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Februray 23, Mat-Su Lake and Big Lake
Headed out to a small stocked lake in
the valley with Vance, Martin and
Erick.  Got on the ice about 8:30am.  
We started getting hits almost
immediately.  Everything from roe &
shrimp to spoons and rubber minnow
jigs.  But within an hour the action
died down.   Between the four of us,
we managed maybe 10 fish in that
first hour.  Then almost like a switch
the bite was off.  The day was cloudy
and snowing leading me to believe
that we would have a good day.  Not
to be today though.
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February 16th, Mat-Su Valley Lake
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Head out to fish a small lake in the Valley with Vance.  Get off to a late start but we are on the ice fishing by 10:30am.  As we set
up, Vance gets a hit right away and manages a 18inch Char.  He gets his jigging a rubber minnow under a small dodger.   Vance
catches another small rainbow and the day is off to a pretty good start.   We had a few rods down with bait and about an hour later
you hear the sound of something slapping the water and its my ultralight rod tip doubled over and in the hole.   I came close to losing
it but Vance pounces on the rod and up comes a nice 17 inch rainbow on shrimp.  I manage a nice 16 inch rainbow on single eggs
right afterwards.   I decide to "chum" a bit by jigging a large glob of roe under a dodger.   About one minute into it, my rod just
about gets yanked from my hands.  After a good battle, I land a very nice 26 inch Dolly. Sweet-oh!  About 1pm things die down so
picked up and left.  Not fast action but it was steady and you got to love pulling up a char that looks like it came from Big Lake out
of this tiny stocked lake.  The water was ultra clear and it was sunny.  Not usually a formula for a good day but catching the big one
was sure sweet.  Got to get out more!
January 18th Delong Lake
Went fishing with Vance again to kill some time in town.  It had rained the night before so I wasn't too excited about driving.  So I
convinced Vance to just hit a lake in town for some catching instead of the usual fishing.  We weren't disappointed.   It was slow at
first, but as the sun started to set, the action was pretty consistent.  Shrimp was the best bait by far though single eggs worked well.
 We caught dozens of landlocked salmon, a bunch of small Dollies, and a few blackfish.   Vance caught a monster Dolly for
Delong...maybe 12 inches!  The rest of the fish had a hard time going 8 inches.  Still it was fun.  I wouldn't do it every weekend but
when the bobber takes a dive, its still pretty exciting for me.  It was a good lesson in setting the hook since the fish were pretty
small.  What a great place to take your kids.  If you have a few free hours, give Delong or Jewel lake a try, your kids will love it.
January 11  Big Lake
Headed out to Big Lake with a friend and met Vance on the lake.  It was pretty slow for us.  My friend didn't manage a fish all day.  
I caught only two fish, one rainbow about 18inches and a Dolly about the same size.  Vance's group did much better catching a few
burbot as well as a couple of nice char.  I caught my dolly on a large Mepps Scyclops spoon in rainbow trout pattern and the
rainbow I caught on a clear cabela's living eye minnow with a curly tail fished under a 000 dodger. The ice roads are in but be
careful.  Off the ice roads, the ice was probably only 8 to 10 inches thick.  In fact later in the week, I saw in the paper a truck had
gone through the ice on a lake connected to Big Lake. BE CAREFUL!  If you aren't sure, don't do it.  Fishing is fun, but the last time
I checked, you had to be alive to enjoy it.  Be safe, always go with a partner, and always err on the safe side.
January 4th  Mat-su Valley Lake
HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Well here's to another great year of fishing!
Headed out to the valley with Martin and Erick to see how the lakes were.  We had high expectations since the forecast called for
snow and we always seem to have good days when it snows.  We get on the lake before its light out and we settle in to fish.   No
snow though! Bummer.  The fishing WAS SLOW!!!!!!!  Between the three of us, we only caught 3 keeper fish and a few other
smaller fish all day long.   Brutal.  Still it was nice to be out fishing.

The next day the snow comes.  I sure wish I had a job like the weather forecasters.  I fear everyday that I am going to make a
mistake that might cost the company.  These weather folks seem to shrug off a mistake like it was nothing.   How do they sleep at
night knowing they raise hopes of us fisherman and then dash them with their mistaken forecasts?  Well you can get the same
information the weather folks use, but much more upto date at:  
http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/   It's definitely the best weather site for
Alaska.  Well, I didn't get out fishing but Erick did, it snowed, and they hammered fish.  They visited two smaller lakes in the Valley,
and they managed to hammer some nice trout including a nice 23 inch Dolly out of a lake that looks more like a pothole.  Erick said
the action was consistent all day long.  Doh!  I always seem to miss the good days.  Of course that's not true, but in fishing you
have your good days and your bad days.

