The wind is blowing, the snow is falling, and my partner and I are heading down to the boat launch for the first time of the year from the Yakutat Lodge. You may think the boat is full of fishing gear and clients. You couldn’t be more mistaken. In the boat today is materials for fixing the tent camp, which is a small wood frame cabin about 5 miles down the river. The cabin is used by fisherman every season to utilize as much of the river for fishing as possible. Most who use the cabin will float and fish the top five miles, then stay in the cabin for the night. In the morning they will then float and fish the remainder of the river. Doing this enables an angler to really fish the entire river without having to hurry down. The cabin is mainly used for Steelhead season. We have extra sleeping bags, coleman stove and lanterns, batteries for the electric starter on the kerosene stove, and of course all the staples for camping, including salt, pepper, coffee, butter, and pots, pans, and silverware. Though these things are certainly important for the clients using the tent camp, you have to be able to get to the tent camp. This is where the wood eaters come into play. Along for the ride is a Stihl 026, and a Stihl 066 chainsaw. Without these companions along for the journey, you wouldn’t make it very far. As we make the first turn down stream I am waiting to see the first of many obstructions left behind by the violent winter storms that sweep through the area on a regular basis. Every thing looks good, and I think maybe this year it will be clear and I won’t have to cut my way through. Now we have made it through some of the worst area’s and I am feeling confident. We make it to the tent camp without a hitch. With the tent camp cleaned up and ready for the first guests of the year, we head down to the area of one of the worst log jams on the river. I am praying that it washed out over the winter, I am wrong. As we come around the corner I can see there is no way through. Eventhough the jet boat operators have cut the logs above the water, leaving only the logs left just under the water. The jet boats have the ability to slide right over the top of these submerged logs, our drift boats are not so equipped. So as we come up to the hemlock tree that was ironically toppled by one of the resident beavers, we drop the anchor and asses the situation. I get out of the boat and call for the 026 saw. Not being a big tree I assumed this saw would do the trick. The log is situated about 10″Saw under water in a fairly slow moving section, allowing me to get out and stand in the water with the log. I started in and within seconds the water had the Stihl screaming for more power. So with that I grabbed the big boy 066. The power of this saw is incredible, and water doesn’t slow it down a bit. A couple minutes later 3 sections of the tree are floating away through the current and we now have a opening to drift on through. We were very lucky this year. I only had to cut this one log from the float. and the rest of the river was wide open. now you know what takes place before you arrive to drift the Situk river. Here are a few more pics and a little video.
Well I have given what I promised, but I know what you really want. STEELHEAD.
Here they are! I spent about 2 hours on the lower end this evening, and hooked up with some real nice fish.As I was fishing the a run with about ten fish in it, a couple of fisherman I has helped out earlier that day. When they got to area I was at, I had already landed two nice fish and was working on my third, The bite had slowed for about 20 casts, so I asked the guys if they wanted to toss in their bobbers and jigs and see what happened. I was sure it would not be to long before they would hook up. About 10 casts later the first on was hooked up, and he landed a nice spring fish. Not to much after that the other guy got into one, but the button came undone before he got any real fight out of it. I knew that the fish had turned off from my fly that was drifted along the bottom, and I also knew that they would bite a suspended jig sent down in front of them. I also knew that if they could hook a few, that would be my ticket to getting more myself. Once the two fish were hooked up, I saw the group make a big circle and start darting in and out of the seam. They were riled up and ready for action again. As soon as the button came out of the second one, they politely excused them self’s, asked if the next run was a good bet, I said it was (And it was, I hooked one there after they went through) and with a thank you and a invitation to buy me dinner (Which I may just take them up on) they headed on down river. Soon after they walked away I hooked a tail jerker (A fish that runs into your hook and gets stuck in the tail) I pulled him in and released without a picture(Just not fair to get a pic of a fouled fish). Minutes later I was hooked up with a biter. Landing that fish and hooking three more, I left these fish to them self’s and heading on down. As I went on down I was able to land another chrome spring Steelie and then it was over. I headed back for dinner and now I think about the ones I didn’t get. I will see them tomorrow up river. HAHAHAHA