Flows a little high

We have had 5 inches of rain fall through the past week.  Yesterday was mostly dry,  but the ground is saturated and the last of the melting snow has been keeping the flows at just under 500 CFS thro9ugh the weekend.  Water temperature is high,  so we are “probably” seeing fresh fish coming in toward the mouth,  but I haven’t heard any reports coming from there.

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With the higher water,  fishing has been relatively slow for the fly guys.  The spoon fishermen are having no troubles at all,  able to get down quicker and cover more water.  We’re expecting to see more of this light rain through the early part of next week,  then it turns to sun by Wednesday.  And I also hope to have the new river reports page ready for prime time this week too…

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Running About Two Weeks Early…

That heavy snow we had last week is all but gone now,  after it turned to rain,  then better part of a week’s worth of warm sunny weather.  Water temperatures actually topped that magic 4 degrees C a couple times this week,  making conditions suitable to pull the spring run in.  This is the first time the temps have hit that so far this season.

Today's photos courtesy of Devon,  from Icy Bay Lodge,  who is in town goofing off instead of working...

Today’s photos courtesy of Devon, from Icy Bay Lodge, who is in town goofing off instead of working…

All indications right now look to be about 2 weeks early.  The cold spell and snow seems to have stalled the grossly early run for a couple weeks,  so we’re no longer a full month early.  That makes me sigh in relief,  since there will still be fresh fish coming in in May.  For a while there,  it wasn’t looking good for the latter half of the booking season.  I still recommend against dawdling this year,  but we’re a lot closer to normal than we were.

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On the float this past week,  the majority of fish were chromers fresh out of the ocean.  More and more fish are starting to stack up throughout the river.  Fishing traffic has been very light,  even though the fishing has been great.  Yes,  I’m using the “G” word now…  Very active fish.  Majority of fish hooked above the bridge are winter colored fish,  so we have a good mix of both spring and winter in the system now.

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The lakes around town did freeze up again,  but I doubt Situk Lake froze enough to prevent anyone from escaping.  As I said,  most of the snow is gone,  unless it was plowed into a pile somewhere.  Roads are all wide open and the trails are mostly snow-free.  You can even hike into Situk Lake unobstructed on the formal Forest Service short-cut trail to the cabin – how often does that happen???

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As an added bonus,  we’re already seeing the resident rainbows as low as the cabins,  so more than just the ocean-run right now.  I haven’t been out there,  but my guess is even Pike Lake is accessible,  but may have some ice left on it right now…  And Tawah is seeing its sea-run population starting in already.  About 60 cuts are there under the REL Bridge,  with undoubtedly more farther down toward tidewater.  They don’t usually show till the end of April,  so they are about 3 weeks earlier than normal.

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Well? Are you motivated yet???

I think it is safe to say,  you can start booking your tickets any time now.  It’ll just keep improving as we march through April,  but there are as many fish in the river now as we have been seeing mid-April.  There are a couple groups here right now,  but otherwise,  pressure is very low at the moment.  I expect that to change in another week – people are real hesitant to book in March for good reason,  but the fish are definitely in now and just getting better day by day.

Heavy rains last night more than doubled the flows to just shy of 500 CFS.  Ice pellets are pelting the window behind me as I type this,  but we’re not expecting any snow accumulations.  Looks like a good weekend for steelheading – a little wet,  but not cold.

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If Only…

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Thanks Charlie.  Go do your therapy you turd!

Our Snows have Pushed Spring Off (a little)

With the couple feet of wet snow that fell over the past week,  spring was held at bay for a little longer.  Fishing the past few days has definitely been slower than what we had been seeing.  Water cooled down,  raised the water a bit (but not a lot).  Yesterday and today ended up being gorgeous sunny days,  so the fish scattered and were a lot tougher to find.  Chris went fishing and landed one steelhead and one little resident rainbow.  Then he and Clayton had a nice walk back to town,  when MY Suburban wouldn’t start.  OOPS!  Needs a new battery,  but THEY KNEW THAT!  I’m not taking the blame for this one (even though I probably should).  My blog,  so I can pass blame onto anyone I want,  right?

