Feels like the 3rd week of May. A lot of fish are spawning and on redds, but not all of them… From the sounds of it, about half the fish in the upper river are actively spawning. That is where most of the steelhead are right now. We are still seeing relatively good numbers of fresh spring fish arriving though. The run is a bit of a mix… The winter fish are nearing the end of their river stay, while the spring run is also early, but not by as much.
Wednesday was a gorgeous spring sunny day and we had a LOT of traffic through the shop complaining about how tough the fishing was. Comments like “there is 1/10th the fish in the river compared to yesterday”… Obviously the fish were still there, but they just went into hiding with the bright sun. All but 4 people complained about the fishing – two singles unrelated to each other passed through and said they had exceptional mornings. Then two friends of mine from Anchorage arrived, loitered for a few hours after jet-time and headed out in the late afternoon and had a great evening. They landed 13 steelhead between them and had at least that many more on.
Yesterday, the clouds moved back in and suddenly everyone had another great day of fishing. What a surprise! Most common flies remain the Dolly Llamas, followed by beads, but the upper river fish have been seeing a LOT of both over the past several weeks. I sent some guys out with Polar Shrimp and they did very well. Sent some other guys out with Polar Shrimp and they went back to Dolly Llamas… You win a few, you lose a few…
The dollies have really taken over some parts of the river too… The resident rainbows are in force throughout the upper river now. Water is flowing in the lower 200’s last I checked, with some light rain expected over the next couple days. Conditions are still very good overall, but I wouldn’t expect to see more than a couple weeks more of this run. It depends on whether the spring fish continue in, or if they trail off in the near future. We’re seeing quite a few downstreamers now and the weir won’t be counting a sizable portion of the run.