If you have kids, I would HIGHLY recommend that you head out to one of the local area lakes.  I visited Delong Lake on New
Year's day and there were 30 people on the ice all catching fish.  Nothing huge but dollies in the 8 inch range and landlockers a tad
smaller were hitting bait like no tomorrow.  A great way to introduce the kids to ice fishing.  Its right here in town, on a weekend
you almost don't need an auger since there are so many holes already dug, and since its close to town, you don't have to commit to
an all day trip that will likely bore your kids no matter how many fish you catch.  Jewel lake is another great lake for kids.  Use
single eggs or shrimp under a very small bobber and you are ready to go!  Nothing fancy required here!   Your younger kids won't
care if the fish is 8 inches or 8 pounds, they will love it!
December 28 Mat-su Valley Lake
Well I head out with Martin and Eric to set up some ice houses on a valley lake.   Well it took us most of the day to get them on so I
didn't fish much.  The news of the day was that we drove onto the lake.  The lake had been plowed so we went on slowly to see
what would happen.  After arriving at the spot, we punch a hole to find less than 10 inches of ice.  Pretty marginal to be on the ice
with cars.  Still the ice was solid and we managed to fish a while.  I didn't catch anything but the guys fished after I left so I'll get
more of the story after I talk to them.
December 21  Big Lake   
Well Big Lake is finally frozen enough to fish on. Martin Doug and I head out on one of the windiest days of the year.  Martin was
smart and brought a portable one man fish shack, Doug and I FROZE! Still it was better than being warm and bored sitting on our
butts in front of the tv so it was a good day.  We saw some snowmachines ripping across the lake but it didn't seem like a good idea.
 It was 4 inches where we were at right near shore and the ice couldn't have been more than 2 inches thick about 30 yards from
shore.

Well the fishing continues to be slow.  We all caught one fish during the whole day.  I caught a nice 20 inch Dolly, Martin caught a
16 inch Dolly and Doug caught a nice burbot.  Martin caught his on a spoon, Doug caught his on a gizit rubber minnow, and I
caught mine on a weighted egg sucking leech under a 000 herring dodger.

I know every year I seem to have my favorite lure, and this year is no different.   2 years ago I couldn't go wrong with my trusty
krockadile chrome spoon.  Last year I started using rubber minnow with great results.  But starting toward the end of last year, I
have been doing well using a weighted egg sucking leech in black or green under a 000 herring dodger.  What I have noticed about
the leech patterns is that the fish seem to take them much more aggressively.  With the spoons or the rubber minnows, often I see
fish come cruising through the hole, take a look, even bump it with their nose but then swim off.  I don't think I have ever seen a
trout come to the fly and reject it.  I'm sure it will happen some day but it hasn't happened yet.  I really like using the small dodger.  
It imparts an interesting action to the rubber minnow or the fly.  The flash attracts trout and I would swear that the fish hit the lure
harder because they must think that if they don't hit it right away, the other fish (the dodger) will.  There is a draw back to this rig.  
You catch a lot more fish if you can see your fly.  When you lift up, the dodger bounces around and imparts good action, but as the
dodger freefalls, the fly is on slack line free falling as well.   This means you might not feel a hit as the fly is falling.  The heavier
rubber minnow on a jig head doesn't have this problem since the weight of the jig keeps the line relatively taught between the dodger
and the hooks as the jig falls.  So far I have caught burbot, Dollies, and rainbows on this rig in many lakes so its in my starting line
up of tackle this winter.
November 16-30th  Ice fishing at last!
Well the ice fishing season began for me on November 16th.  We found 2 inches of ice on a lake in the valley.  Over the next couple
of weeks we managed to ice fish on several lakes.  The fishing sure has been slow.  You would think that at first ice things would be
great but that wasn't the case.

Ryo, one of my fishing buddies from Malaysia came in and found hardly any ice to ice fish on.  Still we did get out and managed to
catch rainbows, suckers and a few small lake trout.  Ryo did manage to catch a nice 22 inch rainbow and had one one that seemed
MUCH larger.  But since the hook fell out we'll never know.  Ryo was using the new fishing techniques called "drop shotting" Its
popular with the tournament bass crowd and Ryo seemed to get his fair share of hits even on a slow day dropshotting a small plastic
grub.  I'm definitely going to give it a try.

I would have posted this log entry earlier but A) My computer fritzed B) The ice was way to thin for me to encourage anyone to go
ice fishing.  Most of the lakes we saw were open.  We had to hunt for a few lakes we know freeze earlier every year and still we
found only three lakes with ice anywhere near thick enough to fish in a  2 hour radius of Anchorage.
Erick and Martin have to head back early so Vance and I decided to try Big Lake.   We got to Big Lake but we weren't sure about ice
strength after all of the warm weather.  Since I thought the ice wouldn't be too thick, we only brought an hand auger.  Well that was
a mistake.  The ice was at least 2 feet thick.  My hand auger didn't cut at all so after drilling only one hole, we decide to search for
holes.  We found a good set on burnt point and began to fish.  Vance got all of the hits in 25 feet of water and I didn't see a thing in
my 10 foot deep hole.  Vance eventually hooks one of the fish and manages to land a nice 20 plus inch dollie.  It showed some battle
scars that had healed.  Though scarred up, the dollie fought well.   That was the only fish we hooked on Big Lake that day but I
guess we only fished for an hour or so.  Vance was using a rubber minnow under a 000 dodger.