Wonderful Conditions Continue

Our boys (and one girl) came through on their way back home.  The pre-Thanksgiving fishing had most of the fish upstream,  with all of them colored up and no fresh chromers.  Over the weekend,  the weather changed,  warmed up,  increased the flows (but not flooding) and they saw a lot of fresh fish,  active and willing to hit anything.

They still did best on beads,  but swinging the big streamers definitely turned on.  They also reported only seeing the guys at the cabins (who left yesterday) and 4 locals around the bridge area.  They said they have been landing 3-4 for each person every day (for a group of 4),  with double that number with the non-landed LDR’s.  They also said there are a lot of BIG fish.

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So on the 24th,  we were down to 34 degree water.  Now we’re back up to 39.  Flow is at 228 CFS and holding pretty steady.  This last rain brought it up about 100 CFS,  but mostly soaked in.  No snow to speak of on the ground,  so the run-off is warm and not filtered through ice.  We’ll be getting a lot more rain (mixed with snow) through the week,  so we’ll see how long we can pull off these decent fishing conditions.  Flow is still low,  so we can still use another shot of moisture.

Conditions

I hope everyone survived Black Friday.  We were blessed with one single group who came in mostly to give me a fishing report about an hour after we “closed”.  The two guys who arrived two days before spent their first day fishing up above the bridge and found one productive spot.  Said they hooked every fish from the hole at least once…  They wanted to know what the flow was after our cold day of sleet yesterday – 133 CFS and very cold water.  Thanksgiving Day started out down below 34 degrees for the water and 15 degrees for air.  Brrr!

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They landed 3-4 fish each – each of their first two days.  Thanksgiving was spent hiking down 8 Mile Meadow and then down to the confluence.  They ran into the group renting both cabins and ended up sharing Turkey dinner with them,  before hiking out in the dark.  I love steelheaders!  Sharing dinner out on the river with sleet pelting down…

When I pulled up the temperature graph,  they were really surprised the fishing had been as good as it was.  Not exactly on fire,  but pretty good – especially for 34 degree water – the coldest it has been yet!  By evening,  it had warmed up to 37 degrees,  but they said the water had been very low and clear.  The sleet and rain has been continuous tonight,  but flow is still only 146 CFS.  Coming up,  but very slowly.  We also gained another degree overnight,  so we’re back up over 38 degrees and the weekend should be really good.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are all feeling as bloated and uncomfortable as I am tonight…  We have a great many things to be thankful for this year.  It has been a wild year from our end.  New fuel facilities,  WWII celebrations and of course a lot of fishing…

Speaking of fishing…  I promised to keep the steelheaders up to date this November and I’m doing my usual mediocre job of it.  Had several reports through the past week that I haven’t posted,  so here is our Thanksgiving catch-up:

Two guys from ANC arrived last night to fish through the holiday and weekend.  They were here last weekend too and talked to Teen.  They said they fished last week up above the bridge,  but planned to focus downstream to the confluence over the next few days.  Last Friday,  they did really well,  but the temp dropped so cold last Saturday that the bite completely shut off.  Then Sunday it warmed back up again and the bite was back.  It had been a short trip,  so they are here for a lot longer this time.

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Happy Thanksgiving Kristen!  Thanks for the photos.

 

Again,  Teen talked to a group that had camped three days on the river last weekend.  They said they did really well from the bridge to the cabins,  but then ran out of fish for the lower half of the float.  My guess is the water temp dropped cold enough to stop the incoming steelhead,  so that was why the upper half had plenty and the bottom half was devoid of fresh incoming fish.  That other group also said they had hooked fish at the bridge so fresh they still had sea-lice.

There were a couple other reports,  but these were the most detailed and sometimes the Teen translation can get a little muddled…  So basically,  the weather is warming back up now.  Overcast is in and we’re supposed to see some snow over the next couple days that will warm further and turn to rain into early next week.  No major amounts,  so the snow won’t close the road and the rain shouldn’t flood the river.  We’re already back to needing water again!

My guess is that this weekend is probably going to be the best of the fall run and we should see good fishing through next week.  We’re right on the edge of the temp we need,  so this slightly warmer weather will turn everything back on again.

There is supposed to be a group of 6 staying at the cabins this week as well.  Not a whole lot of people out there.

Coho on Crack

Had a visitor today reporting that he couldn’t keep the silvers away from his Dolly Llama.  He said it was like crack to them…  He saw one steelhead,  but didn’t get it to bite.  Unfortunately that is my only fresh report…  Several people/groups have come through on their arrival over the past couple days,  but haven’t been back to give me a fresh report.

Water temp is right at 38 degrees and it did NOT come up much in the day’s sun.  Flow is down to 284,  so conditions are pretty good,  even if the water is a little cool.  Cool,  but not cold.  Supposed to continue to be sunny through most of the weekend,  with a chance of some snow flurries Sunday afternoon.  Then  it will warm up and possibly rain off and on through the early part of next week.

That’s about all I have right now.  Hopefully I’ll get some more reports tomorrow.

Heavy storms all night, but…

We were hammered throughout the night and morning with thunder,  heavy hail and tremendous cloudbursts.  But…  The river held steady and now clearing is moving in.  The flows are right at 500 CFS this afternoon – high,  but not unfishable.  The river should drop quickly through the next day or two and become just about as good as it gets for this time of year.

Hard to know if the river cleared out of steelhead with the high water enabling them to get to the lake.  Water temp is also perfect right now to attract more to come in,  so I’m pretty confident the coming week and weekend will be great steelheading.

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Water’s High, but Still Fishable

We hit about 520 CFS yesterday,  then the rain stopped and we’re moving into cold-clear weather.  It is right at 500 right now.  Water temp is between 42 and 43 degrees.  It’ll be hard to wade downstream right now,  but above the West Fork,  the water is pretty darned good.

Chris and Co. went fishing today for a little while.  They hooked 3 and landed 1.  They weren’t out very long.  He was playing coy with me as to where they were fishing,  but it is pretty easy to guess it was probably the Christmas Tree Hole.  Sorry Chris.

Here is the forecast for the next week:

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We’ll have some more rain over the weekend,  then it dries up and becomes clear and cold.  Possible snow by next weekend.  It is very lightly sprinkling right now,  so the flow will drop some more before it starts rising again.  Like I said at the top though – still very fishable upstream above the bridge and the West Fork.  Still a lot of dollies and resident rainbows throughout the upper river,  but they aren’t hitting as fast and furious as they were in the lower water.

Also some fresh chrome-bright silvers in Tawah Creek for our traditional Thanksgiving Coho.

We Got our Rain!

Rain has been falling pretty hard off and on for the past couple days,  mostly soaking in.  Flows have come up to 261CFS,  which is just the normal average for this date.  258CFS is the mean for today…  So flows are perfect and temperature is 42/43 degrees.  Also perfect.

Had a visitor a couple days ago when the flows were still down at 100.  He wanted to swing streamers and there wasn’t enough water to do it.  He knew it,  but that was what he wanted to do (what I’d want to do too).  He didn’t land any steelhead.  Had some takes,  but caught lots of resident rainbows and dollies to keep him entertained.  It was a short weekend trip,  so not a lot of time on the river.

Today,  Teen had two guys come through the shop on their way home on flight 66.  One of them said he landed 13 today alone.  The steelhead are no longer in hiding and have come out into the river again.

So overall,  I think we have exceptional conditions right now.  We have more rain coming through this week,  but it doesn’t sound like more than an inch or two.  I think as dry as we have been,  we can easily handle another couple inches,  especially since it seems to be coming in showers and breaks.

The run is on.