This year’s spring steelhead run left us scratching our heads wondering when the fish that never really came were going to show up. While those who were here all caught some great fish, and some had some great number days, overall the run size was considerably smaller than we were hoping for. The total count so far this year downstream through the Situk weir was a mere 3,550 fish. The weir did have a few days of missed counts due to high water, so the numbers aren’t as accurate as we would like to see. However, as a whole this spring’s run left a sour taste in this fisherman’s mouth. Last year’s floods made some major changes to the system, many runs that have been dependable for years were gone, but when one fills in, another takes its place.
Here’s hoping that next spring’s run shows us the Situk we are use to with several thousand chrome monsters.
We’ve had a great start to the summer salmon season with a steady push of sockeye in the river. As of today, just over 23,000 sockeye have crossed over the Situk weir with several thousand more lying in the lower system. This year has returned some of the largest average sizes of sockeye we’ve seen in many years and with no signs of slowing we’re looking at a very good return of around 90,000 to 100,000 fish.
Weather has been pretty wet and river levels are a little higher than we expected, yet river guides and bank fishermen still seem to be getting the fish to the boat and having a great time doing so. Tawah Creek is still plenty full of cutthroat trout and a few sockeye are milling around as well. Pike lakes have been fishing very good and the fish this year are quite active and seem to be of a much larger size average than I personally have ever seen.
King salmon in the Situk this year is not looking great so far, with only 30 Chinook over 28 inches in the system and with plenty of water for them to swim in there seems to be something that’s holding them back. As much as I’d like to say we will see a small sport opener this year, the numbers are definitely not showing us that it will be the case.
We have hosted some amazing people this season and look forward to fishing with you all this season and next.
Ocean and Bay Fishing
The Happy Hooker Fleet has been at it hard since April, working the salt to provide the best possible experience you can expect here in Yakutat. With the rain typically comes those pesky northeast winds and heavy currents which has made the fishing a little tough to get out to the front of the bay. Halibut fishing has been fair to middling, and we’re seeing average sizes to the dock this year in the 30 to 40-pound range. On the days where mother nature has been giving us the break we need, we’re still seeing that good ol’ Yakutat 60 to 80-pound average at the dock.
The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) this year decided that not only did the halibut need Wednesdays off, they gave them all Tuesdays from June 20 to August 15, so be sure to plan accordingly when booking your charter trips. (Review the full Halibut sport fishing regulations here.) Lingcod has been great as usual, and we’ve seem some truly impressive fish coming up out of the rocks with averages in the 20 to 30-pound range.
While most of the rockfish species here in Yakutat remain closed to retention, the black rockfish are plentiful as ever. With the large herring and baitfish runs we have seen this season, these rockfish are big, fat and plentiful as ever. King salmon has been pretty consistent throughout this season so far, and the ones coming over the dock lately are definitely examples of their name sake. We’ve had several kings come in over the 30-pound mark and our biggest this year was 41 pounds.
That’s my Yakutat fishing report for the season so far, look for another one coming later this summer once those pesky silver salmon start to show.
As always, Tight Lines!