Tag Archives: situk river steelhead

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.

Advertisements

Fishing is Good, I’m Not…

OK,  lack of reports and posts because I have been sick the past week.  This is the first time I have sat down at the computer in several days.  Just a cold,  but it was a bad one for both Teen and I.  Kids have managed to avoid it though!

So…  just before I crashed…  I stumbled on this blog post:

Living on River Time

They were planning their first trip to Alaska – to the Situk,  staying in the Forest Service EAGLE cabin and I think they are here RIGHT NOW!  As far as I know,  they haven’t been through the shop,  so I haven’t met them,  but I’m excited to see what they post after the trip.  They should have some pretty incredible conditions…  Of course I haven’t posted anything for nearly 3 weeks,  so I gave them no heads-up leading up to their trip.  OOPS!  Makes me feel bad,  especially after the nice things they said about me…  Now they may be wondering…  Bad Bob!

Today was yet another sunny day.  Flows are right at 300 CFS.  Water temp has been upwards of 50 degrees.  We are definitely on the backside of the run now,  with very few fish coming in on the tides now – but still seeing a few new ones.  Only one group of out-of-towners has been through the shop the past couple days,  but they have been doing great and happy not to be seeing anyone else on the river.

In May,  we ended up having back-to-back storms that kept the flows high most of the time.  Just now dropping back to 300 now.  Supposed to see some more rain in the coming week,  but doesn’t look like enough to cause any problems.

And that is about all I have tonight.  Still feeling crappy,  but getting better each day.  I definitely need some downtime,  so we’re going to start being closed Sundays till the sockeye show up.

Not so Bad Yet…

Well,  when I started typing this post this morning,  flow was still down at 389 CFS after raining all night.  Quarter after one and the flow is up to 441.  We’ve reached saturation and now the river is spiking fast.  But still very fishable today…  Tomorrow…  Don’t hold your breath.  Weather Service has updated the weather warning to show an ADDITIONAL 6 inches possible before this is done.  And it is looking like rain through at least Monday morning.

Only a Steelheader Can Love This

Blowing,  driving rain with an occasional mix of sleet.  Hard to imagine a more miserable day outside.  Perfect steelheading weather.  And with all this rain,  the flow is still just now breaking through the 200 CFS mark (205 as of 330pm).  I had to fuel a helicopter a couple hours ago and was pelted with snotty sleet.  I’m OK with being inside today…

Most reports are that the fishing is just OK.  Plenty of fish,  but they are for the most part very tight lipped.  It’ll improve as we see a little more water and the turbidity picks up.

Stay warm out there!

IMG_20180316_170526

Another bout of rain

That last batch of rain basically just soaked in and didn’t change too much.  Briefly brought the flow up to 190 CFS,  but then it dropped back down to 170 and stayed there through the weekend,  with just occasional showers to keep it from dropping further.  As the initial rain hit,  a big batch of fresh steelhead came in at the mouth,  but beat tail hard to get to the middle river without stopping.  Bottom end has been pretty devoid of fish unless you time the tide just right and hit the incoming schools as they dart past.  Really not a lot of action down there till you get to the Ox Bow,  which is a pretty good hike from below.

And we started to see winter fish dropping out of the lake about 4 days ago.  Just one or two initially,  but now they are starting to actually populate the river above the bridge and to about 2 miles below.  A few bright spring fish are also starting to move up above the bridge finally,  but the fishing pressure this weekend was tremendous.  Huge number of campers at 9 Mile,  described to me yesterday as 2 fishermen for every 1 fish above the bridge…  Bordering on horribly crowded…  But today is Sunday and we’ll probably see the weekenders head home today and tomorrow.  Hopefully.

Nothing is really a stand-out fly,  or method.  We still have zero dollies in the river and haven’t seen the resident rainbows drop down from the lake yet.  So…  no egg-eating predators for the steelhead to get aggressive toward.  Meaning the Dolly Llamas and big streamers haven’t done much.  A few more caught with the all-whites than the black and whites,  but still nothing too exciting.  Everything works a bit,  but nothing stands out right now.  Even the beads have been just hit and miss,  since none of the fish have started dropping eggs yet.

