Thursday, November 27, 2014

Help with your holiday shopping!

It's that time of year that we are looking for a great gift idea for friends and family.  If you know someone who enjoys cooking or someone who enjoys eating without having to work too hard at preparing their meal, our cookbook and spices might be your answer for holiday shopping.

Our cookbook has some easy and tasty recipes and our spices make creating these menu items easy!  Just follow the recipe and add our spices and you have dinner!!!

You can take this gift giving idea one step further and add a package of your halibut or salmon caught at our lodge, or just purchase some fish, put it all in a gift bag and you have an awesome, thoughtful gift.

Here are the products and links to make your purchase. 

Happy Holidays!

Your Menu Cookbook $5.00

House Seasoning 4 oz $7.00

Hot & Spicy Seasoning 4oz $7.00

Pine Nut Topping 4 oz $5.00

Almond Topping 4 oz $5.00

Beer Batter Mix 4 oz $3.00

Thank you!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We had an awesome season of King Salmon fishing. They have finally returned to Southeast Alaska!  Here is my favorite video of one being landed in our boat.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

We had a great 2014 season, both fishing and lodging!  Our guests were again, so kind, gracious and fun!  We had a lot of laughs, which really helped, because we also had a lot of rain.  But that did not stop us from having fun, catching fish and enjoying the company of our guests.

I am sharing a quick video of our company "ninja" who does an awesome job at everything she does!!

And another short video of how our Crystal Bay DJ, Captain Tyler, catches some of the big ones!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Looking forward to the 2014 season!

We are getting ready for our season, and very anxious to get started!  All the fishing reports that have been coming in look very promising for the King Salmon run and the Silver Salmon run, which means the halibut fishing will be awesome, since they follow that run straight into the protected waters of Frederick Sound or Sumner Straight.  

The emergency order for the King Salmon is:

  • The nonresident bag and possession limit during May and June is two king salmon 28 inches or greater in length.
  • The nonresident annual limit is six king salmon 28 inches or greater in length

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game have released the following report for the upcoming salmon season(s):  Southeast Management, Sport Fish Report, Petersburg

As always, we are so grateful for our loyal friends that return every year and are looking forward to meeting our new guests.  If the weather is like last year, we will have to purchase more sunscreen too!!

Here are some happy guests from last season.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Recently, our friends from the west coast came down to Alabama to visit us.  While they were here my husband's friend shared with me a story he had written about my husband, years ago, when they first met. 

Sharing the love of hunting is not very unique, but creating a strong and long lasting friendship through the passion of elk hunting is memorable.  

I asked if I could share his story and he, thankfully, told me yes.  So here it is - a friendship founded on the passion of the elk hunt.

The Team

The bull elk’s challenge carried over the fog-shrouded valley, interrupting the stillness of the morning.  I couldn’t help but smile.  A month earlier I searched these mountains during the Oregon bow elk season and nothing.  No fresh sign, no bugles, no elk and now during the rifle season for deer, this happens.  Just my luck lately.  There was a time, not so long ago, when luck ran more in my favor.  Now, on this mountain, the sights, smells and sounds coax my mind back to another place and time.

It was the spring of 1990 and I had just accepted a job at a small mill in north central Idaho.  Our new home was not really new, just new to us.  I seem to recall my wife saying, “Since we are going to be living in the middle of nowhere, I want a home suited to my tastes.”  Unlikely as it may seem; the remodeling began a string of events that lead to wonderful friendships and great hunting.

I was stripping several layers of wallpaper from a bedroom wall late one night.  I noticed a neighbor and his friend were heading to work the graveyard shift at the mill.  They had seen me working every night for quite some time.  “You’re making us look bad you know,” one of them shouted from his truck through an open window.  “How am I doing that?” I asked.  “If our wives see how much work you are doing to that house of yours, they’ll never let us go hunting this year.”  We all laughed.  “How about tearing yourself away for a day and go hunting with us Saturday morning?” they invited.  “I don’t bow hunt,” I replied.  “That’s ok, we’ll show you some great elk country for the rifle season.  You do hunt, don’t you?”  The significance of the question was not lost on me.  Hunting in that part of the country was an integral part of life.  Providing meat for the family was as important as sharing the heritage and passing on to the children.  “Sure I hunt.  What time Saturday?”  I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.

