Local Election Update

The Canvassing Committee met today at 3pm to count the absentee ballots.  The 4 question ballots were deemed invalid by the State of Alaska,  2 absentee ballots were not returned,  so that left 15 valid ballots.

Ralph Wolfe picked up an additional 6 votes for mayor,  while Dave Stone added 8 more to his total to close the gap by 2.  Not enough to change the initial outcome,  so Ralph is our new mayor.  Congratulations Ralph.

Assembly-wise,  Herb Holcomb added 10 more votes,  Paul Harding added 11 and write-in Jimmy Jensen added only 2 more.  That rearranged the order leaving Herb with the most votes,  Paul moved up to the 2nd place slot and Jimmy dropped to 3rd,  but they all still have a seat.  Ray Sensmeier did not add any votes to his total.

For school board,  nothing changed from Tuesday’s results.  Adriana Preciado added 5,  Tim Hann remained unchanged,  so they both won (or are stuck with) their 3-year terms.  Casey Mapes added 14 more votes to his total for the 1-year term.

In years past,  they published the names and totals of everyone who received even one write-in.  It was fun to see who got mention,  even if just one single vote.  This year,  they decided not to release info for anyone who received less than 10 votes.  Sitting in as a spectator,  it was entertaining to hear some of the names of the people who were written in.

Now,  on to the state-wide and national election…  Woo,  hoo!


Unofficial Election Results

Just in…  there were 170 regular ballots cast.

For mayor,  Ralph Wolfe has 88 votes to Dave Stone’s 77.  There are 17 absentee ballots and 4 question ballots that are yet to be counted,  so this is tight enough to swing either way.

For the three Borough Assembly slots,  Herb Holcomb received the most votes with 102.  Second place is the write-in Jimmy Jensen with 69,  third place goes to Paul Harding at 61.  Other write-ins are Ray Sensmeier trailing the leaders with 33,  Bob Pate at 17 and Adam Kohne with 16.  With the 21 ballots yet to be counted,  none of the assembly positions will change.

And finally for school board,  we had two 3-year terms with no one running and one 1-year remaining on a 3-year term with Casey Mapes running.  Casey won his unopposed slot.  Adriana Preciado had 66 write-in votes for the full term,  followed by Tim Hann at 25 and Curt Holcomb missed the board with 10 votes.

The Borough Assembly will meet on Thursday Oct 20th at 3pm to count the absentee and question ballots,  before making the final results official.  The public is welcome to attend the Canvassing Committee meeting on the 20th.

2016-10-18-2016-election-judge-clerk-results Unofficial Results in PDF

2016-canvass-committee-10-20-2016 Public Notice in PDF

Local Elections – Tuesday Oct 18th

We have our local election coming in this week.  There is only one person running for I think three school board slots,  two people running for assembly out of three slots and two people running for mayor (one slot obviously).  The two mayoral candidates are our old mayor Dave Stone (he has been serving as mayor of 9 Mile for the past two election cycles…) and Ralph Wolfe.  I served for a year with Ralph on the assembly and although we didn’t always agree on issues,  he was articulate in explaining why he disagreed with me (aka why he was wrong…).  I think Ralph is a decent,  caring and intelligent option for mayor,  with some fresh ideas and interesting perspectives.

I have had candidates send me things in the past,  but this time around,  Ralph was the only one to ask if I could post something to the blog.  Obviously most of our readers are out-of-towners,  but for those who can vote on Tuesday,  this is what Ralph sent:


“Vote for Ralph Wolfe for Mayor

First of all I love Yakutat!

October 18th I ask you to vote for Ralph Wolfe for Mayor of Yakutat.

I’ve been a resident of Yakutat for 5 years. I have two children in the Yakutat School District and my wife and I work for The Yakutat Tlingit Tribe. I have served 1 term on the Yakutat City Assembly and I have attended many City and Borough functions.

Why you should vote for me!

  • I have a new vision for Yakutat.
  • I want great schools for all of our children.
  • I have worked with the Alaska Legislator as a legislative aid.
  • I have served on the CBY Assembly
  • I am ready to help steer Yakutat in a positive direction and give back as much as the community has given to my family”


See you at the polling booth this Tuesday,  October 18th,  2016 – Public Safety Building,  EMS Training Room!


Fall Steelhead are In!

