Tag Archives: yakutat fishing report

How’s About a Fishing Post?

OK,  maybe it is time for me to come out of my slumber…  Sockeye run is going on now and everyone has been nervous about whether they would show up,  or not – after last year’s state-wide disaster.  Well,  not a record-breaking run this year,  but so far,  not all that bad.  Most people are able to catch their limits right now.  The lodge boats have done just fine floating with 3,403 fish counted through the weir.  Holding in a couple large groups below the weir,  so if you are on one of the groups,  great fishing.  If not…  Empty water…  They just aren’t stacking up yet.

Comparing this to years past…  As of this date:

2019 – 3,403
2018 – 288 with a run total of 26,704 (last year’s disaster)
2017 – 33,855 with a run total of 91,146 (the run was extremely early)
2016 – 1,306 with a run total of 55,454 (normal)
2015 – 2,239 with a run total of 94,987 (normal)
2014 – 7,277 with a run total of 102,308 (huge run)

So…  of the past five seasons,  we’re better than 3 and worse than 2…  I’m confident the run will turn out OK.  So far…

Wow!

It is April 4th and there are a LOT of fish coming in.

Since my last report,  the river has continued to drop and we had bright sun almost every day.  Reports were that the fishing really slowed down up above 9 Mile,  with the fish going into hiding,  or being very easily spooked.  Multiple reports that the waves of fresh spring steelhead continue to stream in at the mouth.  One report that there were a ton of tight-lipped fish down there,  but all the other reports are that they are on.  One guy this morning said he stepped into the first hole right off the landing and saw 7 fresh ones in the tail-out.  Landed one and moved upstream,  where he landed 4 of 4 casts…  Overcast yesterday probably made a big difference.

Still not a lot of fishing pressure,  but certainly a lot more than we’d usually expect to see the first couple days of April.  I’d expect this coming weekend to be pretty crowded,  because IT SHOULD BE CROWDED considering how many fish are already in the river.

Is the run early,  or do we have the right conditions for a big run?  No idea yet.

We were supposed to have rain last night,  then snow this morning and back to rain every day.  So of course the sun is back out again and other than a brief sprinkle,  no real precip so far.  Flow is down to 170CFS right now.  Through most of the past week,  water temps have topped 44 degrees in the day,  while dropping back down to 38 at night.  If it does turn to rain,  the temps will be stabilized with lows of 40 and highs of only 42.

Here is a photo sent to me by Matt Carr from a week ago as the flows were still dropping into the “ideal” range…

MattCarr

Nobody Wants Me to Share This!

OK,  the guys here right now are being very coy and unwilling to share any fishing info…  Because the run is in…  NOW!  Conditions are perfect and although the run was not early,  it is coming in in a hurry.  Probably too late for a quick trip this weekend,  but the coming week looks EXCELLENT!

It’s On!

River in Good Shape

Looking really good right now for conditions.  Flow is back down to 360 CFS and water temps have been scratching at 41 degrees the past couple days.  Heard from two sources that there are now fish in the river…  The lake is open,  so starting to see colored fish throughout.  And a handful of fresh spring steelhead scattered around.

Great weather through the week too!  But I really wouldn’t recommend scheduling an early trip just yet.  Yes,  we’re seeing a few fish,  but not enough to draw in a crowd.  Enough for the three groups I know are coming in the next couple days,  but that’ll pretty much tie up most of the holes holding fish right now…

So yes,  we’re looking good,  but no,  we’re not quite there yet.  Looking like an average run timing-wise at this moment.  My concern though is the lack of snow.  The water temp is going to skyrocket and stay high early,  unless we get consistent rain throughout the entire season.  Please no more 3000 CFS storms,  but looks like that is what broke up the lake ice and is starting to attract fresh ones in.

And the river is NOT open all the way.  They worked again on the biggest/worst logjams,  but the flow was still too high to get all the smaller ones.  Hard to cut a tree when it is 2 feet under water…  They are getting closer,  but still have several more to deal with.

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.