Winter 2001/2002 Fishing Logs
Click on most photos for a bigger JPG image.
April 27 Lake Louise Lakers
Headed off to Lake Louise with Martin and Rick. There was too much snow so we had to snowmachine to our spots. The
fishing was pretty slow but Martin manges three fish during the day. All three were caught on Rat-L-Traps of various colors. I
was using a minnow jig tipped with whitefish. It seemed that I would always get hit first, but I had a hard time hooking them. A
split second after I would say "I got a hit!", Martin would be battling a fish. Well I guess I can't complainsince I did have the
opportunities. I think LAke Louise might be driveable. At least the snow pack on Lake Sustina directly to the NOrtgh of LAke
Louise has gone way down. Here's another use of the internet to help your fishing. Check out Lake Susitna's snow pack at:
Be careful though. The best way to find out if the lake is driveable or not is by calling one of the lodges on the lake like Lake
Louise Lodge or Wolverine Lodge.
The whole page of the Alaska River forecasting center is useful. Check it out if you have the chance. It will show you if rivers
are running high...or if they are even running at all. Great info! http://aprfc.arh.noaa.gov/
April 14th Big Lake Burbot & a Baby!
Actually I have BIG news that doesn't involve fishing. I'm a DAD!!!! I can't believe it!!!!!! Yup, my wife gave birth to a healthy
baby girl last week! She is a cutie!!!!! But since this page is about fishing, we'll stick to the subject. But ya gotta let me brag
just a little bit about my baby girl!!! Does anyone know where I can find waders that would fit her?????
At any rate....the fishing!!!! As you might imagine, my fishing time was reduced to nil as I first waited patiently, then after my
daughter was born, it just got crazy! But all the rest of my buddies, called me every time they caught a fish to rub it in so I know
exactly how they did this past weekend. Well, as of April 14th Big Lake was still frozen solid. That's a change from last year
when we ran into several feet of water in some spots on March 25th. Martin, Doug, and Rick head out to go retrieve Martin's
fish house. In several hours they managed to jig up four burbot during the middle of the day using artificial lures. If you want to
catch a burbot or two, this is your chance on Big Lake. Normally without bait, it seems like its hit or miss for Burbot on Big
Lake, but as the burbot begin to get ready to spawn, I think they come in shallower and begin to feed more aggressively. The odd
thing was they only saw burbot..no dollies, no rainbows.
Well the group is planning a trip to Lake Louise for some monster Lake trout. I wonder if Mom will let me take off for one
day...hmmmm...... We need to contact a few lodges on the lake but last year around this time you could drive anywhere on Lake
Louise with your truck. It makes for some cool fishing for those who don't have access to a snowmobile or for those who just
don't want to bother taking one up.
UPDATE: I just called Lake Louise Lodge and seems like it still is pretty soft up there. So it sounded like its snowmobile only for
at least a little while longer.
March 24, Big Lake
Because I am pretty much stuck in an area close to Anchorage, Big
Lake is as good of a choice as any. Besides, Martin has been catching
a few burbot by jigging artificials during the day and night. And them
burbot are good eating!!!!
Well we get out there and set up in 10 feet of water in Martin's fish shack. I caught a nice 21 inch Dolly using a weighted egg
sucking leech pattern under a chrome size 000 herring dodger. Doug caught a 18 inch Dolly and a 12 inch landlcoked silver on
I'm not sure how much fishing I'll be getting over the next 3 or 4 weeks. I sure hope I'll be bale to get out a couple of days but I
doubt it! I have some MAJOR events about to unfold. More on that later!!!!!!
March 17 Big Lake
WOW!!!! How about that snow?!?!?!?!?! Just when you start dreaming about big kings in open water, we get dumped on.
Amazingly enough, there was only a couple of inches of extra snow at Big Lake. I can't believe it but I actually made it out ot Big
Lake on Sunday. Of course I passed at least 15 cars in the ditch due to the snow. It took over 2 hours to make the normal 1
hour trip into Wasilla. No snow is getting in my way!!!!
Well the fishing was pretty good. Of course I missed it since I was late getting onto the lake. Martin and company had gone out
before the snow storm on Saturday and set up camp on Big Lake. They had real good luck jiggin up 4 burbot and 5 or 6 nice
Dollies even before I arrived at noon. The bite always seems to be better on snowy days. By the time I got there with Doug,
things had slowed way down. Still we manage a couple of fish.
Speaking of thinking about big kings..I have started to compile and update my section on fishing kings. Its no where near done
but since I am getting a few emails about it, I thought I'd just put up my work in progress. Check it out and any comments are
appreciated..even negative ones!!!!!
