Category Archives: Alaska

Too Miserable for Chris

Chris said he was going fishing today.  And…  nope.  The river flow is going through the roof and we’re looking at another 4 inches of rain before the storm ends.  The gage is broken,  so no accurate flow rate,  but it is heading straight up.

“The Boys” did go fishing at the lower end just as the last storm hit.  Flow then was still under 100 and the water temp crashed again to 35 degrees.  They didn’t see anything.  It has been a week of constant sleet since then,  turning to real rain last night.

Cody and Kraig from the Lodge started cutting logjams yesterday with Frank’s help and guidance.  They were able to clear the mega-jam in the Rodeo Hole,  but will be taking some time off until the river stops rising.  They didn’t “see” anything in the river yesterday,  but the water was rising fast and pretty opaque.  This flood should start some fish coming in,  providing the temperature stays high enough.

Chris sent me some photos of the Rodeo logjam and I’ll post that mess as soon as I find where  saved them to.  Otherwise,  no real news yet…

Early March Conditions

Yes,  I do have a fishing report!  Not a good one,  but I have one!  The boys (which didn’t include me) went upstream above the bridge.  VERY low water down to around 70 CFS.  Water temp on the gage topped out at 37 degrees,  but Chris’ two thermometers showed 38 (attached to his foot) and the infrared hand-held read 40.  Keep in mind,  you’ll gain about 4 degrees from the bridge to the take-out on a sunny day.

They did not see any fish anywhere.  It was overcast for most of the morning,  so no bright sun and glare on the water.  Just no fish anywhere visible.  The water temp seems to be up into the bottom end of the desired range,  but just not enough water to draw them in.

I suspect we have steelhead down at the estuary that will come in on the tide and then flee back to the estuary as the water drops out.  But no one went down there to fish this time.

It is still sunny at the moment,  but that is supposed to turn to rain after 3pm,  with a mix of rain and snow throughout the coming week.  We’ll see what it looks like after we see some precip.

Winters in Yakutat

Pretty slow around here and hard to get motivated to do much (including blog).  But tonight is a very full moon rising over the end of runway 20.  And through all my heavy insulation in the hangar office,  you can hear the wolves howling.  They have been doing it for about a half hour now.  Life in Yakutat year ’round can be hard,  but moments like this put it all in perspective and remind me why I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

And on that note…  Chris came back from Colorado about a week ago and immediately went fishing.  Well,  he went hiking anyway…  Hiked about 3/4th of the way up to the closure boundary and did not see a single fish.  Bummer for him,  but good news for the steelheaders coming later in April and May.  There are a handful of fish scattered around (I heard two of the 5 in the bridge hole were landed,  but those fish have vaporized),  but the run is not even close to starting to show.  Nothing like two years ago,  where February was pretty darned good and the run was basically over by mid-April…

Having some sleet and slush falling,  but not accumulating much.  Still a near zero snowpack,  which will make the river temp rise very quickly once we do see the warmth of April.  That is unless we get a big dumping,  which often happens in March.  Last year,  we had more fish in the river in Feb than we do now,  but 3 feet of late snow in March stalled the run and it ended up being relatively close to on-time.

Chris said the river looked perfect for fishing.  Good flow,  decent temperature.  Just no fish to be had.

And message to Doug Pautz and Wesley Reynolds…  Check your spam folders…  I answered your messages,  but I don’t think you got the reply…

City of Yakutat Job Opening – Cop!

The City and Borough of Yakutat just posted a job listing for a full-time police officer.  Here is the posting,  followed by links for downloading the application,  etc.

2019 Police Officer Notice_Page_12019 Police Officer Notice_Page_2

2019 Police Officer Notice in PDF

CBY Application in PDF

F-3 Form in PDF

Prelim Spring Steelhead Update

Yes,  we’re still alive.  That 3-week flu in November really set me back,  followed by holidays and Tanis coming home from school and then taxes…  But all that is behind us and now we’re just waiting for some warmth.

Warning right off the bat…  we have literally ZERO snow.  None.  The little we did have all rained off this past week.  Flows hit around 500 and water temp hit 37.  Should have some steelhead in the river under those conditions,  but no one has been out to check.  Chris comes back in a week,  so he’ll get me a real report.  Who knows,  maybe I’ll actually go fishing for the first time in over a year…

With no snow,  I’d expect this to be another early run.  Short of some major snow event(s),  we won’t have much to keep the spring rains cooler and hold off the spawning.  Looking a lot like two years ago when we peaked around the 1st of April and by May,  the run was done.  Been VERY cold for a couple weeks (with all my water pipes frozen solid at the hangar),  and with no snow insulation,  the lakes are pretty solid.  So expect spring fish to be early and winter fish to be late getting out of the lake.

But there is snow throughout the coming week’s forecast.  Is that enough?  Doesn’t look like it.  Coming in inches,  not feet.  No major winter storm warnings in the foreseeable future.

OK,  back to cleaning my office,  putting spring fly shop orders together and thawing the pipes (again).  This morning, we have half the water running,  but not to the bathroom with the shower,  or the laundry.

