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Alaska Fishing Report

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First Blog for 2017

And so another season begins. I apologize for the late start, but it’s been a busy spring getting things together as usual. But, truth be told, I’ve kind of been stalling hoping for something more exciting to report.

 We’ve been fishing now for about 2 weeks and started off with a trip on the Huntress for primarily Steelhead, with a side of King salmon and Halibut hold the fries. Steelheading was great. With a good snowpack this year, and plenty of water, our destination was Whale Bay, and a small stream in the back end. After a 1 mile hike we found lots of fish, and they were very bitey,( guide term for stupid and liked our offerings). As a bonus, there were plenty of nice trout averaging around 12 -16”. That was the good part of the trip. The bad side was a very snotty ocean that didn’t want to give up her Kings but was willing to let us have some pretty nice Halibut.

 Since then, our lodge boats have been plying the waters of the Gulf of Alaska, in search of a very elusive King Salmon. I can’t really sugar coat it and say anything but - they have been really tough to find and the ones that we are finding are not very big. The boats, with a very experienced returning crews, are averaging 3 -4 kings per boat, per day.

There’s a couple of reasons this is happening I believe. Mostly, this is the delayed effects of Elnino, which because of poor ocean conditions have not had a lot of food to fatten up the fish. There is hope though. Our Columbia River Spring chinook were late in arriving, and the popular thinking is these chinook will follow suit. There’s still plenty of season ahead and I’m sure there’s a big heard just around the corner.

The other bright spot is of course the bottom dwellers. Thank god that they have all been plentiful, and nice sizes too. The Halibut and Sea Bass are running a little bigger this year helping to make up for the Salmon shortage. What’s funny this year is usually we hear, “I’ve got plenty of Salmon, but I need more Halibut”, but this year it’s the exact opposite, with plenty of Halibut (if that’s possible) and we need more Salmon. After 25 years here, you learn, no2 years are the same.

 Well, that’s about it for now. You’re up to speed on the latest and greatest in Sitka Alaska. Stay tuned for next week’s report.

Until then, keep wishin’ to go fishin’

 

Bruce

 

 

 

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Fish Blog for June 18, 2017

You are never too old to learn new tricks. I just didn’t think it would come from the internet.

 I call this new fish catching technique “reverse fish psychology “, and it works like this. You just post a really bad fish report on your blog, wait 2 days, (the fermentation period), and just like magic, the ocean is full of fish. No kidding!

 As you might remember at last report, fishing was not too hot, and I had concerns for our season, but voiced hope that the fish were late and were just around the corner and headed this way. You would think that I was a mind reader or something because lo and behold 2 days later, just like magic the fish showed up. Instead of scratching to get a limit of Kings, the boats were catching and releasing Kings, and even getting steady amounts of Silvers as well, averaging 4-8 Coho a day.

Hopefully that’s a good sign for salmon fishing later on. Still not a lot of size to the Chinook we are catching, but the average is more normal at 18-20 lbs. Still haven’t broken the 30lb mark yet, but no complaints.

One of the highlights this past week was caught on Capt. Mark Diaz’s boat, “Ocean Shadow”.  He got a Salmon - grand slam. All 5 of the Pacific Salmon species in one day. We usually do this every year but not until mid-July, so this is the earliest I can remember.

Most of the bottom fish activity is about the same, with plenty nice fat Halibut. They seem a little thicker this year for some reason, and we are catching lots of oversized ones as well. Limits of Yellow eye also being the norm, and of course the ever popular Sea bass.

Today, the sun is shining and not a cloud in the sky. On top of that, the ocean is flat as a pancake. I think I’ll go work on my tan. I want to look good for Peggy.

Until next week, stay safe and hope to see you soon.

Bruce

 

 

 

 

Fish Blog for the week of June 25th

This last week could almost be a clone to the week before, I thought about just reusing last week’s blog, but hopefully I can do better than that.

 The King activity continues to be good and at times - really good.  The average size at 16-18 pounds hasn’t changed much. I was slicing and dicing at the filet table yesterday when Capt. James threw up a king with some girth.  I said, wow, that’s a big one, and after looking at the Kings we’ve been fileting for so long, I thought it was at least 28 lbs, but when we weighed it, it was a whopping 22lbs. I’ve kind of lost my perspective on size. So even though we are seeing decent numbers of Chinooks, we have yet to break the 30 pound mark. That is really unusual.

The other bright spot continues to be a consistent presence of Silvers. For the last 10 days the Silver action has been steady, starting out with averaging 6-10 a day, and slowly building steam until now that average is more like 10-20 fish per day. Not bad for this early in the season. The Size of these Coho has been a mix with some dandies at 10-12lbs and then some rags at 4lbs.  mixed in. I hope the consistency of Silver action is a positive sign for the months to follow.

 The bottom action has had no change, and should hold steady, weather permitting. The weather has been its usual mix of wind, rain, calm, and of course poopy. Overall I think we’ve had more calm days than not, and the long range looks to be improving.

That’s about all for now. Heading back out on the Huntress tomorrow, so we will check next week for the continuing saga of “as Sitka turns”, part 2, section 7 titled, “the Pitbull is back”.

Stay tuned.

Bruce