Tanis and I head out to the Akwe River tomorrow to open up the cabin and get ready for our commercial fishing season. As we flew home from Juneau last week, it was high tide – sun glare in my eyes – wind whipping whitecaps on the river, so I could not see any fish in the Akwe, or New Italio. That doesn’t mean there aren’t fish, but that I couldn’t see…
The Situk run is still going gangbusters though. The commercial fishery opened last Sunday there and it definitely took the edge off the number of fish in the lower river. Sunday was still great, but by Monday and Tuesday, the fish were few and far between. The best fishing right now is in the middle river from the cabins down. Although 33,000 fish have been through the weir as of Monday, they haven’t made it up to 9 Mile in any great numbers yet. So that’s 33,000 sockeye between the bridge and the weir… WOW!
I talked to the fish plant manager yesterday and he said the fish are huge. As in 10lb sockeye… He said loading fish boxes was like silver season. That plays into my delusional fantasy that last year’s dismal run is also coming this year… Sockeye can be a 4 year or a 5 year fish. Possibly if conditions were bad last summer, the 4 year olds could have decided to be 5 year olds… That’s my hope anyway, since last year’s Akwe run was horrible.
Last year, Tanis and I set our nets and immediately caught a nice big king (that I dropped and didn’t land). That was the only fish we saw for the week! Not even a dolly for dinner! I had never had a zero fish week before. The next two weeks, we managed to land about 1200lbs of sockeye total with both nets. Fish and Game shut us down for the season after that. The Akwe has been having issues in recent years anyway. The glacier no longer comes into Akwe Lake (it used to hang over a huge cliff and drain into the lake cooling the water). Now the Akwe is just foreland drainage. On an overcast day, the water is 73 degrees F. The majority of the sockeye just hang out in the New Italio/Akwe confluence hole for weeks and eventually they give up on the deadly Akwe temperature water an go up the Italio at a cozy low-40’s temp. Sockeye are extremely temperature sensitive, so they need cooler water.
The past couple years, we have had warm summers. In the Situk/Ahrnklin Inlet, the water along the edge warms more than the deeper center. The nets are usually along the edge, so we have seen decent weir counts only because all the fish bypassed the warmer edges of the inlet and swam past the nets. Not so this past week, where the commercial guys had a really good opening week. They also did really well out in the bay. Lots of fish out there in the ocean moving slowly up the coast.
I’ll have a proper first-hand report from out at the Akwe for the guy renting the Ryman cabin on Tuesday. In the meantime, spectacular fishing on the Situk with not a whole lot of people out fishing.
Posted in Alaska, Fishing, Fishing Report, fly fishing, Flyfishing, Salmon, situk, Situk River, Yakutat
Tagged akwe fishing report, akwe river, situk, situk fishing report, situk reds, Situk River, situk river report, situk river sockeye, Yakutat, yakutat alaska, yakutat fishing report
We have had more than three straight weeks of gorgeous sun. The rivers and streams have all but disappeared. Situk’s flow is down to a paltry 118 CFS, but water temp is down to a high of 43F and low of 40F. That means we are in the temperature range for the fall steelhead to start coming in!
These sunny clear days are to continue through the rest of the week, with a chance that we’ll see rain moving in by Saturday. We need it! The local subsistence moose season opened three days ago and from what I have heard, everyone who wanted a moose seems to have gotten a moose. We still have quite a bit in the freezer and with Tanis away this winter at boarding school, we aren’t going through nearly as much food as we usually do… These photos are from last year…
Chris just came back today from the Akwe River (and Yakutat Coastal flew their last flight and headed south for the winter too). Chris said the fishing on the Akwe these past three weeks has been absolutely spectacular. Every cast… which he said gets a little boring after a while… Same thing off the Italio – spectacular end to the season with tons of fresh silvers, once the hordes of fly-outs had subsided.
Situk had a late push of fish as well, but not like Akwe and Italio. There was a wave of smaller hens that came in for about a week, but it is all but done (again). Lost and Tawah are really a bust. One group came through a couple days ago that caught some nice sea-run cutthroat on Tawah, but all the salmon were old and spent. There are no fish at all in any of the drainage ditches around the airport… Usually, we see (and smell) a lot of rotting carcasses with silvers scattering under the branches as we take our nightly walk around the loop. Absolutely no fish at all anywhere around here!
So now we just wait for confirmation for the fall steelhead run. With Chris back, he’ll be anxious to get out there, but probably needs a few days to catch up on things around here and get some sleep. I’ll let you know what we find in about a week. In the meantime, we’re gearing up for the winter storage season, getting the hangar cleaned and organized to fit as much in as we can. Although we have more space this year than we have had in the past, we expect to fill up quicker because of quite a bit of new storage coming in.
