Better News and Not so Better News

This afternoon,  we had a couple reports from the mouth of the Situk.  Some really good fish coming in at last!  And that is with the commercial nets going into the estuary two days ago…  Can this mean we’re finally starting to see the east-side rivers and their runs arriving?  I hope so.  Good reports off Italio for those fishing the mouth of the Middle.  Good fresh fish coming in there as well.  Lots of fish up at the spruce and alder holes,  but those fish continue to ignore what you throw at them.

And for your next weather report…  We’re expecting a 50 knot storm with about 5 inches of rain to hit us tomorrow afternoon.  This looks to be the worst storm of the season so far.  It could be that these fish are pushing in ahead of the storm instead of the run coming in in earnest,  but I’m choosing to still be optimistic.  Once things settle down after the storm,  we’ll see if there are more fish behind these ones.

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Yana continues to be the star river for the region,  with Italio limping in a distant second.  Akwe reports have been pretty poor for most,  but a couple people out there did just fine.  Akwe is an odd animal and you really need some experience to know where the fish like to hold and where they don’t.  This year with the runs being so late,  that only gets magnified without waves of silvers stacking up everywhere.  Also a mixed bag from the East River.  One good report and several poor ones.  Depends on if you are on the fish or not…

The bite had been very slow the past few days on the Situk,  with the few fish coning in pushing far upstream before they settle down.  As high as 8 miles before the fishing gets good,  so the early part of the float was much better than the end.  That is opposite of what we normally expect this time of year,  with most people rowing downstream to get to the lower half as quickly as possible.  But with a fresh batch coming in today,  we could be back to “normal”,  whatever that is now a days…

Still Slow

I’ll lead with the rationalization that a bad day here is still a pretty good day…  But…

This year’s silver run continues to be mediocre at best.  At least for the Situk,  Italio and the other east-side rivers.  Starting out at the Italio…  of all the fly-outs I have talked to over the past week,  all but one has struggled to justify the cost of the fly-out.  A group of 10 came back with 12 fish and that seems to be the typical experience out there.  The Italio River Adventures group that traded out yesterday said they had to work hard to get fish  unusual for the Italio.  Although they said there was plenty of fish in the usual places,  there are fewer fish than usual and the bite continues to be slow.  The guys who have been camping nearly every September for going on more than 35 years also said it was slow this week.  Italio continues to underperform its reputation.  Apparently just two guys have flown out and caught their limits,  but I didn’t talk to them directly.  They may just be a rumor…  But the Italio has just about the latest run in the area and the fish may still be coming

Situk is also slow for most,  but not all.  On foot,  it has been challenging with the higher water and not a whole lot of fresh fish coming into the river this week.  You can still get your limit of two a day,  but it takes a lot more effort than we have come to expect.  One exception though…  The guys fishing with Frank reported landing about 30 a day,  while coming back to town fairly early.  Otherwise,  the Situk reports have been consistently weak.  As one guy described it…  “It was OK.  Not great,  but OK.  Better than being at work.”

As disappointing as it has been so far this side of Yakutat Bay,  reports off the Yana have been universally great.  Right now,  that is definitely the best fly-out option.  Tsiu is also having a great season.  I have yet to hear a negative report from any river west of Yakutat.  Those runs are earlier than on the Situk,  which makes me suspect we still have a lot of fresh fish to come on this side of the bay.  The Tsiu can be so much earlier that a typical year we’d already be seeing the run on the decline by now.  Not so this year – still at its peak.

In other words,  I still have hope that the run is late and not just dismal.  And like the guy said above,  a bad day on the river here is still a pretty good day…

The Storm has Passed

The storm petered out a little earlier than I was expecting.  Intense,  but short.  It dumped a lot of rain over the course of a few hours and the flows skyrocketed to just over 800 CFS.  But the heavy rain ended around 4pm and although we’re continuing to see some drizzle,  the river is already dropping fast.

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Down to 741 before darkness turned the gage off.  By morning,  it’ll probably be back into the 500’s,  which is still very fishable and this higher water should finally entice some fish into these east-side streams from Lost and Tawah,  to Situk,  Italio,  Akwe and East.

