Outdoors with John Perkovich

Posted: Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Mike Kunz once told me that you could start a new adventure in Alaska every day and never live long enough to do everything that there is to do here. And you know, he was right! The variety of things to do right here on the Kenai Peninsula is enough to provide you with years and years of enjoyment. Besides the fantastic fishing opportunities here we also have camping, clam digging, gold panning, bird watching, whale watching, big game animals of all kinds and a great place to grow a nice garden. We also have an abundance of athletic events to watch here as well as an occasional rodeo.

If you have not watched our Alaska youth play baseball I urge you to do so as I can guarantee you that even us old guys can get pretty excited about seeing one of these youngsters hit that towering home run! I saw three home runs hit over the fence in the past three games and two hit inside the park. Trust me it will do your heart good to just sit and enjoy a few baseball games this summer. One thing I never understood about baseball though...it doesn't have any cheerleaders! What is up with that? All other sports have cheerleaders except baseball! Even boxing has the pretty gal that ...... never mind my wife is giving me that look!

If you like to work in the woods or burn firewood, there are plenty of places for you to find dead trees to cut. In my opinion the spruce bark beetle was a very good thing for God to send to the Kenai Peninsula as well as the rest of Alaska. You see, we humans were put on this earth to manage all the resources here. From time to time we neglect or mismanage certain resources and in other areas we over harvest them. Much of our forests nationwide have not been properly managed for years and in some areas we are left with large mature forests that do little to provide food for animals.

So then along comes the bark beetle which kills the spruce trees and forces us to start harvesting the trees to help cut down on the fire risk as well as to help stimulate new growth. These birch, willow and other forms of under brush provide both food and shelter for our birds and animals. In something like every sixty years the beetle returns to once again force us into harvesting our forests. I think it is a pretty neat plan, and one that gives us constant regrowth even if we choose not to manage our forest.

This past week I was once again clearing some land to build a bigger horse pen so we could move in another horse. Hopefully this horse will also help me haul in some of my hunting equipment from time to time as well as provide entertainment for my children. I was able to cut enough fence post out of the dead trees available here on my property to complete the job. If Mr. Bark Beetle had not killed them I too would not have cut them.

I have often times heard you can walk right up to a moose while on horse back, well maybe I will know first hand this fall whether or not that is true. The thought of this non-cowboy on a horse in itself is a scary thought. I have attempted to ride several horses when I was younger and must admit I got an "F" in horsemanship! I wonder if you really can teach an old dog new tricks?

This past week I found myself fishing for perhaps the first time ever all by myself. Yes, sometimes when your dad tells you to clean your room it might be wise to go do it. If I see other dads out fishing by themselves' maybe I can start the conversation something like this; "So your kids are home cleaning their room too huh?" Well I'm sure glad my parents never used that method of forcing me to clean my room. I would have rather gone down town and got beat up than miss out on a fishing trip!

Anyway I found the kokanee hungry and after rigging up three poles I remembered that I was alone. I dropped the first pole to the bottom with a piece of jumbo shrimp on it and started drifting. I did not go twenty feet when I had my first kokanee in the boat. I grabbed the second pole also baited with shrimp and instantly caught another kokanee. My third pole was rigged with an orange jig and a small piece of cured salmon eggs. Again the same results as the kokanee were really biting. In less then 30 minutes I had my limit of ten fish on ice and since there were no other children or adults to help bait poles or unhook fish I simply went home. A couple hours of loading gear and driving for less then 30 minutes of fishing. I sure hope the kids have the rooms all cleaned next time.. .See you next week!

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