100 Years Ago – a War that Never Ended

Who’s ready for a long rambling post?  In 12 minutes Alaska time (as I start typing this),  we mark the official ending of The Great War – the War to End All Wars.  It didn’t end anything.  Didn’t solve anything and didn’t prove anything.  As part of my hangar tours,  I say that there really wasn’t two separate world wars.  Just one conflict between mostly the same belligerents with a 13 or so year armistice in the middle.  (WWII began in 1931 with Japan’s invasion of Manchuria,  not in Euro-centric 1939…)

On 11/11/1918,  most soldiers on both sides had no idea what was happening.  3,000 servicemen died on the morning of November 11th,  as the Americans crossed the Meuse River,  leaving the bodies of Marines behind as they pushed through the fire of the German Maxim guns.  The Americans were seizing the high ground,  pushing the Germans back toward their homeland.  Then everything went silent.  Orders came forward from General Lejeune that our men were to retreat to the position they held at 11 o’clock.  Retreat to a position with our backs against the river with no escape,  should this prove to be just another rumor.  Back – past the piles of bodies,  who until moments ago had been their fellow marines,  friends,  brothers.  All killed AFTER the armistice.

LibertyBondHunn2-1917

A 1917 Bond Drive poster from our collection

Japan and England were allies in WWI.  England asked them to strike Germany’s colonial outposts in the far east.  Japan wondered why they were doing this for England and not for themselves…  They spent the next 13 years reorganizing their society and building an army and navy capable of taking over half the world.  Italy too changed sides,  joining Germany and Japan,  after being on the side of France,  England,  Russia and the United States in the Great War.  An end to active fighting on 11/11 didn’t end the anger,  hatred,  jealousy,  coveting and desire for revenge.  Another 100 years passing hasn’t changed that either.

As part of our WWII hangar tour,  I show two infantry rifles from our collection.  One is a Japanese Koishilawa rifle made around 1927 or 1928.  The Japanese stopped making these in 1929.  The other rifle was actually my dad’s hunting rifle.  It is a Smith Corona 30.06.  I call it my “typewriter”,  because it was made by the Smith Corona typewriter company.  These two artifacts together really illustrate the difference in preparedness between Japan and the United States at the start of WWII.  Japan thought they were so well-prepared for their global conquest that they literally stopped making these infantry rifles in 1929!  The US was so ill-prepared,  we had to have typewriter companies like Smith Corona and IBM make WWI-era rifles for our soldiers to carry.

LaborDeptPropaganda1918

Um…  we had a US Department of Labor CHILDREN’S BUREAU in 1918???

Our two Coastal Defense cannons on Cannon Beach are WWI guns.  They were supposed to be installed on a new battleship in 1919,  but after signing the Naval Agreement,  the size of everyone’s navies (except Germany and Japan apparently) was restricted.  The new ship was scrapped and the guns placed in storage.  In early 1942,  these guns were pulled out and shipped throughout Alaska.  WWI supplying the defense of Alaska in WWII.

If you go to the Aviation Museum in Anchorage,  look for two framed pieces of WWI aircraft skin on display.  They come from the aircraft of Charles H Russell,  a member of the Lafayette Escadrille in France during WWI.  The Lafayette Escadrille (originally called the American Escadrille,  but the Germans complained and so they changed the name…) consisted of a group of American volunteers flying for France prior to the United States’ direct involvement in WWI.  Basically an all American “French Foreign Legion” group of pilots.  A wonderful book that covers the Lafayette Escadrille (along with Manfred von Richthofen,  Pershing,  Patton) is To the Last Man,  by Jeff Shaara.  The Russells are a very prominent family in Yakutat,  since Charles H’s son moved here about 60-70years ago.

At the end of WWI,  we all held hands and signed treaties to reduce our military effectiveness voluntarily.  We didn’t change human nature.  We deliberately weakened ourselves,  making us vulnerable to aggressive psychos who’s goal was/is to subjugate and dominate the world.  Those people haven’t disappeared after 100 years.  They are still looking-hoping for a weakness to exploit.  Our only defense is a military so strong and deadly that the world fears a conflict with it.  And to keep our own aggressive psychos in check,  an armed populace to strong and deadly that our government fears a conflict with it.

And a hope that we never have to use either.  Thank you to all our veterans on this and EVERY day.

NavyRecruit-1917

This 1917 Navy recruiting poster with “Christy Girl” is our most valuable propaganda poster in the collection (so far)

My Only 1st-Hand Fishing Report

Night before last,  Patrick came through the shop with a fresh report…  I would have posted this earlier,  but I’m suffering through a really bad cold/flu and have been in bed most of the past week.

So he went down and fished hard down at the lower landing end of the river.  Chased some fish around,  but didn’t touch any.  I haven’t had any success in this fall season down there.  Seems as though these fall steelhead are in a hurry to get upstream and don’t slow down enough to have much success in the lower river.  And his efforts were rewarded by getting charged in the dark by a sow with cubs…  So we still have some bears on the river.

Next day,  he went to the bridge and had better success.  First cast in the bridge hole,  he had a steelhead hammer his bead.  He said he was excited to have a hot fishing day ahead of him.  Unfortunately for a long time,  that was his only hit…  Water was clear,  low and had become pretty cold after a few days of deep freezing clear nights.  Then it started to rain…

The moment the raindrops started hitting the surface,  the bite was on.  He said it was a fish on nearly every cast.  A mix of dollies,  resident rainbows,  steelhead and one huge silver.  Then it got dark and he had to get to the shop before we closed…

So that is the ONLY fishing report I have had.  Right now,  we have one guy at the Forest Service cabins,  three guys in a jet-boat,  Patrick,  two guys arrived last night and two more on today’s morning flight.  There were a couple extra cars in the 9 Mile parking lot,  but the people weren’t seen anywhere…  Pretty quiet.

It has now changed back to rain – well,  scattered showers.  Warmer,  so water temp is back to being perfect.  Flow right at 300 CFS.  Just about perfect conditions through the weekend,  with heavier rain coming Sunday night…