Don’t be late.  Don’t use anything scented.  Wear your camouflage.  Eat a good breakfast.  Carry water with you.  I began to get the idea that they took hunting pretty seriously.  Saturday morning arrived and I was a little nervous.  I thought about what people said when I told them who I was going with.  I was crazy to go hunting with those guys.  They are hunting fools.  They don’t give up for anything.  Sounded like my kind of hunting.  How bad could it be anyway?  Ok, maybe a few doubts crept in.  What would they say if I held them up, made too much noise or didn’t know enough about elk hunting in general?  Enough of that kind of thinking.  I went over their list of commands one last time and made up my mind that no matter where they went or what they did, I would do what they did and keep up even if it killed me.

They showed up right on time but they had a small aluminum boat on a trailer hitched to the back of their pickup.  “I thought we were going hunting, not fishing,” I chided.  There was a sly grin on Nick’s face when he said “We’re going to hell and need a boat to get there.  Now shut up and get in.”

I quickly learned that these two guys couldn’t be within shouting distance of one another without talking about hunting.  Tactics, habitat, the next season or reliving seasons past were all likely topics.  The ride to the river took over an hour but it flashed by all too quickly.  The stories were flying fast and furious.  Places I had never heard of came to life in their stories.  Their story telling is one of the things I miss the most.  It was still mercifully dark when we arrived.  “Let’s get the boat in the river.  I want to get up to the first bench before it gets light,” Nick said.  “You are always in too big of a hurry.  We’ll run into a herd in the dark and spook the whole drainage,” replied Mike.  After a little negotiating it was decided to get to the other side of the river in the dark but wait to start walking until first light.  Never having seen this stretch of river, hearing rapids and the reputation of these characters had me a little concerned.

We carried the boat across a small rocky beach.  The flashlight beams were insignificant in the black of the moonless night.   They did serve their purpose, as we were able to get the boat and our gear to the river without incident.  My companions had changed and I had been so busy trying to pull my share of the load, I hadn’t noticed.  The two talkative storytellers had not spoken a word since they agreed on the plan.  I couldn’t see their faces in the dark but I could sense a seriousness about them.  There was no need to talk; each knew what needed to be done and what the other would do.  There was no wasted motion.  They were a well-practiced team.  I wondered if I could be part of this team someday.

Without a word, we climbed into the boat and shoved off.  The rapids sounded close but the sound echoed in such a way that I couldn’t tell if they were above us, below us or both.  “Those guys are crazy.”  “They would do anything for a chance at an elk.”  I remembered some of the remarks made about these two.  I started to question my sanity for getting into this situation in the first place.  I really wanted to ask how big is this river, how far away are the rapids and several other pertinent questions.  Then I remembered what I told myself earlier “no matter where they went or what they did, I would do what they did and keep up even if it killed me.”  I started to wonder about that last part just a little.  Just then, we slid onto a sandy beach.  We were on the other bank already.  I took this as a good sign.  A sliver of pink light was beginning to show over the horizon.  That was a bad sign.  Not that the promise of the sun showing up is a bad thing, but the horizon was almost over our heads.  We were in a very deep, very steep canyon and earlier they were talking about going up.  I could tell this was going to be a long, tough day.  Oh well “no matter where they went or what they did…”

The wait was a short one.  With the boat secured and the just enough light to see into the dense vegetation, we began to climb.  I was glad I wasn’t burdened with a bow.  The terrain was steep.  The pace was not leisurely.  It wasn’t long before sweat was rolling and my lungs were burning.  We stopped for what I thought would be a short breather.  “Don’t get this near your nose, “ Mike whispered.  It was only a second before I understood why.  The elk scent stung my nostrils and he had just opened the plastic bottle.  Nick just flashed a quick grin as the scent was applied to my knees and elbows.  Now I know why these guys moved as fast as they did.  They were trying to stay upwind from themselves!  Both guys dabbed the scent on themselves and the breather was over.

We were working our way up the spine of a finger ridge.  It was steep, but not as bad as it started out.  The camo T-shirt under my light jacket was drenched and these two weren’t showing any signs of slowing down.  It was clear that these guys had earned their reputation.  Without warning, two bulls crashed through blowdowns and underbrush off the left side of the ridge.  We could do nothing but watch the pair quickly disappear.  I stood there in awe.  I had never seen one bull, let alone two of the beautiful animals.  They moved easily through thick brush that I would have trouble crawling through.  “They must be satellite bulls,” Nick whispered.  “There’s got to be a herd around here somewhere,” Mike replied quietly.  My fatigue, gone for a moment, had returned but I noticed that I wasn’t the only one sweaty and tired.  My companions looked a little worse for wear too.  What allowed them to go so hard?  Could I learn what they knew?