February 24, Mat-Su Valley Pike
Although my snowmobile needs some major suspension work, Erick lends me a machine so we can go check out a pike lake on
the west side of the Susitna River. The action was pretty slow. We were using tip ups in 3 to 7 feet of water baited with herring.
The bites were very very slow that day. I never did land a pike. Bummer! But Erick and Todd manage to catch a couple of nice
keepers in the day. Though we didn't catch much, it was a great snowmobile ride. This particular lake is known for some BIG
pike so it didn't really matter if I didn't catch anything. Knowing that the next time the flag goes up, it could be a trophy makes it
all worthwhile. And if you do put in the time, eventually you will catch the Big one! Better keep trying!!!!!!!
February 16-18, Big Lake and another Mat-Su Lake
Sean flies down from Fairbanks to give ice fishing a try for the first time. I was kind of surprised to hear he had never been ice
fishing since I know how much he like to fish during the summer. I was glad to hear he wanted to give it a try since it was a
great excuse to go fishing on three consecutive days.
Day 1 we head out to a small lake that has a lot of eater rainbows in it. The good thing about this lake is that many of the fish
have bright orange/red flesh and they sure are tasty. Using shrimp and single eggs below a pencil style bobber, we clean up on
the rainbows. for a while, we couldn't keep them off of our hooks. Nothing huge, maybe 14 inches max but it was nice to go
catching instead of just fishing every now and then. We also managed to catch 4 small lakers that must have averaged a
whopping 6 inches long. As we are starting to pick up our gear after trying it in the dark, we set a time of 8pm to leave. As
usual the night bite is a lot slower and we were definitely ready to go pack it in. As we start counting down the minutes, on of
the rods gets a hit at exactly 7:59 pm. Hey, the last cast thing works again! Unfortunately the fish was a burbot about 6 inches
long. Oh well. Still it was nice to get out and catch a few fish.
Day 2 & 3 were spent out at Big Lake. Day 2 was pretty exciting though we managed to hook and land only one fish between
the two of us. Sean had a few nice burbot come cruising through the holes but couldn't get them to hit. I saw at least two char
that were the largest I had seen all year! Wow! It was pretty amazing. Though we didn't catch many, we sure saw a lots of
BIG fish. So of course we had to head back again the next day.
Day 3 was better in terms of the number of fish we landed. I think we must have caught 5 or 6 fish between the two of us.
Sean musters up a nice burbot, Char, and landlocked silver. I managed a couple of char and a nice rainbow. The two lures we
had hits on most consistently were the Cabela's living eye minnow rigged on a 3/8 oz jig head under a size 00 dodger. The other
lure that produced was a 1/4 oz ( I think) Do-jigger spoon. It wasn't the hottest weekend for fishing but we had our chances at a
few big ones! At least I got to go fishing 3 days in a row!!!!!!!
February 9, Big Lake
This is the time of year it seems that fishing slows down a bit. For those of us stuck in Anchorage, the options seem to dwindle.
Still looking back at my logs, we have had some success with Big fish out of Big Lake in February so off Doug and I head to Big
It was snowing hard and cloudy, the perfect kinda days to fish Big Lake. Instead of wimping out and fishing inside of a shack,
Douggie and I head off to the South Shore near Big Lake Lodge where Fish Creek flows into the lake. We punched holes in about
10 feet of water. While the action wasn't hot, I managed two nice char of 20 inches and 22 inches. The 20 inchers had
something huge in its stomach that was as hard as a rock. Since I released it, I have no idea what it was. It easily outweighed
the 22 inch char I caught later. The rubber minnows I am so fond of using these days didn't seem to produce much so I
switched over to a very generic flo. red and silver spoon. It seemed to be the right lure that day. I catch the 20 incher right away
jigging about half way up the water column. After a few more minutes I had the biggest fish I have seen this year come cruising
under my hole. After a few twitches it clamps down on the spoon and I set the hook. I have to figure out a better way but since
I am peering down the hole, I often jig the lines with my fingers and once I set the hook, I have to get the weight of the fish
transferred from my hand to the rod and reel. I definitely lose a lot of fish during this process. Well, this fish like a few others, I
manage to lose. As I hop up and set the hook, I feel the fish get off and a few expletives come out of my mouth. I turn around
to see a state trooper right next to me. Oops! Of course he didn't care and found it a bit amusing. I was mainly bummed
because I had this huge fish under my hole and I had to take time out to dig out my license. Oh well that's the fishing...I guess.
