Category Archives: Fishing Report

Warming, but…

I’m not ready to call the 2017 season as over…  It has been pretty dismal so far with the extreme cold,  but we keep seeing warming in the forecast.  At some point,  the weather forecasts have to be right.  They can’t be wrong every time,  can they?  Nevermind…  I didn’t ask that.

Last night while I ran to town.  Cory stopped in to give us a report (as translated by Teen…):

Came in Friday, fished Saturday, took Sunday off and Fished today (Monday).
Lower river is frozen over.
# in group:  4.
Report:  super slow
Fished:  9 mile primarily.  Hiked to the meadow most days, and (believe) one day walked to the confluence.
Today:  Landed 6 (between 4 people).
Fish:  very lethargic
Made very clear, SUPER SLOW.

The “today” in the report is really yesterday and you can see why they landed 6 in the water temp graph and not the day before:

WatTemp

Water temp crashed at 9 Mile to 32.5F and the lower river froze over.  Yikes!  But yesterday and today,  the temperature climbed dramatically and although we’re still right at freezing today,  yesterday came up a couple degrees above.  Partly clear skies right now,  but with an occasional flurry of snow and sleet.  Here is the forecast through the holiday weekend:

WX

The weekend doesn’t look so hot,  but a warming trend is on the way INCLUDING RAIN through most of next week.  Anyone who has put off their steelhead trip hoping to see this kind of a trend should be happy.  But it actually has to happen…  We’ve seem these promises before,  only to have the rug yanked out from under us…

Flow is down to just 109CFS.  Without this rain coming,  I would stick a fork in the season and give up.  If the rain comes,  we’ll have some mighty good fishing.  Keep an eye on that forecast!

Advertisements

Cold Fall

We are having an extremely cold fall,  slipping back into this sunny frigid weather again.  So much for the warmer week we were hoping for!

Gorgeous,  but the low temps have dropped the Situk’s water temperature well below where we want it to be for steelheading.  Fishing is very slow compared to what we usually see in the middle of November.  We only saw conditions in the ideal range for about 5 days,  then we dropped to where we’re seeing ice along the edges of moving water.

Last week we had more fishermen than we usually see this time of year,  but no one did a whole lot.  A group of 4 just left and stopped in before their flight to give me a report.  They said they were landing 3-4 fish for the group each day.  Hey,  not too bad for any river not named “Situk”,  but we have higher expectations than that.  And they are frequent Situk fliers,  coming both spring and fall every year.  They know the river well and definitely were out-fishing most everyone else around.

This weekend,  we are expecting a change in the weather,  but not necessarily any warmer…  Cold dry snow is expected to fall for a few days,  but nothing that will raise the water temp,  or water flow levels.  Air temp dropped to 15 degrees last night,  bringing the water temp to 34 degrees and flows to 135 CFS.  “Normal for this time of year is closer to 300 CFS and temperatures closer to 40F.

There are fish in the river,  but not a lot.  They are catchable,  but only about one hook-up a day.  Not exactly Situk-level reputation.  Unless we see a significant change in the weather patterns (which could happen at any time…),  don’t expect much from this fall’s run.

By the way…  fishing the upper river,  they did see a few relatively fresh silvers with just a little blush.  Not chromers,  but still edible for my fresh Thanksgiving Day salmon…

A Slow Steelhead Season

Things were looking very promising as of my last post,  with the water flows and temperature dropping into “ideal” territory.  But then the trend continued to drop on both counts and we’re low and cold.  Water temp dropped down to 36.5F yesterday and the rain we were supposed to see early this past week didn’t happen.

Last week, w e definitely had more fishermen here than we would expect to see and the fishing was pretty slow.  Reports coming in were that people were catching a steelhead or two every other day or so…  So pretty slow. Beads were doing better than the streamers,  but nothing was really working all that great.

But…  it started lightly snowing last night (for the first snow to stick this year).  Just a trace out on the pavement with nothing sticking to the grass.  It has been continuing to warm though the morning and now is looking more like sleet as flight 61 comes in on final.