I’m still working on getting all the artifacts put away for the season too. Boy, it has been a very crowded year, but all in very good ways. We certainly learned a lot about organizing an air show and fly in, even though we ended up cancelling the main event. I had never cooked for more than a dozen people, so cooking for 80 was a learning experience. Hopefully we’ll catch up and recover quickly and I’ll get some of the things posted that I want to talk about.
A repost of John Hohl’s gorgeous steelhead, as a primer for what’ll be in the Situk in the next several weeks…
Posted in Alaska, Fishing, Fishing Report, fly fishing, Flyfishing, Life in Yakutat, Salmon, situk, Situk River, Steelhead, Yakutat
Tagged akwe fishing report, akwe river, akwe river report, Fly Fishing, italio fishing report, Italio River, italio river report, situk fishing report, Situk River, situk river report, Yakutat, yakutat fishing report
Silver fishing has been excellent over the past couple weeks, although we are starting to see a decline on a couple rivers toward the end of their runs. Tsiu is slowing down now, but would still be considered excellent by anyone’s standards. Yana is exceptional, along with the Old and Middle Italio’s. Those three are probably the best silver fishing anywhere on earth right now!
Akwe and East Rivers have been slower than the others this season mostly due to high water making it difficult to keep the fish contained in holes. With the several dry days this past week, they have returned to their optimal flow levels and are now filled with fresh fish. Both have later runs compared to other area rivers, so with this year’s later than normal run, expect East and Akwe to continue to be hitting well into late October.
Hi Rick, we missed you this year!
Here around town, the Situk has been (here’s that word again…) excellent. Tremendous numbers of fish, with the guides reporting more than 100 fish landed to nearly every boat every day. Fishing has been so good, anglers have been able to get frequent takes on bass poppers and other large dry flies on the Situk – that is usually reserved for the Tsiu and Italio. Lost River has really not been the best fishing so far this year. Again, Lost and Tawah have very late runs, so their best fishing may still be ahead of us. There are still a tremendous number of humpies in the upper parts of Tawah, but Christmas Tree and Broken Bridge have been very good (but not “excellent…”).
Each day on the incoming tide, a couple hundred silvers have been stacking up outside the culverts at the Lagoon. This is a great place to get away from the flooding and winds during a storm, but be advised that ADF&G reduced the bag limit at the Lagoon to 2 fish daily this year, down from the 6 fish limit it used to have.
We are reducing our shop hours to 10am to 6pm now, but as usual, we’re here anyway and if you need assistance after the PM jet time, let me know ahead of time and we’ll keep the doors open, or pull up to the door and honk…
Posted in Alaska, Fishing, fly fishing, Flyfishing, Salmon, situk, Situk River, Yakutat
Tagged akwe fishing report, italio fishing report, situk fishing report, Situk River, situk river report, Yakutat, yakutat alaska, yakutat fishing report
Yes, we’re alive and well, but our internet hasn’t be working well enough touse the WordPress interface for days. Sorry.
Fishing is still excellent! Running down the rivers, Tsiu is on the backside of its run and slowing down now. Yahtse is slow – not the better choice for a fly0out unless your goal is isolation. Yana is exceptional – still just about the best fishing you can have without a prescription. Now to town…
Situk has been exceptional even with the higher water. We have not had any big floods above 800 CFS, so it has always been fishable this season, but it has been stuck over or around 500 for weeks. Had a report yesterday from a local who went sport fishing in the river (a rare occurrence) and he said they struggled and he blamed the nets. NO ONE else has reported having a tough time at all. Fish up at 9 Mile are about 75:25 blushed to chrome. You just need to sort through the fish to get the bright ones you want to keep. But very few people are fishing up there and it is a great way to get away from people while still on the road system.
Lost has been relatively slow all season, Tawah Creek has been OK, but not great. They tend to have really late runs, so we may yet see the peak there in another week or two. The lagoon by the old barge has been good, with hundreds of fresh silvers OUTSIDE the culvers milling around on the incoming tide. The state board of fish reduced the daily limit on the Lagoon to 2 this year to match all the other road system rivers and streams. Even though it is saltwater, it was added to the list of 2-fish areas, just like Ankau. Speaking of Ankau, it is very good right now as well.
Old and Middle Italios are just about as good as they can be… New Italio and Akwe are very fishy, but their water has been very high. We have sunny weather all week this week, so they will be dropping and by tomorrow will be very fishable. Still no good reports off the East this whole season. One group passed through who stayed at one of the lodges and they spent most of their week fishing the Doame instead of the East. Doame has a good run and they all have to pass through the East to get there… According to Yakutat Coastal, there are a lot of fish finally moving into the East, so that should finally have its run in as well. East has a later than average run for the rivers around here, so it should be very good going into the end of September and early October.
