Weekly Updates

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY

End of season routines

Oct 18, 2021

We are settling in to our end of year routines.  Our major fall buying show for boat supplies went online again this year.  It makes us review our parts in a little more detail as we cannot touch and feel the products.  We have also started tying our custom tackle.  The fingers have to be broken each fall and we can hardly wait to catch some more big fish.  The lead pouring saga continued this week.  We now have all of the bulk lead poured into ingots of useable size.  The weather turned wet and rainy at the end of the week so we did not complete pouring all of the sinkers.  We ended up using a propane outdoor stove and a stockpot to melt the largest chunks into useable pieces.  It looks like next week will be difficult to pour because of the weather. Mark will shift to projects and ordering during the inclement weather.  

It is the beginning and end of another quarter.  Lisa has been busy closing out the financials and paying the final bills from last season.  

Lynda is now reporting strong bookings for 2023 and 2024.  The space available next year, 2022, is very tight already.  The trend of guests who are making standing reservations for future years is also increasing.  We are grateful for our friends who choose to spend a summer vacation with us every or every other year.   

Casting weights from the local metal recycler

Sept 20, 2021
This week started by getting the fish weight making supplies ready.  We get our metal for the weights from the local metal recycler. We have about 2000 pounds to cast this year. This year we will cast weights ranging from 10-ounce cannon balls to 8-pound downrigger balls. We are also making some jig heads. We can attest that the melted metal is hot and the hooks are sharp! Mark wins the prize for the most burns but Lynda has the largest one. Lisa is too chicken to get very close so she boxes the cooled weights. It will take us several days of dry, cool weather to finish as it is heavy, hot work.
 
One interesting challenge is the size of the raw material.   Our melting pots have a 4″ opening but some of the chunks of metal are 6-7″. We are expanding our equipment to accommodate these larger chunks. It involves a camp chef stove and an aluminum pot “donated” by Mom.
 
When we need a break from casting weights, we return to our desks where Lisa has been busy working on end of season financials, Lynda is busy as usual on the phones, and Mark has started the ordering processes.  Reservations for future seasons remain very strong. We look forward to seeing so many of you in the coming years.

Sept 5, 2021

What an amazing end to the season.  Guests caught big silvers and the halibut came in all sizes.   On Friday, the storm front moved hundreds of pinks into the stream. The forecast had been for a big storm on Friday but it didn’t have as much impact as feared. The storm front caused some bigger tides.

Guests saw plenty of bears and wildlife.  We even had a black bear wander through the facility. It was a nice promise of what future years hold in store for us at Doc’s.  We hope you all have a pleasant fall and winter and we will see you again “reel” soon next summer.   ~Doc’s Crew

Seagull

Aug 29, 2021

In like a lamb and out like a lamb, with a lion in the middle.  The first three days of the week were sunny but calm.  Thursday was stormy and Friday had rain and calm waters.   Monday and Tuesday, our guests enjoy big silvers and plenty of them.  Wednesday was slower as the salmon moved deeper before the storm on Thursday. On Friday fishing started to pick up again.  Halibut came in all sizes this week. Because the salmon fishing was so good, the halibut catch was a little lower.  The guests left happy this week as the catamaran was piled high with fish boxes.

 
Every week there seems to be something exciting that is share worthy. This week one of our guests had their salmon lines shallow and a seagull picked up the bait.  After flying the seagull and flasher for a few minutes, they were able to land the seagull, unhook the it and set it free.  Hopefully the seagull will lay off plastic squids for awhile.
 
Another week of memories and fish.  See you all next time at Doc’s

Silver Salmon

August 22, 2021

Runs can be tracked by paying attention to the ratio of females to males in the salmon catch. As the peak of the run approaches, the females make up 80% of the catch. During and just after the peak we see the very large males. All signs indicate the silver run is not over yet. We expect the run will peak within the next two weeks. This week, as a guest was setting the hook on a salmon, they lost their grip and the pole went overboard.  About five minutes later they caught another fish … well they thought they did …  and pulled up the pole.  The fish was still on the hook.  Later that evening they asked if they could buy the lucky pole and mount it with his fish at home. 

 On Wednesday a guest caught an octopus.  It was a big one and filled the entire net, overflowing into the boat.  When an octopus gets mad, it turns red and this one was not happy.  After some consultation, they decided to return it back to the water and keep the good story and pictures. 

Fishing was moderate during the first part of the week.  The salmon are having an incredible year with lots of large silvers.   By the end of the week, the catch was predominantly silvers, many that were nice fat ones.  Thursday and Friday saw heavier catches in spite of rough water.   

See you next time at our little bit of heaven we call Doc’s. 

Pink Salmon

August 22, 2021
This was a busy week. The salmon have returned to spawn in our stream which signals the tapering of the pink salmon run. The silvers are continuing to run strong and the commercial trawlers have joined in the harvest.
 
The halibut surprised us a little as we had a few fish over 100 pounds. Generally, the halibut have been smaller for a few weeks, so this was a nice surprise. We have learned that halibut spawn several times throughout the year so maybe the females have returned from another round of spawning.
 
As you know, communications from the fishing grounds can be a little tricky sometimes. Certain places don’t have any cell service and others only have intermittent service, suitable for texting but not a phone call. This week a group of guests had brought their Garmin In-Reach device. They used it to contact us by text when their cell phones were out of range. 
 
Incidentally, AT&T is still the most reliable service in our area but only for 4G. There aren’t any 5G towers near us. If your phone is 5G only, it won’t work at all here.
 
Lynda reports strong bookings in 2022 and 2023.  Much of 2022 is sold out already. We are anxiously waiting for the next few weeks of guests as they come to that special place we call Doc’s.

Wettest week ever

August 15, 2021
 
Last week was probably the wettest week we have had, maybe ever.  Every day the guests suited up and braved the water and wind to bring back their catch of salmon and halibut. The weather report called it an atmospheric river.  Friday, the stream muddied and we went on water rationing.  As we leave this Saturday, it looks like we will have water again before next week.
 
On Friday one boat used a unique method to catch only Silvers.  In order to catch Silvers and not Pinks, they kept swapping lures until they found one that the pinks would not bite.  Of course, the big question is – what lure did they use? Like any good fisherman, they kept it a secret!
 
The halibut continue to be steady.  We are sorting through mostly small fish to find their big sisters and every so often, one shows up.
 
It is hard to believe that two-thirds of the season is passed.  There are a few more weeks of fish stories to be acquired and memories to be lived.  Thank you for making your visit to Doc’s part of your memories.  

Great Halibut Fishing

August 8, 2021
 
Some weeks things happen that you just can’t make up. A group from Montana hooked into a large halibut. It took some time to get it up and then once they had it secured, they couldn’t get it in the boat. Fortunately, these guests are ranchers so they knew how to hog tie it to the side and bring it back to be processed.
 
One day this week, guests trolled through good sized salmon schools. This provided a lot of excitement for them as the fishing was fast a furious for a bit. When the guests were in the schools, those landing and counting species were quite busy. One boat assigned the dad to determine species and he was complaining about having three fish in the net at a time and two more waiting.  Other boats were taking breaks so they could find time to eat lunch.
 
We are hoping the schools will continue to be found in the usual places and in a few new ones. While heading to Juneau this morning, we see a few salmon jumping so we know there are some left for you.

Calm winds, fair skies, and smooth waters

July 25, 2021
 

Calm winds, fair skies, and smooth waters.  Normally when it clears off we end up with afternoon winds.  This week was perfect weather and no winds.  Many of our guests are returning home with sun and smiles on their faces.

The salmon catch continues to be excellent.  The pink run looks like it has a few more weeks to go.  Silvers are becoming more of the catch and there looks like there will be some big lunkers this year.  We also picked up a few reds and chums.   Halibut was slower this week but that is normal for when the salmon jump, the time spent on halibut fishing decreases.  The mix of halibut was either tiny or huge.  Not much in the mid-range.   
 
The picture with this post is of guests on the back deck of the catamaran with fish boxes loaded and the Fairweather mountains in the background.   
Stunning views and great fishing. Doc’s is always a good time.  Thanks for the memories and new friends.  See you all again “reel” soon.  ~ Doc’s Crew

Mix of everything

July 18, 2021
 
T’was a week of salmon, halibut, and yes, more salmon.  The fillet tables were hopping every evening and there were so many fish boxes on board the catamaran was only able to do 2/3rds it’s normal speed. Ok, just kidding.       The weather this week was a mix of everything. The tides early in the week were moderate and increased as the days progressed.  Most of the fishing grounds were fished every day regardless. We are beginning to master the art of catching rock fish, expanding the possibilities for our guests.
 
