Our Cold-Dry Spell Ends

We have been waiting for over a month for this cold trend to end and it finally has!  This morning’s weather while we worked the mail flight was miserable,  with driving wind and rain.  It just started as we began prepping and by 6am it has calmed right back down again,  but it is supposed to stay “warm” through till Friday morning,  with showers and lower amounts of rain.  The flow gage isn’t broadcasting the updates till daylight comes (it only updates the web page when it is light and the power is being fed by the solar panels),  so we still don’t show much improvement on the flows – dropped down to 80 CFS a day ago,  but was just starting to climb to 111 as the sun set last night.

So a morning with heavy rain and water temp back up to 38 degrees.  The weekend is supposed to dry out and drop to just below freezing with warm rain returning Sunday night and throughout next week.

In other words…  those of you who wanted to push your steelhead trip till December may hit the jackpot.  Flows and temps are coming up at long last!

The only group last week I talked to struggled just as much as everyone else this season.  They left a couple days ago and said everyone caught ONE fish for the week (except the girl who caught two…).  They had pretty poor conditions,  but still made it work.  But it is looking like conditions will be improving finally.  I’m still not ready to call the season over…

*****NOON UPDATE*****

The rain was short-lived this morning,  with sunbreaks now.  Flow came up to only 125CFS.  Not much rain coming in the next couple days,  but looking like warm rain throughout the entire next week.  I may even have to drag my own butt out and go steelheading!  I haven’t had time to wet my own line since November last year!

Temperatures are in Celsius,  but 5-8 degrees C is 41-46.4 degrees F.  Thursday is looking pretty darned good right now!


Look how low we are compared to “normal”…  Should be around 300 CFS…




I hope this finds everyone well and you feel as sickly bloated as I do…  I didn’t need the third slice of pie,  but I’m going to refrain from posting that video of the exploding whale from a few years back.  Why do I always do this???  You’d think I’d learn,  especially after having my stomach “pop” two months ago…


Unless you count garlic-stuffed olives,  why waste space on the plate (or table) with veggies?


We prepped for our nice quiet Thanksgiving by watching John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in the Quiet Man.  I sure hope I’m not labeled a sexist pig for forcing my wife and children to watch such a horrible film as this…  Or…  they were watching it while I was slaving away in the kitchen and had to keep running into the office to watch the best parts.  Parts like these:

One of the all-time greatest movies!

After dinner,  we had our pie and played a couple games of Pinochle,  until the bickering exceeded all of our patience.  Teen and I won both games…  That doesn’t happen very often anymore.

We are up to about a foot of snow now.  DOT had the holiday off,  so we won’t be seeing the ACE mail plane in the morning.  Too much snow for the plane to land at 4am.  Two days in a row to sleep in!  That doesn’t happen very often either.


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

And we have s much to be thankful for this year.  For starters,  we’re all alive…  Not something I’ll be taking for granted any time soon…

It is a quiet day here,  with the fly shop closed,  5 inches of fresh snow on the ramp and runways with snow falling right now.  I don’t think we’ll be seeing any planes today,  with Alaska Airlines and ACE Air Cargo flights cancelled for the holiday.  Just the 4 of us spending a nice day and evening together.

I hope all of you are warm,  safe and healthy too.  The turkey is baking,  just finished the final touches on dessert and will start on the horseradish sauce for the potatoes shortly.  Teen is cheating on the rolls,  so the bread machine is doing the work there…


Last night’s snow unplowed on the ramp outside my office window, with the small airport snowpile in the middle and Alaska Air terminal in the distance

Misty-foggy here in Yakutat,  with light snow falling and no wind.  Just a picture-perfect day.  Take care and we’ll see you after seconds and a nap or two…


Making the fudge topping for the peanut butter cheesecake – a Miller Family tradition



Finished product – about 12,000 calories for those counting at home…  🙂



Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving from the Millers and we hope you eat yourselves into a coma like we will be…



Warming, but…

I’m not ready to call the 2017 season as over…  It has been pretty dismal so far with the extreme cold,  but we keep seeing warming in the forecast.  At some point,  the weather forecasts have to be right.  They can’t be wrong every time,  can they?  Nevermind…  I didn’t ask that.

Last night while I ran to town.  Cory stopped in to give us a report (as translated by Teen…):

Came in Friday, fished Saturday, took Sunday off and Fished today (Monday).
Lower river is frozen over.
# in group:  4.
Report:  super slow
Fished:  9 mile primarily.  Hiked to the meadow most days, and (believe) one day walked to the confluence.
Today:  Landed 6 (between 4 people).
Fish:  very lethargic
Made very clear, SUPER SLOW.

