Humpies, Humpies Everywhere

Boy,  you fall silver fishermen are getting restless!  Lots of anxious calls and e-mails,  wanting to get a fresh fishing report.  Well,  all we really have to report is that there are a TON of pink salmon in most streams.  Everything from the East River to Akwe to Situk and Tawah Creek are plugged.  Yesterday I flew a scenic flight over Hubbard Glacier and coming back to town over the bay,  there were areas around small streams with the bay black with salmon eager to squeeze up into any and every trickle of fresh water.  Lots and lots of humpies.

New_Italio_Pinks

Not to say that’s all we have…  still seeing 1,000 to 2,000 sockeye through the weir every day – although yesterday saw nearly 4,000!  I talked to a group who floated the Situk yesterday and they had no trouble through most of the float hooking into sockeye.  Last weekend for Tanis and I on the Akwe,  the ratio of pinks to sockeye dropped significantly,  so the sockeye continue while the pinks (at least out there) are already slowing.

Nick_Pink

No sign lately of any early silvers for us on the Italio or Akwe.  NONE caught since June in our nets.  I have heard of a couple here and there being hooked in the Situk,  but not many.  We still have a couple weeks to wait for them to start showing in earnest in the fresh water.  Out in the bay,  the charter boats are getting into a few nice ones though.

New_Italio_Pinks2

That’s about all I have to report fishing-wise.  I’ll be better with the reports as we get closer to the silver run’s arrival.

Alex_Pink

Special Work Session with Representative Louise Stutes

TONIGHT,  meeting 5pm at Glacier Bear Lodge,  the Yakutat Borough Assembly has a special work session with our new state representative Louise Stutes.  As with all assembly meetings and work sessions,  the community is welcome to attend and put in their 2 cents.

There is nothing specifically on the agenda,  just an opportunity for our assembly and the public to interact with our state representative and ask questions about her efforts on our behalf.

Meeting will take place up on the second floor lounge area of the Glacier Bear Lodge.  See you there..

A Lot Changes in a Week

Looks like the sockeye run is over.  Not for a lack of fish – still seeing around 3,000 through the weir every day…  But the pinks have taken over and are now filling the river enmass.  And as much as I wanted to get a fishing report in last week before heading out to the Akwe,  it didn’t happen (again).  So here is the update from the past week and how it will look going into the weekend:

The overall run is pretty weak this year,  but because the fish are bypassing the nets in the estuary,  the weir counts look good.  The sockeye are VERY small on average.  They are a good full pound underweight.  The early pinks are big though.  A couple silvers have been caught as well,  but that run is still a long way away at this point.

Fishing was very good,  although a bit crowded at the lower end up until the storm last week.  River flows had come up to where you could float the river again with some light rain for about a week.  Then we had a heavy rain hit overnight that blew the river out (for sockeye standards – 500 CFS is a lot this time of year).  The “fishing” never really recovered after that…  Flows are back down to fishable levels as of Tuesday,  but the increasing number of pinks is making it hard to get into just sockeye.

That about sums up the Situk for the moment…  light rain today,  overcast tomorrow,  sun on Saturday,  more rain Sunday through Tuesday.  Thousands of sockeye coming in daily,  but we’re now entering the 10’s of thousands of pinks phase.

Out on the Akwe,  we had a terrible week.  River was blown out with water bank to bank.  No sandbars visible anywhere.  It gradually dropped through the opener till the river was in decent shape right about time to pull the nets. Monday,  the sun came out and with the hot north wind blowing,  our meager pile of fish was at risk of going bad in the heat.  Had to fly just a few hundred pounds to get them to the plant before they rotted.  That doesn’t comer the cost of the flight,  let alone the gas and regular expense of fishing.

But when I came back,  we kept fishing through the 6pm closure and 5pm high tide.  We changed out of our raingear and into shorts,  for swimming at the river mouth instead of waiting and waiting for the dozen or so total fish we caught through the entire tide.  The kids and I had a great time,  even if we didn’t make any money this week.  Wish Teen could have been out with us,  but now that Chris has abandoned us for his family reunion in Colorado,  she is stuck watching the fly shop while I goof off with the kids.

