bucket that was really my downfall though.  I knew that was where gramps kept all those delicious sunflower seeds and I just had to get to them.  I was frantically chewing my way into the lid when I heard gramps coming so I got on top of the bucket.

“Have you been chewing on the bucket again?” Gramps asked.

“Who, me?” I replied.

“Yes you with the plastic chip on your nose!  I going to get my pellet gun!” he says.

Well I decided it was time that I make myself scarce so I guess that gramps will have to do the commentary from here on out.   Hopefully, I will see you next year!

MOOSE

Momma Moose

Well I guess that put the fear into him and it will end him chewing on things.  We have noticed that he doesn’t spend as much time on the deck anymore.

The moose have been scarce this year, but it’s probably because we became so used to having Spike around all the time.  Momma moose spent some time eating the new greens before she had her yearly calf.  She has been a regular here in the park for years.  We think three years ago she was the mother of Spike and his sister, who came into the park with her twins later (photo later).

Mom Moose meeting Camper

Momma moose wandered back into the park eating the new grass and leaves.  One of the campers was busy taking photos of her in the space next to his.  He had his video recorder busy, but notice that he was behind his auto.  Momma moose noticed this too and came over to investigate what he was doing.

Close-up of hand with Camera
Momma Investigating

We enjoyed this sight, but I could not blame him for hiding behind the camper.  Momma moose was as big as his car!  Moose are very curious so soon she started eating the leaves off the bushes and completely forgot about the camper.

Brindle with her calf

Several weeks later, Brindle brought her calf into the park.  Brindle was Momma moose’s daughter the summer of 2007.  We named her Brindle because her face and mane are very blond for a moose.  She also has very blond eyebrows.  For the past four summers, she has been a regular visitor to the park and for the past three has shared her calves with us to our delight.  In early May when we first got here, I was trimming cottonwood saplings in the south end of the park.  I saw her walk through the other end of the park very heavy with her calf.  When she saw me working at the other end, she wandered down and watched me work for several minutes, then wandered off into the woods.  It was nice to be greeted by one of our other residents!

This summer she and her new calf spent several days eating the young bushes and leaves plus new grass in the park and across the road in the State Park.  She is so used to people in the park that she hangs around posing for photos for all the campers in the park.  This day she and her calf were very photogenic!

Spikes Sister with twins

Sorry that this photo isn’t better, but we were limited by time and space.  We were eating breakfast one morning when Jan noticed Spike’s sister chewing on the willow leaves out behind the shop (we think it is his sister because she has the same long, narrow dewlap that he has).  We quickly went out on the deck to take pictures.  You can barely see the second calf behind the little red trailer peeking out behind the front calf.  We were hoping that they would come out behind the blue spruce to the willow beside the shop so we could get better photos.  However, the camper in space 16 came out with his camera to get a closer picture of them. It was a little too close for the momma so she took her calves down the back road to the woods again.  Hopefully we will see them again before we leave for the winter although we have noticed hoof prints in the roads where they have been browsing during the night.

SUMMER VISITORS (the human kind)

We had a great summer with lots of campers and family visitors.  The family started on the 11th of July with the arrival of Kevin’s son, Ryan Pyle.

Dave, Jan & Ronnie

A day later, Dave Cooper (Jan’s cousin) and Ron Miller (Dave’s brother-in-law) arrived followed two days later with Ryan’s firemen buddies, Dave Hunter and John Maddox.

John, Dave & Ryan with Paul, Debbie & Jordan Post

On the 20th, Debbie, Paul, Jerod, Jordan & Jacob Post arrived for a Red Salmon fishing frenzy.  Two days later, Kyra Stromgren arrived for the Red Salmon season also (plus maybe to be with the Posts too).  Not to out done, Todd Andregg arrived on the 24th for the Red Fishing plus to complete the togetherness of all of Jan’s kids.

Jan & her kids

We had a great time with all Jan’s family, Ryan and his friends and our friends, Dave and Ronnie.  The Red Salmon fishing (more later) was great with one of the best years that we have had.  It started off with a bang!  237 thousand red salmon entered the Kenai river on the 16th of July, the highest one day entrance of reds ever recorded. On Monday and Tuesday, the 18th & 19th, 26o,000 more came in the river.  It seemed that they were almost jumping out on the banks, there were so many of them, BUT OH  WAS  IT  FUN!!!!!