This week we had a group of retired sailors with us.  On Wednesday we all wore Hawaiian shirts and on Saturday, as we were leaving Doc’s, we sang Anchors Away with them.  It was a nice, patriotic goodbye and made us all feel a bit nostalgic.
 
Lynda reports that the demand for space next year is extremely high, so don’t delay your plans. We are taking reservations out to 2027 for those of you who like to plan ahead.  Thank you for making Doc’s a part of your lives.  We hope to see you all “reel” soon.   ~ Doc’s Crew

Fish are Jumping

17 July 2021
 
I asked a guest how they would describe this week and they quickly responded, “It was perfect!”.  But then again, a fishing vacation at Doc’s is always a perfect way to get away.   This last week started with winds and ended with calm waters.  As the skies cleared, the Fairweather range was mirrored on its glassy surface.  There were lots of whales putting on shows and other critters sighted.
 
We had several people join our 100# club this last week.  The halibut continue to impress.  There are lots of little ones this year as well.   The salmon are in strong numbers.  We saw kings, silvers, chums, and the plentiful pinks come across the dock.  As we cruise Homeshore on our way back to Juneau, everywhere one looks there are fish jumping.
 
Thank you all for a great week at Doc’s.  We look forward to seeing you “reel” soon at that special place we call Doc’s.
 

Salmon and otters

9 July 2021

What a nice week it was this last week at Doc’s.  We had several new members inducted into our 100# club.  The big halibut are off to a great start and it looks like we will be adding many more new inductees as the season progresses.   Salmon fishing has remained the same.  We continue to see some nice silvers mixed in with the other species.  There was plenty of reels singing as line was being stripped off.  

The weather continues to be dry.  After our wet spring, we are grateful to dry out a little.  If it stays dry though, we will need to start watering the garden.  Wildlife continue to put on a show.  Large rafts of sea otters have been spotted in Icy Passage daily.  Whales are in large abundance as usual.  George, our bull sea lion, has not been seen this year.  His replacement is still being named but is a regular already every evening.  Wherever your summer plans take you, we hope you keep your lines tight and sails trimmed.  Fish on!

Windy week

2 July 2021

The story of the week was wind!  After a short-lived smooth start, the wind and waves were busy this last week.  Despite having a bumpier ride, guests roamed the entire fishing grounds all week.  As we leave the dock this morning, the waters have returned to their normal calm self and many are planning their next foray at Doc’s.   The salmon catch continues to exceed expectations. They are in early and in good quantities. We even had a few nice kings to add to the mix this last week.  It appears that the actual returns are going to be stronger than the preseason forecasts.

Halibut this week were medium to small in size.  There were plenty that were nice and thick.  The catch was spread out. Thank you all for another fantastic week at Doc’s.  See you all again “reel” soon. 

Season Underway

25 June 2021

The 2021 season is finally underway! This week we had a real mix of weather and fish.  Overall the group did well and they are planning their return to Doc’s.   The salmon are already in decent numbers. Guests caught pinks, chums, silvers, and reds this week.  Some of them were exceptionally large for this time of year. We only saw a few kings. 

The halibut are looking strong again.  We had several fish over 100 pounds and many smaller ones. In some areas there were a lot of juvenile fish.  It looks like the future halibut will continue to be great. We had a variety of weather this week.  The week began with sunny days but then a storm came through late Wednesday and Thursday.  The storm kept people close to home.  Friday the fleet spread itself back over the entire fishing ground.  It didn’t seem to matter though, the catch yielded many nice fish on all days.  Ready, set, fish on!  See you “reel” soon at Doc’s. 

Launching boats

18 June 2021

We are so excited!  This is the last weekly report before the season begins.  The crew is wrapping up preparations at the lodge for this coming week’s guest arrivals and things are looking great.  The last few days of this week we have been launching boats and the dock has gotten its final adjustments. 

Early this last week, we put a crew on tearing down the old drying room.  One of the surprises was a large 8-inch-thick reinforced concrete slab underneath part of the building.  This required some unexpected changes to the approach and grading as removal became less desirable.  The crew has put in some logs as a retaining wall and will be pouring a staircase to complete the project.  It has been a pleasant surprise in the end.

Also, this week the new drying room was getting its electrical done and final clean up.  The staff have been busy getting the new raingear racks modified. The plants have been growing well in the cool weather. Landscaping efforts were also part of the week’s activities.  It is hard to list only a few of the many things that have occupied our preparations for the season. 

Now that we are at the end of preseason, looking back it has been a wild ride.  We logged several trees, built a new metal building, installed new generators, completely had the electrical distribution system redone, performed deep, deep maintenance on the fleet, installed a new sewer system, refinished the interior of Adolphus, upgraded the lighting in the dining room, replaced numerous worn-out parts, and removed a building.  Whew!  I think we need the season to begin to so we can have a break from all the work!

Lynda has been very busy this last week with bookings.  As plans changed for guests, she has been back filling space but a majority of the calls are now for next year’s season.  She reports that several weeks are completely full and we are already above 50% capacity for 2022.  We are grateful for the loyalty of so many of our guests and for how large the Doc Warner’s family has grown.  Thank you for creating memories with us.

Pre-Season is over … Ready … Set … FISH ON!

One More Week ...

11 June 2021

The remainder of our dock staff arrived this week and the rest of the kitchen staff will soon follow.  Our crew has been busy working on boats and are almost finished.  This work has been characterized as a “Deep Dive” and “Overhaul” of the boats.  All this extra work should pay dividends with less downtime during the season.

The crew has also been putting rods and reels together. One of the supply challenges we have had this year is getting new rods.  We bought out our supplier and now are spending time replacing eyes and repairing our “experienced” stock.  Not to worry, we will have plenty available when you get here.

In the evening staff have been fishing off the dock.  We have caught salmon, rock fish, small halibut, and starfish so far.  It looks like there will be plenty to catch this summer.

The housekeeping crews have almost finished putting the buildings back together that were refinished this spring.  The cabins are getting their finishing touches as well.  All things point to being ready for our guests’ pending arrivals.

Lynda has begun sending out the pre-travel emails (30 days before) now as well.  The relaxing of COVID travel requirements has made it easy to get through the airport.  We have also been able to finalize our arrival locations and procedures.

Lisa arrived at the lodge on Wednesday this last week.  She has begun getting the store stocked and cleaned.  It is nice to see all of the parts and pieces to this massive puzzle begin to come together.

Only one more week and then the fun begins!  ~The Doc Warner’s Crew

Staff arrived at the Lodge

4 June 2021

More staff have arrived at the lodge!  The new crew got right to work cleaning up after some of our projects.  Adolphus is almost ready for guests and has received its new coat of polyurethane on the walls.       The electricians from Powerhouse Electric came and redid our electrical distribution panel.  They had their work cut out as they moved many lines into the new generator room and had to move all of the panels while keeping some power flowing.  We fired up one of the new generators on Friday and it has been doing an excellent job.  We were concerned about the new generators’ ability to heat an area that is five times the size of our old drying room and also 2.5 times taller.  We were pleased that the new generator heats up the space nicely.

On Friday, we moved most of our freight down from the cannery.  We had to order twice the number of fish boxes than normal because of the lack of regular barges to the cannery this year.  The picture shows all of our empty boat racks full of styros.  We will move the rest of the food freight on Monday.

Our staff have caught salmon and Dolly Varden.

Lynda reports that the phones have picked up after Memorial Day.  Guests are starting to think about their next summer and are getting some plans together.  We are already about 50% full for next year and some are booking further out.  If you come to Doc’s regularly, consider having a standing reservation for every year, every other year, or every third year if that is your cycle.  Remember, we have a 100% refund policy and there is no risk should something change in your ability to come.

See some of you “reel” soon,

Boats ready for the season to start

28 May 2021

Time is moving quickly and things are shaping up at the lodge.  Only three more weeks to go and the season begins.  We are now focused on getting boats ready for the season by taking time to go through every electrical connection and do fine detail work on the boats.  We expect to have them in top shape when our guests arrive. 

