Today was my first day back on the water, since the vacation.
Water levels are very good right now, and the clarity is perfect. Silvers are coming in to the system, and the pinks seem to be slowing down. Today I took the motor boat, and went up the river with Mike and Debbie, a couple from Seattle Wash. and clients of the Yakutat Lodge. We went about a mile above the landing. We stopped just below the Oxbow, to start fishing. We were fishing a hole called, "The mink hole". Within just about 5 minutes, we had our first Silver in the boat. It took no more than fifteen more minutes to get the second Silver to the boat. Then came a slow down in that hole. We then drifted down stream, casting jigs behind the logs and root wads. With no luck for about 75 yards down stream, I stopped in front of a log that has been good every year. We were able to get several good bites in this hole, but only one to the boat. After about an hour, we drifted further down river, to another log that I knew would have fish behind it. No more than five casts in, we were hooked up with number four. After boating that fish, we slowly rowed down to the landing, taking our time to enjoy one of the rare, sunny Yakutat days.
We saw no bears or moose today, which is very surprising for this time of year.
Most years the bears are present all the way down the river. The last couple trips I took down the river before my vacation, yielded no sightings of bears. I thought today was going to be a bear sighting day, but there were not even noticeable sign of any bears in the area. I would assume as the year season goes on, the bears will come to feed on the pinks and Silvers in the system. So to all those coming up to visit us in the next 5 weeks, just remember, that the bears will take your fish if you are not carefully with how you handle them. Upon catching a fish, you should immediately knock the fish out, with a stick, rock, or sometimes your fist. After knocking out your catch, put the fish on a stringer (IN THE WATER!). Then cut the gills (IN THE WATER!), to bleed the fish out. When you bleed the fish out, it allows the blood to be removed completely from the fish, including the meat. Doing this will keep your fish fresh longer, and it will also make the meat not taste so "Fishy". When you carry out your fish, keep the fish on the stringer, and attempt to stay in the river as much as possible. If you have to take the trail out, try not to drag your fish, leaving behind scales, blood, and scent along the trail, leaving the next fisherman coming in to deal with the bears that are there looking for the fish that were drug down the trail. Also when you walk in the river, you don’t have to carry the weight of the fish, they will float on the stringer. When you get back to your vehicle, if you have decided to clean your fish out at the river, please do a few things to avoid problems later. When cleaning out you fish, make sure that the guts are thrown far enough out into the current, that they go down river. If the tide is up, take the time to run the guts out into the river, instead of just throwing them out as far as you can from the bank. If you do this on a high tide, when the tide goes out, then the guts just become bear bait, several feet up on the bank. So you have to be sure that the guts make it into the main current of the river.
Remember! The bear you are dealing with today, may be because of what you did, yesterday!!!
Good luck out there,