All the law enforcement guys I have met on the ice at Big Lake have been cool. So far none of them has hassled us like a few
have been known to do. I have picture but since it wasn't a digital camera, it'll be a bit before I can get them up on the page.
Oh yeah, I am going to have to stop talking about my secret tackle recommendations. After giving away one of my herring
dodgers, I head off in town to buy a few more. I couldn't find a single one of the size I was looking for. A couple of weeks
back there were dozens hanging on the racks at several stores! Who the heck uses small trolling dodgers in the middle of the
winter??? Must be all the hard core ice fisherman. That's cool! I eventually found a few slightly larger ones so I'm geared up
again and ready to go. The last two times out I haven't had the dodgers and I have to admit I felt a bit naked fishing without the
attractors. I don't think it makes a huge difference but I have more confidence using smaller lures and flies like a weight egg
sucking leech when I have the flashers. I know the fish will hit the small lures and flies, but in such a big lake, I don't have the
confidence that they will attract fish in from a distance without them. If I am not using a dodger, I opt for the bigger spoons and
lures that give off more vibration.
February 2, Big Lake
Finally back from two weeks on the road! Of course I was just dying to go fishing so off I headed to Big Lake with Doug. The
weather wasn't too cold but it was windy! We set up off of an small Island in 15 feet of water. I nail a 20 inch Dolly on a
weighted egg sucking leech fly. Then it died off. Since it was so dang windy, we decided to take refuge in Martin's fish house.
Doug manages to jig up two nice Dolly with the biggest going 22 inches. Other than that it was pretty slow. I was pretty jet
lagged still so I spent a good chunk of the time just sleeping in the chair. Oh well, at least I got to go fishing!
January 13 Fire Lake Pike
Well due to business I think this was the last fishing trip for me in January. Looks like my weekends are full for the next couple
of weeks. If that's the case, I better get my fill of fishing so I picked up Doug and we tried Fire Lake again. Not much action. I
managed two pike with largest going maybe 3 pounds and Doug managed one. They certainly weren't as active as the time
before. We caught all of our fish on tip ups with herring in about 6 to 8 feet of water.
January 12 Mat-Su Lake Rainbows
Headed out on Sunday to try a new lake I had never tried before. As always, its a lake I have driven past for YEARS and really
never bothered to fish it. Well the action wasn't very fast but I pulled up a nice rainbow at right around 20 inches. I hate to admit
to it, but the rainbow just inhaled my rubber jig and so I ended up keeping the fish. Still, if you can believe it, it was a stocked
lake. One of my friends had already nailed a 26 inch rainbow from this lake and that day, my fish was the longest, but certainly
not the heaviest. One of my other buddies hammered a nice fat 19 incher that was much larger than my fish even though it was a
bit shorter. The action was slow, I could see a variety of different fish cruising below us but very few would hit the lure. The
best bait that day was roe, but you hooked too many small fish. It's amazing how many stocked lakes hold good fish here in
South-central Alaska. Check out Fish and Game's stocked lake home page to look at all of the possibilities. The trick is to find a
lake that won't winter kill. Usually if the lake has flowing water or deeper than 15 to 20 feet, it should be able to survive most
January 6 Fire Lake Pike
After not catching anything on Saturday, I just had to go out and give fishing one more try! Since Doug lives right off the
North Eagle River Exit, it didn't take too much to convince Doug that he should be fishing!
After walking half way across the lake from the public access, we set up in 4 to 10 feet of water for pike and rainbows. The
action was pretty slow until about 3pm when the light started to fade. Then the hits came fast and furious! I bet in the next
hour, Doug and I caught 5 pike a piece and we had just as many hits that we lost. The biggest of the day was a 6 pounder I
managed to pull up. We were using whole herring and half a herring in shallow water near the weed beds.
January 5 Big Lake
Headed out to Big Lake to find Rick getting ready to fish. Boy was it SLOW! We saw maybe 3 fish the whole day and Rick wins
the first, biggest and most fish title with a single 10 inch Dolly! Boy the day was just brutal! Well I guess you have to have you
slow days to have your good days!
December 29 & 30 Big Lake
With all of the melted water covering many lakes, Big Lake seemed like the safe place to go. Good thing since on Saturday
seemed like a great day on the lake. I got off to a late start but met Tony, Vic & Vance on the ice around noon. OF course they
had been on the ice for a couple of hours already. Even before I got there, Tony had landed a nice 24 inch char, Vance had a nice
large Rainbow, and they had missed several other hits. My day gets off to a fast start as I get hit as I am lowering my jig down
the hole. At first I am thinking this part of the lake is DEEP! The guys had told me that this hole should be about 15 feet
deep....hmmmm....I wonder if I have a fish.......stop the line, feel for a fish and sure enough, a 22 inch char had latched onto my
jig. Click on any of the photos for a larger JPG image.
