Monthly Archives: June 2016

Bob, Stop Procrastinating!

OK,  here is a fishing update at last!

Sockeye fishing on the Situk has been OK over-all,  but not great.  Feels like the run is a bit late.  Looking back over the past 4 years,  we have 6,430 fish counted through the weir as of yesterday.  5,596 last year as of the same date,  but 15,602 in 2014 and 39,012 in 2013.  The river has been pretty low,  but rain this weekend should bring more fish into the system.  There have been good numbers down in the estuary,  with 20,000lbs of commercial catch on the opening day of the season last week.

We already have more than 15,000 sockeye counted in the East River,  so if you are heading there,  the run is going gangbusters already.  Not so much for fish in the Doame though.  Akwe has been a bust so far.  There are a few kings in the Akwe,  but the sockeye have yet to arrive.  Last week,  fishing for sockeye on the New Italio was pretty good for that early in the season.  Chris had been out there with friends and they did pretty well in the stretch in front of Ryman’s Cabin.

Speaking of rain and flows…  Tanis and I were blown off the Akwe for our opening commercial fishing week due to the flushing of moss out of the river.  It just loaded up the nets and we didn’t catch a single fish.  Apparently the Akwe and Italio received a lot more rain than the Situk,  since the Situk is only flowing 177 CFS and still below the average for this time of year.  It is dry today,  but supposed to turn back to rain in another day or two.  It has been VERY dry.

Losing a Friend


Just got word that a good friend of ours died in a plane crash down in Colorado this weekend.  Jere Ferrill was a pilot for Cascade Air and was the most instrumental part of me getting my plane (an old Cascade Air 206).  Not only did he teach me how to fly the 206,  when I bit the bullet and bought the plane back in 2011,  Jere flew up to Yakutat with me to make sure I didn’t kill myself on the couple-thousand-mile trip.

Jere was a contractor who loved to fly.  What a perfect combination for Cascade when they brought the DC-3 back and first acquired the lease on the Hangar.  Jere did a lot of work on the renovation prior to Teen and I taking on the lease when Cascade Air closed.  He put in the windows in my 2nd floor office and the front door of the fly shop…

Then in 2010,  Jere was the co-pilot when he and Rod flew the DC-3 back to Yakutat.  We really only knew Jere for a short while,  but without him,  I don’t think we’d have the hangar now,  or be working toward the museum.

Jere,  you will be missed.


Jere’s backside as we load fish into the plane in 2007


Didn’t the kids look cute back then?

Copy of P8220006

Rod and Jere circle around in N91314 before landing in 2010


Jere an I ready to depart Centenial Airport in Denver, 2011


Stopping in gorgeous Alpine, WY for gas


Somewheren along the route to Yakutat from Denver


Slow Start to Sockeye

Sockeye have been trickling into the Situk for the past couple weeks,  but they are not in any hurry to push upstream.  Several hundred fish are in the lower river below the weir,  settling into about four good holes.  Not a whole lot of fishing pressure,  but enough to make those 4 spots a little crowded.  The guys at the weir are saying none have gone through upstream yet,  although I know Aaron at the Yak Lodge limited out a couple days ago on the float above the weir…

Low,  clear water with bright sun for the next few days.  Today is already shaping up to be gorgeous.  I’m already calling today as a “sick day” and taking the kids out to the Italio to goof off.  Bugs,  or no bugs,  we’re going to go swimming and play in the cool surf.

A week ago,  a local friend put out a subsistence net for sockeye hoping to catch about a dozen fish for their freezer.  Before they had the net set properly,  they had over 50 fish and he had to frantically pull his gear…  The fish are here and close in,  but just not quite in the rivers yet.  I think a little rain would bring the run in proper.

Kings are looking very weak this year,  with none to speak of showing up at Dry Bay,  or the Akwe yet.  There are several in the lower Situk,  but Situk is closed to targeting kings already…  Sockeye in the Situk have been smaller than normal so far.  I think we’re still just a bit early.  Still a few straggling steelhead,  plus lots of dollies throughout.

Halibut in the bay has been excellent lately.  Kings in the bay have also been pretty good…

Expect a LOT of Bugs…

I mentioned our trip to the Italio last weekend and the overwhelming amount of bugs…

We flew out Saturday afternoon and although we had a good stiff northerly blowing,  it didn’t make a dent in the bug swarm around the cabin.  Tanis would not let up trying to get me to go outside and pull the nets out and get ready for fishing…  I didn’t relent and stuck to my planned nap.  We did go for an ATV ride to the Old Italio,  which had essentially dried up in the hot sun.

The winds shifted Sunday,  so the bugs weren’t quite as bad.  We did the nets and pulled the boat out of the weeds.  Then went swimming in the river and surf.  The Middle Italio has a weird pool down toward the mouth that is as big as the neighbor’s hangar and 5 feet deep in places.  No idea how this formed,  but it could be an incredible holding pond for silvers later in the fall.

  1. Tanis flying, 2. Base to Final,  3. Home Sweet Home,  4. ATV ride to the Akwe,  5. The Akwe has eaten the old Italio River Adventures trail and it just plunges into the river now,  6 and 7. Bugs,  bugs and more bugs!
  1. Next day – enough breeze to get some outside work done,  2. Work done,  time to play in the “warm” surf,  3. Tanis’ view from the top of the “outhouse tree”,  4. Monday and time to get ready to leave – dishes and packing


Yesterday,  I flew a friend out to Dry Bay.  On the way back,  I caught a glimpse of a whale jumping and breaching out of the corner of my eye.  I increased altitude and flew out over where they were…  Dozens of whales off the Akwe.  One had his head down and was repeatedly smacking his tail on the surface.  I assumed I spooked him off because he stopped and dove,  only to come right back up,  lay on the surface, roll over,  head down began smacking his tail again.  As usual,  I didn’t have the camera with me…