Water temp crashed to 36 degrees with the cool rain,  so that is slowing down the eagerness to spawn.  Even had a squall of ice pellets at noon yesterday and some snow flurries on the river.  After a couple weeks with sunny 55 degree temps,  boy does this feel cold again!  Here is the forecast for the coming week…  100% chance of rain every day through Thursday…

Forecast

And here is the flow chart as of right now…

Flow.PNG

Notice the spike on Wednesday?  That’s a group of guys in a drift boat sitting directly under the radar on the bridge jigging for steelhead that have already been harassed to death to no avail…  They must have sat there a LONG time to register on the gage!  That always cracks me up.  So after rain all morning,  we are still only at 184 (still mostly soaking in) and still slightly below the average.  300 really is ideal in my opinion,  but 200 is still a heck of a lot better than 70!

And this will be the last batch of “bait” I’ll post from Chris’ trip to Colorado this winter…

OK,  some of these aren’t “bait” sized…  Possibly crossing the line into “real fish” zone!

A Forecast to Celebrate!

I really like the looks of this:

Capture

Finally some real rain to do what we need!  Flow is still hovering around 100 CFS,  or just below.  Tanis floated yesterday (3 more beaver) an said there are a LOT of fish in the river right now.  Even with the low flows,  the spring run is starting to push in anyway.  Looking from the reports to be around 1,500-2,000 fish in the river now.  Decent numbers coming in on every tide lately.

Quite a few campers along the river this past weekend with most of them just sitting tight on whatever hole they saw the most fish in.  That has been a frustration from the people floating.  But we’re seeing more fish spreading out into more and more holes now,  rather than just a small few holes worth fishing.

Chris fished inter-tidal yesterday and they saw a lot of fish coming in,  hooked quite a few.  Also had two guys end their trip yesterday,  spending most of their time fishing all the way down at the estuary.  Something I had been trying to encourage people to do,  but they said they were alone in doing it.  Conditions were absolutely ideal for it,  with small tides not pushing much water in and therefore not pushing on the fish either.  Very low/clear river making it tough to get the steelies to want to cross the bar.  And the sea lions have moved on now that the eulachon run has come and gone.  Bigger tides this week and with the rains expecting to bring the CFS up,  the estuary opportunity looks to have passed.

Still no sign of any of the winter fish coming out of the lake and no reports of any significant number of spring fish above the bridge.  It is all downstream of 9 mile still.  But with the coming rain,  all that will change.  It’ll bring the fish that remain down in the estuary into the river proper,  spread the fish throughout the entire river system and should lift the lake level to start breaking up the ice and release anything trapped in the lake.

Expect the coming week to be really good,  so long as we don’t get more rain than we need and the river blows out.  Well even if it does blow out,  I think we’ll still see a LOT of fish come in and bring them into the upper river where there are fewer tributaries to flood the main channel,  keeping it fishable.

I’m excited for the coming week!  And here is another batch of Gordon’s photos from Situk Lake and the upper-upper river:

Ahh! The Sun!!

The sun continues to shine and it is darned warm around here.  The air temperature has been hitting or exceeding 50 degrees every day this week,  melting what remains of the snow along the banks.  It is keeping the flow right at 100 CFS (97.9 right now) and water temp at the bridge exceeded 44 degrees today.  So 46ish at the bottom…

Dinky tides this week,  but the warm water is still dragging steelhead into the river and out of the estuary on every tide.  Not a lot of them,  but a few every tide.  Still virtually no fish above the bridge anywhere.  You may run into a pocket here and there upstream,  but few and far between.

No sign of anything coming out of the lake yet.  How many winter fish this year is a bit of a mystery anyway,  since the river conditions were terrible for fishing throughout the “season” in November and extremely flooded through December.  It’ll be interesting to find out how many overwintered.

The forecast this weekend is calling for a chance of rain and/or snow showers,  but if this does happen,  I really doubt it’ll raise the river any. A 30% chance of showers means a 70% chance of NOT showers…  And the ground is so dry most of it would soak in.  Then back to sun again Monday…

Weekend

A couple years ago,  we had a warm winter with little lake ice.  One of our fly shop friends rented the lake cabin and had a wonderful time up there.  Unfortunately this year,  he won’t have the access with thick lake ice.  He is coming next week to very different conditions and after e-mailing with him today,  I discovered I had misplaced a batch of photos he sent me from up there.  So today,  I’m finally posting some of Gordon’s photos of the upper river and of Situk Lake from 2016.  Enjoy,  because some of these are really stunning!

Photos from Gordon Nelson