A Glance Back at Steelhead Season

The July issue of the Alaska Sporting Journal had an article on the Situk.  Written by our friend Tony Ensalaco and features a photo of Tanis holding a nice-big-trophy…  beaver.  Also a nice picture of Ryan,  from the Glacier Bear,  holding a big steelie.  The magazine was a month late coming to newsstands,  so it is probably still on the shelf now.

If it is gone from the shelves and you missed it…  Here is a PDF of the article:

Alaska Sporting Journal 7-18 pg54

And some left-over steelhead pictures of Chris and Adam…

Rough Day Around Here

Started off busy with plane after plane needing fuel.  Two float planes down at the harbor that we needed to pick the pilots up,  drive them to the airport,  fill their jugs,  then take them back.  Unfortunately the second plane flipped over on take-off and is now upside-down in the bay.  No one was hurt,  but what a terrible day.  Gorgeous sun.  That’s Yakutat’s 3rd crash this year.

And with all this bright sun,  I imagine the fishing is a little slow.  Water is now dropping to the point of thinking we need some rain already!  No fresh reports today,  since the fly shop is closed this year on Sundays,  but someone a couple days ago on his way out said it was the best trip is group has had in 4 years.  Considering what last year’s run was like,  that’s a pretty awesome report.

Our Wet August

Our wet August is coming to a close and the silver run is doing OK.  Situk has a lot of fresh fish coming in daily,  but the last two days,  they seemed to have lock-jaw.  Frustrating to have a LOT of fish in front of you and they won’t bite anything…

Tsiu is going strong.  Had a call from one of the lodges,  asking me to send out 10 dozen chartreuse/white Dolly Llamas.  Usually the black and whites are the popular fly,  but this year chartreuse seems to be the bigger ticket.  At least at the moment…  On the Situk,  I was told the pinks were hitting the chartreuse/white and the silvers were hitting the pink/white.  That seems backwards…

Had two fly-out groups return from the Italio with opposite experiences.  One group did spectacularly well and had a great time.  The second group never had a single bite…  Ouch!  There are pockets of fish out there and if you are on the pocket – great fishing.  If not – skunked.  They just haven’t started to stack up yet.  A few more days and they will.

Situk flow is at 414 CFS right now.  300 is the average for this date,  so a little high,  but not flooded and certainly fishable/wadable.  Forecast is calling for rain tonight through Saturday morning,  then clear skies for a few days.  Doesn’t look like enough rain to blow things out.  Although bright sun isn’t exactly ideal fishing weather (which could explain why the past two days were poor – bright sun),  looks to be a good week coming up with lots of fish,  some rain,  some sun.

The Run is Arriving NOW

The past two evenings,  really good fish have been coming in on the tide.  Looking like the silver run is really starting to kick off in a big way.  The river is still pretty high,  making it tougher especially for the fly guys.  The heavy spoons can get down regardless of how fast the water is flowing.  Dolly Llamas are the top fly.  Primarily the black and whites,  but also chartreuse/white,  chartreuse/blue and pink/white.

Not a lot else to report on at the moment…  A LOT of people came in off the jets the past two days,  so things are a bit crowded at the lower landing.  Someone came through yesterday saying he had the entire upper river to himself and didn’t see another person at all.  But mostly pinks up there…

Oh…  finally had a group off the Tsiu.  The word “exceptional” was used three times…  And had a report from someone who flew over the Italio…  He said there were pockets of silvers visible from the air.  Water was high and dark,  so if he was able to see some fish,  there were far more in the water he couldn’t see.

I think we can all relax now after our dismal sockeye and weak humpy run…

Coho Update

We have all been holding our breath after the dismal sockeye run and the odd lack of pinks.  The Bay never really saw any silvers this year,  but they are arriving in the rivers now.  Weird that the schools bypassed the bay and went straight to the river mouths.

Emma Helping2

My dog catching her own silver…

Talked to one of the biologists at Fish and Game yesterday.  He said they floated the Situk on Saturday and started hooking coho immediately after leaving the bridge and continued to hook fish all the way down.  He said the run is looking good right now.

We also talked about the weir and this year’s counts.  Had they been able to continue to count another week,  they probably would have come within a couple thousand sockeye of the bottom end of the goal.  Of course mother nature had other ideas…  And they probably would have met the bottom goal for kings.  He counted more than 20 large kings below the weir (along with a lot of medium and small).  The official large king count was 375.  Of course we had to deal with pretty draconian measures to get to that point,  with subsistence,  commercial and sport all shut down.  But it should bode well for when the babies come back in 3-5 years.

Oh,  apparently they sampled a 7 year old sockeye at the weir this year!

FH000002

Above: Some photos of the weir a couple years ago and this one is from WWII with the 1943 weir inadvertently caught behind the bear picture…

Chris Report

OK,  Chris did go fishing last night,  but went up above the bridge.  Saw a ton of pinks and quite a few sockeye (and 1 king).  Water was still pretty high for wading,  so hard to see too much.  They hooked one coho,  but that was all.  Trying to fish with flies that would not be attractive to the other species,  so they kind of set out to make it tough…

PA080057

Some old coho photos to dress this otherwise boring post up a little…

He did say that they are seeing decent fish coming in at the mouth now.  No specifics,  but my guess is that he’ll be heading down there shortly.  He wanted to avoid fishing with people,  so didn’t have any crowds upstream.  No coho either,  but…

Had a little rain today,  but not the heavy rain they were forecasting.  River is still dropping.

Coho Season Should Be Starting for Real

19th of August,  so Tsiu is in full swing.  Yes,  it is seeming like the run is either weak,  or late,  but there are fish.  Normally,  out at the cabin on the Italio,  we would catch our first silver of the season around Aug 21-23rd.  And that would just be one or two for dinner,  nothing breathtaking.  So it is still early and so too early to really know what the run will look like.

Bay has been slow for silvers (but halibut is still booming).  I heard a couple reports that fish have been pouring into the Ankau (which should be later before they really start doing that).  At least that is a good sign.

Chris is out fishing right now,  so hopefully he’ll give me a first-hand report tonight,  or tomorrow.  We’re coming off two big floods – the first storm caused the Situk to hit 2,500 CFS,  the second hit 2,300.  Down to 500 today,  so back to being fishable.  Still high though,  so I wouldn’t expect anyone to be able to sight-fish the Situk right now.

Hoping to get into the air later this week and do a fly-over of Akwe and Italio.  I’ll keep you posted if that does end up happening of course…