The roads were a mess throughout the storm,  but DOT had them all plowed and bare by today

The roads were a mess throughout the storm, but DOT had them all plowed and bare by today

Looks cold

Looks cold

No picture of Clayton,  but here is his gorgeous spring chrome (technically a winter fish since it is still winter...

No picture of Clayton, but here is his gorgeous spring chrome (technically a winter fish since it is still winter…

Fish on!

Fish on!

Colored-up winter steelhead

Colored-up winter steelhead

Nice release portrait

Nice release portrait from their first trip

Looks nlike Dolly Llama was king today!

Looks like Dolly Llama was king today!  This is from today…

Cute little rainbow,  ambitious hitting that Dolly Llama and then jumping 5 times into the air

Cute little rainbow, ambitious hitting that Dolly Llama and then jumping 5 times into the air

Road selfie

Road selfie

Car lights in the distance,  but they turned around before reaching our hapless heros

Car lights in the distance, but they turned around before reaching our hapless heroes

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March 19th, 2015 Assembly Meeting

I’m late in posting the attachments for tonight’s assembly meeting,  since it was over an hour ago…  Not much on the agenda…  We approved a resolution to sell “certain borough owned equipment” including a band new landing craft the city had no business buying in the first place.  We also approved a resolution supporting an application for a Rasmuson grant to repair our pool.  We approved a new taxi permit and we did not approve a school budget request that is nearly $100,000 more than the city has in the special revenue fund for the school.  It will be sent back to the school board with an explanation that the city has $454,000 available for the school,  well shy of the $538,000 requested.

In addition to our private sector efforts to stimulate some local economy,  the city is sponsoring an “economic summit” on April 11th 11am to 4pm at the school auditorium.  All the cool kids are going to be there.

Here are the attachments:

March 19 packet
The notice and agenda,  resolutions,  manager’s report,  etc.

15-233-B surplus Landing Craft
The corrected RES 15-233-B that was included in the packet but needed some words corrected

Yak School budget FY16 request
School budget request letter from Superintendent Gray

TOWN_HALL_ECO_SUMMIT
The flier for the econ summit next month,  with speakers list (proposed list – I don’t believe everyone has responded that they could attend yet…)

What Fool Said “Spring Was Here”?

Ya,  I know.  It was me.  Winter finally arrived!  About 18 inches of white since Sunday.  Heavy wet snows,  with clear sunbreaks,  followed by more snows.  The ground is warm,  but the snow came down so fast and furious that it was able to build up pretty good.

Chris took a nice picture here of a lens smudge...

Chris took a nice picture here of a lens smudge…

Tuesday is supposed to warm up and turn to rain.  Expecting to see another foot before it does though.  The road is still reasonably drivable with 4-wheel drive.  Not sure if it will be with another foot on it,  but the rain will wash it away pretty quickly.  Water temp dropped back down to 34 degrees,  which will help slow the spring run down a bit.  And we’ll have at least a little snow along the banks to keep the flow going through any dry spells.  Believe me,  we needed this!

The snow just starting to fall

The snow just starting to fall

Starting to stick

Starting to stick

A pile emerges on the ramp

A pile emerges on the ramp

Oh,  I don't need to put the plane away...

Oh, I don’t need to put the plane away…

Watch the wingtip DOT!

Watch the wingtip DOT!

This was more than the forecast said

This was more than the forecast said

Great!  Now what?

Great! Now what?

Gusting throughout today,  for a miserable time outside.  Looks like the perfect day to stay indoors and bake cookies!

Peanut butter cookies,  waiting to cool before dipping them in melted chocolate

Peanut butter cookies, waiting to cool before dipping them in melted chocolate

And one more "almost" photo of a steelhead by Chris

And one more “almost” photo of a steelhead by Chris

The plane is inside now,  but it took a lot of shoveling.  Next time,  plan ahead!

March Steelhead Float

Chrome-bright spring steelhead are now definitely in the river!

Chrome-bright spring steelhead are now definitely in the river!

