Baranof Blog & Fishing News
Last season, Jeff Kraynik was one of two captains guiding the Lee family on their Baranof fishing trip in Ketchikan. Jeff does a wonderful job of chronicling his adventures on Facebook, so we’ve just pulled that story straight from his page to share with you here:
Today, Baranof Skiff Excursions hosted (4) generations of the Lee family from Texas, New York & California.
It was a day of 1st for me, (4) of them actually!!!
1) I had the youngest client ever on my boat at (9) months old
2) I had the oldest client ever on my boat at (93) years old
3) I had (4) generations of family on my boat
4) I got to run the bosses boat, "Rosie"
Enough about me!!!
The Lee family chartered (2) hardtops for an afternoon of fishing then lunch at camp. The weather was bearable, then the wind picked up which forced us up Carol Inlet to hide behind the mountains.
On the first drop, Linh Lee hooked up as soon as her bait hit the bottom. The rod doubled over to the water and the fight was on.
Nope, it was a dang shark. Great fight but after pics back over it went.
We worked our way back out of the inlet to California Point and started mooching for rockfish.
(10) drops produced (9) rockfish to include coppers, Dusky's & Red Stripes. Capt Jack Finnegan's crew boated Quillback's and a Flounder.
The weather began to deteriorate pretty rapidly so with "precious cargo" onboard, we elected to skip camp and head back to the restaurant for lunch.
After cleaning our catch, the boss Chuck Slagle & Dockmaster Dennis Metzger got the clients squared away and seated for lunch. Baked rockfish, fries, cole slaw and a filet of salmon that the chef threw in for good measure was had by all.
I love this place!!!
Just one of many, this story does an excellent job of conveying Jeff’s love of the outdoors, as well as his passion for sharing the experiences he values so highly with his guests. To read more, follow Jeff on Facebook at Jeffrey Allen Kraynik, or visit his website at www.coastalsportsmen.com.
Jeff spent thirty years of his life in a career as a law enforcement officer. If you’re lucky enough to get out on the water with him, you’ll see his attention to detail from years on the police force translates directly to his skill as a fisherman. He embodies the word professionalism.
Jeff got hooked on fishing with his grandfather and father as a young boy, reeling in perch and walleye in Puti-In Bay on Lake Erie at his grandfather’s cottage. He’s also spent extensive time fishing for grouper, snapper, wahoo, and dolphin fish in Florida, which gave him a knack for bottom fishing. The bottom fishing skills that Jeff honed in Florida are readily apparent in Alaska. Jeff is consistently one of our top producing guides for our fishing guests. While salmon fishing and bottom fishing are areas that Jeff excels in constantly, his defining features, in Baranof’s view, are his professionalism and passion for instructing children out for their first fishing trip in Ketchikan.
If you have children who are new to fishing, Jeff would be your guide! One of his favorite excursions is one where he gets to introduce a kid to the raw beauty of Southeast Alaska on their very first fishing adventure. Importantly, he doesn’t ask the kids who go out with him to behave as adults; rather, he’ll quickly be joining the kids in seeing the world from their perspective. And, as a true professional, he’s versatile and adaptable. While you may find him wearing funny hats and joking around with the kids, we can assure you he’ll also simultaneously bring in the catch with expertise and finesse.
Happy New Year from Baranof and Company! We hope this letter finds you well and that you and your family enjoy a great New Year!
The 2017 season was another remarkable season for us here at Baranof, with lots of fish caught and many friends made. As I sit here in the middle of winter, I get a get a twinge of excitement whenever I think of the coming spring and the chance to get back on the water doing what I love!
As I think these happy thoughts, I have also become aware of some big changes in the fishing regulations here in Southeast Alaska for the 2018 fishing season. I thought I would share the changes, so you would know what to expect if you decide to book a fishing excursion here in Southeast Alaska for 2018.
The changes mainly affect halibut and king salmon fishing. Rockfish, silvers and pink salmon, lingcod, and yelloweye rockfish are not affected by the changes, so you can expect to catch them with all the enthusiasm of the past fishing season.
The halibut regulations are being changed in a big way in 2018, with the maximum keeping size being about 20 pounds. The king salmon forecast on the entire Pacific Coast is bleak, and the industry is bracing for what could be some very restrictive king salmon regulations coming for 2018. If you are interested in specifics on these two species, I’ve included more details below.