I had heard that our past mayor had landed three steelhead up at 9 Mile as of several days ago.  Today,  I had a local crotchety commercial fisherman (I’ll reserve his name to protect the innocent) come in looking for beads…  He said if he could catch steelhead,  then there must be a lot of them!  They had headed out to catch some dollies,  but landed several steelhead instead.

Water is definitely cold and in the perfect range for steelhead.  We woke to some overcast this morning,  but it cleared up again this afternoon.  There is a 30% chance of snow showers Sunday!  We’re supposed to see some snow in the evenings,  changing to light rain showers in the day.  We really need some rain badly with the flow down to just 100 CFS right now.

A shot of rain will bring in another batch of late silvers,  but also should really get the fall steelhead run moving.  We still have a little too many silvers in the way to call this the steelhead run,  but it is looking like the coming weeks will be good for both.

I had a group of silver fishermen depart a couple days ago.  They said there was a lot of fresh chromers in the weir hole and just above.  Nothing in the lower river,  so anything that has been coming in in this clear thin water has pushed up to at least the weir before slowing down.  They said the silvers at 9 Mile were all dark.  One float report said there were fresh chromers at the confluence too.

Three Weeks of Sun!

We have had more than three straight weeks of gorgeous sun.  The rivers and streams have all but disappeared.  Situk’s flow is down to a paltry 118 CFS,  but water temp is down to a high of 43F and low of 40F.  That means we are in the temperature range for the fall steelhead to start coming in!


These sunny clear days are to continue through the rest of the week,  with a chance that we’ll see rain moving in by Saturday.  We need it!  The local subsistence moose season opened three days ago and from what I have heard,  everyone who wanted a moose seems to have gotten a moose.  We still have quite a bit in the freezer and with Tanis away this winter at boarding school,  we aren’t going through nearly as much food as we usually do…  These photos are from last year…

Chris just came back today from the Akwe River (and Yakutat Coastal flew their last flight and headed south for the winter too).  Chris said the fishing on the Akwe these past three weeks has been absolutely spectacular.  Every cast…  which he said gets a little boring after a while…  Same thing off the Italio – spectacular end to the season with tons of fresh silvers,  once the hordes of fly-outs had subsided.

Situk had a late push of fish as well,  but not like Akwe and Italio.  There was a wave of smaller hens that came in for about a week,  but it is all but done (again).  Lost and Tawah are really a bust.  One group came through a couple days ago that caught some nice sea-run cutthroat on Tawah,  but all the salmon were old and spent.  There are no fish at all in any of the drainage ditches around the airport…  Usually,  we see (and smell) a lot of rotting carcasses with silvers scattering under the branches as we take our nightly walk around the loop.  Absolutely no fish at all anywhere around here!


So now we just wait for confirmation for the fall steelhead run.  With Chris back,  he’ll be anxious to get out there,  but probably needs a few days to catch up on things around here and get some sleep.  I’ll let you know what we find in about a week.  In the meantime,  we’re gearing up for the winter storage season,  getting the hangar cleaned and organized to fit as much in as we can.  Although we have more space this year than we have had in the past,  we expect to fill up quicker because of quite a bit of new storage coming in.

I’m still working on getting all the artifacts put away for the season too.  Boy,  it has been a very crowded year,  but all in very good ways.  We certainly learned a lot about organizing an air show and fly in,  even though we ended up cancelling the main event.  I had never cooked for more than a dozen people,  so cooking for 80 was a learning experience.  Hopefully we’ll catch up and recover quickly and I’ll get some of the things posted that I want to talk about.


A repost of John Hohl’s gorgeous steelhead,  as a primer for what’ll be in the Situk in the next several weeks…

Hard to Stay Motivated

This has been a hard season to stay motivated about posting yet another dismal fishing report…  That’s my excuse for the lack of fresh ones.  “Yep,  another mediocre day on the Situk…”.

Situk had a nice little shot of fish come in fresh two days ago,  but these fish pushed hard to get a couple miles upstream before they slowed down.  The previous day probably had the same thing happen because there was another batch of chromers about half-way down the float.  Otherwise,  all the fish above that point seem dark and lethargic.  Didn’t talk to anyone yesterday that had fished the Situk,  but one group was able to land a few nice ones on Tawah.  Not a lot of fish in Lost or Tawah,  but the ones that were there were feisty and active.  Still hearing that the fish are huge this year.  Not many,  but the ones that are being caught are tipping the scales around 16lbs pretty consistently.

