We’re still down in Gustavus at the moment and I just had the opportunity to get online to read that article… WOW! That was “disturbing”! It is hard to read about yourself. I wish that could have been more about the river and run instead of about the personalities – especially my personality. Yuck!
I told the reporter to call Brian at Fish and Game, so fortunately he was featured for the actual interesting and valuable information (unlike the strange parts about me…). If you have a chance to call or visit with Brian Marston, it will be well worth your time. Not sure if Brian wants to be flooded with calls every day, but he is an incredible wealth of information about the Steelhead run and their behavior.
It is a little odd that I’m so closely associated with the Situk River now. The Situk has never been my area of expertise, compared to the Italio and Akwe. Bob and Frank are the real experts on the Situk and have been guiding the river as long as I have been alive! A couple of the Yakutat Lodge guides (most notably Aaron) spend more days in one season on the river than I have spent ever. For a thorough knowledge of Situk Steelhead and real information, look to Brian, Bob, Frank and Aaron far more reliably than to me. And I would throw John Latham under the bus as well, for knowledge and experience of the Yakutat area. John is in my opinion the best fly fishing specific guide in Yakutat. Unfortunately he just doesn’t do it all that much anymore.
Reading someone else’s article is hard. The things I think are important end up on the cutting room floor, while some of the casual quotes that I didn’t think important end up being featured as a highlight of the story. He did an admirable job under the circumstances, while piecing together the weird nonsense I babbled to him on the phone.
The biggest problem with my fishing reports are that I tend to hear a lot more from the people who are struggling. The guys having a great week out there tend not to need any help from the local fly shop, so my reports do tend to be on the negative side. For instance… over the past couple weeks, the river flows have been well below average. There are still plenty of fish throughout the mid-river for anyone to have a pretty good day. Underwhelming for Situk standards, but it’d be an incredible trip anywhere else. Still nothing coming out of the lake and the cold water stopped fresh fish from coming in – so nothing at the top and bottom, but probably a thousand fish between the bridge and the weir. For the dozen or so people here over the past couple weeks, that’s a lot of fish per angler! I’d be disappointed by the fishing, but I’m very spoiled. A bad day on the Situk is still a great day…
About 4 days ago, clouds came in and kept our nighttime temperature up. Day heated the water to 42 degrees, but the night low held at 38F. That is the PERFECT range of temperature and big shock! We had two days of fresh fish coming in at the bottom. Still nothing out of the lake though, until we get more flow… And that is another “problem” with my reports… They tend to be a day or two delayed, since I rarely get same-day reports off the river. By the time most people are off the river in the evening, it is too late to come in and share any news with me.
I’m far from the most knowledgeable guy out there on the Situk. I’m learning a LOT every season and I hope getting a little better at providing useful information to the people coming up/down here. I am so thankful to you guys, for sharing your experiences and knowledge with me over these few years we have had the fly shop. You have taught me a tremendous amount of stuff, for a guy who opened a fly shop in a remote Alaskan village, who had never been in a fly shop before he started building one… Boy, was I truly clueless! Now I’m only kind-of clueless.
And I can’t end this without extending a huge thank you to Chris, for all his knowledge and enthusiasm he has shared with me over the past year. He has been a wonderful gift for us!
PS. Thanks John and Dawn for the photo I sent him to illustrate the article. Timing was perfect, but so was the photo you took Dawn!