DC-4 Follow-up

My uncle sent me an e-mail after I posted the DC-4 photos:

Saw your Blog on the DC4. Your Dad was a crew chief on DC4s in Germany. Talked to childhood neighbor Bill Peterson last week. He said that Doug told him that the DC4s still had coal dust from the Berlin Airlift.

I wasn’t sure what aircraft my dad was in in these photos,  but now I know it is a DC-4.

My dad passed away when I was 17.  As a punk kid,  I had no interest in history,  so I never ever asked him about his time in the Air Force.  Bummer,  since now I’m the president of a WWII museum (in the making).  Nice to get little glimpses into the past now,  since I missed my real opportunity to learn more.  Thank you Ron,  for sending me neat info like this.

Through this terrible sockeye season,  I had more hangar tours than fishing customers through the shop.  I had been hoping to get our DC-3 airworthy again in time for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day next June,  but it is looking like I’m about a year behind in doing that.  Oh well.  She is a D-Day survivor and deserves to be airborne for that.  Maybe the 76th instead…

A Wild Night for Horizon Air

So…  a couple hours ago,  an employee named Rich stole a Horizon Q400 at Sea-Tac and went for a joy ride flight.  He took off,  did a loop,  realized fighter jets were coming after him and so he nose-dived the plane into the water.

Teen and I met at Sea-Tac working for Horizon Air.  She spent 7 years,  I spent 6 years working there.  Me as a ramper,  Teen at first as a ticket agent,  then she moved to the ramp to spend more time with some guy…  Then she got over that and moved into Operations.

I fondly remember my first night shift.  Loading a Metro III for Pullman,  a box split open and white powder started leaking out.  I was about to mention it to my trainer when I saw that a box of lab mice also split open in the plane.  We just closed the door and sent the flight on its way.  Let them deal with the coked-up mice in Pullman.

Rod,  our pilot friend who ferried the DC-3 up to us flew for Horizon,  as did my brother-in-law.  My mom also worked for Horizon for a couple years at corporate.  I can’t imagine a suicidal moron stealing a Q400 and crashing it 50 miles away in Puget Sound.  Unbelievable.  Close to home…

Here are a couple articles,  oddly enough from the UK…

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/11/seatac-airport-seattle-plane-takes-off-without-permission

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1002039/seattle-airport-airspace-closed-seatac-airport-washington-usa

 

Visitor Today

The weather lightened up today,  making it possible for Alaska Air Fuel to fly in and take on a load of diesel for Icy Bay.  They parked in front of the hangar while Delta Western pumped fuel into their big internal bladder.

A gorgeous classic Douglas DC-4,  N96358 was built in 1944 and delivered to the USAAF in WWII.  Couldn’t really glean too much about her history on my brief search,  other than she used to serve as a fire bomber/tanker in Utah.  A real beautiful plane!

And here is a DC-4 in Yakutat during the war…  Probably 1943 or 44.

IMG_20151021_0028

Back when I was a kid,  they would occasionally bring in a DC-4 to Dry Bay to fly fish out to market.  Usually a DC-3,  but on rare occasions a DC-4.  My memory seems to think it would have been mid to late 1970’s.  My DC-3 came to Yakutat in 1982 to fly fish out of Dry Bay.

The Rain has Stopped!

Right now,  this is the first true dry spell we have had this month.  The flow jumped so dramatically because for several days before the storm hit,  we had continuous light rain and drizzle,  which didn’t move the gage,  but pre-soaked the ground.  Once the real rain it,  flows shot up like a rocket to about 2,500 CFS.

Flow

We’re going to remain blown out for another several days,  depending on if the rain has stopped for good.  Since Friday is the only non-rain day in the forecast,  fishing this coming week will be tough.

Forecast

Blasting toward 2000

Let’s just post the gage right now…

Flow

That’s a blow-out with plenty more rain yet to come.  Woo,  hoo!  Say goodbye to the weir for the season.  They did count 56,000 pinks,  25,000 sockeye,  about 60 chum and 12 silvers through the weir before the storm hit.  Reported this morning that a big batch of fresh silvers appeared in the lower river just before the flooding began.  Who knows where they are now,  with high raging opaque water.