And flow isn’t too bad.  Just a hair below 200 CFS,  with the water temp coming right back up over 39 degrees as of 11am.  The coming forecast is for a warming trend through Monday (instead of the teens at night this past week).  Next week will be just below freezing,  but not by much.  Nighttime lows around 30 degrees.  So the coming week is definitely looking better than the past week…

I am a little blind on the river conditions without having Chris obsessively out there every day,  but we did have several first hand reports from the people populating the river form out of town and also Adam from the Yakutat B&B on the Bay.  Adam is shaping up to be Chris’ understudy and becoming a good source of fresh info for me when he gets out there.  Not as frequently as Chris,  but better than me having to go out into the cold and flail all day over empty water…

Although I may break down and head out there with Adam next week sometime.  If the forecast holds,  it may make for really good conditions!  Time will tell.

Steelhead Startin’

Not much activity around here until today…  and yesterday…  Two small groups arrived yesterday and a couple more today,  looking for some steelhead.  Conditions are looking good,  but haven’t heard much off the river of late.  It was two weeks ago that the last word from some out-of-town sportie checked in.  Two guys looking for silvers ran into a group of steelhead fishermen down at the lower end.  It was the week of huge tides and both groups were working the bottom end.  Any fish that did come in would have pushed way upstream before slowing down.

I didn’t talk to the steelheaders,  but the two salmon guys did.  They said the steelheaders saw about 100 fresh silvers up around the weir,  higher than the salmon guys bothered to hike.  No mention of any steelhead seen or caught,  so I suspect they didn’t see or catch any…

A couple days ago,  I heard (again second hand) that our fish and game biologist hiked up to the boundary marker and landed two steelhead.  Flows were still up around 700 CFS,  so not exactly good fishing conditions even way up there.  But that is the first indication that there are steelies in the river now.

Conditions are just now down to where we want them…  Yesterday and today,  the water temp didn’t rise much above 42 degrees,  right where we want it…  Flow on the 27th broke through 1300 CFS,  but is now back down to 401 and continues to drop.  Not looking like there is any precip in the forecast for at least a week,  with sun breaks and overcast.  Temps aren’t supposed to be much below freezing either,  so my guess is the water will slowly continue to drop and water temp will remain relatively stable around 40 degrees.

So conditions will look really good to attract our fall run this week.  May not be a whole lot of them in the river yet,  but that should improve through the week.  Not bad!

And “worst case”…  there are still a few fresh silvers coming into the Situk as well as Lost and Tawah.  No ice on the lakes,  so I may try to squeeze in one trip into Pike Lake before the season comes to a frozen halt.  Without Chris here to help me on the river reporting,  I’m going to have to break down and actually go fishing again – something I haven’t done on the Situk since November last year…

Watching the Temperature

Mid-October and we’re all waiting for the arrival of our fall steelhead run.  The key trigger to push fish into the Situk seems to be water temperature.  As the temp drops into the 6-4 degree C range,  we see fish pushing in. That’s 43-38 degrees F for those of us that are Celsius-challenged…  Once it drops much below that range,  they tend to stop until we ether see a mid-winter warm spell,  or the eventual spring thaw in April.  Really,  about 36 degrees is where everything comes to a halt for the winter for additional incoming steelhead.

As of right now,  we’re still hovering about 2-3 F degrees too warm.  We have been seeing the average temperature drop that much over the past week,  so in another week,  the trend should be right about where we want it to be.  Almost there!

Temp

Looking like a November 1st start for our fall run,  with it improving daily through the first half of the month.  Getting closer,  but no reports of any steelhead in the river yet.  Chris went fishing the past couple days and hooked into a lot of silvers and dollies,  with a couple resident rainbows to round things out.  Also landed a gorgeous sea-run cut on Tawah last night.  He thought he had a steelie that took a drifted egg,  but instead it emerged as a HUGE dolly up above the bridge.  Nope,  not yet!