I have a lot more to catch you up on and I’ll try to get those posts up before m internet crashes again… Oh, a couple fall steelhead have been reported caught on the Situk already…
Posted in Alaska, Fishing, fly fishing, Flyfishing, Salmon, situk, Situk River, Yakutat
Tagged akwe fishing report, akwe river, italio fishing report, Italio River, situk fishing report, Situk River, situk river report, tsiu fishing report, Yakutat, yakutat alaska, yakutat fishing report, yana fishing report
The reports coming in are a lot less desperate. Fishing is still relatively slow, but improving – or at least being more consistent. Right after I posted my dismal report a couple days ago, things immediately started looking up. On Wednesday at around 3pm, a good push of fish started in at the bottom end and everyone down at the Old Man’s Hole lit up for a couple hours.
Thursday was a bit slow all around, but the fish did continue to trickle in through the day. Yesterday, there was another good push around noon, that continued throughout the rest of the day. The boats floating the river are still struggling till they get nearly to the bottom, with these fresh fish congregating in the lower few miles of the river. They have not made it up to the bridge area yet.
Tsiu is doing much better and the run seems to finally be coming in. No reports from anywhere between here and Tsiu on rivers like Yana. Just Tsiu right now.
Chris came into town tonight with a report off the Akwe… Pretty slow out there. Not many pinks now. More silvers than humpies, but not a whole lot of those either. They were able to get into fish down at the confluence OK. Kind of depended on the day though. He caught a chrome-bright steelhead that was about 30 inches. We caught more of them in our nets this season than I ever have. Strange to see so many steelhead in the Akwe through the entire summer. Timing for everything is off.
I also talked to the ranger from out at the East River. They still have quite a few pinks, but a handful of silvers are showing up. But just a tiny handful. Still very slow out there.
For the record, I’m unable to update the river reports page right now. My hosting company moved my website to a different server a month ago and I have been unable to sign into it ever since. Until I get this problem solved, I’ll be just posting reports (along with Assembly stuff) here on the blog. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Posted in Alaska, Fishing, fly fishing, Flyfishing, Salmon, Situk River, Steelhead, Yakutat
Tagged akwe fishing report, akwe river, situk fishing report, Situk River, situk river report, tsiu fishing report, tsiu river, Yakutat, yakutat alaska, yakutat fishing report
Yakutat has year-round fishing unrivaled just about anywhere! With that said, we’re seeing a real lull right now. We should expect to see big numbers of silvers arriving in the streams, but it is really just a slow trickle right now. Yes, there are fish in the Situk and yes, people are catching them. It is just a lot slower than what we are used to by this stage of the fall season.
I flew back from Juneau last night after the plane annual and flew the rivers along the way. I came ashore at the mouth of the East River and did not see a single fish in the lower 1/2 mile of the river that I saw. Tide was starting in and it should have been the perfect time for fresh schools to appear. They didn’t.
On to the Akwe… it was still running pretty dark, but there were no large schools visible anywhere along the entire 10 miles to the confluence. Just a few pockets of 6 or so here and there – barely qualifying as “schools”. I didn’t see anything in the confluence hole, but it was hard to see into the water there. Deep and a mix of three different colors.
Middle Italio is looking really good this year as I mentioned when I posted the aerials last week. There are 6 pronounced slots down at the mouth that should hold fish well this fall, even with no hole anywhere near my cabin or the airstrip there. I could see three of those lower slots holding about 20-30 fish a piece, which was a far better sign than in any of the other rivers I flew.
The big bummer was the Old Italio… Nice and clear, but not a single fish ANYWHERE yet. Nothing. Nadda. Zip. Not even a pocket of humpies. There were a few of them a couple weeks ago, so anything that did enter the Old pushed up into the tributary creeks during the last flood.
Situk is slow, but there are a few silvers coming in daily. Seems to be only pinks upstream around 9 Mile, so if you want silvers, don’t bother going up there yet. Eden and a friend went swimming out at Sawmill Cove and she said there were jumpers all over the place. The 4 groups of fishermen didn’t seem overly impressed with the girls swimming in their fishing hole, but what can you do? 🙂 It was a sunny day and the water was warm (by Alaska standards).
I have heard that the halibut fishing has slowed down too, but had a report yesterday that said they were able to easily limit out on a charter with Reg Krkovich. They also landed 15 saltwater silvers on that charter, so some people out there are doing OK… I think it is about being in the right place at the right time and your odds are good to be in that wrong place…
But hopefully things will change as we progress through the week…
Posted in Alaska, Fishing, fly fishing, Flyfishing, Salmon, situk, Yakutat
Tagged akwe fishing report, akwe river, east river, east river fishing report, italio, italio fishing report, Italio River, italio river report, Middle Italio, old italio, situk, situk fishing report, Situk River, situk river fishing report, situk river report, Yakutat, yakutat alaska, yakutat fishing report