Yesterday,  Chris and I took a research float of the Situk,  to see how bad the log jams are and how the early run is looking.  I’m still tired and achy from the trip (plus we continue to have phone problems here at the hangar),  so I’m a little slow today.  We also woke this morning to a clean coating of white – about an inch of snow stuck last night and we are supposed to get another inch or two tonight and/or tomorrow.  Nothing to close the roads,  just enough to flock the trees and cover our roadside garbage…

The guys who do the city's annual audit are here doing an audit of the early run...

The guys who do the city’s annual audit are here doing an audit of the early run…

We pumped up my little 3-man Avon raft and headed out.  I didn’t know if there are any unpassable logjams,  so I figured the raft was a safer bet than trying to get a driftboat up and over a downed tree.  As it was,  someone (probably Bob Fraker) has been out cutting the logs out and the river is completely driftable.  They must have been out recently,  since some of the cut sections of trees were still drifting around the pools,  or hung up on the next jam downstream.  There is still one log that crosses full-width,  but it is slightly below waterline and you can slide over it easily.  Our raft still hung up on it,  but only because Chris’ butt was causing the raft floor to sag…

https://vimeo.com/121724098

We were not alone…  two guys came in this weekend for a short trip.  They arrived Saturday and hiked upstream for one steelhead each above the bridge.  Yesterday,  they followed shortly behind us in their Alpaca rafts and we played leapfrog twice with them.  They said they were headed to the confluence and intended to hike back out on the trail.  We decided to make some time and get well ahead of them so we wouldn’t disturb their fishing.  Granted there were only 4 people fishing yesterday for the whole river,  but they didn’t need us beating the few fish we saw to death ahead of them…

A sunny lunchbreak at the Middle Situk Forest Service cabins

A sunny lunch-break at the Middle Situk Forest Service cabins

Back on the water,  with less comfortable weather again

Back on the water, with less comfortable weather again

Chris and I scattered fish in a couple spots early on,  but the river became barren pretty quickly.  Not a sign of steelhead anywhere near the Old Situk confluence,  or the cabins.  Pretty slow anywhere above the Middle Finger.  From there to the Ox Bow,  we saw more fish than the rest of the float.  About a dozen spots that held fishable numbers,  with two groups worth spending a lot of time harassing.

That's why we were there...

That’s why we were there…

Below the Ox Bow,  we scared a few singles that were scattered across the shallows above the weir.  Not a single fish sighted below the weir.  I would say there are a couple hundred fresh steelhead along the float right now.  Not a lot,  but considering there are no fishermen,  it can make for an entertaining trip.

https://vimeo.com/121733395

There are more fish above the bridge than below.  Looks like we are seeing a few of the lake fish coming out,  but the mix of bright chromers to blushed winter fish are about 50:50.  Had a call just a few minutes ago from a local who walked up above the bridge yesterday while I was floating.  He said he ran into two groups of 20-40 fish well above the crossing.  Both were around the meadow.  He ran into the other two guys (must have been after they floated and hiked back upstream to the bridge).  Otherwise,  there aren’t any other anglers out there.

Alternating between misery and ecstasy...  What a wild day weather-wise

Alternating between misery and ecstasy… What a wild day weather-wise

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The river water was darker than I expected through the first half of the float, making it hard to see into the deeper runs – and looks crystal-clear in this photo when the sun came out briefly!

The snow is coming down hard as I type this.  Plows are trying to clear the airport ramp.  The trouble this time of year is that we can always be hit by a storm that shuts down access for a while.  I don’t see this storm doing it,  but there is always that risk.  Spring is here,  this is just a scare…  Probably…

This morning,  we had a little more snow to shovel - winter isn't quite done yet.  Another 3 inches have fallen throughout today,  but it is warm and wet.

This morning, we had a little more snow to shovel – winter isn’t quite done yet. Another 3 inches have fallen throughout today, but it is warm and wet.

More photos to add than text to interrupt...

More photos to add than text to interrupt…

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Chris spent the night before playing with his nail polish,  even though streamers were more successful

Chris spent the night before playing with his nail polish, even though streamers were more successful

Brrrr!

Brrrr!

https://vimeo.com/121730818

https://vimeo.com/121729174

https://vimeo.com/121721492

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