The beach will look a little different this year.  As part of our infrastructure projects, the beach was dug up to put in new utility lines.  We have replanted the area and the beach grass is starting to make a comeback.  We also installed a sea wall that will serve as sitting areas, a place to work on boats, and makes it so the beach is more level and usable.  The picture shows part of the fleet getting worked on while resting on the wall.

This week was busy for the Utah office.  Freight day began early Monday at the storage unit where everything was palletized and loaded onto a semi for delivery to the barge in Seattle. Meeting the barge in Seattle were other items such as 5 new engines, bait, fish boxes and some new anchor parts for the boats.

Bookings continue to remain exceptional.  Lynda reports few cancellations for this season and a few additions to groups that are filling out.  We are honored that so many of you will spend some time with us this summer.  The 2022 season is 50% full now.  We know it is hard for many to plan out so far, but those that can, are rewarded with their desired fishing week. Remember, our cancellation policy allows you to cancel at any time with a full refund.See you “reel” soon,

Doc’s Crew

Beach Grass replanting
Doc & Lisa labeling all the pallet. 
Zack shrink wrapping a pallet
Locked and loaded and ready for shipment. 
Lining up all the pallets with the forklift

Four Weeks Until Guests Arrive

21 May 2021

Four weeks until guests!  The crew has been very busy putting things back together at the lodge.  The last of the concrete has been poured and the punch lists are being generated to get the final things done.  We expect to get a majority of the outside projects wrapped up this coming week and part of the crew will then shift to working on the fleet.  Our Utah freight day is this Monday.  Lynda and Lisa have been very busy making sure all the last-minute parts and pieces are ready for the truck.  Getting supplies this year has been more difficult than normal will all of the shipping disruptions and shortages.  Also, the cannery is not opening this year so we are limited to one barge for all of our supplies for the season.  It is going to make for an interesting freight year.  Lynda reports that the bookings have been very furious and fast.  We already have 5 weeks completely full for 2022 and two other weeks that are getting close.  Likewise, she continues to fill holes in this year’s schedule.

Last Wednesday Kristina and Mark went to Juneau to pick up supplies and a few crew members.   Covid restrictions are loosening as they were able to enter some stores without wearing a mask.  We will continue to monitor the travel requirements as we prepare for your arrival this summer.

Completed Garden

14 May 2021

Last week at the lodge was very productive in preparations.  The garden was completed and looks great.  The kale from last year is still growing and the rhubarb is already big enough to harvest a little.  It is still rather cool here so we are not sure when we will start seeing the seeds germinate but we hope to have a good supply of fresh salad greens again this summer.

Early in the week the crew also finished dropping the larger trees that were threatening some of the buildings. 

After that project, they moved into the new powerhouse and began construction of the generator room and loft.  In the pictures you can see the new generators in place and the wall going up. We still haven’t solved how to hang all of the raingear in the drying room side of the building.  All we have been able to do is rule out some not-so-good solutions.

The office spent time in the storage unit getting things palletized for the upcoming barge day.  Also, they have been working on redoing some of our dated marketing videos.  Over the years we have accumulated some great videos that need to be shared.  It always amazes us at how many things are going on at once.

Bears!

8 May 2021

We saw our first bears this last week!  Both were nice looking brown bears.  We also saw deer in the stream and there appears to be a lot of small birds this year.  As for fish, the staff have been catching dolly varden regularly after dinner now.

The last of the difficult cement work is now finished at the lodge.  The only thing left is a pad in front of the new drying room.  When that is finished, the crew will have poured 62 yards by hand.  The little cement mixer wobbles a little and it has been a real-life saver this spring.

From the office, Lisa and Lynda have been busy wrapping up last minute projects before the barge shipment leaves at the end of the month. Lynda reports that guest are booking for 2022.  It appears that we are about 50% full for next year already.  She is fielding a lot of questions about the COVID restrictions in Alaska.  It is still too early to see where things will be in June when our season starts, but it appears that we will have very few restrictions by the time guests arrive.  We will continue to send out emails about 30 days before you come to the lodge with updates.

New Water Treatment Project Completed

30 April 2021

April has come to an end and so has the work on the new waste water treatment project at the lodge.  The new system is fully operational.  We are grateful for the staff that helped us realize this project and all of their hard work.

The work in Adolphus continues with rooms being resealed.  The crew has completed the bedrooms and is now working in the common spaces and housekeeping areas.  They have also begun swapping out bed frames and completing other small projects while things are moved.

The crew is also spending spare moments getting the foundation work done on the water room project.  We hope to have the foundation completed in the next week or so.

The kitchen has been busy trying out our new menu using our onsite equipment so they can refine the recipes.  The pre-season staff is appreciative of having more than the simple food we have been eating so far.

On the COVID front, some of the staff received their second shots this last week.  We have also been monitoring the changes that may impact us as things continue to open up.  We will be updating you before you come.  We expect to have a couple more rounds of changes before the season opens up.

In the Utah office we are starting to see more reservations in future years.  Four weeks are full or nearly full in 2022 and people are also booking into 2023 and 2024.  Some are taking advantage of making standing reservations or regular monthly payments for future years.

Work in the office this week also included streamlining some of the check-in processes on Sundays.  We are hopeful that we can get the whole process down to 30 minutes or so since congregating continues to be a challenge. 

Boat Guides and Lodge Buildings

23 April 2021

Another week and more work completed.  The new drying room is finally complete, well the exterior building is done.  The finish work inside and the installation of the generators will take quite a while as other larger projects have taken precedence.  The crew has shifted now to working on the new sewer system, water room extension, and Adolphus refinishing.  We are trying to get all of the bigger things done before our skilled labor leaves. 

Late in the week, Kristina, Aurora and Katherine showed up and the crew is appreciative of having more robust meals.  Kristina is fine tuning the recipes for our cooking equipment and there are no complaints from the crew as she is trying out the new menu on them.

Lynda and Lisa have been busy in Utah getting the boat books updated.  Even mom, Linda, got into the act and helped assemble the new material.  They have also been helping solve some of the logistic needs from the lodge as projects run into snags.  We are appreciative for all of their thoughts and efforts to keep things going preseason at the lodge.

After the spring newsletter went out last week, Lynda reported that the phones have been busy as guests are booking into 2022, 2023, and 2024.  The 2022 season already has several weeks that are full or getting full quickly.  Some of our guests are learning to make standing reservations or to look at several seasons at a time.  We are grateful for your patronage and we hope to keep making things better and better each time you come.

Finally, the weather has turned into spring at the lodge!  We have seen lots of whales, otters, orcas, sea lions, and porpoises.  The return of the wildlife is signaling the return of the fish.  We can hardly wait to get our lines wet and hook into the big one.

More projects at the Lodge

16 April 2021

Another week and progress on projects at the lodge are progressing nicely.  The crew has begun putting panels up on the outside of the new drying room.  It took them a little longer to get to that point because once the building was square, the walls had to be adjusted to be flat.  On top of that, the trim work necessary before the panels went up was quite the process.

We started digging a vault for the sewer system lift stations early in the week.  About halfway through the excavator ruptured one of the main boom hydraulic lines.  Mark made a run to Juneau midweek to pick up pipe and a new line.  The water was flat this time and he made the trip in good time.

This weekend the weather pattern has finally shifted from freezing to manageable.  We are expecting temperatures in the upper 50s and dry weather finally.  The humpbacks, orcas, porpoise, sea lions, otters, eagles, and sea ducks have returned in great numbers and are heralding the beginning of spring.  Things are shaping up nicely, we can hardly wait to get fishing.

New Concrete

2021 April 9

Preparations at the lodge continue.  The foundation pad for the new building was completed this week.  The crew poured 33 yards in a 3-bag mixer.  It took 5 days.  The weather has not been cooperative as it is freezing every night.  To keep the new concrete warm, they created tents with canopies and then repaired the two salamander heaters to blow warm air into the tunnel created by the canopy.  All worked well until they had a gale storm blow in after the last day of pouring.  They had to chase the tents in the wind.   Now that the storm has passed, the foundation will be ready for the putting the building up sometime next week.  While they are waiting, work has shifted to the sewer system and other building maintenance.

Lisa and Lynda report that the bedding quilt project is finally complete after two years.  They have also been busy redoing the boat books and room books with all of the updated orientation material.  They expect to have that project wrapped up in the next few days.