That was who was here to help us harvest all of these wonderful, tasty red salmon, but first let’s go back and review our friends and families visits with all the other things that Alaska has to offer.

DAVE COOPER & RONNIE MILLER

CLAMMING GROUP

On the 15th the reds weren’t in the river yet, so Dave, Ronnie, Jan, Gary & Betty Buchanan and I went clamming.  In this photo, Betty was taking the photo while I was parking the vehicle and bringing the 4-wheeler back to the beach.  Dave & Ronnie had never been clamming.  Gary & Betty were from Michigan and wanted to try it. ?  So off we went to Ninilchik Beach on a -3.5 foot low tide to try our luck.

Group heading for the sand bars

Across Cook Inlet is 11,000 foot Mt. Redoubt, the group is heading out to the open sand bars where the famous Alaskan razor clams are found.  Notice all the people already there and the many rocks and muddy streams between them and their destination.  But being the hardy souls that they are, they will persevere and claim their prizes (Note that none of them have clam shovels or clam shooters with them).

Are you looking for these?

I guess that they think the clams will just jump in their buckets.  Whoops, no buckets! But along comes the Hero, Jon on the 4-wheeler loaded with clam shooters, shovels and buckets to save the day!

THE CLAM BEACH

And there it is!  The clams just waiting under the surface for us to come along and pick them up.  Notice the beautiful setting with Mt. Ilimana (over 11,000 feet) in the background.  How could this not be the perfect place to collect all the wonderful razor clams that one could want?

Ronnie with an empty clam hole!

Well it is, but as Ronnie found out the clams don’t jump in the bucket!  After forcing the clam shooter down through the sand and mud then pulling it out (with a great deal of effort), NO CLAM!

It's harder than it looks!

So notices Gary who is busting his back pulling out a shooter full of empty sand!  “Hey, this is work!  How do I know if this dimple is really a clam or just a rock?”

Where's Dave?

Wait a minute, where’s Dave?  There he is, looking for dimples?  What is he going to do if he finds one?  He doesn’t have a shooter or shovel.

They're small, but clams!

“Here they are!  It just takes a lot of effort to get these little guys out.  Keep at it guys!”

Now comes the Hard Part!

Finally the clams were dug and we loaded everything for the trip home.  It was a good day with almost a hundred

The Buchanan Clam Cleaners!

nice clams, not too many of them damaged!  Now comes the cleaning process which takes a lot of time.  Everybody pitches in and soon it is done.

Left are the slices of the foot for yummy clam strips and the necks and cleaned bodies for chowder.   We look back on the work and it was FUN!  But the best part  was ‘THE CLAM STRIPS FOR DINNER“!

START OF RED SEASON

DAVE HAS ONE!

Red season begins with a bang!  So many fish in the river.  Dave hung a nice one with his first cast.  It’s a fighter and he’s having fun fighting it to the shore.  The river is low and the fish are able to use the fast current to make the catching exciting.

Dave's first of the year

It’s a good one!   Hooked in the mouth and on the bank.  It was the first of many.  Dave managed to get his limit of three in just 20 minutes, then watched as the others limited out.

Ron's got one on!

Almost at the same time Dave was bringing in his fish, Ronnie had one on and was fighting it.  They are hard to handle trying to get away in a swift river.

Nice fish, Ronnie!

After several minutes having fun, Ronnie got his into the bank.  Another nice red salmon!  It was also the first of many that Ronnie would catch.

Cleaning our catch

The work isn’t down until the fish are cleaned.  Dave and I are busy at the cleaning table cutting the fillets into pieces for packaging and freezing.  The tail section without bones are cut off, the rib section cleaned and cut, then the top fillet is removed just leaving the strip of bones with their meat.

Vacuum packaging the process salmon

The skin is removed from the piece and the remaining cubed for the freezer.  The bags full of cubed bone pieces will be later thawed and canned.  The separated pieces of the salmon are then taken to the shop where they are packaged in plastic and vacuumed sealed before freezing.

Ryan with a fish

Ryan is a master at catching red salmon.  If there are any fish in the river, he is going to at least hook them.  However, he seems to have an affinity for hooking them everywhere but in the mouth which the F&G insist is the only way you can keep them.  They call it sporting: however, it is the only hunting and fishing where you are supposed to let a wounded animal loose. ??  We follow the rules: however, we do question when we see salmon trying to swim up the river with their bellies gashed open and the eggs hanging out.  Maybe F & G should consider rethinking this rule.  Why not keep the wounded ones and release the ones hooked in the mouth, they haven’t been damaged and will spawn without a problem.