We resumed our climb but it was different now.  We moved slowly, deliberately.  Each time one of my footfalls was too heavy or I snapped a twig I cringed.  They never looked back or said a word.  “Be careful and keep it quiet,” I thought to myself.  The hunters froze in their tracks.  I did the same.  What did they see?  Cool morning air was gently sliding down the ridge.  Nothing above us could catch our scent.  Just then, I heard a soft mew, then another and another.  I strained to hear more.  Cows and calves were talking below us down the right side of the ridge.  We dropped over the left side of the ridge to prevent our scent from spooking the herd.  “The cows are down in the draw getting water,” was the first whisper.  “I bet the herd bull is on that little bench just ahead,” Nick replied, just as quietly.  “You take Steve and setup just below the bench on that side of the ridge,” directed Mike, pointing to the right side.  “I’ll stay below you guys and cow call,” he continued.  “Ok, give us a couple of minutes to get setup before you start calling,” Nick added.  I reminded myself to do what they did.  Nick started up the hill and I followed.  His head was up scanning for elk.  I focused my attention on the path my feet were following.  Step softly, watch for twigs and dry leaves.  I was determined not to break the silence.  We paused.  If the elk was where he was supposed to be, he was less than 40 yards away.  Tension mixed with excitement swirled through me.  We setup about 20 yards below the crest of the ridge and waited.  My companion selected this location quickly but it became obvious that he knew what he was doing.  Ferns and small fir trees concealed us but we had a clear line of sight to the ridge top.  The soft mew startled me.  I realized it had come from our partner.  It sounded so real. The calling became a little louder, more insistent.  He mixed in some twigs snapping and ground pawing as though a lonesome cow was walking the ridge foraging as she went. I began to understand how good these guys really were.  I was convinced that any minute a huge bull would move in to add one more cow to his harem.  We were into our deception for five minutes or so when I heard, “If he was going to show himself, he’d have done it by now.”  And with that, we started back toward our companion.  We took about three steps when the magnificent six point bull stepped into view exactly where he was supposed to.  We froze in our tracks but it was no use.  We were totally exposed and the bull spotted us immediately.  Who was more surprised the elk or us?  He didn’t wait around to ponder the question.  To this day, I can still see the explosion of motion.  The bull whirled.  His hooves tore at the ground.  His antlers laid back against his body.  In an instant he was gone.  All that remained was the sound of the bull crashing through the trees.  His massive headgear clacking on unseen branches.  And then, silence. Well, I guess even these guys aren’t perfect.  Only I could hear the pounding of my heart and feel the shaking of my knees.  At that moment I became addicted to elk.

“I knew you couldn’t sit still long enough, “ our cow calling partner chided.  “Well that calling should have had him barreling down the hill,” Nick replied, flashing a sheepish grin.  “Someday you’ll learn some patience.  When you grow up,” Mike said, displaying a smile of his own.  “We might as well head back now that you have spooked everything on this side of the mountain,” he continued.  Just as we started back down toward the river, the creek draw below us came alive.  “He’s snuck back over the ridge and he’s getting his cows out of the country,” said one of my companions.  They looked at each other and in unison said, “Lets go!”  The ensuing chase was a blur.  We dodged branches and attempted to keep major body parts off the ground as we raced down a steep ridge face.  What were they up to?  I knew they wouldn’t try a shot.  They had too much respect for the elk for that. We stopped at the top of a large clearing.  Below us, a string of twenty elk were just starting back into the timber.  We watched until the last elk disappeared into the trees.  They turned to me, smiled and said, “That was a kick in the pants!  Let’s head for the truck.”

I had plenty of time to reflect on the day’s events as we made our way back, crossed the river and loaded our gear.  These two guys were not crazy.  They didn’t kill or maim me.  They just happen to love the outdoors and hunting elk.   They had more mental toughness than most.  It was simple, they kept going when they were tired because that’s what it took.  A healthy slap on the back put a quick end to my reflections.  “Metz, you’re alright,” one of my new friends said.  That simple statement brought a smile to my face and made the worry, sweat and exhaustion all worthwhile.  They made me feel like part of the team.

Thank you Mike and Nick. You took a chance on a stranger and allowed me to begin learning who you were and what was important to you.  In time we became good friends.  The kind of friends you would go to the ends of the earth for.  The making of friends is one of hunting’s greatest gifts.

I have relived this and many of our other adventures time and again.  Memories to be forever savored and shared.  But then again, I do remember the agony of packing Nick’s elk quarters up a particularly nasty mountainside.  Our only motivation was the big guy behind us, but that’s another story.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A new video for 2014 is ready for viewing!  We had a spectacular season, weather, whales, fishing, we had it all!  And enjoying it all in a new charter boat and ending the day in a cozy and comfortable lodge - great way to see Alaska!!