Tag Archives: yakutat fishing report

Some Good Reports Today

Getting some better reports from off the Situk today.  One frequent flier said this was the first day they were able to land fish after fish like “normal”.  They did have access to a jet-boat though.  Prior to today,  the fish were jumping all around them,  but so scattered that you couldn’t get many.  Today was different.  Water flow is still over 700 CFS,  but looking better.

Report from someone off the ocean…  They went out with a charter boat and hit their halibut limit by 10am.  Then were able to limit on silvers too.  They were in the shop around 3pm,  so it didn’t take them long to do all that and be back here again.

Report from some day fishermen on the Italio…  OK,  but not that great.  They had to work very hard to land 4 fish…  They worked down at the mouth and walked upstream as the tide pushed in.  So things are still pretty weak out there,  but at least it is fishable and not completely blown out (like some other rivers we know and love…).


Yak Coastal Update

I don’t want to give a play-by-play as this unfolds,  but I know there are a lot of people out there anxious about their coming trips…  So I will give you this update…

Hans just sling-loaded the engine from the plane to the airport a few minutes ago.  The new engine arrived last night in freight,  along with the two mechanics.  They are going to transfer all the wiring harnesses,  etc to the new engine and sling it out to the plane.  So things are moving along swiftly and Yakutat Coastal should be back in full operation in short order.


And in other news…  We had more rain this morning and last night,  although nothing like the night before.  It was enough to raise the Situk further to 899 CFS.  We didn’t have that much rain here at the airport,  so the rise must have been due to heavy rains up against the mountains.  In any case,  the river is up higher than yesterday.  The successful people on the Situk today have been in boats.  I don’t think there is any place you can stand in the river without being swept away…  Look for shallower spots where there is slower current,  or a back eddy,  where the fish will be resting out of the strong current.

I have sent a few people out to Sawmill Cove,  but they reported still mostly humpies out there.  The mouth of Ankau just off Graveyard Beach has been very productive,  but you need to get permission from the KWAAN before trespassing on their private land.  Easily accessible by boat though and it is well protected for using Leonard’s Landing’s small rental skiffs.

Tawah is still fishable in some locations,  but the water is well up the banks and there isn’t any place to stand in the water.  Just fishing from the high bank with no place to easily land a fish.

Fishing is pretty tough anywhere right now,  but more and more fish are coming in and even in high water,  the fishing will improve over the coming days.  This I a much stronger run than last year’s mediocre run.

Not the Storm we were Looking For

Well,  that was a bit of a let-down…  Instead of 3-4 inches last night,  the rain stopped completely around 6am and we didn’t see more than about an inch.  Flows didn’t do much,  with it topping out around 840 CFS.  OK,  yes,  that is still a lot of water,  but we’re forecast now to just have showers every day through the coming week.  Heavy at times tonight,  but it is completely dry right now.

Here’s what things look like right now:


Hey!  The sun’s out!

First Really Big Fall Storm

4am on August 30th and we’re in the midst of a real fall storm.  Blowing and gusting and pouring.  We are supposed to see 3-4 inches overnight,  on fully saturated ground from the past week’s daily rains and showers.  This is really going to blow out the rivers.  Here is the weather warning:



A cold frontal passage over the Panhandle between Tuesday night
and Wednesday is expected to provide periods of heavy rainfall for
the Southern, Central, and Northern Inner Channels as well as the
Eastern Gulf coast. Rainfall totals of 0.75 and 2.0 inches are
expected between Tuesday night and Wednesday as the front

For the Northeast Gulf Coast these conditions will be amplified.
Over the past 2 days 3 inches of rain has fallen near Yakutat. An
additional 3 to 4 inches of additional rainfall expected between
Tuesday and Wednesday.

Soils remain wet and rivers high associated with the recent wet
period spanning Southeast Alaska. Rivers streams, and creeks are
expected to rise during this timeframe.


The last reading before dark on the 9 Mile gage was still just over 600 CFS,  but tat was before the storm hit.  2,000 by daylight???  Lots of fish though.  Just have to find a place you can access them…  I’d expect the lagoon,  Sawmill Cove and Ankau to be crowded once the winds die,  since those are all tidal and not flood dependent.

This week will be a mess,  but at least we’re not Texas!  Our friends down there continue to be in our thoughts and prayers this week.

Fall is here (and falling)

Heavy rains expected for the next several days,  after mostly rain through the past week.  I was down in Juneau all week,  so a little behind on my updates,  but…

All the rivers are pretty flooded right now,  but not blown out.  Flying home yesterday,  we passed over the East,  Akwe and Italio systems and all were too dark to see anything in the water.  I did hear from a group just off the Italio today and they said fishing was GREAT.  High water,  but “the kids” were able to hook 4 fish in 4 casts.  So fishing on the Italio seems about normal…  Every cast,  or nearly so – even in a flood and storm.

When we landed,  the Trans Northern Super DC-3 was on the ramp.  They overflew Tsiu because the strip was flooded.  Had to bring their passengers into Yakutat,  to be shuttled out to Tsiu in the smaller planes.  Nice to see a beautiful DC-3 flying in Yakutat,  even if it isn’t mine!

Talked to a group on their first visit to Yakutat.  They went out with Bob Fraker on the Ahrnklin and had an exceptional day.  Lots of silvers,  bears and moose.  They also floated the Situk one day and did OK and did two days on the salt.  Easily limited on silvers and caught two big halibut yesterday.  They said they would lower their herring down a few feet and it would get hammered by a silver immediately.

