Category Archives: Alaska

How Late Can This Run Be?

This morning,  the weather forecast was saying we’d be heading into some sunny weather for the rest of the week.  Now,  it is showing partly sunny Wednesday,  cloudy Thursday and then back to rain.  Water temp has mostly remained below 40 degrees this week with night-time lows back down to only 36.  Warmer at night,  colder during the day than last week when we had sun.  This morning’s rain brought flows back up to 326 CFS,  but we have stayed between 250 and 350 for a while now.  Great flows for floating,  wading and for the health of the run,  but the water is still a little too cold.

The winter fish are throughout the upper half of the river.  Spring fish on the other hand are kind of few and far between right now.  The drop in day temp this week shut them off again.  We have been essentially dolly-free so far,  which makes me think the run has yet to come,  as opposed to being a bad one.  The dollies follow the spring run in and we still have neither.  Just a couple here and there being seen,  let alone caught…  So strange not to have hordes of dollies by this time feeding on spawning steelhead.  The cutthroat did finally show up on Tawah,  so they are about two weeks late there.  But they did show up!  We are seeing a few winter hens dropping eggs in a couple spots,  but I don’t think the bucks are ready.

Fishing has definitely been underwhelming so far.  I just think the run is still waiting.  A warm spell would bring in a flood of spring steelhead,  but we are still hovering in the 30’s instead of low 40’s on the water.  Three more degrees would change everything.  You know it is coming,  it just isn’t here yet.  I think we had more people in early April than we have ever seen – not the year to come early!  Instead,  anyone coming in mid to late May will be far better off.  And probably well into June!  I hope the steelhead are able to make it in,  spawn and be gone before the sockeye run starts in and the commercial fishery opens.  In the meantime,  if you want to fish through the end of May,  you’ll have better fishing than anything we saw in April.

Don’t be afraid to schedule a last-minute trip.  All those early runs of late has made everyone shift to April instead of May,  but this is the year to come late.

Winter Steelhead are Out

OK,  the winter steelhead are definitely coming out of the lake now.  People are hooking into some really big colored-up fish in the upper river the past two days.  Although yesterday morning was dead at tidewater,  fish are spreading out throughout the entire river.  Looking really good in the coming week.  Supposed to change to rain tomorrow with rain,  or showers continuing through at least Monday.  It has been a struggle in the sun as it always is in the sun,  but overcast and rain through into next week is going to make all the planets align.

Water temp is still dropping to 34-34.5 at night (which would explain why no fish wanted to come in on the morning tide…),  but daytime highs in the sun have topped 43 the past couple days.  Overcast will mean cooler day high and warmer night low – in the perfect range for fishing.  Could be epic for those of you who waited…

Still no cutthroat and no dollies beyond the one fish I already mentioned last time…  Nothing but steelhead right now.  And good halibut in the bay…

Dark Fish?

I can’t leave the airport,  but I sent the kids up to 9 Mile to take some photos of the snow…  Here is what they took…

Tanis said it looked like about 2 feet of snow on the trails and 4 feet in the road beyond the plowed part.  Looking like the snow is gone from the immediate river bank,  which is helping to warm the water with the dark dirt exposed.

Been hearing of an occasional dark fish being caught throughout the lower and middle river.  As of tonight,  there are fish above 9 Mile and many are dark.  I had figured the dark ones earlier were just the ones that didn’t make it to the lake and had to over-winter in the deeper holes of the river.  Possible that we’re starting to see some fish out of the lake,  but this is the first real sign of that and it could be that they are just upper river winter fish and not yet lake fish.  But could be…

Flow is down to 268 CFS this evening and water temp hit 43 degrees.  Last night,  it dropped to 34.5F as it has been every night…  And just a little food for thought…  This is the current weather advisory from the National Weather Service for Yakutat and the northern Southeast Panhandle…  I’ll post it without comment…

This would be great if it was April 1st…  It’s not!

The First Dollies

I haven’t seen a steelhead run this late since opening the fly shop.  BUT…  It is finally looking like we’ve turned the corner and spring is really here!  The past three days,  we have been getting consistent reports that there are more and more fish showing up at the lower end.  Also,  seeing a few fish up at 9 Mile finally.  The lower half of the float had been the ONLY area anyone had been catching fish,  but that has spread to the top half now.