The most amazing thing about the day was all of the burbot we saw during the middle of the day. Between the four of us, we
landed 5 fish and we all saw more fish cruising through. I was using a rainbow trout pattern rubber minnow, but the hot bait
seemed to be a 1/2 oz black bucktail jig. I wouldn't have thought about using black on this lake for some reason but why not? I
catch a lot of fish with a black egg sucking leech when I'm not ice fishing. I'll have to give it a try for sure. All of us were using
some type of dodger contraption on our lines and we seemed to be doing much better than two folks that were fishing right next
After having such good luck on Saturday, I head out again since Doug wanted to go fishing. We could
only fish for about 3 hours but I managed a nice 21 inch Dolly and an 18inch fish. We both missed fish
that would have approached 25 inches. Dang! We'll have to keep on trying. On Sunday, I did finally
break out a pack of Cabela's Living eye minnow bodies in the 3 inch size in the blue color and they
seemed to attract a lot of the strikes. I'll have to keep trying them to see if they will keep producing.
December 23, Big Lake
After debating for what seemed like hours the day before, we wake up to howling winds despite the warmer temperature so its
off to Big Lake and the warmth of Martin's Fish House. I head out to Big Lake with Doug and Doug to see if we can't catch the
Big char that we know has our name on it somewhere in the lake. It ended up being a lot like last week where we saw
numerous large fish but none would hit the lures with any authority. Doug #1 manages to catch 4 or 5 small landlocked salmon.
That's a good sign. We have all been commenting on how few of the landlocked silvers we have been seeing over the past few
years. They are an important food source for the big char and burbot that we are after so its a good sign to see them around the
areas we are fishing. Doug #2 hammers a nice rainbow and a nice char of maybe 18 inches before he has to leave. Later in the
day, I catch 2 nice burbot, both on jigs. Then right as we are picking up, Doug #1 reels up another nice eating size burbot. We
were fishing in about 12 feet of water.
December 16, Big Lake Dollies, Rainbows, & Burbot
Wow! An Alaskan Style Heat Wave! We get to Big Lake and the temperature was supposed to be 14 below (F)! The lady at the
gas station said that we shouldn't complain since the day before was 30 below(F)!!!! Still, its the weekend and ya gotta
I head out to Big Lake with Martin, Rick, and a guest to see if we couldn't hit a few fish. Hats off to Martin for taking the time
off several years back to build a nice insulated fish house! Fours of us fished comfortably all day long inside without the need for
jackets. The action was good with the total tally of 6 Dollies, 3 rainbows, and two burbot between the four of us. Though it
might not sound like a fast action day, it was amazing to see how many fish came in to take a look but just wouldn't take the
lures. We saw at least 3 or 4 fish that would have been in the 24 inch plus mark that wouldn't take the lure. They would come in
and take a good long look, sometimes even batting the lure with their heads but rarely did they take. The hot lure for the day was
a the old standby krockadile which accounted for all the fish other than the two burbot. We were fishing in about 10 feet of
water. Despite the fact the weather was clear and cold, the fish seemed to be around. I prefer cloudy days to sunny ones.
December 9, Big Lake Dollies
Went fishing alone since everyone else seemed busy with life. What could possibly be more important than fishing?!?!?! Well
after last weeks tough time, I wasn't too sure what to expect. well its a good thing I went because I had a great time. Setting
up in just about the same place as I did last weekend, it wasn't too long until I saw a few good fish pass through. I couldn't
get them to hit on the old trusty krockadile, so I tried something different. I had a size 0 (maybe 00, it's a small one for trout)
Herring Dodger on my line and about 8 inches below that I had a rubber minnow on a jighead. Boy they sure seemed to like
that. I think the big dodger attracted them in and looked like another competing fish. So as soon as the fish would come into
sight, they would attack the minnow jig pretty viciously. I am positive they thought they better get it before the other fish (the
dodger) got it first. All in all, I landed 6 dollies with the smallest going 18 inches and the largest was about 24 inches. I was
fishing in about 12 feet of water on the edge of a steep drop off. Just as a note, you should try as much as possible not to
leave the fish on the ice. I left them in the hole and only took them out for a second as I snapped the photos. Even still, I felt a
bit guilty! They all jumped into the hole with lots of energy left in them.
