Tag Archives: situk reds

Heavy Rains May Bring in Some Fish?

It has been raining all day and the river is near getting blown out.  Probably past that point for sockeye.  Not pleasant for the people here right now,  but the river has been so very low,  this rain could help attract some sockeye into the system.  Just about 200 fish through the weir yesterday and one day this weekend saw just a single fish counted.  But there are quite a few fish in the lower river that have seemed to be stuck there with no drive to push them above the weir. That brings us to only 5,200ish total so far.  A far cry from the 40,000 we should have by now.

I spent some time going through ALL the ADG&G rivers to see how they are doing.  Since the Situk is one of the lower rivers,  we tend to be a little later than farther north/west.  Some of the rivers are looking very promising,  some not-so-promising.  The Copper River count indeed was more than 200,000 fish behind last year.  That deficit has shrunk to about 90,000 now,  so they have been making up a lot of ground the past couple weeks.  Copper is really the next river up the coast,  so should give us an indication whether there are fish coming this way.  Some of the other rivers are downright dismal though,  but one stream was well ahead of last season this date too.  Kind of a mixed bag of encouragement/discouragement.

Wish I had better news,  but this is our reality right now.  The whole town will be struggling financially this coming winter unless something changes soon.

Episode IV – A New Hope

Maybe I’m just a little desperate to get some good news,  but I think I have some good news!  Late last night,  a big push of fresh sockeye came in (along with hundreds of kings).  One of our long-time guides the lower river was just thick with fish,  large schools parting around his boat.

This is the first positive news I have heard off the river,  but unfortunately I don’t have any confirmation on this story yet.  I heard it second hand and along with the sockeye,  the report said there were 500-600 kings…  So sounds like there could be a touch of exaggeration…

And talked to Chris this morning.  He said the fishing is getting better.  He was off the river yesterday by 6pm,  so he didn’t see the wall of reds come in,  but he at least said it was getting better.

Fish and Game did update their weir count page.  Now we’re up to 4,924 as of Thursday.  Yes,  last year’s year-to-date number was 43,729…  1,272 passed on Wednesday alone,  which is our first thousand+ day of the season.  Wed had 12 large kings pass as well,  so it was a good day.

Weather is changing from the gorgeous sunny skies turning to overcast and rain through the coming week.  Flows are extremely low,  so the water is needed.  This weather change could be what is starting to push the fish into the system and out of the ocean too.

Alive and Well…

Yes I’m alive and no,  the website is not down…  I just haven’t made a post in nearly a month.  Teen,  Tanis and I have all been battling the horrible lung infection/cold that has been tormenting Yakutat since last fall.  Finally feeling better now.

Few if any fishermen through the shop over the past couple weeks (good,  so I didn’t spread my disease to anyone).  A couple of our frequent fliers for steelhead just left. I think they had 4 trips this season???  We’re well into June,  so I suspect they are our final steelheaders.  They said not many fish in the upper half of the float,  but they camped in a couple spots down closer toward the weir and had a 50 fish day yesterday.  Mostly chromers that have continued to trickle in,  even though we’re seeing thousands going out.

Yes,  ADF&G did eventually get the weir in…  Due to the high water flows,  they missed about 2 weeks of out-migrating kelts this year.  No idea how many fish they missed and no real way to estimate.  A LOT could have left during the flooding.  The count as of right now is 2,846 kelts.  And they don’t show a single sockeye going through upstream yet,  even though a couple have been caught up above already.  Looking like the sockeye runs may be a week or two behind normal right now.  Over on the Alsek River,  subsistence nets have not been catching any sockeye and by now they should.

I have lots more to say,  but my noggin isn’t firing on all cylinders yet and I’m going to end this here before I embarrass myself…

And by the way…  with business as dead as it is right now,  the fly shop will be closed Sunday and Monday for the next couple weeks.  We’ll be back to daily ops when people start showing up again.

The Start of Our Season

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.