Mark made a quick trip to Juneau to receive his first Covid-19 vaccination shot.  They picked up supplies and a couple more preseason workers to speed the projects along.  The water was rough which meant slow going to get to Juneau and back.

Work began on refinishing the wood in Adolphus.  The newly sealed wood looks gorgeous!

Busy Week

April 2, 2021

Whew, this was a busy week!  Weather continues to be a thing at the lodge.  The daily forecast always includes snow but we have also seen the sun break through, just to tempt us.  The footings are now in place for the new generator room and drying room.  The floor is 50% poured and curing nicely.  We rigged some canopies and tarps to shield the cement and are using a couple of salamanders to blow warm air which has facilitated better curing.  We think the remainder of the cement will be complete early next week.

Mark has also begun some of the repair and maintenance tasks that need to be completed before our guests arrive.

Lisa and Lynda continue to be busy in the office.  All of the new quilts for our guest housing have now been made and are boxed up ready for shipment in May.  Lynda has begun to get a few groups added from our waitlists.

 

 

Building Doc's Dock

2021 March 26

Alaska is experiencing a slow return of spring this year.  The weather patterns are overcast with precipitation that fluctuates from snow to sleet to light rain.  Despite the weather, the work continues at the lodge.  The stream saw some super high flows last fall and subsequently the point was eroded about 50%.  This week some work was done in the stream to help prevent further erosion.  We will be planting recovery flora soon to help with the process. 

The building site for the new powerhouse and drying room was cleared early in the week and the grading was finished on Friday.  Saturday we are expecting to receive our first load of construction supplies and the concrete work will then begin. The progress is moving quickly and we are blessed with a good working crew this spring. 

While part of the crew was waiting on the excavation work, they shifted to pick up work and started assembly of the dock.  The walkway is out as well as about a third of the main float already.  They expect to get the rest of the dock in this weekend.  The crew was also happy that the water system thawed enough to get hot showers about mid-week.  We haven’t seen any fish yet but the sea otters are out and playful.  The only other wildlife seen so far has been a sea lion, eagles, and deer tracks. 

The Exodus Begins

March 19 , 2021

The exodus begins!  Mark and Josh loaded a U-haul and drove construction supplies to Seattle for the barge.  Then they boarded a plane to Juneau.  Weather prohibited our advance work crew from flying out to the lodge on Wednesday as planned, but they made it on Thursday.  Spring has NOT come to the lodge yet.  Mark reports that the snow is 3/4 of the way down the mountains and that it snows just about every day.  This is not deterring work, however.  Trees have been felled and ground clearing has begun in preparation for our new generator building and drying room.  There has also been time for some levity (did you see the facebook/instagram posts?).  The snowman lasted only a few days but brought a smile to all of our faces.  Lisa and Lynda have been working diligently in the office as well.  More halibut reels have been wound, quilts sent to the long-arm quilter and an updated room book has been printed and packaged for shipping. 

Planning Travel

March 12

The phones were busy a couple of days this week as people were reaching out to pay off their balances for this coming season.  Something a little different this year is that we are not seeing as many people drop out during payments.  We believe this is due to the pent-up desires to go out and do something after the pandemic winds down.

We have also been fielding questions from guests on travel.  The airlines’ schedules are requiring some travelers to stay in hotels overnight on the way home.  If you find yourself in this situation, you will need to store your fish overnight in a freezer.  If your flight is after 7AM, there is limited freezer space at Alaska Seaplanes in the airport.  If your flight is before 7AM, you will need to utilize some of the hotels that have freezers such as Travelodge and Best Western. Hopefully this information will help you as you make your plans.

Lisa reports that the final quilt tops for the lodge are now completed.  It was quite the project over the last few years to update those furnishings.  We like the new looks and high quality that our guests will now enjoy.

Mark and Kristina have been very busy finishing up the local purchases for the lodge that have to be shipped from Utah.  One of the new items on the lunch menu will be a toasted hoagie sandwich; the samples were delicious!  In preparation for this, they have acquired a new conveyor toaster.  This new machine will be available for toast and bagels as well.

Crates and Reels

2021 March 5

This week started early with delivery of the crates we use for shipping supplies.  The arrival of the crates made it such that we had to sort the supplies from the storage unit and pack them up so we could get all the crates back into the same space.  We also took the time to separate the early season sewer system parts from the in-season supplies that will be shipped later.  Our first shipment will leave here on the 15th and Mark and some of the staff will fly up on the 16th.

The reels that were sent back for service in the fall returned from the factory this week.  We didn’t get time in the fall to take all the old line off so about mid-week Mark stripped line.  He then filled new braided line back onto the halibut reels.  We are waiting on our supply of monofilament for the salmon reels and it looks like we will need some more halibut line to finish off the project.  Here are some pictures of the reels in process.

Lynda started invoicing again for those that are on the three-payment plan.  Many of our guests have now paid in full for the upcoming season so the list has gotten shorter.  She hopes to have the notices finished up by early this coming week.  As always, there is some movement in the bookings and she is addressing those on the waitlists as best she can.  She also reports that bookings for 2022 have begun to fill some weeks.

On Thursday, we started to address the check-in process on Sundays in Juneau.  This last summer, we had to make some adjustments due to Covid.  This summer, there is a pent-up demand to go on vacation so our old systems need to be improved to accommodate our guests.  We are working on creating a survey that will solicit information from our guests before their arrival.  This means that we can shorten the check-in time and simply have guests show up, grab bag tags, and get on the bus.  We are hoping to apply a similar solution for our Friday night surveys and just do those electronically as well.  These changes will make it simple for you to get on with your vacation when you come to the lodge next.

King salmon limits for the year were released for our area already.  The limit will be one-a-day, greater than 28”, and four per season.  The forecast fishing pressure because of the lack of cruise ships this summer should improve fishing across all of the species.  We are looking forward to another fantastic year.

Finally, the Covid restrictions in Juneau and Alaska are starting to loosen.  We expect that there will be many more changes and easing of restrictions by the time summer rolls around.  We will be sending out pertinent details about 30 days before you are scheduled to be at the lodge.  It looks like things will be much easier than last summer, but again, we will keep tracking it and let you know when it is closer because it will change before you need to worry about it.

Here are the links we are following. Note that since we fly into Juneau, we are required to obey Juneau’s regulations, even if they are more strict than Alaska in general.

Juneau: https://juneau.org/covid-19/covid-19-travel

Alaska: https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/

Working Remotely

February 26, 2021

For a few years, we have been trying to figure out ways we could work remotely better. The long term goal is to make it so Lynda and Lisa can spend more time during the summer at the lodge to help Mark. With the onset of Covid, many possibilities that weren’t available before, have now become everyday concepts. Some of our roles lend themselves to remote working and others haven’t very well. With the snow last week, we had the opportunity to re-examine our office processes and begin making changes so more office tasks could be performed from a remote location. Much of this centers around Lisa’s work but also has been an issue when needing to look up historical information (past orders, part numbers, serial numbers, etc) when all of that info is store on paper in the office. A plan is beginning to form on how to have access to more things electronically so more work can be done from anywhere. Along with being able to work remotely, is having a place to work remotely from. The lodge doesn’t have a place for private offices for Lynda and Lisa so discussions on creating a work space for them have also been taking place. This will enable them to continue their regular work along with helping Mark with his.

One of the struggles that we would like your input on is a safe storage unit site to store food that we purchase in Utah to ship in Alaska. Our current storage unit facility is great but we aren’t allowed to store any food that isn’t in a rodent proof container. This leaves cases of heavy cream, powdered ice cream mix, juice mixes among other items stored in our basements and garages. If anyone has any ideas of where we could store these items for a few months each spring, we’d love to hear about it.

Supplies

February 13, 2021

This last week we completed the preliminary work on the food order for the 2021 season.  We are changing some of the menu and so the work to complete the order required a lot of extra work.  Because we only have one barge this summer, we will not have the ability to do any make up shipments if something is forgotten. 

Some of the items we ship we procure in Utah because of cost and availability.  When the pandemic started last year, it was very hard to get paper products and cleaners.  We are grateful for our guests who are in those industries that stepped up and helped us get the products we needed.  This year, we are finding that it is much easier to gather products. 

Mark will be headed to the lodge in mid-March, and now that their children are out of public school, Kristina will be joining him in April as they work to install the new power house and drying room.  This means that our procurement schedule has shifted several weeks earlier.  In the photos here you can see some of the supplies they have started to gather for this upcoming season.

