Tag Archives: situk steelhead report

My Only 1st-Hand Fishing Report

Night before last,  Patrick came through the shop with a fresh report…  I would have posted this earlier,  but I’m suffering through a really bad cold/flu and have been in bed most of the past week.

So he went down and fished hard down at the lower landing end of the river.  Chased some fish around,  but didn’t touch any.  I haven’t had any success in this fall season down there.  Seems as though these fall steelhead are in a hurry to get upstream and don’t slow down enough to have much success in the lower river.  And his efforts were rewarded by getting charged in the dark by a sow with cubs…  So we still have some bears on the river.

Next day,  he went to the bridge and had better success.  First cast in the bridge hole,  he had a steelhead hammer his bead.  He said he was excited to have a hot fishing day ahead of him.  Unfortunately for a long time,  that was his only hit…  Water was clear,  low and had become pretty cold after a few days of deep freezing clear nights.  Then it started to rain…

The moment the raindrops started hitting the surface,  the bite was on.  He said it was a fish on nearly every cast.  A mix of dollies,  resident rainbows,  steelhead and one huge silver.  Then it got dark and he had to get to the shop before we closed…

So that is the ONLY fishing report I have had.  Right now,  we have one guy at the Forest Service cabins,  three guys in a jet-boat,  Patrick,  two guys arrived last night and two more on today’s morning flight.  There were a couple extra cars in the 9 Mile parking lot,  but the people weren’t seen anywhere…  Pretty quiet.

It has now changed back to rain – well,  scattered showers.  Warmer,  so water temp is back to being perfect.  Flow right at 300 CFS.  Just about perfect conditions through the weekend,  with heavier rain coming Sunday night…

Ideal Conditions this Week

I still have not talked to anyone off the river.  Just a handful of people heading out to fish as they arrived.  So no actual first-hand reports.  But…

The snow we were supposed to see Friday night didn’t happen.  Just a brief flurry before turning to a light drizzle.  An occasional shower this weekend,  but nothing cold enough to stick.  The cooler weather did drop the water temp into the ideal range for the past 4 days,  which should be attracting fresh steelhead into the system.  Flows are still looking really good with it hanging at 224CFS right now.

Everything is just looking spectacular on paper right now for the bridge area.  Weather forecast is for sunny and partly cloudy skies through the early part of the coming week,  with another chance of snow beginning Wednesday.  Showing a mix of rain and snow Thursday where the forecast ends.

Looking so much better than last year’s deep cold that shut the river down this week.

Time to Get Back on Track

And another full month passes without a post.  Just chalk it up as one of those years…

September was unbelievably dry…  October is making up for it.  Back to back storms that have really not let up for weeks.  Including the biggest thunderstorm I have ever seen in Alaska!  We just don’t get them here.  This one a few nights ago lasted for 6 hours.  One strike hit the big FAA radar tower along runway 02/20 while I was watching out the window.  Then we had two strikes on the GCI cell tower about 200 yards from the hangar.  Never have I before actually appreciated having that damn cell tower outside my window taller than my building until it became the lightening rod to draw strikes away from my house!

The last actual fishing report I received was back the first week of October,  so three weeks old.  One of the Yak Lodge guides had his family here as a season closer and they floated the river.  Probably the last boat down the river…  Lots of fresh silvers coming in with the slightly higher water at the time and he reported seeing a school of 8 clearly fresh steelhead in one hole.  Obviously those weren’t the only ones in the river,  so it was a good early sign even with the water still very warm.

First real steelheader came through the shop heading to the Forest Service cabin on Sunday.  Two more heading to the other cabin came through Monday. Won’t see or hear from them for a week,  so still no fresh fishing report.  However,  Kraig from the Lodge stopped in earlier today to say the river is choked off at the top and bottom.  Big jam at the Rodeo Hole that he was able to get around by dragging over the gravel bar,  only to hit a big one not far above that.  He said he cut a path down to the cabins,  but it is pretty ugly with new trees and jams just below.  So floating the river with anything not inflatable isn’t much of an option right now (and probably not till spring).

Current river conditions are really pretty good right now.  Flow has come back down to 371CFS,  from a high of near 2,700 just a week ago.  Yes,  that can knock a lot of trees over!  I think 300 is ideal for this fall run fishing above and below the bridge.  Can’t really sight-fish well,  but they are in there and react really well to swung streamers.

