Tag Archives: situk river steelhead

Cold Fall

We are having an extremely cold fall,  slipping back into this sunny frigid weather again.  So much for the warmer week we were hoping for!

Gorgeous,  but the low temps have dropped the Situk’s water temperature well below where we want it to be for steelheading.  Fishing is very slow compared to what we usually see in the middle of November.  We only saw conditions in the ideal range for about 5 days,  then we dropped to where we’re seeing ice along the edges of moving water.

Last week we had more fishermen than we usually see this time of year,  but no one did a whole lot.  A group of 4 just left and stopped in before their flight to give me a report.  They said they were landing 3-4 fish for the group each day.  Hey,  not too bad for any river not named “Situk”,  but we have higher expectations than that.  And they are frequent Situk fliers,  coming both spring and fall every year.  They know the river well and definitely were out-fishing most everyone else around.

This weekend,  we are expecting a change in the weather,  but not necessarily any warmer…  Cold dry snow is expected to fall for a few days,  but nothing that will raise the water temp,  or water flow levels.  Air temp dropped to 15 degrees last night,  bringing the water temp to 34 degrees and flows to 135 CFS.  “Normal for this time of year is closer to 300 CFS and temperatures closer to 40F.

There are fish in the river,  but not a lot.  They are catchable,  but only about one hook-up a day.  Not exactly Situk-level reputation.  Unless we see a significant change in the weather patterns (which could happen at any time…),  don’t expect much from this fall’s run.

By the way…  fishing the upper river,  they did see a few relatively fresh silvers with just a little blush.  Not chromers,  but still edible for my fresh Thanksgiving Day salmon…

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Steelhead Startin’

Not much activity around here until today…  and yesterday…  Two small groups arrived yesterday and a couple more today,  looking for some steelhead.  Conditions are looking good,  but haven’t heard much off the river of late.  It was two weeks ago that the last word from some out-of-town sportie checked in.  Two guys looking for silvers ran into a group of steelhead fishermen down at the lower end.  It was the week of huge tides and both groups were working the bottom end.  Any fish that did come in would have pushed way upstream before slowing down.

I didn’t talk to the steelheaders,  but the two salmon guys did.  They said the steelheaders saw about 100 fresh silvers up around the weir,  higher than the salmon guys bothered to hike.  No mention of any steelhead seen or caught,  so I suspect they didn’t see or catch any…

A couple days ago,  I heard (again second hand) that our fish and game biologist hiked up to the boundary marker and landed two steelhead.  Flows were still up around 700 CFS,  so not exactly good fishing conditions even way up there.  But that is the first indication that there are steelies in the river now.

Conditions are just now down to where we want them…  Yesterday and today,  the water temp didn’t rise much above 42 degrees,  right where we want it…  Flow on the 27th broke through 1300 CFS,  but is now back down to 401 and continues to drop.  Not looking like there is any precip in the forecast for at least a week,  with sun breaks and overcast.  Temps aren’t supposed to be much below freezing either,  so my guess is the water will slowly continue to drop and water temp will remain relatively stable around 40 degrees.

So conditions will look really good to attract our fall run this week.  May not be a whole lot of them in the river yet,  but that should improve through the week.  Not bad!

And “worst case”…  there are still a few fresh silvers coming into the Situk as well as Lost and Tawah.  No ice on the lakes,  so I may try to squeeze in one trip into Pike Lake before the season comes to a frozen halt.  Without Chris here to help me on the river reporting,  I’m going to have to break down and actually go fishing again – something I haven’t done on the Situk since November last year…

Great Steelhead Videos

I was just sent a new video from some Colorado fishermen who came up again this spring for the Situk steelhead run.  I’ll post both of the videos Marty Politte has put together from his last two trips up here.  Both are worth the watch and getting Chris and I excited again for November’s run.  Even though we’re just starting to see the silver run gaining a little steam…  So much fishing,  so little time…  Enjoy!

2017:

2015:

Limiting on Sockeye Already?

Yep.  Two guys came through last night and said they caught their sockeye limit at the lower end.  Happened to stumble into two groups totaling around 100 fish.  This is VERY early.  Lots of jumpers out in the bay.  Here’s hoping we see a good run this year.

Even though the steelhead run is still alive and well,  no one has been out there that I have talked to for the past several days.

And if anyone wants to send me some photos from their trip this year,  I can post some more interesting content…

And the Run Continues…

Light drizzly rain yesterday and today,  not enough to change the flow gage,  but in the right direction!  Slight bump from 140 CFS to 150 this morning.  Still very low,  but floatable.  The overcast is the good news though.  We had a couple sunny days that turned the bite off,  but most people didn’t have any trouble hooking up.  Who am I kidding…  What people?  This place is a ghost town right now!

