As a last minute substitute for one of the regular tournament guides, most of the Alaska Steel employee/participants couldn’t have been very optimistic about fishing with Glenn (Cap’n Gilz).
Nonetheless the gracious welcoming and positive environment on the morning of 8/16 would foretell the results to come.
The silver salmon run in 2014 had been later than normal. Accompanying an enormous number of Pink Salmon in the river, was flood stage high water…..tough overall conditions
The group of 5 and guide headed to Falling In Hole and started back bouncing and trolling eggs. It wasn’t long before Will caught the first silver. The group worked hard the rest of the day, culling through the 50 or so Pinks until they landed 5 beautiful bright Coho. The fishing ended at 1 PM with tourney results to be announced at 5 at a dinner event.
The Cap’n Gilz crew (Lori Shepherd, Captain, limit catcher and great sandwich maker; Will the fish catcher; Manny, the repeat performer; Carl, the Pink Master; and Ryan, the quiet first time silver catcher) were delighted to find out that they almost won the grand slam, taking home first prize for most weight, smallest fish (7 lbs 2 oz-not small by any measure) and second biggest fish (9lbs 2 oz)
After a brief emotional speech owner Dan Nelson began cutting some beautiful steaks and we all enjoyed a great barbecue and camaraderie.
I don’t know much about Alaska Steel, but I do know they have some great, genuine people and an owner who takes pride in his company (and our mutual passion-Seattle Seahawks)
This captain hopes he gets invited back to defend the tournament title in 2015.
Thanks Alaska Steel!!!
The 2014 Alaska fishing season is well under way and exciting as ever as we near the end of the May-June early season and move in to peak season in July.
Here are some of the highlights so far from charters on the Kenai and Kasilof River as well as in the salt on Cook Inlet. Thanks to all our guest so far and we hope to see you up here sometime again!
To start things off, here is Russell fishing guide Dane with guest Brittney Luma on first salmon fishing trip of the season.
Here is Erik Banko with a bright early season King Salmon caught on the Kasilof River.
Here are some more charter guest with early season Cook Inlet Kings.
Here is guest Lori Mcadoo with Dustin Russell and a big spring king from the salt . . .
Here is a nice rack of 2 60#, 2 46# and one 39# Halibut . . . along with another Salmon caught on a salt charter.
Here are some more great early season King Salmon catches caught on the saltwater in May. Lot's of happy guests.
Here is a super rack of Halibut and KIngs caught in May on Cook Inlet by Alex Pinentals "fishing poles."
And last but not least, here re the Oshimas with their limit of Kings and a whole host of Halibut . . . .
So what are you waiting for? 2015 is just around the corner! If you can't make it up to Alaska for fishing in July, May and June offer great and exciting fishing opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime.
Having spent almost 35 years in the corporate environment, I can honestly say that I have never experienced the boss treating a staff member with the kind of respect and friendship that I received from Dustin Russell this week.
When you arrive in Forks, of Twilight fame, you don't see much....a hardware store / combination supermarket, a couple small hotels, gas stations, a few diners and lots of rain forest. You cross over rivers on the way into town and look at them trying to decide if you know enough about steelhead fishing to figure out if they are fishable. Not to worry- everything is under control.
Arriving at Dustin's house, which he also uses to accommodate his guests (at an incredibly reasonable price)..... 3 bedrooms. 2 baths, full kitchen, washer/dryer, sofa , over-sized chair, satellite TV, Wifi, picnic table, storage shed..... you name it.
When you go steelhead fishing with Dustin Russell, you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn. Let the other locals guys go out and do their thing with their technique. Get up at 7, have a quick breakfast, get to the river to do your shuttle and fish for 8+ hours, maybe seeing one or two other boats all day. Dustin uses uses nothing but the best and newest equipment. The drift boat is comfortable with nice seats and a heater and accommodates 2 -3 people (just your group). I was fortunate enough to be going by myself.
