Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Skill level of some fish filletters is surreal

Last weekend as I was cruising the Homer Spit’s cleaning tables to see what was flopping on the cutting counters, I came across a surreal… Continue reading

Nick Varney
Sun dapples the mountains near the U.S. Forest Service Trail River Campground on July 22, 2020, near Moose Pass, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

COVID camping is about slowing down and relaxing

Recreating during a pandemic presents some challenges. Is the great outdoors great enough? How do you social distance on a narrow wilderness trail? How toxic… Continue reading

Sun dapples the mountains near the U.S. Forest Service Trail River Campground on July 22, 2020, near Moose Pass, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Refuge Notebook: Fire: The Common Denominator

Refuge Notebook: Fire: The Common Denominator

At first glance, the boreal forest of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and the pine rocklands of Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge have very little, if… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Fire: The Common Denominator
Reece Tousignant, 15, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, poses with a pink salmon he caught on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon in Homer, Alsaka. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Reeling ‘Em In: Nick offers tips for catching those cohos

I’m still receiving complaints that the smug silvers are continuing to drive some of you nuts at the Fishing Hole. Remember, they are fish and… Continue reading

Reece Tousignant, 15, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, poses with a pink salmon he caught on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon in Homer, Alsaka. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Refuge Notebook: Migrations of the Kenai Lowland caribou

Refuge Notebook: Migrations of the Kenai Lowland caribou

Being a seasonal biology technician has its perks. Every summer is a new adventure full of incredible fieldwork, new friends and amazing locations. Much like… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Migrations of the Kenai Lowland caribou
The author is seen here in July pleasantly enjoying a mountaintop in Denali National Park, with no training in mind. (Photo courtesy of Gillian Braver)

Tangled Up in Blue: Pandemic Priorities

I had a lot of goals at the start of this year. I was well on my way to not using a single, single-use coffee… Continue reading

The author is seen here in July pleasantly enjoying a mountaintop in Denali National Park, with no training in mind. (Photo courtesy of Gillian Braver)
Fishermen try to catch silver and pink salmon on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, at the mouth of Resurrection Creek in Hope, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Reeling ‘Em In: Silvers are still not strong in Fishing Hole

While Turk and I were watching the water evaporate at The Fishing Hole early last week, a guy let fly with a rig composed of… Continue reading

Fishermen try to catch silver and pink salmon on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, at the mouth of Resurrection Creek in Hope, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Refuge Notebook: What happened when the ocean warmed

Refuge Notebook: What happened when the ocean warmed

The 2014 to 2016 marine heatwave, or “the blob,” in the Gulf of Alaska was connected to one of the largest known seabird die-offs globally.… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: What happened when the ocean warmed
Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Silvers not coming easily in lagoon

I have found myself challenged by a perplexing conundrum brought to my attention by some exceptionally annoyed piscatorians haunting the fishing lagoon in search of… Continue reading

Nick Varney
Turnagain Arm, as seen from Mount Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Tangled Up in Blue: Short and sweet

I went on a little vacation. It was nothing too involved, and how could it have been? While we traverse the unknown world of a… Continue reading

Turnagain Arm, as seen from Mount Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
It pays to Firewise. This structure survived the 2007 Caribou Hills Fire. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Are you Firewise?

As a young Idaho firefighter, enthusiasm and an eagerness to get dropped off on a remote mountain hillside to “slay the dragon” came in no… Continue reading

It pays to Firewise. This structure survived the 2007 Caribou Hills Fire. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Out of the Office: There and back again

Out of the Office: There and back again

In a recent display of tenacity, mediocre coordination skills and a deep love for the outdoors, some friends and I strapped on our packs for… Continue reading

Out of the Office: There and back again
Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Dolly Varden fishing opening up; silvers sneaking in

The staff at the Reeling ‘Em In headquarters has been diligently sifting through a myriad of cyber correspondence from fisherpersonage bemoaning the fact that they… Continue reading

Nick Varney
Refuge Notebook: Battered sallow moth caterpillars come and go

Refuge Notebook: Battered sallow moth caterpillars come and go

In early June, I received multiple accounts of abundant black caterpillars stripping trees and shrubs of foliage around the Marsh Lake Trail off of Skilak… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Battered sallow moth caterpillars come and go
Along the shores of Resurrection Bay is a good place to read a good book. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Dog-eared

I never used bookmarks when I was growing up. I devoured books, both with my avid reading and my pervasive habit of marking all the… Continue reading

Along the shores of Resurrection Bay is a good place to read a good book. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)
Reeling ‘Em In: Kings still around at fishing hole while silvers not yet here

Reeling ‘Em In: Kings still around at fishing hole while silvers not yet here

The weather was phenomenal over the Fourth of July weekend. Visitors, as well as locals, seemed to enjoy barbecuing themselves along with the goodies they… Continue reading

Reeling ‘Em In: Kings still around at fishing hole while silvers not yet here
Refuge Notebook: This land is your land, this land is my land

Refuge Notebook: This land is your land, this land is my land

Bucket list! Once-in-a-lifetime! Saved up for years! Not enough time to see it all! Dream destination! I hear these exclamations at the refuge’s visitor center… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: This land is your land, this land is my land
An adult, female bald eagle was rescued from a tree Saturday in Juneau. The eagle was taken to Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka. (Courtesy Photo | Kerry Howard)

Juneau bald eagle rescued on Fourth of July

Injured but conscious, the raptor will get treatment in Sitka.

An adult, female bald eagle was rescued from a tree Saturday in Juneau. The eagle was taken to Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka. (Courtesy Photo | Kerry Howard)
The view from Slaughter Gulch trail in Cooper Landing, Alaska, on June 20, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Life on the Edge

Are you a planner? An organizer? A list-maker? I’m not. I love not knowing what tomorrow will bring, and when it comes to taking a… Continue reading

The view from Slaughter Gulch trail in Cooper Landing, Alaska, on June 20, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Anglers practice social distancing on the upper Kenai River in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in late June 2020. (Photo provided by Nick Longobardi/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Anglers practice social distancing on the upper Kenai River in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in late June 2020. (Photo provided by Nick Longobardi/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)