New Halibut Regulations
The International Pacific Halibut Commission uses a reverse slot limit to regulate the catch rate of halibut. A reverse slot means fish of certain sizes cannot be retained. In years past, the slot limit has bounced between 42”-80” and 44”-80.” IPHC has set the 2018 slot to 35”-80.” What does this mean for us? Well, it means that every Halibut between 35” and 80” will need to be released. Worth mentioning is that while sports fishermen will be allowed to keep halibut over 80”, or around 275 lbs., fish this size are extremely rare in the Southeast - you’ll probably end up on the front page of the local newspaper if you catch one. So, for the 2018 fishing season, expect to fish for halibut under 35 inches.
These halibut regulations extend from Ketchikan all the way up to Glacier Bay and include Juneau, Sitka, and Icy Point among other popular fishing destinations. The halibut slot changes every year, and it has been this restrictive in the past, so we are all hoping that the regulations will allow larger halibut to be kept in the future.
Reasons for the Halibut Regulations
The fact that the fishery in Southeast Alaska has been stable, allowing us to take fish out of a sustainable fishery, gives me high hopes that my kids will have the ability to fish for halibut many years from now. These new halibut regulations are in line with this concept of sustainable fishing, and while we may disagree with how the fishery is managed, it is a good thing it is being managed. As a charter captain, I could not do my job with a clear conscience if we were fishing a declining fishery.
The logic behind the halibut slot limit is that females will grow much larger than males, and there is a direct correlation between a female’s size and the number of eggs she lays every year. Protecting these large breeding females allows IPHC to limit the total weight caught, while also protecting the females most vital to the halibuts’ spawning phase in an area. All halibut regulations on the macro scale are done on a weight basis in Alaska.
King Salmon Update
The preliminary sampling of king salmon on the Pacific Coast in 2017 shows the lowest number in years, and biologists are not optimistic about king salmon runs in 2018. This is a complicated issue, as biologists and the IPHC are unable to distinguish between hatchery and wild salmon, and the variables controlling these runs are mindboggling. Still, the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA), which releases millions of salmon per year in the Ketchikan area, are expecting a lower than average but stable king salmon return for 2018.
Bear in mind these predictions are often skewed or flat out wrong, and can often affect sport and commercial fishing differently. For example, 2017 was considered such a terrible year for returning king salmon that they closed the commercial trolling season. As a result, our company had the best king salmon year we’ve ever had because the power trollers weren’t out catching kings by the thousands.
Though the king salmon and halibut situation are a bit disheartening, as a fishing guide, I am still optimistic about the upcoming season! Even if the halibut and the kings are limited, there are still plenty of fish in the area: silvers and pink salmon, lingcod, and yelloweye rockfish all make for an excellent day’s fishing, and the other rockfish species in the area ensure that in most any condition my customers are likely to catch fish.
However, if you had your heart set on record kings or monster halibut in 2018, the chances of that happening in Southeast Alaska are extremely low. If that was your goal, I would recommend putting your trip on hold or perhaps look into guided fishing out of Seward or Homer, or self-guided lodges in remote areas like Point Baker or Elfin Cove. Self-guided anglers are not held to the same restrictions as guided anglers, so if you have the knowledge, it is also another option: I would love to help you plan if this is a route you would like to pursue.
If you think that fishing for silver salmon, pink salmon, lingcod, rockfish, halibut under 35” and perhaps limited king salmon sounds great, please book for the 2018 season! However, if you feel that that halibut and king salmon regulations are going to prevent you from having a good time with us, we encourage you to pursue other options. We see no benefit in booking clients we’re unable to make happy. If you have already booked and would like to cancel your trip, please contact Bonnie and she will give you a full refund. If you would like help looking for other options or if you have any other questions about these regulations, please contact me directly.
Thank you very much! I look forward to fishing with many of you in 2018!
Baranof Fishing Excursions was created with the family wilderness experience in mind. Over the last decade and a half, we’ve taken thousands of parent/child, full family, and multi-generational groups out for a day in the Alaskan wilderness. While we are equipped for, and enjoy, sending out boats full of die-hard fishermen looking to deplete the salmon or bottom fish population as much as possible, our true passion is sharing a first-time experience that so many of our young guests find with us. Jeff Kraynik enjoys the opportunity to provide a memorable Ketchikan fishing excursion and does an amazing job exemplifying Baranof’s family values.
From the Wheelhouse
Our captain’s report on up-to-date fishing conditions, regulations, and trends.
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