On the Mend

It is once again stormy and nasty up here,  after a two-day sun break,  which followed a week of back-to-back storms.  This latest round is supposed to be intense,  but die off quickly tomorrow.  The rain started at 2am and the wind hit around 5am.  Not a fun day to be outside.

Flows on the 4th topped 1,600 CFS,  dropped to 1,100,  back up to over 1,300 and then yesterday bottomed out around 800.  So the Situk is basically unfishable right now.  The commercial season ended on Thursday,  with the big “fishermen’s party” at the Glass Door Friday night.  Our salmon season is coming to an end for 2017.

Still some fresh silvers coming into the Situk system,  but with the water the way it is,  you’d be hard pressed to make contact with one of them.  Tawah is where most of the late season sport fishermen are concentrating,  while the outlying fly-outs like the Italio are still going strong.  Chris comes back from his season on the Akwe tomorrow, so I’ll get his impression of what that run looked like and whether it is still going on.  I bet the Akwe is raging though,  regardless of how many fish may be in there!

And I’m doing much better with a little more energy each day.  It has nearly been a month,  so I’m beyond frustrated with not being able to do much.  So many things I need to get done,  but so little resources to make it through the day without a nap,  or some “quality time” sitting on my butt.

DSC03891

A juvenile eagle in his nest,  where he should be…

 

But I’m not the only one on the mend right now…  This happened over a week ago,  but thought I’d share…  A juvenile bald eagle was found with his leg caught in an old abandoned trap out in Russell Fiord.  “Frustrating” that we have a trapper,  who doesn’t retrieve his traps at the end of the season,  or at least trip them…  So the eagle was found with a broken leg and the folks at the Forest Service went in and pulled him out.

P9250009

An eagle in a dog crate,  where he shouldn’t be…

 

He was shipped off to Anchorage on ACE Air Cargo,  along with about 5,000lbs of fresh coho salmon…  Probably not the nicest cargo for a hungry and injured eagle to have to smell for the whole flight,  but that was the first available flight out.  Hopefully he is healing and can be released at some point.

P9250008

This is a time of year when we have to be careful driving around the airport and out toward Cannon Beach.  With all the salmon spawning in the man-made drainage ditches around the airport,  you have dozens of eagles sitting on the shoulder and/or in the middle of the road where they drag fish out of the water and onto dry land to feast.  Tawah’s January/February silver run can be a tremendous attraction for the eagles with little to no food for them to get through the dark and snowy winter.  You’ll see horrific scenes of blood all over the snow till you realize it wasn’t a dog getting hit by a car,  but a big salmon smashed and splattered all over the place.

Ahhh…  life in Yakutat.

Loading the cargo into the ACE Beech 1900…  Fish first,  then putting the bird in behind the net.  I didn’t hear what happened to him after he departed YAK,  but hopefully he will survive the ordeal.  Thank you to the Swansons for helping this guy out and helping load him.  Not that he weighed much…  They are amazingly light.  I still wasn’t being allowed to lift anything by orders of my wife.  I hate just standing around watching other people work.

The Phones Work!

It is a stormy day today and virtually no one is out fishing.  I heard one flight this morning as a fly-out to the Italio,  but that was it (although I may have slept through the rest).  Blowing about 40 knots against the side of the hangar,  but no leaks yet…  Make that a small one,  with the driving rain slamming into the wall and up inside the siding.  Maybe I should have looked before I started typing…

This storm is supposed to blow out by 10pm.  Flow is already up to 1,200 CFS,  when it was just 300 this morning when we opened.  Like I said,  supposed to blow out tonight and change to just showers for a couple days,  a couple days of sun and then some more showers.  So this’ll drop quickly once it actually stops raining.

flow

And we have received two phone calls in the past few minutes.  So they fixed the phone lines now at the airport.  No more threat that Alaska Airlines will cancel their flights again…  At least not for that reason.