Sometimes there is more to fishing than fishing.

KTVA News Comes to Yakutat

Last week,  Yakutat had our first “scheduled” cruise ship stop-over.  Yakutat has a rick “anti-cruise ship” history,  so this was a big step for us to look at diversifying our economy.  It was a small ship with only 90 passengers,  which is probably the kind of ship we want to attract,  as opposed to the mega-ships that cruise the waters of Alaska and dump thousands of people all at once onto Juneau’s downtown.

As part of this “historic” visit (although I consider the explorers Vancouver,  Bering,  La Perouse,  etc. to have been just early foreign-owned cruise ships…),  CBS affiliate news reporter Heather Hintze came down for the event and made several reports about and around Yakutat.  On the KTVA web site,  they have four clips up and available for viewing.  The last one is from last night,  but is only a teaser for a longer report focused on our dear ol’ hangar…  The full-length one isn’t posted yet,  but if they put it up,  I’ll post a link (if it isn’t too embarrassing).

Enjoy a little taste of Yakutat from the Anchorage TV news:

This one covers the cruise ship visit and what they experienced:
http://www.ktva.com/welcome-of-yakutats-1st-cruise-ship-marks-effort-to-diversify-interests-690/

A delightful interview with Jennie Wheeler,  with her small craft and fur shop – if you haven’t been to Jennie’s store on your visit to Yakutat,  YOU MUST!
http://www.ktva.com/spruce-root-weaver-brings-back-lost-craft-to-southeast-600/

Covering our slow start to the sockeye run and how dire it is financially for the community:
http://www.ktva.com/slow-start-to-southeast-salmon-setnet-season-852/

The teaser for the segment on the Alaska Warbird Museum (with a disturbing close-up of my head):
http://www.ktva.com/wwii-history-honored-at-up-and-coming-yakutat-museum-349/

Heather was a delight to have,  had a great sense of humor and genuine interest in our community.  She did a nice job on these reports.  I believe she has a few more recorded that will come out over the next couple weeks.

Tonight’s July 16th, 2015 Assembly Meeting

We have another assembly meeting tonight at 7pm High School Auditorium.  We also have a special work session starting at 6pm same location to discuss Yakutat Power and the three offers we have received about assuming the operations of it.  And if that isn’t a crowded enough schedule,  the Planning and Zoning commission also has a meeting tonight at 6pm in the Planner office (basement of magistrate building).

Here are some attachments we have received over the past week…

Work session 6 pm Notice & Packet for July 16
Notice and agenda for the work session and regular meeting, Borough Manager’s Report, ORD 15-592 with current CBY code language, RES 15-238 with explanation letter and Borough Manager Employment Agreement

Managers Report to CBY Manager 071415
Yakutat Power Co manager’s report

AP&T Consolidation Offer for Yakutat Power 7-1-2015
Alaska Power and Telephone proposal for acquiring Yakutat Power Co.

M Mueller-Stoffels Consultant Yak Power
Proposal from Program Director, Power Systems Integration Alaska Center for Energy and Power at UAF to evaluate the offers from AVEC and AP&T as a consultant to the Assembly

T Lovas Consultant Yak Power
Same type of proposal for consulting from a consultant with Energy and Resource Economics (this one comes with a recommendation from AVEC,  so AP&T expressed concerns about potential conflicts of interest…)

2015 NLC Annual Leadership Summit Article
NLC 2015 COC Newsletter Article
Two newsletters from the National League of Cities

Invitation Transboundary Discussion-07152015
Generic letter from Byron Mallott inviting Yakutat to participate in a commission about “water quality and environmental integrity”…

And now for the Planning and Zoning attachments:
P & Z Notice & Agenda July 16th, 2015

P Z minutes 05-08-14
P Z minutes 12-11-14
P Z minutes 01-13-15
P Z minutes 03-04-15
P Z minutes 04-30-15

