Well, we just crossed the line into August and that brings this dismal and depressing sockeye season to an end. They have 24,000 fish over the weir, beating 2008’s 23,000 (the only other year we have missed the minimum escapement goal). But in 2008, they didn’t close the river the way they did this year, so we managed to beat 2008 only because of the draconian management decisions of Fish and Game.
With the sockeye behind us, now we’re looking forward to silvers. I know a lot of you have been anxious through my lack of posts (pretty hard to motivate myself into typing “fishing is terrible” again and again) to know what the silver run is going to do. Will it be hit as hard as the sockeye? Well, sockeye are unique in many ways. All the other species have different behaviors, different food sources and range in different areas of the ocean. No reason to expect the silver run to be out of the normal.
I heard more than 36,000 pinks have passed the weir and we should be seeing 10,000+ every day from here on out. A handful of silvers have gone up and another handful have been landed in the lower river below the weir. That was all in July, so very early in the run and too early to tell if the run is going to be strong, weak, or somewhere in-between. I know plenty have been caught out in the bay on charter boats.
Halibut continues to be exceptional for most, which has really saved a lot of trips this year. A surprisingly few people cancelled their trips even with the river completely closed to fishing. They were able to entertain themselves fishing areas and streams they have never fished and doing a lot on the salt.
One thing is for sure… I have never been so excited about the humpy run. At least we have fish in the river now! Boy has this been a slow month in the fly shop. We literally went weeks without seeing any fishermen. I don’t think we sold more than 4 dozen flies in all of July. This is going to be a very skinny winter in Yakutat, with all the revenue lost from both sport and commercial fishing, as well as our empty freezers with no subsistence fishing allowed.