The Situk River, near Yakutat, hosts the largest wild-stock Steelhead population in Alaska. The pristine crystal-clear river provides the most spectacularly beautiful arena for this simultaneously bountiful and elusive quarry. Situk River Steelhead averages an honest 10 to 12 pounds of explosive fury! Fish in the 16 to 22-pound range are not uncommon.
The catch and release fishery is being rewarded with record runs. Anglers on guided float trips (approx. 14 miles) can expect to hook up with an average of 6 to 10 fish and to land at least 3 or 4 fish in a day. It’s not unusual for experienced anglers to do 2 to 3 times as well. Miles and miles of excellent fly water, sensational runs and pools make this a Steelhead fisherperson’s paradise.
This is serious fishing. These are wild fish and the Situk is known to give up its Steelhead reluctantly. It’s not for the weak at heart! Get ready for explosive action with the most experienced and professional guides, using the finest equipment, with the best logistical support.
The Situk hosts runs of all species of salmon, and from June – October is teeming with King Salmon, Sockeye, Pinks, or Silvers. There is nothing like fishing the clear beautiful waters of the Situk and experiencing the explosion when you hook that giant Salmon! Bring your video camera and capture footage that will make your friends red with envy!
Come fish this virtual aquarium under the watchful eye of Eagles, Bears, and Otters. This small crystal clear river is a fisherman’s paradise and will test your angling skills as you pit your equipment and knowledge against wild fish!!
What to Bring On your Yakutat Fishing Trip
Regardless of your package level or accommodations, The Yakutat Lodge recommends anglers bring the following items:
Chest Waders and Wading Boots—Remember felt-bottom soles are not allowed in Alaska. Please leave your cleats at home as they are not needed to safely wade the Situk River.
Polarized Fishing Sunglasses—Copper, bronze or smoke colored lenses will help you out the best when looking for the fish.
Quality Rain Jacket—Yakutat averages 180+ inches of rain every year.
Layering Tops and Bottoms—Weather can be finicky and it’s always better to have layers to remove than to be cold all day.
Fish Handling Gloves—To allow you to get that “grip -n-grin” photo without dropping fish in the boat.
STEELHEAD — APRIL AND MAY (4/15 to 5/15 is peak timing)
FLY FISHING: A 7- to 9- weight fly rod, 9- to 11-feet with a fast action with matching reel spooled with floating, weight forward line. Leader materials vary greatly. We suggest having a heavy butt section with fluorocarbon tippets in the 12- to 15-pound range. We typically prefer indicator or “nymph” fishing techniques using airlock or Thingamabobber indicators (1/2 inch to 1-inch) and micro jigs, flies or beads. Bead sizes from 8mm-26mm are used however 10mm-14mm are the most common sizes for Situk steelhead. Colors vary but any mix of pinks and oranges should do the trick. Micro Jigs from 1/32nd oz to 1/8th oz in any mix of colors, as well as your standard steelhead flies.
DRIFT FISHING—Use an 8 to 12-pound, medium fast, 7- to 9-foot spinning rod with a matching 2500-3500 series reel spooled with 30-pound braided main line and 12- to 15-pound fluorocarbon leaders. Various colors of yarn, Glo-bugs and Aero-flies with pencil lead or split shot work well.
SPIN FISHING—Select an 8- to 12-pound, 6 1/2 to 7-foot, medium-action rod with 2500-3500 series reel spooled with 30-pound braided mainline and 15- to 20-pound fluorocarbon leaders. Various spinners and spoons will work, but our favorite is the green and blue body #4 and #4.5 spinner from RnB tackle and the gold and silver Herzog Spoon from Pen-tac Tackle or Cleardrift Fishing. Plugs are also an effective weapon to carry such as the 3.0 to 5.0 Mag-Lips, Kwikfish and Wiggle Worts.
Take care to be mindful of other anglers and practice good fishing etiquette. Watch out for REDDS (spawning beds) and remember to leave those fish whom are actively spawning alone. The Situk is one long spawning bed which is what makes it so special, and you will see fish spawning from the headwaters all the way down to the tide water.
SOCKEYE – LATE JUNE & JULY
FLY-FISHING: Bring a 7 to 8-weight rod and matching reel spooled with 100 yards of backing and floating line or an intermediate sinking line. Choose leader materials in the 12 to 15-pound range. There are a myriad of ways to catch sockeye. For “flies” check your local fly shop for Hotshots, Crazy Charlies or Russian River flies. You can also bottom drift using nothing more than a red #4 to #8 Octopus hook, a bit of high-visibility yarn, and enough weight to get you on the bottom. Sockeye are historically finicky biters and can be difficult to get on the hook, but when you do—HOLD ON! Pound for pound the Alaska red salmon is the hardest-fighting fish you’ll experience on the Situk River.
Spin Fishing—An 8 to 12-pound, medium-action, 8- to 9-foot rod with a 2500 to 3500 series reel spooled with 30-pound main line and 12- to 15-pound monofilament leaders. A #1 to #4 Octopus hook with an egg loop and some brightly colored yarn, split shot and a steady drift will get the job done!
PINK SALMON — LATE JULY & EARLY AUGUST
FLY-FISHING: Bring a 6 or 7-weight rod with matching reel, backing and floating line or an intermediate sink or Versi-tip. 12 to 15-pound monofilament leader is the way to go. Pink salmon are an extremely prolific and fun game fish. With a 4- to 5-pound average and many in the 7- to 10-pound range, pinks are great for the lighter tackle fisherman. Pink salmon will, believe or not, take any lure…as long as it's pink!
Articulated flies and weighted streamers seem to produce the best bite but a swung fly with a quick pop and mend will almost guarantee a hook up on every cast.
Spinning & Drift-fishing: Anglers can use ultra-light to medium weight rods and reels with 4 to 8-pound test line. A variety of conventional tricks will work but the most deadly option is a a variety of pink colored “twitching jigs” in 1/4- to 3/8th-ounce sizes. Pop and drop one these guys in the hole and you’ll be reeling in fish till your arms are numb!
SILVER SALMON — AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, AND OCTOBER
FLY TACKLE: A 7 to 9-weight rod with matching reel, backing and floating line with leader materials a little heavier in the 15 to 25-pound range. These fish are toothy and love to take you into the wood. Sink tips work ok, but we find that most silver salmon on the Situk River are laying in places where there is little-to-no current and are typically laying in fairly shallow lies. Weighted streamers work the best with the “Dolly Llama” being the bread and butter for most Situk coho anglers. Color options are endless, however a solid collection of bright colors (pinks and greens), as well as more subdued colors such as black, white, and olive are also extremely effective. Your local fly shop will likely stock more than a few different patterns that will consistently put silvers in the net.
Spinning and Drift Gear: 10 to 15-pound spinning rods with a medium action in the 6 1/2 to 7 1/2-foot range will work best. 3000-3500 series reel with 30 to 40-pound braided line and 15 to 25-pound monofilament leaders are required for these hard and heavy fighting fish. An assortment of lures are known to work and an angler can spend hours and hours trying to decide what to use. Blue Fox Vibrax in sizes 4 and 5 seem to produce the best followed by 3/8- and 1/2-ounce twitching jgs. Whatever you decide to bring, the best advice is to bring more than you think you’ll need.
DOLLY VARDEN AND RAINBOW TROUT — APRIL THROUGH DECEMBER
Ultra-light equipment provides the most enjoyment. Size 3- to 5-weight fly rods or a 3 to 6-pound spinning rod with a myriad of lures and flies.