Tag Archives: yakutat steelhead report

Limiting on Sockeye Already?

Yep.  Two guys came through last night and said they caught their sockeye limit at the lower end.  Happened to stumble into two groups totaling around 100 fish.  This is VERY early.  Lots of jumpers out in the bay.  Here’s hoping we see a good run this year.

Even though the steelhead run is still alive and well,  no one has been out there that I have talked to for the past several days.

And if anyone wants to send me some photos from their trip this year,  I can post some more interesting content…


And the Run Continues…

Light drizzly rain yesterday and today,  not enough to change the flow gage,  but in the right direction!  Slight bump from 140 CFS to 150 this morning.  Still very low,  but floatable.  The overcast is the good news though.  We had a couple sunny days that turned the bite off,  but most people didn’t have any trouble hooking up.  Who am I kidding…  What people?  This place is a ghost town right now!

Three guys left a couple days ago.  They said the last three days of their trip,  they did not see a single other fisherman.  There are a couple guys here while their wives are doing work for either the city or the tribe and they are out fishing somewhere.  Not much else.  The river is devoid of fishermen and there are fish everywhere.  Including fresh ones at the lower end.  The guys said they floated out and the fresh fish were still stacked up below the weir.

Water temp spiked to 58 degrees a few days ago,  but is now back down to 50.  That has put a lot more fish on redds,  but still not the majority.  We have another excellent fishing weekend coming up with rain and overcast throughout,  no one here and a ton of steelhead.  It would be nice to see one more shot of people taking advantage of this run.  I know Yakutat Lodge is completely empty right now,  along with Glacier Bear,  Leonard’s and everyone else.

Reports of sockeye jumping already out in the bay and at least one ball of them came into the Situk.  I hope this bodes well for a good strong run,  especially after last year’s struggle.  Fish and Game will start the season with a king salmon closure again,  till they start to see how many fish are coming back.  My guess is that they will keep it closed to targeting kings this season.  But as always,  it is still open in the bay,  as well as in the Akwe and East Rivers.

Halibut has been hit and miss,  depending on how far people were able to go out.  Once that sunny westerly kicks up,  it is hard to be out there in the wide bay.  A few kings are being caught.  Talked to a commercial fisherman who landed 6 one day and 5 the next.

Transitioning to the salmon part of the season now,  even though we are still within the peak weeks of steelhead on the Situk.

Back to the World of the Living

I’m on the mend and feeling much better.  Thank you for your prayers and concerns…  Been upright for the past three days,  although I have had to take a nap mid-day every day.  At least the projectile vomiting was only for one day.

And as you know,  I have the best wife!  She made me home-made chicken noodle soup,  while covering the fly shop AND fueling planes.  She closed the shop for half of one day,  which was good.  And she lets me live in an old WWII hangar in an Alaskan village and play with planes and fish all the time…

Gorgeous sunny days this week – not good for my head,  or the steelheading.  Not very many visitors through the shop,  which either means no one is here,  or they are avoiding the plague and me…  Or both.  The sun is making it tougher mid-day and the warmth is making a LOT more fish spawn,  but there are a LOT of steelhead that are not yet ready and some nice little batches of fresh ones still coming in!

I believe we had peak season last week,  so running about 2 weeks late.  We are definitely on the backside now,  but as I said,  the fishing is still excellent.  I had some friends here last week (through the worst of my illness) and they landed a lot,  lost even more and had a great time (while avoiding me).  I’ll just attach a bunch of their photos,  so you can gage how the run was last week and continuing to be this week…


New guy in the group… Mark’s first steelhead of his life!


OOPS of the week… Pink leech fully embedded in the cheek and a visit to the clinic…

This was one camera from the group and only their first half of the trip…  That should give you a feel for how the fishing was and still is…  Only now all the people are gone and it is just you and the fish…  Still time to come and do this!

May Steelheading on the Situk

Just a quick update…  My flu came back and I have been mostly in bed this past week.

The fishing is…  spectacular.  There are so many fish in the river right now.  Flow is up to between 300 and 250 CFS.  Lightly raining for the past couple days.  Not that many people on the river now.  Even the weekend had a couple open tent platforms at 9 Mile.

If you don’t go in before 7pm and fish from then till dark,  you will not believe how many fish are in there!

OK,  I’m heading back to the couch now…

With a Little Rain

The rain actually came last night and this morning.  Most of it just soaked in,  but the river did come up to 172 CFS.  Not a huge gain,  but in the right direction!  Our average for this date is about 250,  so we’re looking significantly better right now.  Looks like we started to see some of the lake-locked winter fish trickling out over the past couple days and the big 12 foot tides are driving those tidewater steelies into the river now.  From all indications,  there are going to be a LOT of fresh fish in the system this coming week.