What a season!

Sockeye is Over

Well,  we just crossed the line into August and that brings this dismal and depressing sockeye season to an end.  They have 24,000 fish over the weir,  beating 2008’s 23,000 (the only other year we have missed the minimum escapement goal).  But in 2008,  they didn’t close the river the way they did this year,  so we managed to beat 2008 only because of the draconian management decisions of Fish and Game.

With the sockeye behind us,  now we’re looking forward to silvers.  I know a lot of you have been anxious through my lack of posts (pretty hard to motivate myself into typing “fishing is terrible” again and again) to know what the silver run is going to do.  Will it be hit as hard as the sockeye?  Well,  sockeye are unique in many ways.  All the other species have different behaviors,  different food sources and range in different areas of the ocean.  No reason to expect the silver run to be out of the normal.

I heard more than 36,000 pinks have passed the weir and we should be seeing 10,000+ every day from here on out.  A handful of silvers have gone up and another handful have been landed in the lower river below the weir.  That was all in July,  so very early in the run and too early to tell if the run is going to be strong,  weak,  or somewhere in-between.  I know plenty  have been caught out in the bay on charter boats.

Halibut continues to be exceptional for most,  which has really saved a lot of trips this year.  A surprisingly few people cancelled their trips even with the river completely closed to fishing.  They were able to entertain themselves fishing areas and streams they have never fished and doing a lot on the salt.

One thing is for sure…  I have never been so excited about the humpy run.  At least we have fish in the river now!  Boy has this been a slow month in the fly shop.  We literally went weeks without seeing any fishermen.  I don’t think we sold more than 4 dozen flies in all of July.  This is going to be a very skinny winter in Yakutat,  with all the revenue lost from both sport and commercial fishing,  as well as our empty freezers with no subsistence fishing allowed.

4,225 sockeye counted yesterday

 

The rain brought the river up (holding at 585 CFS right now) and all those fish that were stuck below the weir pushed.  4,225 went through,  but unfortunately it doesn’t sound like there are any fish coming up behind them to replace ’em.  And more bad news from Fish and Game:

News Release:  Situk,  Lost and Ahrnklin Rivers Closed to Sport Fishing for Sockeye and Closed Area Below Situk River Weir Expanded

From July 12th to August 15th,  sockeye salmon may not be targeted,  retained,  or possessed in the Situk,  Lost,  or Ahrnklin Rivers;  Sockeye salmon caught incidentally while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

(Translation:  You can still fish for dollies and rainbows,  along with any early humpies that may show up,  but you can not deliberately target sockeye (or kings) anywhere in the Situk,  Lost and Ahrnklin River Systems.)

Back to the News Release:  Additionally,  sport fishing is not allowed between regulatory markers located approximately 300 feet upstream of the Situk River weir (river mile 1.8) to markers approximately 2,100 feet downstream of the weir.  This portion of the river encompasses the entire “Rodeo Hole”.

(Translation:  The area around the weir to 100 yards above and below is always closed to fishing when the weir is in operation.  They just expanded the downstream closure to include the entire Rodeo Hole.  No fishing allowed period.  It remains open for the targeting of dollies,  rainbows and humpies below the Rodeo Hole.  But you can not target kings,  or sockeye at all anywhere in the system.)

Total count as of yesterday for sockeye is 9,489.  Year-to-date last year was above 52,000.  Yesterday was a good push and it came after the Emergency Order was issued.  If fish continue to move in like yesterday,  then we could see a reopening.  In the meantime…  ADF&G does not expect us to reach the minimum escapement goals for sockeye and kings this year.  If we don’t start seeing multiple day counts above 4,000 fish,  you can essentially write off this year.

Here is the Emergency Order in PDF:  20_E0-01-RS-H-20-18(F)1

And just in case we have all forgotten what sockeye look like: