Chrome-bright spring steelhead are now definitely in the river!
Yesterday, Chris and I took a research float of the Situk, to see how bad the log jams are and how the early run is looking. I’m still tired and achy from the trip (plus we continue to have phone problems here at the hangar), so I’m a little slow today. We also woke this morning to a clean coating of white – about an inch of snow stuck last night and we are supposed to get another inch or two tonight and/or tomorrow. Nothing to close the roads, just enough to flock the trees and cover our roadside garbage…
The guys who do the city’s annual audit are here doing an audit of the early run…
We pumped up my little 3-man Avon raft and headed out. I didn’t know if there are any unpassable logjams, so I figured the raft was a safer bet than trying to get a driftboat up and over a downed tree. As it was, someone (probably Bob Fraker) has been out cutting the logs out and the river is completely driftable. They must have been out recently, since some of the cut sections of trees were still drifting around the pools, or hung up on the next jam downstream. There is still one log that crosses full-width, but it is slightly below waterline and you can slide over it easily. Our raft still hung up on it, but only because Chris’ butt was causing the raft floor to sag…
We were not alone… two guys came in this weekend for a short trip. They arrived Saturday and hiked upstream for one steelhead each above the bridge. Yesterday, they followed shortly behind us in their Alpaca rafts and we played leapfrog twice with them. They said they were headed to the confluence and intended to hike back out on the trail. We decided to make some time and get well ahead of them so we wouldn’t disturb their fishing. Granted there were only 4 people fishing yesterday for the whole river, but they didn’t need us beating the few fish we saw to death ahead of them…
A sunny lunch-break at the Middle Situk Forest Service cabins
Back on the water, with less comfortable weather again
Chris and I scattered fish in a couple spots early on, but the river became barren pretty quickly. Not a sign of steelhead anywhere near the Old Situk confluence, or the cabins. Pretty slow anywhere above the Middle Finger. From there to the Ox Bow, we saw more fish than the rest of the float. About a dozen spots that held fishable numbers, with two groups worth spending a lot of time harassing.
That’s why we were there…
Below the Ox Bow, we scared a few singles that were scattered across the shallows above the weir. Not a single fish sighted below the weir. I would say there are a couple hundred fresh steelhead along the float right now. Not a lot, but considering there are no fishermen, it can make for an entertaining trip.
There are more fish above the bridge than below. Looks like we are seeing a few of the lake fish coming out, but the mix of bright chromers to blushed winter fish are about 50:50. Had a call just a few minutes ago from a local who walked up above the bridge yesterday while I was floating. He said he ran into two groups of 20-40 fish well above the crossing. Both were around the meadow. He ran into the other two guys (must have been after they floated and hiked back upstream to the bridge). Otherwise, there aren’t any other anglers out there.
Alternating between misery and ecstasy… What a wild day weather-wise
The river water was darker than I expected through the first half of the float, making it hard to see into the deeper runs – and looks crystal-clear in this photo when the sun came out briefly!
The snow is coming down hard as I type this. Plows are trying to clear the airport ramp. The trouble this time of year is that we can always be hit by a storm that shuts down access for a while. I don’t see this storm doing it, but there is always that risk. Spring is here, this is just a scare… Probably…
This morning, we had a little more snow to shovel – winter isn’t quite done yet. Another 3 inches have fallen throughout today, but it is warm and wet.
More photos to add than text to interrupt…
Chris spent the night before playing with his nail polish, even though streamers were more successful