Best fishing by far the past week has been off the Italio.  Both Old and Middle are fishing really well.  A group leaving town yesterday said the fishing had been slower than normal,  but they were leaving with more pounds than they ever have due to the big size of the fish.  Reports off the Akwe have also been very good lately,  from both day fly-outs and the two camps out there.

The Middle Italio is of course my home,  where I grew up and where I raised my kids.  I’m a little protective of it and its reputation.  This season has been hard on that tiny little stream.  First off,  the run on the Italio has been just as poor as everywhere else this side of the bay,  so fishing hasn’t been all that great.  But it has been better than the dismal fishing most have experienced on the Situk.  Because of that,  the Middle has been overwhelmed by massive numbers of fly-outs.  The fish weren’t stacking up like normal,  so the fishermen ended up on top of each other,  making the experience horrible for everyone involved.  Yes,  most people still left with their limits,  but it took all day to land a measly 4 fish.  That should usually take about 15 minutes with poppers,  let alone sub-surface streamers.  Italio was one of the better rivers and definitely the highliner for the east-side streams,  but it was still poor for what we’re used to.

Middle Italio is doing good right now though and will continue to do well throughout most of October.  Tsiu is also continuing to be great even now.  The rivers on the west side of the bay haven’t had any of these numbers problems,  unlike ALL of the east-side streams.  Good runs,  consistent bite and a lot less pressure than over here.  A lot of the best fishing spots are self-limiting,  since there are no real landing strips and the air taxi’s have to time their drop-offs and pick-ups with the tide and flood conditions.  It has been a far better experience for everyone who flew that direction instead of Italio this year.

Now we’re just waiting for the fall steelhead run on the Situk.  I just talked with one of the Fish and Game biologists who spent the past month out on the Tsiu.  They only had three commercial fishermen this season,  so that pressure was very light.  They caught about 20 steelhead in their nets out there this season and many of the sporties also landed steelhead.  There were a couple landed on the Situk as well and the weir saw a couple before they pulled it in early August.  We still have about a dozen degrees to drop before we should see the real run come in,  but that could be happening a little earlier than November.  I’ll try to keep as close an eye on that as I can this fall,  since there are a lot of people hanging on a last minute decision to come for the fall steelhead run.

Big changes coming in the new year around here!  The Yakutat Lodge sold as of October 1st and the new owners took over yesterday.  They are still open and plan to be serving food for another week or two.  They may keep going through November,  but it depends on how things go over the next couple weeks.  It would be nice to still have some services through the fall steelhead season.

A Busy Week at the Airport

Most of you know that I have been pretty distracted this season as we work toward getting the new airport fuel facility up and running.  This weekend,  we did just that!  We’re officially functional and we sold our first AVGAS!

This project has been 4 years in the making.  The main reason for the delays has been the financing.  No traditional banks were willing or interested in funding the project,  no matter how promising it is as a business because of the remote location and poopy economy.  Add the usual slow pace of getting anything done in Yakutat and we’re 4 years behind schedule.

Our electrician came into town (again) about 2 weeks ago and went to work pulling the final wires and getting everything connected.  We discovered some extra wiring problems with the hangar in the process,  but those have also been remedied now,  till we find something else to worry about.  I can not say enough wonderful things about Smokey Point Electric.  They have been such a pleasure to work with.  Also,  our local power company guys were a huge help in getting things hooked up and functioning too.

The tech guy from Mascott Equipment arrived last Wednesday night to do the final hook-up and system testing.  He discovered some of the pipes had been hooked up backwards on the AVGAS dispenser,  so it was a bit of a challenge to get that fixed with Yakutat’s limited access to parts.  He was able to piece it all together and get it running.  We are still operating manually though because the credit card system is having some challenges connecting through our limited phone system.  Hopefully that’ll be solved today though,  so people can swipe and fuel without me having to be there the whole time.

Our first customer was the perfect guy!  A non-local who comes through a couple times a year.  He has been pestering me for two years every time he passes through about getting AVGAS and we finally had the ability to meet his needs!  We’re far from done though.  Signs should be arriving this week and in the spring,  we will landscape around the pumps to make it all look nice.


I need my plane back,  so I can update this photo with the facility showing.  The tanks are where the snow blob is immediately below the hangar


All the profits from the fuel facility will go to finishing the hangar renovation and to buying artifacts and aircraft for the museum.  It’ll take us a little time to recover financially,  but once we do,  the museum will grow pretty dramatically over the next couple years.  Nice to finally see some real progress on something!