Trip Report: Montana Creek (August 27, 2017)

Rainbow trout caught in upper Montana Creek. Photo: Ben Rowell

We pulled up to Carrs at 8am to grab breakfast and a few snacks for the day. Being a member of the Facebook group Stop Valley Thieves has made me paranoid about leaving anything in the back of a pickup truck, so I threw my gear in the cab, locked the door, and went inside. When we got back to the truck, my fishing partner, Kory, had a slight look of concern on his face. Why? Because I locked the keys in his truck. Definitely not a good way to start a fishing trip. Fortunately, Kory use to steal cars (just kidding) and had us back in the truck in about ten minutes. The day was saved.  Continue reading “Trip Report: Montana Creek (August 27, 2017)”


3 Takeaways from MSB Fish & Wildlife Commission Meeting

Mat-Su Borough Assembly Chambers at the start of Tuesday meeting. Photo: Ben Rowell

On Tuesday, August 22, the Matanuska Susitna Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission held a special meeting with representatives from ADF&G to discuss concerns about recent Upper Cook Inlet fish management decisions. In attendance were commission members, ADF&G Commissioner Sam Cotten, Tom Brookover, ADF&G Director of the Division of Sport Fish, Scott Kelley, ADF&G Director of the Divisions of Commercial Fisheries, and about 125 Mat-Su residents and elected officials. The meeting was scheduled to run from 5pm to 7pm but ran an hour longer to accommodate public testimony.

Here are my three takeaways from the meeting.  Continue reading “3 Takeaways from MSB Fish & Wildlife Commission Meeting”

Susitna River Coho Limit Increased to Four Per Day


In a easily predicted move that some may consider a political calculation, ADF&G increased the limit for coho salmon effective today at 5pm. Also today at 5pm, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission is set to meet with ADF&G commissioner and directors, along with Mat-Su residents, about the commercial harvest of 90,000 coho salmon head to Upper Cook Inlet rivers. Coincidence? I think not.

Tonight’s meeting is from 5pm to 7pm at the Mat-Su Borough building in Palmer and is open to the public.  Continue reading “Susitna River Coho Limit Increased to Four Per Day”

3 Good Articles: It’s Not Our Fault Edition


During my quest to learn more about how Mat-Su Valley fisheries are managed, I’ve come across a few good reads that Mat-Su sport anglers may find interesting. As usual, they include a lot of finger pointing.

It’s the Sport Angler’s Fault

The first is Little Susitna River Salmon History from 1886 to 2012, produced by Roland Maw, PhD, United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) Executive Director and Audrey Salmon, UCIDA Office Manager, in 2013.

In this report, UCIDA lays out its argument for why coho salmon runs have declined in the Little Su, including laying blame on in-river users (sport anglers) for over harvesting the resource.  Continue reading “3 Good Articles: It’s Not Our Fault Edition”

ADF&G Commissioner Cotten to attend Mat-Su Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting Aug. 22



Senator Dunleavy sent out a follow-up email with a new date and start time for the meeting. Meeting is now scheduled for August 22 from 5pm to 7pm. The meeting was first announced to be on Aug 17 at 6pm. There will be time for public testimony, which is limited to three minutes per person.

Orignal Post

In response to my letter regarding concerns with recent ADF&G management decisions in Upper Cook Inlet, Senator Dunleavy responded with the following,

“Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding the recent management decisions made by Fish and Game in the Upper Cook Inlet.  Commissioner Sam Cotten will be attending next week’s Mat-Su Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting where he will be explaining the management practices and answering your questions.  The meeting is open to the public and I encourage you to attend to express your concerns.

The meeting will be held Thursday, August 17 at 6pm (*See update above*) at the main Borough building located at 350 E. Dahlia Ave in Palmer.  Please visit the Commission’s website for more details by clicking here.”  Continue reading “ADF&G Commissioner Cotten to attend Mat-Su Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting Aug. 22”

Alaska State Fair Hosting Fly Tying Competition


There is still time to get flies entered into the 2017 Alaska State Fair fly tying competition. Entries must be delivered to the fairgrounds, Irwin Exhibits building, between 11am-7pm on Friday, August 11 or Saturday, August 12.  Continue reading “Alaska State Fair Hosting Fly Tying Competition”

Sen. Hughes Stands Up for Valley Sport Anglers, Coho Salmon

On July 31, commercial fishing boats intercepted 40,000 coho salmon headed to Valley rivers and streams. Many, including myself, wrote our elected officials to share our concern with such a large harvest while Valley streams sit nearly void of coho salmon.

I received a reply from my state senator, Shelley Hughes, from District F. Sen. Hughes voted no on the reappointment of BOF Chair John Jensen, supports the Conservation Corridor, and expressed her concern about the July 31 harvest of 40,000 coho salmon in this August 4th letter to BOF and ADF&G Commissioner Sam Cotton.

Request Action Regarding Corridor

Request Action Regarding Corridor 2

Continue reading “Sen. Hughes Stands Up for Valley Sport Anglers, Coho Salmon”

Youth-Only Sport Fishery Opens on Fish Creek Saturday and Sunday


ADF&G is opening the Fish Creek Youth-Only Fishery on Saturday and Sunday, August 5 – 6, 2017, from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day. The Youth-Only Fishery allows anglers 15 years and younger to fish for all species, except king salmon, in waters between the ADF&G markers at the mouth of Fish Creek and ADF&G markers 1⁄4-mile upstream of Knik-Goose Bay Road. Come to Fish Creek expecting to have lots of fun and getting very muddy.

Continue reading “Youth-Only Sport Fishery Opens on Fish Creek Saturday and Sunday”

Trip Report: Willow Creek (July 23, 2017)

Willow Creek rainbow trout taken on a streamer. Photo: Ben Rowell

As I wrote in the last trip report, Willow Creek was very low. At 300cfs, the discharge was about 200cfs below normal. These low water conditions make for a slow float but it was the perfect opportunity to take my 4-year old son down the creek in a raft for the first time. Joining us was Ryan and his 8-year old chocolate lab, Turk.  Continue reading “Trip Report: Willow Creek (July 23, 2017)”

Fish Creek Personal Use Dipnet Fishery to Open Wednesday

adfg-logoThe Fish Creek Personal Use Dipnet Fishery will open at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, 2017, and close at 11:00 p.m. Monday, July 31, 2017. Dipnetting for salmon will be allowed only between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. each day.  Continue reading “Fish Creek Personal Use Dipnet Fishery to Open Wednesday”