December 2014 CIP List (1)
Last year’s CIP list that needs to be updated for Assembly Approval for 2016

1B15
A letter to P&Z requesting a real road be created to his property,  instead of having to drive across someone else’s yard to get to his…

Also a heads up…  Rep Louise Stutes will be in Yakutat for Fairweather Day and we will have a special work session while she is here (probably the 31st)

Fishin’s Good

Once again,  I’m apologizing for the lack of posts…  I really planned to get back on track a couple weeks ago,  then all heck broke loose around here.  Most of it not in a productive way…  But…

As of midnight last night,  Fish and Game doubled the bag limit because the run seems to be catching back up to itself.  To give you an idea about how quickly things change,  let’s compare to last year:

We were running a couple weeks late on this sockeye run,  but now we’re literally neck-to-neck with last year.  As of yesterday’s July 13th count,  we hit 47,156 so far.  Last year at the same date,  we had 50,057 under our belt.  Last year’s total count exceeded 100,000 fish,  so this is shaping up to be a decent run.  Too bad that doesn’t extend to the kings as well,  but we can’t have it all…

And with that said…  we have good fish throughout the system now.  Good fishing just about anywhere.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post some of Chris’ experiences out guiding through the past couple weeks before I head back out to the Akwe.  In the fly shop,  we get comments and complaints every week that the fishing is poor while the nets are in.  Um…  here is the weir graph showing when the nets are in and when they aren’t:

CommFishingSockeye2015

As you can see,  we do see a dip on Tuesday pretty consistently,  however Sunday and Mondays are completely unaffected and the counts at the weir are right back up on Wednesday even when the nets are still in the water.  A fisherman at 9 Mile Bridge last week complained that the fishing up there was poor due to the nets…  It takes several days for the average sockeye to get to the bridge,  so even if the commercial guys were having a dramatic impact,  that “damage” would spread and diffuse as the fish progressed at varying rates upstream.

I guess if you need a justification as to why you are struggling to catch fish,  any excuse will do.  With the light rain that we have had pretty consistently through the past week,  flows are a little higher than ideal,  but far from flooded.  Showing 233 CFS right now,  which is still easily fishable for sockeye.  I think I’d rather be up above the West Fork though to have a little less flow coming in.  Water is still nice and clear,  so you can easily sight-fish.  Over-all,  conditions are really quite good right now on the Situk.

On the Akwe…  well…  not so much.  On Sunday,  Tanis and I started off catching pinks at a 4:1 ration to sockeye.  It improved a lot on the night tide to about 1:2 with sockeye winning out,  but we ended our week with about a 50:50 split on numbers.  The Akwe and Italio have an odd-year run of pinks,  so this year would be expected to be heavy.  Just not this heavy!  We should have caught about a dozen total for the week,  not a couple thousand pounds.  We only get paid 25 cents per pound for pinks.  That is right about my cost to fly them to town myself,  so we do a lot of picking for absolutely zero gain (other than a sore back).  Also three chum and one king.

But I get to be out there with Tanis,  playing with ATV’s and jet-boats.  I’m a fisherman,  so my job description includes endless complaints.  I just have to admit I have little bases for genuine whining…

Sockeye Bag Limit Raised to 6 Daily

Beginning at 12:01am Wednesday July 15th,  2015,  the bag and possession limits for sockeye salmon on the Situk River will increase to 6 per day and 12 in possession.  The biological escapement goal for sockeye salmon in the Situk River is between 30,000 and 70,000 fish.  As of July 13th,  2015,  47,176 sockeye salmon have been counted through the Situk River weir.  Average run timing data for sockeye indicates that 40% of the run is still to come and the escapement goal range is projected to be exceeded.

Anglers are reminded that sport fishing for king salmon was closed by Emergency Order #1-KS-H-17-15 effective at 12:01am Saturday July 11th.  King salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

For further information,  please call the Division of Sport Fish,  Alaska Department of Fish and Game at (907)784-3222.

Situk Sockeye EO 2015 in PDF