December 1, Big Lake
Well you would think after the good weekend we had last week that we would pick up a few fish. Nope! Boy were things slow
slow slow! I've got a few friends that firmly believe that a bright sunny high pressure day is BAD for fishing and I am beginning
to agree with them. It seems to be especially true of Big Lake. If we look back on our logs, the best ice fishing days we have on
Big Lake are all on cloudy or snowy days. Well this weekend is supposed to be cloudy with a chance of snow so we will give it
another try. There were four of us fishing and we didn't land a single fish! We had maybe three strikes total in about 5 hours of
fishing! Oh well, I guess that's why they call it fishing and not catching. As old as that line is, it seems to hold true every now
and then. We'll see what happens this next weekend.
November 24, Big Lake Rainbows, Dollies, Silvers, and Burbot!
Headed out to fish Big Lake with Martin. We were searching for a new spot to place Martin's fish house on. The good news is
that the ice roads are in and trucks are driving all over the lake. The bad news was that the ice is still kinda thin. Maybe 10
inches. I didn't mind driving my truck n the ice but I would have been a bit nervous if we had three or four cars parked side by
Well after some pre trip planning, we had singled out one island due to the topography and access. We found a good spot where
there was a steep drop off. Virtually a 45 degree drop off over weeds, rocks, and some sand. I was fishing the shore side in
about 8 feet of water and we had holes punched progressively deeper to about 30 feet. We basically caught fish in all of them. It
was still the most fun in the shallower holes because you can clearly see the fish as they approach and strike the lure. With the
ice so thin, you can see further off to the sides as well. I started catching fish on an half ounce chrome krockadile with a red
stripe. I stuck with it because I caught a bunch of fish with variety bonus points. Through the course of the day, I managed to
catch a 12 inch land locked silver, a bunch of nice rainbows with the biggest going 19 inches, a half dozen or more Dollies with
the biggest going 20 inches, and the best fish of the day was a 30 inch burbot. A four species day! Boy did that burbot look
HUGE when it crossed under the whole and just inhaled my lure! I would say that we hooked only about half of the fish that
came in to investigate the lure. We had a few dollies that were much larger than 20 inches come cruising through the hole. If
you have never done it, definitely take the time to look down your holes. The best way other than a fully sealed ice shack is the
following. Take a piece of old carpet you can lay on and a heavy blanket or sleeping bag. Lie on the carpet and cover your head
with the sleeping bag or blanket. You'll be amazed at what you can see and how not every fish strikes the lure. I jig while
holding the line but I lose a few fish during the transfer of holding the line to holding the rod. Still take a look, its a great lesson in
learning fish behavior.
November 3 & 10, Mat-su Valley lake First Ice Fishing!
Dang, here's my advice to all of you single sport fishing nuts. Don't get married if you want to fish a lot! Now having said that,
I'm glad I got married and all but my fishing time is definitely taking a beating! Of course when I tell that to my wife, she blames
it on me getting older and lazier! Hmmmm......she may have a point. Well none of you care about that so let's talk fishing.
Ice on the lakes in the Nancy Lake area was at least 6 inches. I have reports from friend that tell me Big Lake already has 5 to 7
inches of ice as well. Since we were looking for some fresh trout for dinner, we head off to one of the stocked lakes in the area.
The first weekend the action wasn't fast but it was relatively consistent. Between Douggie and I, we manage 10 rainbows from
12 inches to about 19 inches. We kept the smallest three to eat. Hot bait was single eggs and shrimp. Doug uses cooked
cocktail shrimp, I prefer small pieces of raw saltwater shrimp. I don't seem to have as good of luck using the farmed freshwater
blacktiger shrimps that are so popular these days. Peering down our holes we saw several large brightly colored char pass by but
none took the bait.
The second weekend was a different story. Unfortunately it was a slow slow slow day. In fact we fished for three hours till
dark and we had only one small fish to show for it. As it gets dark, Douggie calls it a day and starts packing up. But in the past I
have caught a LOT of fish just as the sun goes down. Well in the last 5 minutes with Doug already warming up in the car, I
hammer at least 6 or 7 fish. At one point I had good fish on both rods at once. I was using super ultra light line. I bet it's no
more than 1 pound test snell on the hooks. I eventually broke both of my lines and it was too dark and cold to retie the lures.
Once again perseverance pays off!!!!!
There is definitely plenty of ice, but be careful! It's still thin enough that a little moving water, a spring, or some anomaly can
cause the ice to be thin enough for you to fall through. Always go with a friend. It's funner and a whole lot safer!!!!!