Posts Tagged ‘kenai river’

It may not feel like spring in much of the country (I awoke to snow flurries), but the days are certainly getting longer. Fred is still in Montana and keeps fishing the Missouri River between Craig and Great Falls. Stacy is stalking the beaches and off-shore reaches of the southern Baja Peninsula, chasing Rooter Fish and whatever else will eat a fly.  Baja Beach Rooster FishHe now has a 23’ Cobia in the Cabo harbor to base from.  I know he made it down safely, after driving up and back from Tucson to fetch it.  I’m waiting for the first fishing report.  Stacy will be ready to host some trips on the Baja in 2012 and I hope to join him along with some of you.

Get Connected

Facebook for those that fishMystic Waters is connected on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Blogger. The Social Network is unavoidable these days and truly is a useful way to follow and connect with your friends, the businesses you support and the topics (like fly fishing) that you love.  If you are on Facebook, please stop by and “Like” Mystic Waters Fly Fishing. Even if you are not on Facebook, you can still check out the Mystic Waters Fly Fishing Page to see what is happening.

I have been maintaining this blog for a couple years now. I also feature a site for seasonal fishing reports at http://www.kenairiverfishingreport.com Using a smart phone, I will be able to update regularly this coming season.  Over the next few weeks, I plan to rebuild mysticfishing.com to include the blog and a storefront for some upcoming logo apparel.  I hope you follow along.  Look for the new mysticwaters.com very soon.

Dates to Consider for 2011

Searching for SalmonYou are going to need a shoe horn to find space from mid August through September.  There are still some open dates scattered between June 11 and August 18. October remains an excellent month to fish the Kenai and we are taking reservations to the 15th.  Some of our best rainbows come in the late fall as well as some impressive silvers.

I am entering my fourth spring in Montana. Despite some lousy weather this year, I love it here. Several Mystic Waters guests and friends have dropped by and fished with me on the Missouri River.  I will soon have my Montana Guide license and plan to do some guiding here before the Kenai calls again.

The Good Stuff

If you fish often, then you certainly love great fly fishing gear.  When you join Mystic Waters, you get to use the good stuff.

For 2011, our primary brands are SageRossBeulahRio, Airflo, and Simms.  This is not to say we don’t use others, but that we feature these premium brands to help make your time on the water more enjoyable.

Deathstar RainbowLast season, I picked up a Sage 10’7wt TCX.  It fished great for large trout and silvers and was my favorite single hand streamer rod.  I also fished with the infamous “Deathstar”; the 12’6” 7wt. spey rod that George Cook nicknamed, because it can cast line to a far off galaxy.  It worked on everything from Anchor River Kings to Sockeye and big Rainbows and Silvers on the Kenai.  It even pulled some nice browns from the Missouri River in Montana.  This year, I am adding the new TCX 11’9” 6wt Switch Rod.

Ross has unveiled the new “revolutionary” F1 Reel.  Can’t wait to see how it rolls. We feature many great Ross Reels on our fly rods.  I’ve been fishing the 8wt Essence FW for several seasons and it continues to be one of the most pleasant casting 9’ 8 weights I have thrown.  We also fished the 12’6” 6wt Reach Spey rod.  It was deadly for sockeye salmon and worked out well for a fair number of big trout and silvers.  Ross also added some new 5 and 6wt Reach rods to the line up that look interesting.

Leaping Silver Salmon on the Kenai RiverBeulah is a great company for switch and spey rods at a reasonable price. I fished the 11’7” 5wt Platinum Spey last season.  It quickly became my favorite trout rod for nymphing and swinging lighter streamers.  From the drift boat, it became the favored rod of any guest who fished it, and was responsible for landing some impressive fish throughout the season. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time on the Missouri River with Bruce Berry (pro staff/rep) for Beulah, and had my spey casting tuned up a bit.