Lynda continues to work with clients calling in to make reservations for this year and next.  Many of our guests are surprised at how full the lodge will be this summer.  Despite this, we still have movement as people’s plans change and she is working slowly through the wait lists.   We expect that this coming summer we will be operating under COVID restrictions similar to last year.  This will most likely require our guests to test before they travel even if they have received the vaccine.  On the plus side, with the recent closure of the cruise industry stops in Canada, it looks like the cruising industry in Alaska will be shut down again this summer.  This means that there will be fewer people fishing and enjoying their summer vacation in Alaska and will make for a more exclusive feel to those that make the trip.  In addition, the airlines have opened up the midday flights that will make travel to and from much easier.

This last week on Wednesday, we took time to connect without working.  Lisa came up with the idea that we need to spend a couple of hours every so often doing things together.  We decided to go bowling as a group.  We didn’t take pictures of the scores, but we did walk away with some sore joints and muscles.  We had the whole place to ourselves in the middle of the day.

Bus and Catamarans ready

February 19, 2021

Slow week in the office.  Mark has been in Arizona helping family and physically hardening in preparation for getting to the lodge next month.  He also reports that 70 degrees feels pretty good right now!  He and Kristina have also been working on menus and where to order food items from.  It can be a challenge because products that are available in the lower 48 are not always available in Alaska.  We are excited to see how our guests enjoy the new menu.

Snow kept Lisa and Lynda working from home for most of the week.  They continue to work on getting things ready for the summer.  Our bus and catamaran contracts are now in place which means we are ready to move our guests from the airport to the lodge and back again.   We are encouraged that Alaska Airlines has added some flights back into their schedule.  This will make it easier to get there and return home.

Shampoo

February 5, 2021

A varied week of activities.  The new containers for shampoo, condition, and body wash arrived.  Sometime during the season, we will pivot to the large container format.  This should reduce our waste stream and make it so one doesn’t run out of soap in the shower during the week.  Lisa has been busy collecting employee paperwork.  It is amazing the number of forms we have to collect to bring someone on board.  Once she gets their acceptance letters back, she will begin buying airline tickets.  Tracking about 35 people’s worth of documents is difficult but she does a good job of getting us to the right place and the right time.

On Tuesday we met with our board of advisors via Zoom to discuss risk management.  We try to stay ahead of problems and prepare for the future as best as we can.  One thing that is disruptive this year is that it appears we will have very limited barge service to the cannery.  That means we will have to bring in all of our fish boxes and all of our supplies in one shot.  Anything after the first barge, will require us to get creative to get supplies in and out.  We also decided to bring in a couple of spare engines because the supply chain is backlogged.  Logistics are proving to be more fun than normal.   Lynda reports that the airline schedule currently requires that guests stay the night, Saturday, in Juneau, before flying home.  Since our guests will have fish boxes, there are currently three choices for storage: Alaska Seaplanes, Best Western, and Travelodge.  The hotel storage is good for any flights on Sunday.  Alaska Seaplanes is only good for flights after 7am.  Call or email us if you have questions.

Hiring completed

January 30, 2021

Finally, the hiring has been completed for this season.  The next step is the pile of HR paperwork that has to be completed and then arranging for travel.  Mark and Kristina will be handing that task off to Lisa and she will get that done over the course of the next few weeks. One of the challenges we were made aware of this last week is that our barge service to the cannery is going to be very limited this year.  That means we will have to bring in any mid-season supplies early in the season.  We have already compiled a list of things to look at next week.  It will be interesting if we need to store two full containers worth of fish boxes in the boat house.  Well, like we often tell people, we are a logistics company with a fishing habit.

Lynda continues to adjust reservations and complete the process for many of our guests this coming summer.  The phone rings quite consistently some days.  She loves taking care of our guests’ needs and summer plans.  In her few minutes of downtime, she has been hand-painting next year’s Christmas cards.  She is multi-talented for sure.

Lisa has also been super busy working the end of year taxes and bank things.  This time of year, is always full of renewals financially and prepping for the next year.  She also spent some time working on future plans.  The shampoos, conditioners, and soaps arrived this week.  The smaller dispenser bottles for the showers should arrive this weekend.  Once all the other parts and pieces have arrived, we will decide if we assemble here or ship to Alaska and do it there.  Little changes like this keep things improving and nicer at Doc’s every year.

Interviewing 2021 Staff

January 22, 2021

Busy week interviewing.  The staffing lists are filling up and our guests will appreciate all the great staff they will encounter this year.  We are super excited about this coming season.  The next step for Mark and Kristina will be to put the final touches on the food menus; that will occupy another couple of weeks.  We will try and write about some of the new food options as we finalize the items.

Mark did get all of the foundation concrete and steel ordered for the new powerhouse and drying room floor.  He is not looking forward to pouring 30 yards of concrete from 80 pounds bags by hand.  Fortunately, he has some good helpers.

We have been receiving some of our fishing supplies at the office this week.  One of the items that we are adding are rubber nets (easy to untangle hooks from).  Not being able to able to touch and feel at a trade show made ordering difficult but from the picture, you can see that they will be big enough to handle a big sucker fish! The handles are in a separate box. Don’t worry, we will attach them before you arrive.

Lynda has been busy working on reservations.  She has been working on truing up the reservations for this year and she noted that the 2022 season is already starting to fill quickly.  We are thankful that so many of you are planning ahead.  Lynda has also been looking at ways for people to do payment plans rather than get nagging emails from us when payments are due.  Our hope is that we have more conversations about fishing and less about money when our guests call!  Fishing calls are always more 

Filling up 2021

 January 15, 2021

Interviews have occupied most of the week for Mark and Kristina.  We are excited about those that are returning.  It is going to be a particularly difficult decision to select the best candidates for the season.   We think we have enough good applicants to fill the open positions twice over or more.   We expect to have the hiring done by the end of the month.  We are thankful that we have been blessed with so many choices; we have high expectations of a fabulous season.

Lynda continues to help guests get into their preferred weeks.  She sent out the invoicing last week.  We have been having internal discussions about how to move people to automatic payment plans.  We think this will help our guests and not require so much “bugging”.  We love to talk with people but it is always more fun to talk about fishing than money.

Last week Lynda took a call from a guest from last year.  It was memorable because the guest indicated that he had come fishing with us as a once-in-a-lifetime trip with his brother.  They decided that was incorrect.  They had such a good time; they really want to come back again!  We love hearing those types of calls.

Lisa has also had a busy week.  After getting all of the tax work done for the year, she found time to meet with the embroiderer and drop off this year’s new clothing for the trading post.  She has also been working on getting large bottles of soap, shampoo, and conditioner for the showers.  Our plan is to convert to the larger bottles as we finish using up the smaller ones this season.

Back to Office Hours

2021 January 8

We are back in the office after the holidays more often now.  Much of our work is portable so it made it easier to take some time off but still get things done as needed.   Kristina and Mark are working diligently with the hiring processes.  We have several returning staff that have committed to the season and we begin interviewing new candidates next week.  We are making adjustments trying to identify and remove any bottlenecks in our guest experience.

Lisa has wrapped up the end-of-year financial things and has us in top shape for this coming year.  She also helped us attend our tackle buying show remotely.  We don’t think we really like the remote format.  It is hard to handle things with our hands via the internet.  To compensate we have had to talk directly with manufacturers over the phone and try and describe the need and their solutions verbally.  Both the vendors and the buyers are looking forward to in-person shows in 2022.

Lynda is starting the next round of invoicing.  As people’s plans change, the invoicing activity creates some movement in the available space.  She has already been able to reduce some of the wait lists.  She does enjoy it when each of you call in to visit.

Happy New Year!

 January 1 , 2021

Happy New Year!  This last week has been filled with typical end of year activities.  Lisa has been busy wrapping up financial details and preparing for the next year.  She also found that under current travel-to-Alaska protocol, people still need to have a PCR test 72 hours before departure.  There is a couple of changes to how to report the test.  We know that it will change by the time the season kicks in so we are not troubling people with details until we are much closer.  Overall, it should not be near as challenging as last season.

Lynda continues to find space for people at the lodge as guests’ plans change.  We continue to have record bookings for the next season.  The return of so many of you in 2021 has impacted when we bring in staff and supplies.  The adjustments will allow us to train better and to improve our customer experience starting day one of the summer. 