Bloodied fisherman!

He does seem to have a problem when he does catch one legally.  He tends to get himself as bloody as the fish!  And he gets scary looking!

I wound up without any photos of the firemen, Dave and John fishing.  They were always fishing with Ryan at a different place from the rest of us.  Therefore, all we heard were stories of how well they did.  Some of them were surely fishermen tales, but they did have several boxes of fish to take home with them.

THE POST FAMILY

The Post Family

Debbie, Paul, Jerod, Jordan, and Jacob arrived the morning of the 20th ready for red salmon fishing.  We stopped along the Cook Inlet to view the beautiful Alaska Range of mountains across the inlet.

Ryan & Post Boys ready to fish

It didn’t take long for them boys to get ready to go fishing.  Ryan took them down to the river for their first trip and it was a good one with each of them catching their limit of three.

Paul fighting a Red Salmon

After lunch we took Paul and Debbie down to the river for their first trip Red Salmon fishing.  It wasn’t too long before Paul had his first red on the line and was fighting to get it to the bank.

First Red

Soon he had his first red on the bank and was a happy camper!  From then on, you couldn’t stop him. He managed to catch his limit while the rest of us were getting ready to fish.  He had a blast fishing for reds!

Debbie's First Red Salmon

It took Debbie a little longer to figure out how to hook them, but when she finally figured out what she was doing wrong, she had no trouble catching her limit too.

Debbie & Jan with their Reds

Debbie and Jan both had good luck and caught their limits.

Cleaning our catch

Back at the park, it was time to clean our catch.  I was cleaning and trimming the fillets while Paul was cutting up the separate pieces for vacuum packaging.

Post boys packaging fish

The fish then went to the shop to be vacuumed packed.  The Post boys had that job while Debbie and Jan were fixing dinner for the rest of the crew.  Everybody got into the act on this trip.

Moose Meadows Recreation Area

The next day the Posts we ready for more Red fishing!  I took them up to Moose Meadows where the state had installed several fishing platforms along the river.  However, everyone else in the Soldotna area had also gotten the fishing bug and there was no place to fish along the three different platforms and along the banks.

Fishing the Kasilof river

So I took them to the Kasilof river near our park.  It’s a beautiful spot east of the Kasilof bridge and there wasn’t anyone there.  Neither were the fish!  We did get a lot of practice perfecting our salmon catching techniques though?

Jerod hooked a Red
Jerod with limit

That evening the Post family went back to Moose Meadows hoping that the crowd had left so they could fish.  The crowd had as least slimmed down so they could find a place.  Soon Jerod had one on and Jordan netted it for him, then took a bath in the river due to the very slippery rocks.  He didn’t loose Jerod’s fish though.

Family Catch

The result of their late evening efforts was another great catch of 12 between the five of them. By the time they got back to the park and cleaned their fish for the next day, it was midnight.   See it actually does get dark up here after midnight!

This wasn’t the last of their fishing trips while they were here although they did have other things to do.  They took the Seward Glacier cruise, a trip to Homer and a Rafting Trip down the Kasilof.  But those are other stories and we haven’t finished the Red fishing with the rest of the family.

KYRA & TODD

Kyra’s husband, Craig decided that she needed some time with her siblings this summer before she started nursing at school this fall so for a special surprise he bought her a ticket to Alaska.  She arrived in Anchorage the evening that Dave and Ronnie were heading back to Kansas and had a drink with them at the airport.  We picked her up in Kenai that evening.

Kyra & Jan at our flag
Kyra & Jon on the porch

It was nice to have her with us for a week and she got to have her first experience catching reds.  She arrived just in time to take the Seward Glacier tour with the Post family (see it later) and the trip to Homer.

Ky Red Fishing
That's a bunch of Reds

Now Ky isn’t a fisherlady, but even though it took her awhile to get the knack of hooking Reds when she finally got it, she got it!

SHE DEFINITELY GOT IT!

Todd's Reds
Another Day of Beauties

So, a few days later Todd comes up.  Now Todd is a fisherman and he loves catching Reds.  He limited out his first morning (note that the limit was raised from 3 to 6 very early in the run).  Obviously he quickly got back into the swing of hooking the Reds.