Progress!

Yesterday was a good day around here.  Besides having overcast and dry weather for fishing,  business through the fly shop was brisk and…  we finally got the fuel tanks moved!  The city’s Bull was repaired and they brought it out to the airport to lift the tanks into place.

 

This was a stressful event,  but all went well.  Just a few scratches on the paint.  That’s all.  Electricians arrive next weekend with final install middle of next week.

For such a big beast with no brakes on rough lumpy ground,  they did an amazing job of placing them on the spot!  Huge thanks to Ron and Sampson for their work as well as a big thank you to Sonny for getting the Bull fixed before the rains hit and turned the ground into much.

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In another week and a half,  we should be ready to pump fuel.

Nasty WX Today!

It is blowing hard with expected gusts to exceed 60 knots and potentially up to 5 inches of rain TODAY.  It is intense,  but also supposed be short-lived,  with rain ending around 7pm.  All I can say right now is that it is miserable out there right now!

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Then best and most consistent fly-outs have been to the west-side streams.  Yana and Yahtse have been exceptional this weekend.  Italio seems to still be hit-and-miss,  with some groups doing fine and others not-so-fine.  Akwe has been good though.

We need this rain,  but hopefully it won’t blow the rivers out.  The wind is the problem right now.  Situk has had good fish coming in,  but the bite has been inconsistent at best.  Lost and Tawah just picked up a couple days ago.  Still takes work,  but getting better.

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Tsiu is Very Good Right Now

“Tsiu is very good right now…”

Received a message from David Crawford off the Tsiu.  Every fall,  he sends me a fishing report from his stay at the Tsiu.  Unfortunately our internet has been down for the past two days,  so I wasn’t able to get this posted immediately…

“Lots of fish in the river, hitting multiple different color flies, big and heavy worked best with my 8wt floating line. Polliwogs worked at times which is fun. The river is productive all day but it tends to slow down around mid day.  Early morning and late afternoon were the best times to fish. When we left everyone was saying their are some storms on the way with significant rain.  At times it was so good if you didn’t get a hookup in 1 or 2 casts you would check your fly to make sure it was ok.

Must have Chartreuse flies. Pink, black, and purple colors also worked very well at times.

Thanks
Dave”

I’ll have a report off the rest of the rivers later today…

In Dire Need of Rain

Flows on the Situk are down to 177 CFS this morning,  so we’re in dire need of some rain.  Be careful what you wish for…  It has started to lightly sprinkle and is supposed to rain (or shower) throughout the coming week.  It’ll take quite a bit of rain to saturate our parched ground and bring the river up.  Probably not happening today,  but by Tuesday we should see the river where we want it.  It looks pretty light through most of the week,  with occasional sunbreaks Wednesday,  Saturday and again next Monday.  Not that we expect the forecast to be right a week from now…

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Flows down to 177 CFS right now

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The forecast for the next 2 days

 

Better reports off both the Situk and Italio.  The past two days have been good for everyone I talked to on their Middle Italio fly-outs.  Good fish holding in the lower river and a few starting to stack up in the upper holes.  Also heard good things from the Akwe,  with the people staying at John Latham’s Akwe River Camp.

Everyone seems to be doing better on the Situk.  Still plenty of fish moving in,  but now they seem to be more interested in biting.  A quick comment/opinion about fish behavior…  Since many people and most biologists insist that all salmon stop feeding once they hit fresh water and you are basically just pissing them off with your fly or lure,  why would we see all the rivers turn off for two days.  Did they take something to calm them down for two days?  They wouldn’t be stoned,  since that would give them the munchies and the bite would have been on…  Nevermind…

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Stomach contents of a silver salmon in fresh water…

 

There are fish in the lagoon for the first time and a lot of fish in Ankau.  No reports off the Tsiu for the past couple days.  No groups trading out,  but I’m pretty sure it is still on fire.

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My typical collection of poppers

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More fun than should be legally allowed…

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I don’t think color matters.  Just the disturbance on the surface.  These float better than the spun deer hair poppers and the deep cup attracts a lot of attention.

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So easy,  a kid can do it…  At least a kid that grew up on the river like this one did…