Fishing was good this week even when it was sunny.  We had an overcast cover move in one day early in the week with some very light rain and it should have been on fire…  Oddly,  it was a struggle for most people that day.  Weather cleared up again and the bite was better.  Weird.  The rain returned last night and through mid-day,  but now we have clearing coming again.  Supposed to be sunny Sat and Sun,  with rain returning Sunday night and continuing through the next week.

Here is my going-out-on-a-limb prediction…  Next week and the week after are going to be our peak this year.  That basically puts the run overall about a week later than the “normal” first of May peak.  I think the average usually puts that two-week peak window straddling the last week of April and first week of May.  There have been a LOT of fish in the river for all of April,  but the thick lake ice holding the winter fish a month longer and the extreme low water slowing the spring incoming has delayed us just a bit.

I also think we’ll have a stronger than average run,  with the weir count hitting 10,000 (or close to it).  The weir won’t be in for another two weeks,  so I’m really just pulling that number out of my butt…  It just seems like we have a lot of fish right now without the full spring run in yet and the lake fish not adding to the below-the-closure part of the river.

So…  looking really good for the next two weeks,  especially if the next rain actually happens,  while not blowing us out…

And the Sun Keeps Shinin’

Yet another hot and dusty summer day in sunny Yakutat.  The river is down to about 120 CFS.  Reports of a big batch of fresh steelhead down at the mouth that comes in on the tide…  then drops back out as the tide drops out.  Probably perfect conditions to go down and cast into the estuary with big streamers,  as the fish are hesitant to come into the extremely low river with such clear water.  Just stacking up out there waiting and waiting…

But there are a lot of fish already in the river and most people are still doing quite well.  Have had a couple people come through saying they had the best trip of their lives to the Situk.  One this morning said that before he flew out on the morning jet.  Camped about 2 miles from the bottom,  so they were into plenty of fresh fish down there.  I do think any that are trickling in are beating tail to get a ways upstream in a hurry.  Probably starting to settle down right about where they happened to camp.

Very crowded up around 9 Mile.  A LOT of pressure this weekend with fewer floating the river due to the lower water.  There is one logjam that is problematic in this low water that people are having to drag around.

We did have overcast and a light drizzle yesterday morning.  Not enough to help the river,  but it did help the bite while it lasted.  Back to sun now through the weekend with a chance of rain starting Monday and through next week.  Weather Service keeps pushing the rain off as we get closer,  but hopefully we’ll see a change and this high pressure will dissipate.  If not,  expect to explain why you have a good tan from your fishing trip to Yakutat…

Best fly is still the stupid Black and White Dolly Llama,  but people are starting to come in for other things.  Smaller beadhead buggers,  Polar Shrimp,  Money Bugs,  etc.  I think the Dolly Llamas are starting to get over-used on the fish that are in the river right now. Some fresh fish and higher water and they will be the hot ticket again,  but I think the fish just need to see something else.  Beads and yarn are doing well too,  now that a few fish are digging redds.

If I Had Bunny Slippers, I’d be Wearing Them

I know…  This was the wrong week to go silent on the steelhead run.  We all came down with a nasty case of the flu and this was a struggle just to get off the couch this week.  Teen and I playing Rock,  Paper,  Scissors to decide who answers the phone…  My lungs completely filled and I felt like I was drowning in green phlegm.  But…  we’re coming out of it now,  have been sterilizing everything in the shop and hangar and starting to feel like we are part of the living again.  Best part…  Teen and I sharing a warm mug of Thera-flu® as we open the shop together each morning.  Building memories…

So…  a week of crystal-clear sunny skies.  Flow is down to 140 CFS.  Yes,  it is still floatable,  but much of the float is devoid of fish at the moment.  Devoid,  or they are just deep under cover.  The upper river has a LOT more fish than the lower half,  but there are fresh chromers down near tidewater too.  They seem to be hesitant to come in over the bar during the day tide,  but are trickling through in the evenings.  There are a LOT of fish in the river right now and most people are still doing surprisingly well in the bright sun and low clear water.  Best in early mornings and late evenings when the shadows cast across the holes.

The forecast is calling for a chance of rain (and snow) starting Thursday night and through the weekend…  I’ll believe it when I see a cloud again and at the moment I see no trace of such a thing.  Wish we could have enjoyed this week of gorgeous weather,  with the whales passing off Cannon Beach and cutthroat in Tawah Creek,  instead of choking on phlegm.

Oh,  by the way…  halibut fishing in the bay has been really good lately too.