I'm not a novice fisherman, however I was humbled by the incredible knowledge and ability. Trust me, this is not patronizing. After launching you start right away to either "cast left" or "cast right" . Dustin watches your line like an eagle watching for his next morsel. You might not cast were you think the fish are. You cast where Dustin knows the fish are. He reads the water like Peyton Manning reads the defense...... always anticipating his next one, two or even three moves. He sees your bite and yells "PULL" quicker than you can react to feeling the bite and setting the hook. If you get good, it might occasionally be a tie. He's correct 90 percent of time.
Within 15 minutes of my first cast I had my first Forks steelhead in over 30 years. It was a bright 9 pounder, fresh in from the Pacific Ocean. It wouldn't be the last. As the day went on the rains came. It was cold and wet but Dustin never once wavered. Like a cardiac specialits evaluating your main arteries, Dustin reads the river and surgically maneuvers his oars to be in the right place for you to make the most of your next cast. We were successful over 10 times and hooked fish......6 of them got to the boat the other four, for whatever reason, got off (Probably angler error) If you know steelhead fishing, you know that anything over 2 or 3 steelhead bites a day is considered exceptional. Amazingly, even at 5 o'clock PM. Dustin is as meticulous and focused as he was at 7 AM
Only in his early 30's, Dustin has an incredible ability to guide. Albeit natural, innate talent or over 15 years of experience on the Northwest rivers, or a combination of both, it gave me the best chartered fishing trip I'd ever had and that was only day one.
Day 2 started with sun, an unusual sight in Forks. After the overnight rain, Dustin checks the flows ....CFS ( cubic feet per second) on all the local rivers. From his experience,he knew that the best river for today would be the Sol Duc (I might not be telling the truth lol) We arrived at the launch and the river was at 9 "boards" which is another way to measure fishable range. To me, it was a perfect clear green in color with 8 feet of visibility. Again within 15 minutes, we had a bite which again Dustin beat me to, again. With a shout of " pull " as I almost simultaneously felt it, a 14 pound bright hen was jumping. It was brought to the net several minutes later. One the best steelhead that I've ever caught, it was only considered a good one in Forks where they get 17 to 20 pounders with some regularity. For the day, we hooked on landed 13 steelhead and lost several more. We also had at least a half dozen other bites.
Dustin doesn't show his frustration when you miss a fish although he truly wants to catch them all. I know him well enough to know that he was perturbed a couple times, but he would never let on. He would aggressively row back up against the current and fish the hole again I can't count the times we did that.
At the end of the second day, we returned to the house and I cooked the steaks, he cooked the clams, we both drank the beers, and couple more friends came by. We had a great dinner and they are fishing again today. This time they are on the Bogachiel as I jealously drive to Portland for my flight home.
If your fish with Dustin you will hear "pull" many many times during the day. Occasionally he will shout "jerk" and I think in my case that meant more than set the hook.... but that's okay.... we have that kind of relationship. And it isn't what he shouts to our friend Eric Banko
I'm lucky..... not only to have fished with who I consider the best fishing guide in the Northwest but a friend, a great family man and a terrific boss. I'm also lucky that I get to spend the entire summer near Dustin and his great family , along with my wife and a bunch of good friends and guides up in Alaska, where we guide salmon, trout and halibut.
Enjoy these photos and if you come to Alaska with us I hope you get a chance to talk to Dustin a little bit about steelhead. Honesty, It is not for everybody....it can be cold and wet, but hardly ever boring. When you finish with Dustin be prepared for the best individual steelhead charter you'll ever have.
The fishing season in Alaska for Russell Fishing ended in late September and all of us…..Russell’s guides…. went back to our winter lives.