Mark has been chipping away at some of the long-term projects.  He has been making adjustments to the hiring documentation, operational documentation, and a more formalized training plan for seasonal staff.  He and Kristina continue to work on the menu for next summer and trying out new products and items.

December 26, 2020

This week there was not much going on in the office.  Lisa is out spending time with her new family.   Mark made it into the office to go through packages.  The filters for all of the various equipment showed up and needed to be reconciled.  Other than that, he has spent some time working on the interview and hiring processes.  On Wednesday, his son, Mark Jr., got married to Daisy so that has made his time vary distracted.

Lynda has been playing shuffle with people as some add and drop this last week.  The phones have been relatively quiet.  On Thursday, the Christmas text went out.  We hope that all of you have had some nice times with your families this week.  Next week are generally out of the office until after the first.  We don’t know if there will be much of a weekly report for that week.  We want to wish you all a happy new year and many fishing adventures this coming summer.   Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Doc’s! 

Staff Luncheon

 Dec 17, 2020

Another week and things have begun to slow down for the holidays now.  We had our Staff luncheon and Christmas present exchange this week.  We are fortunate that we all work together and as such, our chance of being exposed to COVID are very minimal.  We decided to do a progressive lunch with the main course in one place and a dessert in another.  It was sad to see the restaurants so empty this time of year.

Other highlights this week:  Lynda continues to wring truth out of the groups.  Every time she gets some space, it results in a cascade of shifting of people, waitlists, and phone calls.  She has been amazing to work what magic she can to get people in.  We love our guests and want to be able to help all of them.

Lisa has continued to filter through the Christmas cards that came back because people moved.  I think as of this writing she is down to one last one to send back out.  She is also begun investigating some digital document storage in order to try and make our office more portable.  Having two offices about 2,000 miles apart has always been a challenge with records.  The pandemic has created more opportunities to be portable.

Mark and Kristina continue to poke on many fronts.  We have heard back from a majority of last years staff on their availability.  They have also addressed some bottlenecks in work flow.  The new food menu continues to work its way through as well.  They have also identified some staff training needs and are working to more formalize the material that is presented.

Mark also completed the project to update the content our room book for the lodge.  The update has been slowly progressing for just over two years now.  We treat the main document as our “bible” for things guests need to know to be successful at Doc’s.  He and Lynda will complete the formatting task and we should have new materials available for next season online, in rooms, and on the boats.

Christmas Cards and food ordering

  December 5, 2020

It has been a busy week getting back into the swing of things after the Thanksgiving break.  Lisa worked over the break to get Christmas cards out to our guests.  It is always fun to cull through all of the photos from the summer to select all the personalized pictures.  Lots of good memories get revisited.  We hope you all enjoy your pictures from last season.

Lynda had the phones over the holiday.  She said it was obvious that people had time to slow down and visit with family members about upcoming vacation plans.  It took her a couple of days to get all the updates, reservations, and changes input into our systems.  She has also been diligent in rooting out who is holding space and who is really coming.  Her efforts are slowly starting to chip away at the weeks that have waiting lists.

Mark has been wrapping up much of his ordering.  The rest of the plumbing parts for the new sewer system showed up this week.   He has also been making progress on our master document for orientation that we call the Room Book.  He expects to have the final touches on it in a week or so.  This has been a several year project.

On Thursday, at our request, Kristina arranged for a food tasting event.  The purpose was to see what changes we can make to the lodge menu to improve the quality and consistency of meals.  Our team was hosted by some of our guests who work there and we were treated with everything from breakfast to lunch to dinner ideas.  We plan to have Kristina work closely with their chefs to come up with some new offerings at the lodge.  We are excited about the opportunities in that area of operations.

Looking back on the week, it feels like we touch on fewer than 10% of the activities we are engaged in.  Selecting those we think are most interesting can be a challenge.  It takes a surprising amount of moving parts to make Doc’s the place we all love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week was busy and abbreviated.  Lynda has been fielding calls from the newsletter that was sent out last week.  Later this week our Thanksgiving text message went out.  We were thankful for many of you that returned our Thanksgiving wishes.  It is always nice to be among friends.

Last Monday Mark went and received some training on TIG welding.  Last year, one of our guests sold us a machine and, as part of the deal, it came with some training.  Mark felt good about his first experience but also knows it will take more practice to become proficient.  Hopefully, there won’t be much need to use his new skills at the lodge.  He plans on doing a couple of more sessions after the new year before he ships the machine to the lodge.  Enjoy the photo of Mark practicing.

Most of the week we spent at home with our families.  Lynda manned the phones, Lisa was enjoying some warmer weather visiting new family to the south, and Mark has been brushing up on some financial accounting textbooks.

We want to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving.  We are very thankful for the friendships and memories that you have allowed us to be part of these last 41 years.  We look forward to the next year and many more years to come, because of you.  Stay safe, stay warm and may Santa bring you a fishing trip!

Tradeshows cancelled

 November 21

Busy week getting things ready for the Friday Newsletter email.  It takes several weeks of working the newsletters before they go out.  While it may seem slow to many of us, we have found that the process prevents miscommunications.  Generally, the newsletter process is as follows: text is written by Mark, reviewed by Lisa and Lynda, edited by Mark, reviewed and submitted to web development to make it look pretty, reviewed by the three of us multiple times to correct content and formatting, tested on various platforms, email list is updated, and then finally it goes out.  As we write about it, it feels like it is a prime opportunity for our weekly work on the business processes meeting.

Also, this week Lynda sent out requests for payment from those who have been holding space in 2021 without having deposits in.  This has been a change for us.  As the lodge has become more popular and bookings robust, we have waiting lists on many weeks.  In the past, we were able to hold reservations without deposits for longer periods of time.  With the demand being as it is, this is no longer possible.

We finalized orders for the new powerhouse and drying room building.  Now we are working the final design phase heavily to make sure we get all our desires taken care of.  The primary purpose of the building is to house our generators and associated equipment.  The secondary purpose is to relieve crowding in the drying room.  The tertiary purpose is to store boats and other things during the winter.  Getting a room large enough to store boats but small enough to not dissipate the heat is proving to be a lot of judgment calls without a lot of data.  We are insulating the building to help retain the heat, but in the end it will be a best guess process.

Lisa heard this week from more shows cancelling due to Covid-19.  The only show that hasn’t declared officially is the ISE show in March in Salt Lake.  We are hopeful for the vaccine but are still doubtful that large group meetings will be allowed by then.  The notices really just have served to validate our decision to forego the tradeshow circuit this year.  It does appear that the Salt Lake Hunt Show will be virtual – maybe we will “see” some of you there!

Lisa and Lynda completed all of the star sewing for the quilts.  They had enough material to do ten quilts.  The stars now need to be sewn into the quilt tops.  Once that is done, they will be paired with backings and sent to the quilter.  It will take several more months to get it all done.

Nov 14:    The election is mostly over and the COVID pandemic is picking up steam in many of our communities.  With the announcement of preliminary vaccine results, many of us are getting ready for this coming summer to be more normal.

This week in the office was marked by paying for the new generators, ordering all of the new sewer parts, and lots of packages.  One of the benefits of COVID is how much you can have delivered to your office or home with free shipping.  Mark has been making several trips a week to put boxes of supplies that have been arriving into the storage unit.  He thinks the bulk of the items will have arrived by the end of this week and the rest of the stragglers will trickle in over the next few days.

Lisa and Lynda have continued their efforts on the quilt project.  The goal is to complete 10 quilts for this coming season.  They are homing in on completing the “stars” for all ten of the blankets this week.  The next step will be stitching them together into tops.

Doc and Mark have been tying halibut leaders and salmon leaders respectively.  Lynda has tied our premium salmon rigs up. The global supply chain of swivels was disrupted so we have had to find new sources of parts.  We expect to have all of the parts delivered in the next few weeks. 

Lynda has continued to see bookings and waitlist additions this week.  Most of the bookings are coming in the first and last week of the season now.  We expect to have a social media post of us pouring lead weights up soon.   

Ordering parts and supplies for summer

Nov 7

This has been a week of ordering parts and supplies for next summer.  As items arrive, we label and repackage for shipment to the lodge next spring.  Mark has made several trips to the storage unit this week already.  All these parts make him want to get to the lodge right now.  A friend sent this picture on Tuesday, might be a little cold right now.