Rio continues to offer the largest variety of specialty lines. I had great success with the clear intermediate Outbound.  I have also found that the 8wt Rio Grand works well as a switch line for spey casting with my 10’ 6wt XPs.  This year, Rio has added a Switch Line to their inventory, and I can’t wait to run it.  I just ordered the complete set of MOW (spey) Tips in the Medium and Heavy weights to cover all water levels and sinking tip needs.

Airflo – Ridge lines have become my standard on the trout rods and I love them.  I started using the Supple Impact last season.  The ridge design works very well and they are durable and perform day after day without constant attention.  They cast and fish like no other.  On the spey side, the Skagit Compact designed by my friend Tom Larimer is the bomb for launching sink tips.

Proudly wearing Simms WadersSimms – Simms is the king when it comes to the soft gear that I rely on day in and day out.  I can’t imagine working through the fishing season without them.  I use the G4 waders and jacket. I rotate several soft shells and the River Tech top is one of my all-time favorites.  The Rivershed Boot with the new streamtread soles has been my footwear of choice.  I like the long sleeved solarflex shirts for any day of the season.  They work for layering in cold weather and as the perfect sun shield layer when it gets hot.

What Else:

I’m becoming a regular contributor to Fish Alaska Magazine.  My third article is coming out in May, with others soon to follow.  Since you enjoy Alaska Fishing, you might enjoy checking out Fish Alaska’s interactive website.

Simms Fish BowlI’m heading down to Bozeman in a week for the 2011 Simms Ice Out Guide Event.  It was great fun last year and looks to be even more action packed this time around.  I look forward to meeting up with guide associates and friends from Alaska, Montana and around the country.

At the end of the month, I am flying to Florida to meet up with my buddy Captain Eric Lund.  Eric and two other guide associates will be hosting me along with a small party of Mystic Waters Fly Fishing guests.  We will be chasing Tarpon on-the-fly along with all the other inshore and flats glamor species.

Roland Martin

We will be staying on a property owned by Roland Martin.  Talk about legendary.  I can’t wait, and I’ll be providing blog and social media updates during and after the trip.

In 2012, we are planning a trip to the incredible bonefish flats of Andros South. We are also considering a Fly Fishing for Kings option in Western Alaska and of course Stacy will be dialed in for Baja.  Stay tuned and let us know if you would like us to put you on a list for specific details on any or all of these options.

Let’s Stay Connected

Kenai Moose CalvesIf you avoid all the social connectivity tools, you can still fire me an email or a text. Even if you are not planning to fish with Mystic Waters this season, I’d love to hear about where you are going.  If you have time to share a story from a previous trip, I’d love to hear about it and possibly use it for a new blog post.  I know there are lots of great stories and pictures out there among you.

Tight Lines and I hope to see you on the Mystic Waters very soon!

Mystic Waters Fly Fishing
Call or Text 907-227-0549
Website: http://www.mysticfishing.com
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I'm your worst nightmare

Bye Bye Fishy

After 22 seasons of guiding in Alaska, I can tell bad banana stories for hours. For a few years I laughed, but then I began to notice a pattern.  If you were to poll charter captains from Hawaii, to Alaska and all the way down to the Florida Keys, you would find a common theme.  Just ask Florida fishing guide “Bouncer Smith”.

The mere mention of a banana muffin on board was enough to send legendary south Florida fishing guide “Bouncer” Smith scrambling toward the cooler that held the offending item. With his face flushed and a vein bulging from his forehead, he hurled the hapless muffin overboard, much to the objection of its rightful owner. Was this the act of an isolated bananaphobe? Well you can forget about black cats crossing your path or broken mirrors, because to many fishermen around the world, there is nothing unluckier than a banana on board a boat.  (From Boating World Magazine)

Back in the day when I was still a skeptic, I actually hooked into a nice King Salmon while eating a banana.  It was mid May and we had to drag our driftboat over a shelf of ice to launch it into the Kenai River.  We were not expecting much in the way of success but were on a training mission. I was managing a lodge at the time and it was my duty to break in some new guides.  That meant I had to sit in the boat and direct the rookie rowers while backtrolling a plug.