Still not a single cutthroat seen in Tawah Creek,  but I did talk to someone who caught a dolly for the first time yesterday.  We had zero dollies in the river up until that point…  I think the spring run is finally here.  A dark fish caught here and there,  but I believe these are winter fish that didn’t make it into the lake and had to over-winter in the river’s deep holes,  NOT the lake fish.  Maybe with the hot sun that continues through till at least Wednesday of next week,  we’ll see enough of a melt on the lake that the rains in the forecast for next weekend (if that even happens – a week is a LONG time away) can start breaking up the lake’s ice a bit and at least get the outlet to open up enough to let some fish out.


Flow is down to 268CFS at the moment – slightly above average,  but a great flow for floating,  wading AND for fish to go where ever they want!


You can see the dramatic swings in temperature between our frosty mornings and sunny evenings…  Ideal range is between 38 and 43F.


Just beyond the graphic forecast,  Thursday is supposed to have a “chance of rain”,  with actual rain coming on Friday.  A week away is a long time in Yakutat weather…


Steelhead Report 4/19/21

Another gorgeous sunny day,  but had two actual fishing reports this morning…  Walk-ins are struggling to even see a fish!  Floaters and guided fishermen are doing fine.  No fish around 9 Mile,  or at the lower landing.  They all seem to be mid-river.  This surprised me that we’re not seeing a bunch of fish coming in,  with water temp hitting 41 yesterday.  Went back down to 34 this morning,  so there’s that!

Still slow even with the warmer and higher flows…  The run is still yet to show itself…  But warm all week…  The ocean buoys are in their lower range for April,  but still what we should expect for this time of year.  Just slightly on the cooler side.  The Yakutat Bay buoy is showing 41.4F today,  with the Cape Fairweather buoy at 42.4F and Cape Suckling buoy showing 43.2F.


This graph is the historical average for the Yakutat Bay buoy.  41F = 5C,  so we are in the lower half of the red average.  This shows the Mean and Standard Deviation Plot…

Just a Weather Report

Not many customers through the shop today,  which usually means the fishing was good…  No confirmation though,  since the only people I talked to were fresh off the jet.

But what a day!  Air temp at the airport reached the mid-60’s with not a cloud in the sky and zero wind.  We did have a White-Sock hatch yesterday though…  No other bugs yet,  but with the worst one here,  who needs Mosquitoes and No-See-Ums.  And we had our first crocus flower appear in the box outside the fly shop!  Spring is FINALLY here!


Hard to believe this is what it looked like just a week ago…

DOT worked hard to tear down the snow pile,  only to rebuild it last week with our 4 feet of fresh snow…  They finished hauling away the latest snow pile today and I’m hoping they won’t be making another one till December!

But with today’s bright sun,  the flows stayed level at around 330-340,  as they have since the peak of the storm.  A GREAT level for floating and for bringing fish into the system,  while still being wadable throughout.  250-300 CFS is what I think is ideal.


I think the rain has drained out of the snow,  so today’s heat actually had an effect on the river temp.  Temperature hit 40.5,  but will be dropping back down to around 34 tonight with the clear skies and morning frost.


Everything is looking good for the coming week.  We are expecting some rain on Tuesday now,  but then back to sun after that.  The snow is still pretty deep everywhere,  without enough people to pack down any of the trails yet.  But we had a LOT of snow melt today.

It’s Raining…

The snow turned to rain yesterday (after between 6-12 more inches fell).  Water flows are rising and have hit 150 this morning.  Temperature is still very cold,  so not expecting much from the next couple days,  but our weather is supposed to be sunny and 50+ degrees this weekend.

Looking better!  As though spring may actually rear its ugly head soon…  In the meantime,  the State DOT hauled the airport snow pile away last week,  only to have the new snow pile starting to be rebuilt…


Pretty slow in the shop,  although we’ve seen more people through in early April than usual because of the sale.  Even had a couple locals come by yesterday and we almost never see locals…  I just had a couple guys we usually see later in the spring from down in Washington – what a year to decide to come two weeks early…  OOPS!