The “today” in the report is really yesterday and you can see why they landed 6 in the water temp graph and not the day before:


Water temp crashed at 9 Mile to 32.5F and the lower river froze over.  Yikes!  But yesterday and today,  the temperature climbed dramatically and although we’re still right at freezing today,  yesterday came up a couple degrees above.  Partly clear skies right now,  but with an occasional flurry of snow and sleet.  Here is the forecast through the holiday weekend:


The weekend doesn’t look so hot,  but a warming trend is on the way INCLUDING RAIN through most of next week.  Anyone who has put off their steelhead trip hoping to see this kind of a trend should be happy.  But it actually has to happen…  We’ve seem these promises before,  only to have the rug yanked out from under us…

Flow is down to just 109CFS.  Without this rain coming,  I would stick a fork in the season and give up.  If the rain comes,  we’ll have some mighty good fishing.  Keep an eye on that forecast!

Alaska Warbird in Smithsonian

A friend of ours lives down in Florida,  who’s grandfather served in Alaska during WWII with the RCAF.  She has a great blog that honors her granddad as well as the other men who fought and served during the Aleutian campaign.  Her link has been on the right side of my blog for several years under the “WWII Web Sites” box titled “Florida Beaches to the Bering Sea“…

This morning,  Karen e-mailed to say she had helped to find the true identity of the P-40 hanging in the Smithsonian Air and Space museum…  It was her grandfather’s plane!


The Smithsonian just posted a story about the plane and its history on their website:


All I can really add is that I hope they repaint it someday to her original colors,  to honor the men who actually flew her instead of someone who didn’t…


Cold Fall

We are having an extremely cold fall,  slipping back into this sunny frigid weather again.  So much for the warmer week we were hoping for!

Gorgeous,  but the low temps have dropped the Situk’s water temperature well below where we want it to be for steelheading.  Fishing is very slow compared to what we usually see in the middle of November.  We only saw conditions in the ideal range for about 5 days,  then we dropped to where we’re seeing ice along the edges of moving water.

Last week we had more fishermen than we usually see this time of year,  but no one did a whole lot.  A group of 4 just left and stopped in before their flight to give me a report.  They said they were landing 3-4 fish for the group each day.  Hey,  not too bad for any river not named “Situk”,  but we have higher expectations than that.  And they are frequent Situk fliers,  coming both spring and fall every year.  They know the river well and definitely were out-fishing most everyone else around.

This weekend,  we are expecting a change in the weather,  but not necessarily any warmer…  Cold dry snow is expected to fall for a few days,  but nothing that will raise the water temp,  or water flow levels.  Air temp dropped to 15 degrees last night,  bringing the water temp to 34 degrees and flows to 135 CFS.  “Normal for this time of year is closer to 300 CFS and temperatures closer to 40F.

There are fish in the river,  but not a lot.  They are catchable,  but only about one hook-up a day.  Not exactly Situk-level reputation.  Unless we see a significant change in the weather patterns (which could happen at any time…),  don’t expect much from this fall’s run.

By the way…  fishing the upper river,  they did see a few relatively fresh silvers with just a little blush.  Not chromers,  but still edible for my fresh Thanksgiving Day salmon…

A Slow Steelhead Season

Things were looking very promising as of my last post,  with the water flows and temperature dropping into “ideal” territory.  But then the trend continued to drop on both counts and we’re low and cold.  Water temp dropped down to 36.5F yesterday and the rain we were supposed to see early this past week didn’t happen.

Last week, w e definitely had more fishermen here than we would expect to see and the fishing was pretty slow.  Reports coming in were that people were catching a steelhead or two every other day or so…  So pretty slow. Beads were doing better than the streamers,  but nothing was really working all that great.

But…  it started lightly snowing last night (for the first snow to stick this year).  Just a trace out on the pavement with nothing sticking to the grass.  It has been continuing to warm though the morning and now is looking more like sleet as flight 61 comes in on final.

And flow isn’t too bad.  Just a hair below 200 CFS,  with the water temp coming right back up over 39 degrees as of 11am.  The coming forecast is for a warming trend through Monday (instead of the teens at night this past week).  Next week will be just below freezing,  but not by much.  Nighttime lows around 30 degrees.  So the coming week is definitely looking better than the past week…

I am a little blind on the river conditions without having Chris obsessively out there every day,  but we did have several first hand reports from the people populating the river form out of town and also Adam from the Yakutat B&B on the Bay.  Adam is shaping up to be Chris’ understudy and becoming a good source of fresh info for me when he gets out there.  Not as frequently as Chris,  but better than me having to go out into the cold and flail all day over empty water…

Although I may break down and head out there with Adam next week sometime.  If the forecast holds,  it may make for really good conditions!  Time will tell.