A couple other groups reported good fishing at the Situk lower landing even in the high water.  Last night the Situk was 520 CFS.  By morning long after the rains had subsided,  it shot up over 700 CFS,  but was down to mid-600’s now.

The forecast is calling for another 3 inches to fall by Tuesday,  so if it isn’t flooded by now,  it will be…  It is going to be a wet week!  Here is the forecast:


Hydrologic Outlook
National Weather Service Juneau AK
707 AM AKDT Sun Aug 27 2017


The northeast gulf coast including Yakutat has received 2 to 3
inches of rainfall from Saturday through Sunday morning. Rain
showers will continue Sunday night before diminishing early Monday
morning. After the brief break in rainfall Monday morning, a warm
front will lift north and bring another round of potentially
heavy rain from Monday afternoon through Tuesday night. Three
inches of rainfall is forecasted for this event. Given saturated
conditions, the entire northeast gulf coast region including
Yakutat will experience rises in rivers and streams through

Detailed Forecast
This Afternoon

Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 56. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 1am, then scattered showers. Low around 48. East wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light southeast. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Isolated showers before 7am, then rain after 10am. High near 58. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Monday Night
Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. Low around 50. Southeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Rain, mainly before 10am. High near 61. East wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Tuesday Night
Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. Low around 53. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 57. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Wednesday Night
Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 49.

Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 54.

Thursday Night
Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 49.

Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56.

Friday Night
Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 49.

Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56.

Early Word from Tsiu

I’m starting to get pestered about what the run is doing on the Tsiu,  so I’d better get a posting of what I know (which isn’t much…).

There has been fish in the Tsiu for a couple weeks now.  The first group from Dierick’s just left and the second group just arrived.  I didn’t talk to them,  but word from YCA is that they said fishing was just “OK”.  Right now,  the river is really flooded,  so probably pretty marginal fishing this early.  They did get a lot of rain (so did the East,  but virtually nothing here in town and on the Situk) out there.

So this isn’t much of a report…  Nothing first or even second hand.  Still pretty early in the season though.  I did talk to some of the Veterinarian group that always comes for this pink salmon season.  They said this was by far the best fishing they have ever had.  Pinks on the river,  silvers in the bay and really good halibut fishing.  Guys were landing big halibut in those little bay skiffs Leonard’s Landing rents.  They were trolling for silvers and catching halibut up high!

As their week ended this weekend,  the bite for silvers seemed to slow down in the bay, indicating those fish are starting to move toward the rivers now.  Also had word from the Italio that there are a lot of fish out there already – sockeye still and quite a few silvers showing up in the Akwe and New Italio.  Still mostly pinks in the Middle Italio.

That’s about all I have for right now though.  Fish and Game pulled the weir and the last counting day was August 10th.  A good run over-all,  with 91,146 sockeye counted (they had over 1,100 counted the last day,  so the run will definitely get over 100,000 when all is said and done) and 1,187 large kings (with an additional 22 counted the last day).  They are tracking the other species this year for the first time,  so showing 263,780 pinks through the weir before it was pulled.  I have no idea how they are supposed to accurately count 25,845 humpies on the last day of the weir,  while also counting those sockeye,  kings,  plus 20 silvers and 51 chum…  Severe thumb cramps,  clicking the hand counter…

My guess is that we see maybe half of the pink run in the Fish and Game total count,  since they are still coming in by 25,000+ daily.  But a few hundred silvers and chum mixed in there for variety.

And we made it to August

Here we are…  the lull between sockeye and silvers.  Also known as humpy season…

We finished our commercial fishing season on the Akwe a week ago because the pinks were really taking over.  Sunday,  we were running about 50:50 pound-wise and since pinks are a little over half the size of sockeye,  the week wasn’t starting off very good.  By Monday and Tuesday,  the pinks slowed dramatically and we were back to being nearly all sockeye.  A few chum and two silvers were added to the mix,  but no kings.  Not quite a salmon grand slam.

So with the pinks coming in in big numbers (10’s of thousands going into the Italio),  we called it a season.  This past weekend,  we did go out again for a couple days to close things out,  pull the boat out of the water and put the nets away.  Gorgeous sunny weather,  so we went swimming and goofing off before we pulled the boat.  And it looks like we should have fished another week…  The humpies in the Akwe dried up and we were back to nearly all sockeye.  Oh well.  We had already put the gear away.

Back in town,  Fish and Game raised the bag limit on sockeye to 6.  Still seeing 1-2,000 sockeye passing through the weir every day and have exceeded 80,000 fish so far.  Fish and Game expects to pull the weir on August 12th and at this rate,  we may see 100,000 escapement by that time.

Pinks are coming in between 10,000 and 20,000 daily.  Yikes!  A cool change this year…  Fish and Game are listing all species on the weir counts page,  so we get to see they are already over 90,000 humpies past the weir.  They officially have 94 silvers and a whopping 30 chum.

The real news though is that we have 826 large kings through.  The past two days have seen 76 and 54 respectively!  It is hard to justify continuing the closure of the Rodeo Hole now that they are nearly double the minimum escapement goal,  so I’d expect them to lift the restriction closing the holes immediately below the weir in the next few days.

LOTS of silvers in the bay,  with the charter boats able to get their limits for going on a month now…  Still some kings out there too.  So…  we have ridiculous numbers of fish right now and very few people here to fish them.  It’ll be pretty dead for the next three weeks,  till the silver season begins in earnest and we get crowded again.