Tag Archives: Yakutat

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…

Interesting Morning

The ACE Air Cargo mail plane arrived this morning at 4:05am.  I fueled,  Teen assisted the flight crew with offloading the mail and UPS.  On our way into town to deliver the 592lbs of mail,  there were two bears in the grass just outside the Pate Construction yard.  We stopped in the road and watched them for about 10 minutes.  One darted into the trees immediately,  the other stayed on the road shoulder,  grazed a little on clover,  then huffed and walked past us toward Ophir Creek.

After delivering the mail,  we headed back to the airport expecting to see the bears again.  Nope.  Instead,  standing on the center line of the Ophir Creek Bridge was a beautiful cow moose and her two freshly hatched calves.  Mom was watching the trees,  while one calf walked around her in circles and the other stayed down in a tiny pile of fur.  She really didn’t care that we were there at all.  Just kept staring and listening for the bears to come and attack her babies.

We watched them for about 20 minutes as they slowly ambled down the road,  staying on the centerline.  Eventually they moved over into the trees on the right and we drove past.

So much life (and death) here.  It is still amazing to see this sort of thing and I hope I never get jaded to it.  Every spring,  there would be tiny moose calf tracks around the cabin on the Italio.  We’d see the tracks for a week or so,  then they would disappear.  Then…  a pile of bear scat with those tiny hooves in it.  This cow sure has a hard spring ahead,  trying to keep these tiny guys alive.

This was a calf we came across back in 2005.  Wandering alone on the Old Italio flats,  3 miles from the nearest tree.  My guess is he didn’t survive the night.

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.

It’s a Blow-out!

Beautiful sunny day today.  Short break between storms.  Flow last night topped out at 3,000 CFS.  About a week ago,  we had the first round of sleet,  but it didn’t drop that much moisture.  Brought the river up to maybe 150 CFS.  Just as the really heavy next wave hit,  the guys started cutting logs.  The water rose really fast and the water temp crashed.  With 47 degree rain,  I kind of expected warm water,  but it dipped back down to 35 degrees and stayed there.  Ground was frozen and although not much snow,  it was enough to super-cool the water as it ran into the Situk.

graph

Frank’s boat survived,  but just barely.  He had it tied up under the bridge and when Cody went out to check,  it had about 2 inches before it was crushed under the bridge by the rising flow.  Water was all the way past the ramp and into the parking lots.

Right now,  flow is back down to 1680 CFS and with 59 degree air temp,  the water us up to 38 degrees.  I’m guessing we’ll have some spring fish pushing in because of this storm,  as well as a break-up of the lake ice to release the winter run.  Changing back to 100% rain tomorrow,  so this flood is far from over.  Once it drops through,  I think we’ll be in the throws of the run.

Too Miserable for Chris

Chris said he was going fishing today.  And…  nope.  The river flow is going through the roof and we’re looking at another 4 inches of rain before the storm ends.  The gage is broken,  so no accurate flow rate,  but it is heading straight up.

“The Boys” did go fishing at the lower end just as the last storm hit.  Flow then was still under 100 and the water temp crashed again to 35 degrees.  They didn’t see anything.  It has been a week of constant sleet since then,  turning to real rain last night.

Cody and Kraig from the Lodge started cutting logjams yesterday with Frank’s help and guidance.  They were able to clear the mega-jam in the Rodeo Hole,  but will be taking some time off until the river stops rising.  They didn’t “see” anything in the river yesterday,  but the water was rising fast and pretty opaque.  This flood should start some fish coming in,  providing the temperature stays high enough.

Chris sent me some photos of the Rodeo logjam and I’ll post that mess as soon as I find where  saved them to.  Otherwise,  no real news yet…