I was hungry and the rookies had packed the cooler with some bananas.  I remember saying “What were you guys thinking?  I told them bananas were supposed to be taboo, but I was not really worried.  As I directed the first rower through a narrow slot, I went straight to work munching on a monkey pickle.  Before I took a second bite, my rod tip buried.  We laughed and joked about our powerful mojo that no banana superstition could overcome.  I happily landed and released a beautiful chrome, sea lice bearing, 35lb hen.

That evening, I called Andy Mezirow who is a captain and the owner of Crackerjack Sportfishing in Seward.  If you want to fish the salt on your Alaska trip, you want to be on one of Andy’s boats.  Just don’t plan on shoving off with any bananas. I told Andy of the scenario with my King and he did not skip a beat before replying in a grave voice. “Sorry to hear about your bad luck.  If you had not messed with that banana, then you would have hooked the 98# world record buck that was swimming next to that little rat you caught.” That’s an interesting perspective.  I have been haunted by it every time I have looked at a banana since.

I’m not afraid to admit severe Banana Phobia.

In Alaska, there was a crazy incident experienced by the guests and crew on a Saltwater Safari Co. charter out of Seward.  As I remember it, they had two full boats with a wedding party that ran all the way out to the edge of Montague Island at the mouth of Prince William Sound. It’s a run of 2.5 to 3 hrs and was considered the grail of halibut water at the time. Word was that the fishing would be off the hook, but after an hour, nothing was happening on either boat.  The captains were radioing back and forth as the guests got increasingly anxious and started to wonder if they’d been sold a long boat ride.  As another hour passed with no action, the frantic captains started in on bananas. Who has them?  Throw them over.  Apparently, someone did and after they were tossed, the fish began biting and both boats filled up on monster halibut.  I think it was considered to be the largest sport caught haul of halibut ever.

First King on the oars

No Banana in the Boat

I soon got serious about no bananas. I admit to catching a few fish with bananas on the boat or eaten by anglers, but only a few. I have a long list of days that went bad or started out bad when bananas were present or eaten by guests. One such incident was rather embarrassing.  I was running a boat on the Lower Kenai and it was mid July prime time for King Salmon.  I was guiding a mixed party with a couple from Oregon and a couple from Florida.  For the past week, I had limited every day on big fish.  The expectation was high for another fine day.

Before boarding this vessel, raise your right hand and solemnly swear…Yes, we have NO Bananas…oops 

I'm your worst nightmare

Bye Bye Fishy

We hit the zone I anticipated to be hot.  Other boats were hooking fish, but somehow, I was drawing a blank.  I was running the same gear through the same water as the past week, amid fish that appeared to be on the bite.  I was dumbfounded until Maureen pulled out a banana and began to munch.  I did not say a word, but her husband completely lost it.  He was a big game fisherman who traveled the world and wanted to add a trophy king salmon to his resume.  He started shouting at his wife for eating a banana and I actually had to take them to shore and drop them off for awhile to cool off.  When they returned, Joe claimed he had forced Maureen to puke up the banana, so the fishing should improve.  She looked ill.

We went on to land two Kings that day on the lines of the couple from Oregon, while Maureen and Joe continued to draw a blank. The next day, Maureen and Joe were back.  Joe claimed that Maureen had experienced a successful bowel movement that morning so we were banana free and the creepy episode continued.  Maureen landed the first fish that day and soon after I slid a net under Joe’s 60lb trophy.  I’m not superstitious, but what more sign does one need.  I’ve had a No Bananas sticker on my boat for many years now for good reason!