Owner Dustin and his family went home to Oregon and starting guiding salmon and steelhead in the Northwest. Pops went back to his construction work, moving dirt during the week and fishing pr guiding on the weekend. Carson moved back the Southern Oregon and continued his winter fishing guide business. Brian stayed in Alaska turning wrenches during the week and fishing when weather allowed. Dane returned to Michigan to Grand Valley State and when not hitting the books, he was hunting steelhead in the upper Midwest rivers. Yours truly drove the 4000 miles back to the mild Vegas weather to start marketing Russell Fishing and Alaska Hooksetters Lodge for 2014.
A few of us who can’t fish locally due to weather or lack of salmon/trout water, revert to tying hundreds of flesh flies and streamers. We clean and oil our plugs, replace our hooks, re-line our reels, clean our fly lines, organize our fish boxes and by now start daydreaming about the rod bending and the drag singing.
Alaska TV shows dominate the Discovery and Travel Channels. We watch and wait…..In a short 3 months we all will be back in Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula.
After the flights or drives from the lower 48, we will double check our gear, buy some new lures and terminal tackle, steam clean our boats, run our outboards and even check our waders for leaks. Arriving in early May, we get a chance to fish instead of guiding, tossing flies for the elusive Kasilof Steelhead. Dustin will take us out into the salt and get our limits of Halibut and maybe a few early Kings for our personal use. Scouting the rivers and their conditions will be key to a great start at the end of the month.
The lodge will be spruced up and the staff will start their routine. We will visit our summer friends and business associates we haven’t seen in 7 months. In what seems to be the “swish of the salmon's tail” we will be in full swing, waking at 3 AM and launching at 4, rowing the Kasilof, running the Kenai in our sleds or navigating Cook Inlet - maybe even in a brand new boat.
A hectic but fulfilling and gratifying summer of entertaining our guests lies ahead. To a person, we can't wait. See you soon!
by Cap’n Gilz
Go to www.regulations.gov
Select "Pacific Halibut Fisheries: Catch Sharing Plan for Guided Sport and Commercial Fisheries in Alaska" and leave your comments about why this is wrong.
Here are the details . . .
Halibut Catch Share Plan Comment Deadline Aug 26th, 2013
What It Does:
THIS IS NOT A CONSERVATION ISSUE! The "Catch and Share Plan" takes a half million pounds away from guided sports fisherman and gives them to the commercial fleet. Then lowers the limit for sports fisherman to 1 fish. Then the commercial fisherman offers to lease those fish back to the charter anglers. There are absolutely NO FISH SAVED!!
How To Help:
Please go to the above links and share a few words as to why you oppose this new rule.It takes the halibut traditionally caught by the average Joe American over to commercial fisherman (who already get 80% of the allowable halibut). It then leaves the sport fisherman on a 1 fish limit. It will put hundreds of small businesses OUT OF BUSINESS!!
For more information or any questions please contact Alaska Charter Association - (907) 299-0695
Vacationing in Alaska this year Joe Francis, Holger Hahmann and son Zak were on a “pig hunt” on the upper Kenai with Dane “the hen” Gorris and Cap'n Gilz. Oink Oink…check out these rainbows!!!! Spawn On!
The barn doors are out and we're off to a great season start catching them - Halibut fishing in the Badger off the coast of Alaska. Here is Tom Tom Rippetoe of the lodge guest Rippetoe and Bessler group this week with 97 lb Halibut and we expect proud of it. More to come as Alaska fishing 2013 gets rollin'!
6 Nights Lodging in a beautiful cabin right on the banks of the Kasilof River with 2 bedrooms, full bath, kitchen and family room
4 Fishing Charters - your choice of halibut, salmon, steelhead, trout or combo
Breakfast Food Provided - we supply your first day breakfast groceries, eat all meals on your own schedule cooking in the full kitchen, on the deck BBQ or in town at a nearby restaurant.
Includes Fishing All Gear, tackle and equipment, rain gear and boots along with fish processing, Alaska fishing licenses and rental car discounts
Availability is limited so call now for details and mention “Kasilof Cabin”
Price: $1595.00 per person
Russell Fishing Company