Tag Archives: yakutat 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…

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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Another bout of rain

That last batch of rain basically just soaked in and didn’t change too much.  Briefly brought the flow up to 190 CFS,  but then it dropped back down to 170 and stayed there through the weekend,  with just occasional showers to keep it from dropping further.  As the initial rain hit,  a big batch of fresh steelhead came in at the mouth,  but beat tail hard to get to the middle river without stopping.  Bottom end has been pretty devoid of fish unless you time the tide just right and hit the incoming schools as they dart past.  Really not a lot of action down there till you get to the Ox Bow,  which is a pretty good hike from below.

And we started to see winter fish dropping out of the lake about 4 days ago.  Just one or two initially,  but now they are starting to actually populate the river above the bridge and to about 2 miles below.  A few bright spring fish are also starting to move up above the bridge finally,  but the fishing pressure this weekend was tremendous.  Huge number of campers at 9 Mile,  described to me yesterday as 2 fishermen for every 1 fish above the bridge…  Bordering on horribly crowded…  But today is Sunday and we’ll probably see the weekenders head home today and tomorrow.  Hopefully.

Nothing is really a stand-out fly,  or method.  We still have zero dollies in the river and haven’t seen the resident rainbows drop down from the lake yet.  So…  no egg-eating predators for the steelhead to get aggressive toward.  Meaning the Dolly Llamas and big streamers haven’t done much.  A few more caught with the all-whites than the black and whites,  but still nothing too exciting.  Everything works a bit,  but nothing stands out right now.  Even the beads have been just hit and miss,  since none of the fish have started dropping eggs yet.

Water temp crashed to 36 degrees with the cool rain,  so that is slowing down the eagerness to spawn.  Even had a squall of ice pellets at noon yesterday and some snow flurries on the river.  After a couple weeks with sunny 55 degree temps,  boy does this feel cold again!  Here is the forecast for the coming week…  100% chance of rain every day through Thursday…

Forecast

And here is the flow chart as of right now…

Flow.PNG

Notice the spike on Wednesday?  That’s a group of guys in a drift boat sitting directly under the radar on the bridge jigging for steelhead that have already been harassed to death to no avail…  They must have sat there a LONG time to register on the gage!  That always cracks me up.  So after rain all morning,  we are still only at 184 (still mostly soaking in) and still slightly below the average.  300 really is ideal in my opinion,  but 200 is still a heck of a lot better than 70!

And this will be the last batch of “bait” I’ll post from Chris’ trip to Colorado this winter…

OK,  some of these aren’t “bait” sized…  Possibly crossing the line into “real fish” zone!