As of this morning, the king escapement on the Situk has achieved ADF&G’s lower escapement goal of 450 fish. They have 466 large kings through the weir so far. This is a huge relief, since we have been consistently missing this goal for several years. ADF&G has had to take drastic (dare we say draconian) steps to make sure the kings reached that goal. Now that we have reached the minimum goal, they said they are thinking of some short-term changes, but wouldn’t specify. I did ask if that meant opening the Rodeo Hole and that was a no-go.
Next year’s parent year was the last time we exceeded the escapement goal, so I’m hopeful we’ll have a bit more flexibility in our fishing regs. That does NOT mean they will open kings for retention, but at least we should be able to fish sockeye in the whole river! Speaking of sockeye…
We are just shy of 62,000 counted fish, so we’re close to doubling the limit. I’d expect them to make that decision over the next few days. It is apparent the Situk’s run was early and not extremely strong… Odd because out on the Akwe, the run is a bit above average, but right on time. East River is a good fly-out option as well, since they are seeing an OK run out there too.
The Situk’s run has just been weird this year. And the pinks are starting to come in in big numbers, making sockeye fishing at the lower end more and more challenging. Few people have been fishing the upper river because there is a predominance of blushed fish up there, but with the additional closure below and now humpies galore, it is getting a lot more pressure up higher.
OK, my annual rant… Had more than one new visitor come into the shop this season to complain about the other lodge guests badgering them immediately when they got off the plane about how you can only catch sockeye by snagging them… I guess it is one thing for you to abuse the run and fish illegally because you don’t know what the $#@% you are talking about. It is yet another for you to rag on people who DON’T want to fish illegally on the Situk.
Do sockeye feed? They don’t grow to 6 1/2 pounds by absorbing their nutrients through their skin (like their hooks). Sockeye feed on zoo plankton and invertebrates in the ocean. They don’t generally chase down other little fish like all the other species of salmon. They don’t hit Pixees and Dolly Llamas, so they get a reputation for being “uncatchable”. Bull crap. You just have to duplicate their regular food source, which is some small twitching little speck. Thus small and sparse (for salmon flies). And you have to totally deaddrift to them. They food isn’t high enough on the food chain to escape, so any swift movement (either by stripping or swinging) is a turn-off.
I have no idea why anyone would spend thousands of dollars to fly to Alaska to snag fish. This time of year, it is the majority on the river. My most frustrating time of year, but also the most rewarding when I do get someone to do it right and they start outfishing everyone around them. Including spin guys outfishing the fly flossers when they rig it right and get the drift down.
OK, rant is over. Thanks.