Yakutat Fishing Report: July 4th, 2020
2020 Yakutat Fishing Report by Kraig Holdren
Hi all, we’re excited to bring you an updated 2020 Yakutat fishing report for the Situk River and Yakutat Bay. It’s been a hell of a summer so far with some challenges and hurdles that we are overcoming, but damn, the fishing has been good lately! Guests are hooking into big ocean-fresh king salmon and wild sockeye. The sockeye had us worried there for a bit, but just like steelhead season, we had a really slow start that kept on building. The sockeye were about two weeks late to show, but are now here in big numbers. The last count showed just over 17,000 sockeye and 300+ large kings with more behind them. The lower river is seeing some pressure from sport fishermen but the upper and middle have little to no pressure and with sockeye distributed throughout the entire system, it is making for easy pickings for our clients who are floating or enjoying a nice hike above 9-mile bridge. The fish this year so far have been on the smaller size but as the days go by the average size coming over the weir is increasing and hopefully by our next 2020 Yakutat fishing report we will start seeing those 6- to 9-pounders we are used to in really big numbers. Kings remain closed on the Situk however this year we are seeing more big fish than we have seen in several years by this time, and ADF&G is optimistic they will reach the short end of escapement this year. Dolly Varden and rainbow trout remain a bit on the elusive side this season so far, but if you’re willing to put in the work and effort, several can be brought to hand on a daily basis.
Water levels are finally beginning to drop as the mountain runoff begins to slow with the summer weather. It was a wetter June than we have been used to seeing in the past couple of years and river levels have remained in the low 200s for most of the month which makes for a nice easy row but as mentioned before, the river is slowly dropping down to our average summer flows. Sockeye daily limits remain at three for the time being but, if we continue the trend of numbers we’re seeing we may be in for bag-limit increases.
Now onto the salt Yakutat fishing report.
Yakutat is known worldwide for the Situk River, but many people do not know that Yakutat Bay hosts one of the finest saltwater fisheries in Alaska. We have been running two boats almost daily for the past few weeks, and with Captains Larry and Jeff at the helm you can be guaranteed a fantastic day. Halibut fishing has been very good and clients have been finishing up with the ‘butts in the early mornings, giving them plenty of time to focus on the other species such as king salmon, lingcod and black rockfish. King salmon fishing has been absolutely incredible in the bay this year. Guests are typically bringing home a few every day and with the insane amount of feed available in the bay this year, they are coming across the dock nice and fat. The lings have been pretty chompy lately. One of our groups brought back a limit of 50-inch-plus lings just yesterday! As we advance further into the summer we can only expect things to get better by the day.
As a reminder, all guests arriving from out of state are still required to arrive with proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel. Reports from our clients who have joined us so far this year have said that the travel end was pretty seamless and finding testing sites is getting easier by the day. The state of Alaska has a website—COVID19.ALASKA.GOV—that can answer all your questions about travel in detail as well as an interactive map showing all the testing sites located near you. If you’re looking for a break from the craziness in the world, remember we’re just a short flight out of Seattle away and we would love to have you come join in the fun with us this summer.