One of them was rifling through the fly drawers and grabbed a couple of the big foam poppers.  His buddy started mocking him (and I joined in) as though he was going to drag a pink bass popper across the surface and catch a steelhead…  Ha,  ha…  No,  he was just stocking up on his silver flies for later in summer.  Plopped them down on the counter as I was chatting about how many times people have reported steelies taking their Thing-a-ma-bobbers and that they should add a hook to the bobber…  Then it dawned on me…


Use the popper as your bobber and drift your bead/yarn ball under it!  If anyone out there pulls off a Situk Steelhead on your thing-a-ma-popper,  you’ll have a special place in the Situk River Fly Shop hall-of-fame!  Anyone who does it,  send me a picture and I promise to give you 40% off any fishing gear in the store!!!  Oh,  wait…  🙂

The Weather Report

Quite the day out there today!  Total white-out.  We have a LOT more snow than the weather warning was predicting,  although it has warmed up and seems to be changing to rain.  On top of heavy snow…  Watch your roofs…

I was going to post the photos of the last scoop of the snow pile,  but we have a snow pile again…  So much for that!

Instead,  this is the view from my office window looking directly toward the Alaska Airlines terminal and toward the wind-sock…

What a great day to stay inside!  Hope the steelheaders are bundled up and having fun.  On a better note…  We have actually “completed” our first rooms in the hangar!!!  The fly shop never did get the floor trim because we had to populate it before I could get that done way back in 2008.  The next four rooms in the first floor are all trimmed (although the window sills need to be placed after we pull the windows out this summer to put up the new siding outside).  I’ll hopefully have the gym equipment coming on the next barge,  which will temporarily be going into these rooms until I finish the new dedicated gym space at the back of the hangar bay…

Planed local spruce in 1×6 and 2×6,  sanded and Varathaned three times…

Installed before,  during and after…

With the barn doors…  The doors still need some brackets and stoppers before we Varathane them…

Winter Ain’t Over…

We’ll just post this without comment…


Slow Start to 2021 Steelhead

And we’re off!  We have steelhead,  we have steelheaders and we have very cold,  low,  clear water.  Woo,  hoo!  Reports have been that there are maybe 250 total fish in the river right now,  holding in only a handful of spots.

The gage froze on Tuesday/Wednesday,  showing 32 degrees and a messed up height.  The height went crazy,  but showed 150 CFS briefly,  but is back down into the 80’s.  We did get a little cold drizzle for a couple days,  but not enough.  Still very low water.  In yesterday’s bright sun,  the temp peaked at around 38,  but dropped right back down to under 33F at night.

I wouldn’t exactly say it isn’t worth coming yet,  but conditions aren’t great and fishing will be a struggle.  I have seen three groups pass through the shop in three days (one group twice).  Run timing is definitely running behind schedule.  We won’t be seeing the lake fish for weeks,  so just whatever spring steelhead trickle in each day.  Slow now,  but will be building a little bit each day.

Hang in there.  They are coming.

And for fly shop news…  Just a heads up…  we are well stocked on all flies EXCEPT black and white Dolly Llamas.  A have a handful of 3/0’s,  but none left in #4 and #6.  LOTS of everything else though.  May I recommend the all-white DL and a Sharpie?  Also running pretty low on the waders.  Just a smattering of odd sizes,  but if you are in need of a new pair of XXXLS,  we got ya covered.  MK,  LL,  etc…  No regular larges or mediums left.  I even have a 4XL Guide Jacket…  Today anyway…  If you want to buy a new set of waders,  or a jacket,  I’m still happy to order you in a pair if you want to support us instead of Cabelas,  but they wouldn’t be the sale price.  Just e-mail,  or give me a call.  We are not shipping sale-priced items,  since I’m already losing money on them and everything will be gone to people actually visiting the shop anyway.  I can always drop-ship to you directly from Simms and Sage anytime.  Oh,  also we are out of 11 and 12 wading boots in any style,  so if you need those sizes,  call me and we can get one.