Lynda continues to flesh out groups and take bookings.  Our weeks of open inventory include June 20 and September 5.  The first week will have great halibut and some Kings, the last week will have super Silvers.  The other weeks of the season she has been taking waitlists.  She is also starting to see more bookings for the 2022 season.  Lisa received the invoice for the new generators for next season.  We expect those to begin the manufacturing process within the next three months.  She also closed out our fiscal year this week.

The quilt project continues.  Lisa arranges the star patterns and Lynda stitches them together.  Lynda says there is so much to do that there is job security built in.

Upcoming projects

Oct 31, 2021

This week was a little disjointed as some of us were out of the office on vacation.  On Monday we met and discussed the upcoming projects.  Doc presented the option of moving the powerhouse and drying room to the southern side of the boathouse.  This placement opens up the road way for moving boats in and out.  Unfortunately, it also means we will have to get up there and take some new measurements before we order the building.  With lead times on supplies being what they are, it is uncertain when the work will be done.

Mark ordered the new generators this week.  They will come with sound proofing enclosures.  When the new ones are running, it should be much quieter in at the lodge.

Lynda and Lisa have been manning the phones and working steadily on the new quilts for next year.  There has been a fair amount of activity in bookings for 2022 taking place.  Some of the weeks have been adding steadily.  Likewise, there has been some movement in filling holes in 2021.

Early in the week, the annual report on charter catch was released.  It was surprising to note that the charter fleet catch in 3A, area just North of us, was only down about 7 percent.  Meanwhile the area 2C, where we fish, was down 36 percent.  It appears that the pandemic didn’t help the halibut stocks much to our north, with a reduction in fishing pressure.  We anticipated that our fishery will continue to strengthen.

Tide Charts & Quilts

October 24, 2020

This last week we held our first post season staff meeting.  As you can imagine, it takes a few weeks to pull your life back together after being gone for 6+ months to Alaska.  Kristina calls it the yo-yo lifestyle.  In the staff meeting we got right down to business planning out the new things for next year.  We are hoping to increase the amount of drying room space.  I think we all walked away with a bunch of action items.

Lisa and Lynda have begun the process of creating new quilts for the lodge; they are both big quilters.  I think this year we are planning to replace 10 quilts.  Because they both have interests and skills in that area, we are able to get high quality results.  The hardest time they have are the fabric manufacturers who change and discontinue styles before they are finished.

Lisa, Lynda and Mark meet weekly offsite to work on the business.  During these meetings we discuss process improvements and new ventures.  We hold them offsite to reduce the number of distractions.  Over time, these meetings have evolved into an extended working meeting.  It helps us all get grounded, provides a safe place to discuss issues, and space to tackle some thorny issues.  Heavy on our minds has been the change in marketing because we will not be doing shows this season due to the pandemic.  We continue to address opportunities in our lines of communication to you in hopes that we find the right mix.

On the phones this week, Lynda was remarking how some guests were coming fishing with us for halibut and then going elsewhere for salmon.  The last time the guest came it was during our warmer temperature season.  The salmon fishery cycles based on many environmental factors.  When the water and weather is warm, many salmon will stay out in the Pacific until it cools down.  In those years, where we were slower, the rest of the state was also slower.  So many fish have to migrate through Icy Strait (where we fish) before they divide up and go into their spawning drainages, that we will always be supplied with the best quantity available.

Mark took a call this week regarding how to read tide charts and why tides are different in swings in different areas.  The potential for tide swings depends a lot on the topography that the water is flowing through.  In our area, for instance, we can see anywhere from a total of 4 feet to 20 feet of water moving in a 6-hour period.  Some areas in the world only get a few inches of tide while others can get 40 feet.  As for fishing, the tidal changes impact the currents.  The more water moving, the stronger the current.  The stronger the current, the more difficult, generally speaking, to bottom fish.  We say generally speaking because in some areas, such as our western fishing grounds, one can have tides approaching from multiple directions.  The convergences can create whirlpools, eddies, or no current at all.  The advantage to these convergences, of course, is the upwelling that puts enormous amounts of feed into the water.  This feed then brings in the whales and halibut in greater numbers than other locations.  We can have a longer discussion about this next time you come to the lodge and attend a fish chat on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday evening.  

October 2020

We started casting fishing weights.  Every year we look at how many weights we need and then we have a pouring party and review our year in between pours.  Each of the bigger pots hold 20#s of 650+ degree molten metal.  The smaller ones hold 4#s.  Check out the time lapse of our pouring activity.  We each have our own roles.

We decided this week that we will not be doing any Sportsmen shows in the 2021 season.  While many of the show operators are hopeful about opening, about half the shows have been canceled already.  There is also concern in the industry that it will not be until 2022 after a vaccine is widely distributed that people will return to shows.  For more information, check out our show page on the website.

In lieu of shows, we are updating the website, increasing our social media output during the offseason and doing weekly reports.  In the past we have often been asked what we do during the offseason; these weekly reports will give you a taste of our activities.

We need your help in increasing the Doc Warner’s family.  If you know someone who would enjoy receiving our updates or be interested in fishing with us, send us their email or cell number.  We love it when your friends call and tell us what a great time YOU enjoyed with us!

October 9, 2020

Finished pouring fishing weights!  We had to wait for a few of the brass eyelets to come in order to finish up.  In all, we only did about 600 pounds this year.

Lisa wrapped up cancelling shows and a few more were canceled by the operators without our help.  It feels strange to not travel January through March to see many of you.  We enjoyed a successful year last year, thanks to many of you, despite all the challenges and we are looking forward to a great season in 2021.

Lynda continues to book and put people on waitlists.  She is rapidly filling in holes in the schedule.  2021 is becoming a challenge to fit everyone during their desired time.  Many of those that were unable to come in 2020 moved to 2021 which has created high demand on available space.  If you think 2021 or 2022 is your year, give us a call.

Mark started night school in Diesel engine building.  Our generators are showing their age and need to be rebuilt.  The added learning will help keep things running tiptop for your next trip to Alaska.

We also worked through the improvement list for next year.  So far on the list we will be adding two new generators to the powerhouse, enlarging the powerhouse and drying room, and replacing a section of the sewer system.  We think that those projects will keep us busy for several weeks before guests arrive June 20th.

October 16, 2020

Lisa got married this week.  We welcome her new husband, Steve, to the family!!

Because of the pandemic, the ceremony was held at our parent’s home.  We are excited for her as she begins this next chapter in her life.  Besides wedding plans, Lisa is also working with our new web provider on projects to improve the site.  In the future, we expect the site to be more mobile-friendly and have additional material for your perusal as you prepare for your next adventure to Doc’s.

Lynda has remained busy on the phones.  Some calls were from 2021 guests asking when to book their airfare.  We suggest you book it when you feel the price is appropriate.  Currently, we have been able to find fares under $700 from Salt Lake roundtrip.  Another topic from this week was adding additional excursions while at the lodge.  Our guests see plenty of wildlife while fishing, including eagles, whales, sea lions, sea otters, and other sea life.  We do recommend a day glacier cruise from downtown Juneau for those that want to get up close to tidewater glaciers.  We also have a few other activities we can suggest if you are interested.  She has also been busy this week updating the database as we prepare to send out Christmas cards to 2020 guests.

Mark has been cleaning up and organizing.  Late this week we attended our first virtual Dealer’s show.  This is the show where we purchase boat supplies and equipment.  This year’s list includes things like outboard oils, downrigger parts, and various other widgets and what’s it’s.  At the end of the season we inventory our supplies and make lists.  This show will wipe out about 50 out of the 300 items on our list.

In Mark’s diesel night school, he has completed the teardown of the practice engine and has already started the rebuild process starting with the crankshaft.  In addition to learning to rebuild, he also ordered two replacement generators for next year. 

Tongue and Groove

June 23rd Update
All of the walls and ceilings in our remodeling project will have tongue and groove installed. This is a time-consuming part of the project but makes things so beautiful! After installation, everything gets sealed to protect against the moist environment of SE Alaska. It’s almost ready for YOU! We cannot wait for you to see this beautiful, upgraded building!

Siding

June 19th Update
More of our construction supplies arrived via the barge. The barge docks about 2 miles to our north which means we get to be creative in how we transport oddly sized or heavy items back to the lodge. Generally, we opt to disconnect part of the dock and float it to cannery. As you can see, our construction staff is hard (ly) at work moving siding.