Three guys left a couple days ago.  They said the last three days of their trip,  they did not see a single other fisherman.  There are a couple guys here while their wives are doing work for either the city or the tribe and they are out fishing somewhere.  Not much else.  The river is devoid of fishermen and there are fish everywhere.  Including fresh ones at the lower end.  The guys said they floated out and the fresh fish were still stacked up below the weir.

Water temp spiked to 58 degrees a few days ago,  but is now back down to 50.  That has put a lot more fish on redds,  but still not the majority.  We have another excellent fishing weekend coming up with rain and overcast throughout,  no one here and a ton of steelhead.  It would be nice to see one more shot of people taking advantage of this run.  I know Yakutat Lodge is completely empty right now,  along with Glacier Bear,  Leonard’s and everyone else.

Reports of sockeye jumping already out in the bay and at least one ball of them came into the Situk.  I hope this bodes well for a good strong run,  especially after last year’s struggle.  Fish and Game will start the season with a king salmon closure again,  till they start to see how many fish are coming back.  My guess is that they will keep it closed to targeting kings this season.  But as always,  it is still open in the bay,  as well as in the Akwe and East Rivers.

Halibut has been hit and miss,  depending on how far people were able to go out.  Once that sunny westerly kicks up,  it is hard to be out there in the wide bay.  A few kings are being caught.  Talked to a commercial fisherman who landed 6 one day and 5 the next.

Transitioning to the salmon part of the season now,  even though we are still within the peak weeks of steelhead on the Situk.

Back to the World of the Living

I’m on the mend and feeling much better.  Thank you for your prayers and concerns…  Been upright for the past three days,  although I have had to take a nap mid-day every day.  At least the projectile vomiting was only for one day.

And as you know,  I have the best wife!  She made me home-made chicken noodle soup,  while covering the fly shop AND fueling planes.  She closed the shop for half of one day,  which was good.  And she lets me live in an old WWII hangar in an Alaskan village and play with planes and fish all the time…

Gorgeous sunny days this week – not good for my head,  or the steelheading.  Not very many visitors through the shop,  which either means no one is here,  or they are avoiding the plague and me…  Or both.  The sun is making it tougher mid-day and the warmth is making a LOT more fish spawn,  but there are a LOT of steelhead that are not yet ready and some nice little batches of fresh ones still coming in!

I believe we had peak season last week,  so running about 2 weeks late.  We are definitely on the backside now,  but as I said,  the fishing is still excellent.  I had some friends here last week (through the worst of my illness) and they landed a lot,  lost even more and had a great time (while avoiding me).  I’ll just attach a bunch of their photos,  so you can gage how the run was last week and continuing to be this week…

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New guy in the group… Mark’s first steelhead of his life!

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OOPS of the week… Pink leech fully embedded in the cheek and a visit to the clinic…

This was one camera from the group and only their first half of the trip…  That should give you a feel for how the fishing was and still is…  Only now all the people are gone and it is just you and the fish…  Still time to come and do this!

With a Little Rain

The rain actually came last night and this morning.  Most of it just soaked in,  but the river did come up to 172 CFS.  Not a huge gain,  but in the right direction!  Our average for this date is about 250,  so we’re looking significantly better right now.  Looks like we started to see some of the lake-locked winter fish trickling out over the past couple days and the big 12 foot tides are driving those tidewater steelies into the river now.  From all indications,  there are going to be a LOT of fresh fish in the system this coming week.

Fishing was good this week even when it was sunny.  We had an overcast cover move in one day early in the week with some very light rain and it should have been on fire…  Oddly,  it was a struggle for most people that day.  Weather cleared up again and the bite was better.  Weird.  The rain returned last night and through mid-day,  but now we have clearing coming again.  Supposed to be sunny Sat and Sun,  with rain returning Sunday night and continuing through the next week.

Here is my going-out-on-a-limb prediction…  Next week and the week after are going to be our peak this year.  That basically puts the run overall about a week later than the “normal” first of May peak.  I think the average usually puts that two-week peak window straddling the last week of April and first week of May.  There have been a LOT of fish in the river for all of April,  but the thick lake ice holding the winter fish a month longer and the extreme low water slowing the spring incoming has delayed us just a bit.

I also think we’ll have a stronger than average run,  with the weir count hitting 10,000 (or close to it).  The weir won’t be in for another two weeks,  so I’m really just pulling that number out of my butt…  It just seems like we have a lot of fish right now without the full spring run in yet and the lake fish not adding to the below-the-closure part of the river.

So…  looking really good for the next two weeks,  especially if the next rain actually happens,  while not blowing us out…