Todd & Ryan Cleaning Reds
Ryan, Todd & Ky at the cleaning table

Then it comes time to take care of all those fish that you catch.  Todd and Ryan were busy at the old cleaning table in the park when the idea was generated that there could be some improvements in the cleaning table (but that is a later story in the blog!).

Building a campfire
So-mores for Nicole

But fishing wasn’t the only activity at the park.  Remember the Somores Queen Nicole from last year?  Well, Ky and Todd had to pay tribute to her becoming Dr. Nicole  this past spring  (note the charcoal marshmallow that Ky is hold and the one still in the sticking out of the firepit in front of the chair.  Congratulations Dr. Nicole (Somores) McWilliams!

Ky soaking foot?
Who's the Redhead?

Oh yeah, two other photos which had us wondering?  Now why would Ky be standing on the porch with one foot in a bucket of water?  Was she practicing standing in the river?  Or did she just happen to stumble into when walking on the porch? (Not that she tends to be clumsy or anything!)  And what about these two guy with those silly grins on their faces?  If you could see the label on Melissa’s hat and shirt, you would realize that it is the Kenai River Brewery labels.   ??????  What have they been doing?  Did they have a hard day fishing on the river?  Doesn’t she look a little pale?  I wonder if they smelled kind-of fishy?  We won’t show the other picture of Ryan laying in the park driveway!                                  �

WE DO HAVE FUN AT THE KASILOF RV PARK!

KENAI FJORDS GLACIER CRUISE

Post Family on Glacier Cruise

The Post family and Kyra drove to Seward the day after Kyra arrived to tour the glaciers of the Kenai Fjords National Park.  The Park is known for it’s many tidewater glaciers (those flowing directly out of the Harding Ice Field into the ocean) and it’s abundant sea life.  It was a beautiful day with clear skies, lots of sunshine and calm seas.  It promised to be an exciting trip.

Muirs lined up

The tourists on the ship were all lined up watching the Muirs (a type of seagull) lined up on the rocks of the shore.  They look something like a penguin with their white fronts and black backs.  We wondered ‘Who is watching Who’?

Paul & Debbie
Kyra & Debbie

The scenery was beautiful with the lush vegetation on the lower cliffs,  and shear, snow capped mountains falling into the water.  Plus the hint of the glaciers and ice field between the mountain peaks.

Sea Lions

They passed rookeries of seals and sea lions laying out on the rocks sunning themselves.  The birds were thick with many puffins diving and occasionally they would spots groups gulls gathered at a spot where whales were feeding on small schools of fish.  Humpback whales would appear off in the distance with a spout of water from their nostril.

Post Boys at Holgate Glacier

They arrived at Holgate Glacier and watched the ice calve off it’s face  leaving small icebergs in the water.  Some of the larger bergs had small harbor seals sunning on them.  The Captain turned off the ship’s engines so they could hear the glacier popping and snapping as the ice pushed down from the Harding Ice Field above until is broke off the face into the ocean.

Kyra with glacier ice
Jake eating some ice

The ship assistants collected some of the small chunks of ice from the water and gave them to the passengers to hold and exam.  Jake must have been hungry!

Trip Home
Exhausting Day

Debbie and Kyra chose to enjoy a bottle of good Alaskan beer rather than the ice on their way back home.  While the boys decided that they had seen enough and crashed.

TRIP TO HOMER

Homer, Alaska is located at the western end of the longest continuous highway in North America.  It is at the southern tip of the main Kenai Peninsula although the Kenai mountain range and the Kenai Fjords National Park are south of it across Kachemak Bay.  It’s know as a ‘small drinking village with a fishing problem’.

Homer Overlook

Actually, it is a small town located on the side of a bluff overlooking the Kachemak Bay and the glaciers coming out of the Harding Ice Field in the mountains  across the Bay plus the great Alaska Range of mountain across the Cook Inlet to the west.  It is one of the many beautiful areas in Alaska.  Plus the Halibut Fishing is Great!

Family at the Salty Dawg

The action is out on the spit, a long stretch of sand and rock that sticks out into Kachemak Bay.  The spit was originally created by a Tsunami back in the 1800’s and then fortified with stone keep it from disappearing back into the ocean.