Water temp is still a little warm,  but close to where we want to be.  Didn’t get our first real frost till just this past weekend.  Riding between 43 and 45 degrees right now,  but hasn’t quite dipped below that 6C perfect number yet.  Just one degree off…

Probably no point in giving you a weather forecast,  but here goes anyway…  Was supposed to be 100% chance of rain today,  but it has been dry all day.  Now it is saying 30% of showers tonight,  then clear through Friday.  That will definitely give us some cold nights to drop the water temp.  Then a chance of snow Friday night and into Saturday morning before turning back to rain.

If that actually happens,  this could actually be a great week out on the river.  But that is a big “if”…

And FYI…  The shop is open Tues-Sat 10am to 6pm.  Closed Sunday and Monday.  If you are coming in on the evening flight and want to come by,  give me a heads up and we’ll wait for you.  Just in case the flight is a little late.

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.

We Gots Some Bad News this Weekend

Special Weather Statement

Special Weather Statement National Weather Service Juneau AK630 AM AKDT Thu May 3 2018 AKZ017-040000-Cape Fairweather to Cape Suckling Coastal Area-Including the city of Yakutat630 AM AKDT Thu May 3 2018 …HEAVY RAIN EXPECTED OVER THE NORTHEAST GULF COAST… A very wet weather front will bring long lasting periods of heavy rain to the Northeast Gulf Coast beginning Thursday night and persisting through Saturday. This front will bring unseasonably high amounts of moisture northward from the subtropical North Pacific into the northeast Gulf. Between Thursday night and Friday night, as much as 5 inches of rain is possible over the area with more heavy rainfall expected on Saturday. Impacts will include rises on rivers and streams as well as significantly reduced visibilities and low cloud ceilings during heavy rainfall.

Fishing has been really great lately even with the big crowds.  Nothing is a real stand-out fly,  but everything seems to be doing OK.  The easy fish have been flogged to death and are done with the Dolly Llamas,  but if you locate a pod of fish in water that should hold fish,  but you can’t see them…  Those are the fish that are on fire.  Avoid the big visible groups.  They have been harassed to death and are not interested anymore…

Still seeing fresh steelhead coming in on every tide,  but we are definitely on the backside of the spring run.  Some spawning activity happening especially in the upper river,  but still not a lot.  Most of the fish are still ripening up and not on redds yet.  A lot of fish in the river right now.

It has been extremely crowded up at 9 Mile and many camps down the river.  We are starting to see lighter fishing pressure though.  Many people moved up into April following the early runs we had been seeing,  so looking like May will still be good on the river,  but with a lot fewer fishermen.

If this storm dumps as much rain on us as they are forecasting,  it’ll definitely blow the river out through the weekend,  but supposed to dry up Saturday night and stay dry through next week.  Been drizzling all day today,  but the flow is just holding steady at 309 CFS.

Water’s Up and so is Fishing

The rain finally came!  Brought the water flow up to 700 CFS at the peak.  Now the sun is back out and flows are dropping quickly.  Passing through 477 CFS right now and we’ll be down to 300 tomorrow (which I think is perfect).  The past week continued to be horrifically crowded up at 9 Mile,  but that was where the best fishing was.

Flow

All the lake fish are dropping out,  along with the resident rainbows.  Also seeing the dollies arriving at the mouth.  This will be the big turn-on for the larger flies and streamers,  which have been spotty at best so far.

Water temp got really cold over the past week dropping back down to 36 degrees in the mornings and only getting to 38 in the day.  Not a lot of spawning activity going on et,  although one report was of a couple chrome-bright hens who had already dropped their eggs and were heading out already.

The lower half of the river is pretty slow with the fresh spring fish coming in on each tide pushing about 2 miles upstream before slowing down.  The better fishing will be on the upper half of the float,  or bridge and higher.

Conditions over the next few days are looking really good,  with flow up,  a little sunnier than we’d like for steelhead today,  but changing to rain and/or snow showers through the rest of the weekend and into next week.

Forecast

Not nearly as crowded this weekend as the past two.  I think the guys in Anchorage were just watching for the first good rain and all flooded us over the past week.  That may be out of their system now though.  A lot more campers down the river than I think we have seen before too.  That has frustrated the driftboats,  with a campsite on many of the best holes and therefore fishermen staking out claim to a lot of water.  Again,  that seems to be lightening now as well.

IMG_20180206_142415

With the thermometer showing 50 degrees today, here is a look back to March (only a month ago) with the Dangerous River completely frozen solid coming out of Harlequin Lake

IMG_20180305_133425

About 10 feet along the edge of the Situk frozen solid,  making it a little tough to drop into the river to fish…  Explains why the lake didn’t want to release the winter fish until just this past few days!

 

IMG_20180223_135833

With everything in March frozen over,  the eagles were getting a bit friendly looking for a snack to sustain them till the eulachon run arrived.

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