Tag Archives: yakutat alaska

First Sockeye…

The sockeye run is starting off very slow with only 15 fish counted through the weir.  Chris went fishing last night and landed his first several sockeye (and frustratedly tried to shake that darned steelhead off his line).  He said there was about a dozen fish below Rodeo,  but they weren’t in a good position to drift to.  Working their way downstream,  just pockets if a couple here and there.  Pretty depressing.  Then they spotted a seam with about a dozen and actually landed 6 of them!  After exhausting that group,  they headed down toward the take-out and spotted another 30 fish in a group.  They hooked several more of those (and impressed the only other fishing group with their ability to get sockeye to take flies…).

So I’m still holding to the idea that the run is a week or two late.  Usually right around the 1st of June,  there are enough sockeye for us to hook a few,  with no competition.  These small groups will shut down quickly with more pressure.  Fine when you are alone,  not-so-fine when you have to compete for the few small bunches of fish.

Chris showed me some pictures,  but didn’t send them to me…  He also asked if we had seen the moose cow and calf running around in the fly shop parking lot a couple nights ago…  Nope.  I guess they clomped around on the pavement for a while before heading off.  He had a brief video of them,  but probably too dark for me to post.

So another post with no pictures to make it interesting…  But I had a genuine sockeye report…

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Sightings

Last night as I was driving into town,  something was in the middle of the road.  With my old fart deteriorating eyesight,  it looked like a very small child on a very small bike heading to Glacier Bear down the main road.  For those of you who haven’t been to Yakutat (and it always amazes me that the vast majority of readers haven’t…  How did you even find my blog and why?!?!),  the airport is about 3 1/2 miles from “downtown”.  Glacier Bear Lodge is about half-way to town.  Just before you reach “the intersection”,  there is a bridge that crosses Ophir Creek,  then it rises and does a small S-curve.  Then you are in town…

So this kid was just this side of the Ophir Creek bridge.  As I got closer,  I could see it was really a baby moose,  standing about 3 feet tall on his spindly legs.  He trotted off down the side road to the old Coast Guard station,  no sign of mom anywhere.  Hopefully she’ll find him,  but if not,  he’ll end up as food for wolves,  coyotes,  or bears.  Every spring out at the Italio cabin,  we would see fresh baby moose tracks running around with a cow,  then about a week or so later,  we’d see bear scat with baby moose hooves clearly visible.  It is a wonder anything can really survive out there!

Anyway…  I didn’t have a camera with me of course,  but here are some photos from several years ago when we stumbled upon a similarly sized moose calf out at the Italio.  We were driving the ATV back to the Dangerous River (about 7 miles from the cabin) and you could see tiny tracks all alone wandering all over the sandflats.  We came up to this little dehydrated/exhausted ball of fur on the sand.  He eventually stood up,  but didn’t run off.  He was at least two miles from the nearest tree,  so mom wasn’t going to find him out there.  My guess is he didn’t make it through the night.

Once in town,  I asked Fish and Game if it was legal for me to take him and feed him and keep him alive.  They wouldn’t tell me it was illegal,  but advised against it…  Too late by that time.  Hopefully this latest little guy will find his mom and have a chance survive.  This is a hard place to survive!

On this same trip to the cabin,  we also saw a bald eagle right along the surfline.  As we drove closer,  we discovered he was about to peck the eyes out of a tiny baby seal.  The mom seal was franticly darting back and forth about 50 feet off shore in the surf,  but obviously had no ability to get her stubborn child back into the water,  even with an eagle about to peck out his eyes!  So we gently shoo’d him back into the water and to his mom’s safe flippers.

It was a busy week for critters that week back in 2005 (isn’t Tanis adorable?)…  Right outside the cabin door,  there was a robin nest with a bunch of bright blue eggs…  There is so much life around here (and death).  What a place to live!  You can come and visit for a week,  but we get to live this every day of the year!  We have so many blessings.

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.

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.

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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

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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!

 

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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!

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