Tile We Meet Again

June 16th Update
Sorry for the corny titles, but some days are just like that! After sheetrock comes tile. We have opted for 12” x 24” tiles and wow do they look great. Thanks to some superhuman efforts by our tile crew, the tile is down and grouted. We estimate that, including bathroom walls, this crew has laid about 9,000 sq feet of tile in less than 2 weeks. Our construction crews typically work 10-12 hour days. Whew!

Sheetrock – Rockin’ and Rollin’

June 9th Update
Now that the rough electrical and plumbing are in, it’s time for sheetrock! Crews have been working extra hard on this project. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working with sheetrock, you know this is hard, heavy work. Thanks to some amazing men and very hard work, it looks great and was completed earlier this week. They even got all of the seams taped. You’ll see in these photos that Doc has a few cameos! He has been in on the work from day 1 as part of the advanced crew

Freight Day

June 5th Update
During the off season, we gather many of the supplies needed for lodge operations. Each spring, we load dozens of pallets of goods which are trucked to Seattle and then barged to Excursion Inlet. You may recognize some familiar faces hard at work. If you’ve heard us say we are a logistics company with a fishing habit, this is, in part, what we are referring to. Need something moved from point A to point B? We can do that!

Freezer Upgrades

June 3rd Update
This year we added 2 new refrigeration units to the freezer. This will allow us to bring the temperature lower even faster to make sure your fish are frozen solid prior to departing the lodge. We are excited to put this new, increased freezing capacity to the test!

New Stairway

May 30th Update
Part of the remodel includes a new set of stairs and entry for the building. Mark and Doc have been busy putting this project together. We think they did a great job!

Birthday Time!

May 26th Update
Occasionally our guests have the opportunity to enjoy a birthday while they are with us. We try to be creative with our celebrations as you can see here. Happiest of birthdays to you Chip & Josh!

Critters

May 22nd Update
Wildlife have returned from their winter hibernations! We have a Sitka deer doe and fawn wandering about, there are whales galore in the inlet right now, and this big brown bear came for a stroll along the beach the other day. When we have only a small crew, there are more animals around the lodge. When we bring our staff in, things get busier and the animals move to quieter spaces. We have also seen some curious river otters and our first sea lion. We’ll know its summer after George shows up.

Electrical

May 16th Update
The electrical work is almost complete! After we gutted the Prestridge cabin, moved the walls and reframed the new rooms, it was time to run the new wires.
While we had the electricians on site, we added some lighting to the exterior of the boat house. Believe it or not, it does get dark during preseason and at the end of the fishing season. We think these lights illuminate the courtyard nicely.

Plumbing

May 13th Update
Plumbing is also nearly complete. All of these new bathrooms require lots and lots of piping and fittings to connect to the main system.
While we were at it, we have added a fire suppression system capability to this building. We have added a boiler system for hot water in the showers. Not only that, this building will be heated by the boiler! Yay for improvements!

Road Work

May 8th Update
We have enjoyed having some workers who are adept with our excavator. We have regraded the “road” that leads from the dock up into our campus. Correct slope and better draining will make things less sloppy on those “occasional” rainy days.

Duncan Creek

May 5th Update
Spring has come to the lodge! Temperatures continue to be about 10 degrees Fahrenheit below normal, but we are now seeing temperatures in the 50’s on a regular basis. Along with warmer air, the snow has turned to rain and has it rained! You can see from these photos that Duncan Creek is full with a fast current.
You’ll notice those metal crates with rock in them (gabion cages). These help with our water intake because the system likes a deep pool to draw from. It also serves to protect against erosion at the stream bank where the water intake is located. Ask Mark for a tour on your next visit!

Prestridge Clean Out

May 1st Update
We have begun the process of cleaning Prestridge out. First up? Removing all of the reusable items which includes some of the tile, insulation, doors, windows, fixtures, furniture, and bedding. We have to move the items into another building for storage away from the weather.
Next, we have begun removing sheetrock. Soon we will be moving interior walls to create larger rooms which each have their own bathrooms. We are excited to have our entire campus become deluxe!

Weather is a Challenge

April 28th Update
Sometimes we are asked why we are open for such a short season. Well, the weather can be a little unpredictable in the spring and fall. We had a pretty good little storm come through which created what we fondly call a “water rodeo” with our normally stable dock. Some of our less experienced staff had a pretty good time trying to walk on the dock as it reacted to the wave action. We enjoyed their attempts!

Kitchen Remodel

April 22nd Update
Because one remodeling project isn’t enough, we have also been remodeling behind the scenes in the kitchen. Much of this work began last fall. We’ve been putting the finishing touches on over that last couple of weeks and thought we’d give you a sneak peek. Improvements include all new tile that’s less slippery when wet, new doors into the dish washing area, lighting and well, we will just let you be surprised when you see what we’ve been up to!

Dock

April 17th Update
At the close of each season, we pull the dock out in large segments for winter storage. One of our first orders of business in the spring is to start putting pieces in. This allows us the ability to launch boats should we need to make a quick run to the cannery airstrip to pick up staff.
You may remember that we reconfigured part of the dock last year to utilize the black cubes in an artful way. This made putting the dock back in this spring a little more challenging. But, if you know Doc, you know that he loves a good puzzle! We were eventually triumphant in getting it all put together correctly. Now if only the fish would come in!

Garden Upgrade

April 14th Update
Moving the topsoil to the garden area will allow us to enlarge our garden. We plan to add rhubarb and some berries with this new, larger space. The soil that we have moved over is acidic from the evergreen trees, so we treat it with Lime to make the pH better for our produce. Lots of yummy lettuce will soon be on its way!

Freight

April 10th Update
On Wednesday (3/25), the MV Lite Weight arrived with our first round of building supplies. This Korean War era landing craft is the main source of freight delivery during the offseason when the barge doesn’t come to our area. We will receive several more deliveries from them before we have all of the construction supplies on site. As you look at it with the telehandler on and then in front, you get an idea of the size of this vessel. For those of you who are really curious, the specs for the Lite Weight are:
Cargo Deck Dimensions: 17′ x 45′
Cargo Capacity: 130,000 pounds
Propulsion: Four Detroit 6-71 Diesel’s
Average Cruising Speed: 10 knots
Draft: 4′ light / 6′ fully loaded
Generators: 35 kw, 25 kw, and 3.5 kw onboard
Accommodations: 2 Staterooms for 6 plus crew, Full Galley, Washer/Dryer, and Shower

Clearing Land/Topsoil

April 7th Update
As you may be aware, we have a huge remodel/construction project scheduled. This project will complete the upgrade of our facilities so that each guest room will have a private bathroom. We have been planning this project for years and, prior to Covid-19, this seemed like the year to get it done. We were too far along the purchase/shipping process to pause when the virus outbreak began, so we’ve decided to press forward. We are confident that this virus will be the stuff of memories long before it’s time to come fishing!
Our main building crews will begin to arrive in early April and then progress will really be evident. To be ready for them, we spent some time grading the land, removing 3 huge stumps and moving the topsoil to our garden space (more on that to come).

Weather

April 3rd Update
The weather is great–if you like cold weather. The past few days the temperatures have been mostly in the 30’s. However, we could use a little global warming for the next week or so. On March 28th the temperature will drop below freezing and stay there until April 1st. Several nights the forecast is for temperatures in the mid teens. Showers in the bathhouse are limited to tortuous baring your skin to the cold air, stepping onto the cold tile floors, and trying to dry with a towel which has been soaked by the steam from the shower. Otherwise, the shower’s great.
Did we mention it’s cold here? The next few days are forecast to be in the 20’s – for the high – with gale force winds. We will take the water collection system back offline so that we don’t have to worry about frozen pipes. It’ll be a few more weeks before it can stay up and running.

Arrival

March 31st Update
Our advanced crew of 4 men arrived on Monday afternoon (3/23) to open the lodge and prep for future crews. When we arrive each spring, the first order of business is to start the generators. Next, we work on getting the water system up and running.
As you can see, without the dock in, Mark gets to wear waders and piggyback everyone and all the groceries to the shore. Yes, that is a paddle that the float plane pilot is using to combat current/wind as he keeps his plane in position to offload.
We also got all of the heavy equipment started so that we could empty the boathouse for the freight that is soon to arrive.