Category Archives: Salmon

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…

Advertisements

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.

Hello All and Thanks!

Teen is downstairs in the shop with customers,  so I commandeered my own computer to say hello and thank everyone for your encouragement and support and for your patience with Teen as she covered for my half dozen businesses.  I overdid it earlier this morning and had to lay down for a couple hours.  Coming back slowly,  but still have an uphill climb.

I’ll post something separate about my little adventure to the Juneau Health Spa later,  but in the meantime,  I figured I’d take over the fishing report for today…

Mostly cloudy today,  with heavy rain expected tomorrow.  Flows are very low for this time of year and the fish are many.  This is looking like one of the best fishing runs in my lifetime…  And of course I’m in bed for most of it!  Every river is going gangbusters.  I had said weeks ago that the run was looking like it was running a week or so late.  Late AND huge,  as it turned out.  Tsiu is usually close to being done by now,  but they have huge fresh fish with few of any blushing up yet.  That is the first run to come in in the borough,  with the rivers on the southeast side of Yakutat running later.

The Italio,  Akwe and East tend to be a week or two later than the Situk,  which is supposed to be slowing down now and pretty much over by the end of September.  There is no sign of anything slowing down any time soon.  I’d expect our run this year to be good throughout the end of October and on the latest streams – into November.  There are so many fish that none of the fly fishermen are whining about the commercial nets…  At all.  And fly fishermen do like to whine…

Here are the current flow condition:

flow

A little bit of rain early this morning,  but 306 CFS for this time of year is not unheard-of,  but unusual.  “Normal” is 557.  So all these additional fish are just crammed into moderately low water,  making the fishing extremely easy.  Best flies are the black and white Dolly Llamas,  but also anything with pink,  or chartreuse.

And the fish are really huge this year.  I have exceeded 25lbs on the Akwe while commercial fishing,  so this year with the fish running larger than normal,  if anyone wants to challenge the state record for silvers,  I bet the New Italio and Akwe have at least a few fish that can top it.

And…  I think I’m going to go lay down again…  Phone lines for the airport are still down and Alaska Airlines has cancelled their flights for today and yesterday because of it.  The phone company is supposed to send someone to Yakutat tomorrow to fix the issue,  but unless they land a jet here,  I’m not sure how we’ll get the repair tech in…  Most of the people who have been stuck these extra couple days are thrilled to have the excuse to fish the extra time…  REALLY thrilled.

Some Good Reports Today

Getting some better reports from off the Situk today.  One frequent flier said this was the first day they were able to land fish after fish like “normal”.  They did have access to a jet-boat though.  Prior to today,  the fish were jumping all around them,  but so scattered that you couldn’t get many.  Today was different.  Water flow is still over 700 CFS,  but looking better.

Report from someone off the ocean…  They went out with a charter boat and hit their halibut limit by 10am.  Then were able to limit on silvers too.  They were in the shop around 3pm,  so it didn’t take them long to do all that and be back here again.

Report from some day fishermen on the Italio…  OK,  but not that great.  They had to work very hard to land 4 fish…  They worked down at the mouth and walked upstream as the tide pushed in.  So things are still pretty weak out there,  but at least it is fishable and not completely blown out (like some other rivers we know and love…).

Here we Go Again

Although our 10 inches of rain from Monday to Wednesday didn’t happen,  we did get between 4-5 inches in the first round,  had a gorgeous sunny day today and now we have a new front moving in to dump another inch or more overnight.  They are calling for the rains to subside by mid-morning,  but we’ll see what actually happens.  It just started raining a few minutes ago,  to match the driving blustery winds we have had for several hours.  Here is the front moving in about an hour ago:

P9050025P9050026

We had 70+ degree temperatures all day today,  with a heavy muggy feeling.  The hangar bay dripped and sweated all day,  making everything drenched inside,  while it was gorgeous outside.  The tile in the bathrooms were sweating.  Tonight about 8pm,  the temp began dropping and we went outside to watch the front move in quickly.

The 9 Mile Gage stopped broadcasting at 830p tonight,  with a flow level still way up at 970 CFS,  down from over 1,200 this morning.  One sunny day doesn’t dry the ground out,  so tonight’s rain will definitely bring the rivers up high.  The (not good news,  but) better news is that it will dry out tomorrow and we’ll just have showers for the rest of the week.  If the forecasts are right and what are the odds…?

WX

It was a weird,  uncomfortable and anxious feeling day today.  If this was the mid-west,  it would have seemed like tornadoes were on their way.  Well,  at least we don’t have to deal with that stuff up here…

In the meantime,  I was supposed to send my mom some fish last month for her to take to my grandmother. They were planning to have salmon for lunch and I…  forgot.  OOPS!  So in honor of them and their missed lunch,  I made myself a fresh roasted sockeye fillet sandwich with my pesto sauce on it.  Yum!

P8100001

This is what they missed…  Extra sharp white cheddar and avocado slices topped it off.

And a little over a week ago,  we came back from Juneau in the 206,  with a DC-3 parked on the ramp.  Tanis kept asking me if he could take ours out of the hangar over and over and I told him NO.  What did he do???  OK,  just Trans Northern with a passenger flight.  He got to fuel it though and pull our DC-3 tow bar out and put it to use.  Here it is leaving the next morning:

P8260011

Trans Northern parked on the ramp with their similar color scheme to our N91314

P8260015

Waiting to taxi out,  with the Alaska Jet coming off at Alpha

P8070068

Ours is safe and sound in her bed

 

Well,  need to be up at 330am as usual,  so that’s all for tonight.  Stay warm and dry tonight.