Inside the Salty Dawg Saloon

It is a tourist attraction and as such has many gift shops, eateries and Halibut charters.  Highlight among them is the Old Salty Dawg Saloon which was orginally the lighthouse and log cabin base for the caretaker.  It has been turned into a saloon with very low ceilings.  The walls and ceilings are covered with sea paraphernalia, some  ladies’ unmentionables and thousands of dollar bills with names and addresses on them. The benches and table are carved with initials and names all varnished into the surface after many, many years.  It was a watering hole for sailors and fisherman since it became a saloon and remains that way today, although the day time patrons are mostly tourists.

Kyra & Debbie Salty Dawg

Not only on the inside, but the outside of the Salty Dawg has it’s own paraphernalia and oddities, not including the two sitting on the rocks smiling.

Buttwackers

Located behind the Salty Dawg is another gift shop with a Halibut cleaning area called ‘Buttwhackers’.  Many of the Captains from the Halibut Charters bring their catch into this area where the tourists can watch them fillet the fish.  Often there are a group of young women that do the filleting much to the pleasure of the guys watching.  Note that Todd is not watching the girls fillet the fish.  Ha!

Original Andreggs caged!
Three Monkeys!

Take your pick!  Need I say more?

KASILOF RIVER TRIP

Loaded and ready to go!

The Posts wanted to take a rafting trip down the Kasilof from Tustemena Lake to the river bridge just a mile away from the park.  The river is not considered dangerous but it is swift and very remote.  There are very few houses located on it and those are just a few miles from the end of the trip.  It takes about three hours from the Lake to the boat ramp just before the bridge.  We loaded up the big three person pontoon boat, the two person raft and the one person pontoon boat and took them up to the lake where they would start their trip.

On to the river

Paul is rowing the big boat with the girls in the front taking pictures.  The raft was tied to the boat so it wouldn’t get away if it got loose (not a good idea!).  Jake and Jordan were in the raft and Jerod was on the single pontoon.

The Tustemena Lake is behind them around a couple of bends and here the current is slow prior to the river narrowing down and becoming more shallow.  Tustemena Lake is quite large and very shallow causing it to be very dangerous in strong winds.  It often can get waves 6 to 10 feet high is a very short period when the wind comes up.  Fortunately today was cool and rainy with no wind.

Girls in front of Paul

Jake took a bath!

The river becomes more narrow and much swifter the further downstream they went.  The boys were wanting to try rowing the different boats for the fun of it.  Jake had just gotten his turn and was still trying to get the one person pontoon boat to do what he wanted it to do when a fallen tree in the river got in his road.  Whoops!  I guess Grandsons like to test the water to see how cold it is.  Like Travis last year , Jake took a bath when the tree caught the boat and flipped it.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, nothing was damaged,  nothing was lost, only Jake had a very cold trip down the rest of the river.

End of Trip

A couple of hours later after a wild ride downstream, everyone was hugging as the trip was over.  I picked them up at the bridge, we loaded the boats back on the trailer and headed home where they would warm back up.

NEW CLEANING TABLE

Building the new cleaning table

After standing out in the rain or frying in the sun cleaning fish, Todd and I decided that we needed to improve the cleaning table as our building project this year.  We had a problem though.  We couldn’t dismantle the old one until the new one was ready as people were still cleaning fish on the old one.  Therefore, we decided to build the frame for the new cleaning table on the trailer, then haul it out to the area and replace the old one.

old
Hauling the table

It worked pretty good except we found we needed a couple of gorillas to move the water soaked old one out of the road and replace it with the new frame.  We got Jan to help!

Putting on the roof.

We finally got it in place and are putting on the plastic roofing.  The metal table was added with a new splash backing.  An additional cleaning station to allow three to work at the same time and three individual hoses were added for each cleaning station.  The water is now strained to keep all the fish scraps from going down the drain and the drain lets the cleaning water off into the ditch area along the road.  It turned out to be a good addition to the park.

The finishe new Cleaning Table

There was only one problem with this!

Todd considering the new addition!

Todd was left with time to think about what to do next year!!!!!!!!

Tune in next year to see what he came up with!

CHRISTINE AND MARK’S VISIT

They will arrive on the 3rd of September for a weeks visit.  I will add that after we arrive back in Kansas.  We will close up the park and fly back to Kansas City on the 14th, then after a short visit will head back to Hoxie for the winter.  See you later.

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