Alaska fishing report: Yakutat April 2022
by Kraig Holdren
The Alaska fishing report for the 2022 season is that the river is off to a great start. I have been prospecting since late February and was able to pick up one or two beautiful chrome fish per day, but things are now heating up.
The 2021 fall run was pretty lackluster. When the cold and snow hit us in November, they hit hard. Situk Lake iced up early and has stayed frozen even as I am writing this Alaska fishing report mid April. I have heard of some winter fish being caught in the upper reaches of the system but for the most part everything we are seeing are fresh spring fish.
We had lots of rain in February and March, which knocked much of the snow off the banks but there is still quite a bit out here. April has been cold and clear, for the most part, so the snow that is left isn’t melting too quickly. Water flows are backing that up with a steady drop over the past week.
Water clarity is mainly clear with some light staining near the drainages and creeks that continuously feed the Situk. The first two weeks of April showed a big slowing of incoming fish as most of the holes were showing little to no signs of life. We have definitely seen an increase in those numbers in the past few days.
Temperatures waver from really cold in the mornings with a big swing into the low 40s in the afternoons. High pressure continued through the week, bringing plenty of sunshine. Light rains are predicted next with a significant warming which will get that ice melting. Expect water levels to rise slightly but day time temperatures to drop a bit.
The lower river is really starting to show signs of life with larger pods of 10’s and 20’s coming in during the high tides. I’ve heard reports of some fish already on the spawn and have caught a few empty hens myself this past week. With the numbers of fish making their way into the system, I think we’re in for a slightly late run which will extend well into mid May, and be that long before we see a significant amount of redding fish.
Fish quality this year has been fantastic so far. Several fish have broached the 20-pound mark already with lots more still coming in. We’ve had one of the best years I’ve seen for herring and sand lance and these steelhead seem to be loving it, coming in fat and feisty.
I’ve fully stocked the tackle shop with beads, jigs, yarn hooks and line and much more for all of your DIY fishing gear needs. Stop on in for a drink, some hot food and more fishing stories.
The Yakutat, Alaska fishing report for saltwater is off to an early start with great bottom fishing and some beautiful kings being caught daily. Captain Larry has been taking out charters all week to bring back full racks of fish daily. Halibut fishing has been impressive so far. We are seeing a 65- to 70-pound average in the fish they are bringing. The biggest halibut over the dock so far this year was just a smidge over 100 pounds. These fish are also well fed from the best herring run Yakutat has seen in years.
King salmon fishing has been consistent on the troll for this Alaska fishing report. Clients are even hooking a few while jigging for rockfish. Lingcod continues to be closed until May 16th and the following demersal shelf rockfish species remain closed through all of 2022: Yelloweye, quillback, tiger, copper, china, canary and rosethorn.
Charter anglers should note that there is no halibut retention on Wednesdays through 2022. Halibut limits are two per day, one of any size and one that is 28 inches or less. The daily bag limit for non resident anglers for king salmon is one fish per day capped at three per year. It’s shaping up to be a great spring fishing in Yakutat. Check back soon for an updated Alaska fishing report bringing you news for the Situk River and nearby saltwater. We look forward to seeing you on the water. Give me a call if you want to see where you can slip in for a few days.
Kraig Holdren is General Manager for Yakutat Lodge. He can be reached at 907-784-3232.