How about some science? “Ethylene is a hormonal trigger in plants that causes cells to degrade and fruit to ripen. A good example is the banana. The presence of ethylene is what causes the banana to go from hard and green to soft and yellow.” (quote from NASA)

If we can smell bananas, then what about trout and salmon that can detect chemical differences to parts per million?  Superstition aside, I would rather err on the side of science and caution.  I don’t think its crazy to want my flies, leaders, lines, cork grips and reel handles to remain free of banana funk.

No Banana Guides

It’s pretty simple people. Don’t mess with bananas when you are fishing or handling your fishing gear!  Just to be safe, don’t even talk about them while on the water. You should probably email this post to every angler you know for their own good and the sanity of any guide they might hire.

Some parting words of advice:

If you are fishing in the morning, skip the Bananas Foster for dessert.  I don’t even know why restaurants serving fisherman offer it.  My friend Dom had it on the menu at the Kingfisher in Cooper Landing, Alaska.  He took it off because all the guides were telling their guests not to order it.  Want a muffin for breakfast?  Go with chocolate or even poppy-seed, but never banana nut.  Don’t even think about bringing a banana muffin for your guide.  Be very careful of breakfast cereals, especially granola and watch out for that trail mix at lunch.  It’s very likely that PETA has learned about the negative power of bananas over fish and has a campaign to insert them into some of the products unsuspecting anglers might pick up on the way to the river.  If you do happen to slip up, carefully hide the offensive product and don’t under any circumstances mention it to those in your fishing party. Remain ever vigilant and may the fish reward you.

Yes, we have no bananas!

Now...safe banana free dining for anglers.


“Friends don’t let friends fish with bananas.” Alaska Fly Boy

Check out this post for more NB proof.

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Chasing Rainbow Trout on the Kenai River on a misty, mystic, perfect fall morning.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


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Back on September 13, (my wife’s birthday by the way) I was busy as usual, guiding daily on the Upper Kenai River.  Blood Knot Magazine posted a story I had submitted last spring.  I just noticed it while visiting their website today.  No guide trip is ever the same, but this one was a little unusual.  On Me, In Me and In the Boat Check it out and give Blood Knot a view.

Bloodknot Magazine


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Tie more flies!

Get my family on the water more (regularly I hope).

Add a bit more content to the internet through the Website, Blog, and Twitter to stay relevant in the new information age.

Spend more quality time on the water so as to have more fishy content to share.

At least one destination saltwater trip

At least one destination steelhead trip

Buy more spey rods and lines because there are so many options.

I’m getting a Montana Guide License and extending my season by offering trips on the Missouri River this spring.

Help facilitate many anglers to great days on the Kenai River Alaska and Missouri River Montana.

Keep learning more about this crazy passion we call Fly Fishing.

I have involved myself with the Missouri River Flyfishers Club in Great Falls Montana.  Here is our next big event.

Fly Fishing Festival

Great Falls Fly Fishing Festival

Speaking of Saltwater fishing, I am planning to host a small group for Giant Tarpon in the Florida Keys this May.  Stacy will be in Baja in April and May and available to host anglers wishing to chase rooster fish.  More details on these trips will follow, but please let us know if you have the time and desire to join us.

Tight Lines and Great Fishing in 2011

PS.  Don’t forget to plan your Alaska dates soon.


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One of the Kenai fatties Mike hooked today. Now Moose, Caribou, and Halibut with my friend Scott Sager along with Martin and Stacy.

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Sockeye spawn in full swing and the trout and dollies are gorging. Sometimes we excercise them with hard boiled eggs.

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First cast for silvers this year in my favorite hole. Fish on! The Cerwinka boys had a great day with some big rainbows, some chrome silvers and litterally dollies by the ton.

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38 degrees in the morning. T-shirt by 8:30. Sunny, warm and a savage dolly bite. A few nice rainbows. Tony D got a 29″ beauty. Grown men were playing like little boys in a fishing frenzy. Skilak Lake was glass on the west side. Early fall bliss.

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So far so good for late run sockeye. Daily counts from 50 to 80 thousand fish. The catching is good!

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