Tag Archives: situk sockeye

Sockeye is Over

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.

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.

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.

Sockeye Slowing

A great run this year so far,  but the past week has been significantly slower.  Not as many fish pushing in at the mouth of the Situk.  Still,  37,000 sockeye through the weir compares with only 8,000 fish same time last year…  So slower is relative…

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A nice slightly blushed buck who had been previously snagged in the back by someone downstream

Still not many fish at 9 Mile and above.  Either they are just not pushing up the river,  or they are pushing really fast and getting to the lake inn a hurry.  I’m inclined to go with the first theory,  since flows are a bit below 200 CFS.  Not a whole lot of river to encourage them to head upstream,  but still plenty to make floating relatively easy.

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Chris and Adam (from Yakutat B&B on the Bay-formerly Bayview Lodge) have been out a couple times and Chris finally gave me some photos to populate my infrequent fishing reports..

Heading out to the cabin in a few minutes,  but I’ll post another update from our trip last week next…

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…

Sockeye Bag Limit Raised to 6 Daily

Beginning at 12:01am Wednesday July 15th,  2015,  the bag and possession limits for sockeye salmon on the Situk River will increase to 6 per day and 12 in possession.  The biological escapement goal for sockeye salmon in the Situk River is between 30,000 and 70,000 fish.  As of July 13th,  2015,  47,176 sockeye salmon have been counted through the Situk River weir.  Average run timing data for sockeye indicates that 40% of the run is still to come and the escapement goal range is projected to be exceeded.

Anglers are reminded that sport fishing for king salmon was closed by Emergency Order #1-KS-H-17-15 effective at 12:01am Saturday July 11th.  King salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

For further information,  please call the Division of Sport Fish,  Alaska Department of Fish and Game at (907)784-3222.

Situk Sockeye EO 2015 in PDF

It is FINALLY Raining Again!

I think we broke a record for the most days without rain.  In Yakutat,  that probably means 2,  since it usually seems like it rains constantly,  but…  It is storming like crazy out there,  with 40 knot winds.  The water flow has come up above “normal” for the first time in a month.  This’ll flush the rest of the steelhead out of the river quickly.  The run was basically over anyway,  with just under 7,000 kelts counted so far.  That makes for an “average” sized run.  6,868 total as of a couple days ago and we’ll squeak over that 7-grand total before it is over.

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There are pockets of sockeye in the lower river now,  as well as a few kings.  They actually counted two large kings through the weir already!  Woo,  hoo!  Chris and a friend went fishing below the weir night before last and landed a half dozen sockeye (hooking twice that fairly) in just a couple hours.  It is still very early,  but they are starting to cluster in large enough numbers to actually fish.

Tanis and I flew Eden down to “Horse Camp” in Juneau on Monday.  You could see a few fish in both the East and Akwe as we passed over.  Not a lot,  but starting to show a little.  I have also heard that a king was seen jumping at the Akwe mouth and the East – probably not the same fish…  “Probably”…

We’re in the long slow stretch between steelhead and salmon.  Just biding our time and getting a little construction done on the hangar during the break.  If you come through,  the door may be locked at the shop while we are in the hangar (or in my office watching a movie…).  As always,  just honk on the horn and we’ll be right there!

Today's spike in the flows

Today’s spike in the flows

Total steelhead count (red) compared to last year (black) as of June 2nd,  2015

Total steelhead count (red) compared to last year (black) as of June 2nd, 2015