SE Report 7-1-09 PDF Print E-mail

Buck Humpy.JPGIt is early July and the pinks are already showing themselves off the beaches. Pinks are well known to be receptive to taking a fly and a Pink Humpy Hooker or a Searunner Special are top producers. Echo Cove (from the boat launch all the way out to the sand spit) and the Shrine of St. Terese get some of the earliest pinks and they are very fun on a fly rod when they are still ocean- bright. Work around the low end of the tide as the pinks tend to get spread out on the high. Last season there was very good pink fishing in front of Sheep Creek by late July. Hopefully it will happen again. Use a floating line, nine foot 10 pound salmon leader, and keep a steady strip retrieve going. Pinks often turn away if the fly stops or is traveling too slowly.

Cowee Creek has a large pink run and there are already fish in the creek. Try fishing downsteam with a Pink Starlite Leech or a Purple Leadeye Egg Sucking Leech on a slow swing with a steady retrieve at the end of the drift. Work the slowest deepest water you can find where migrating fish like to hang out. This is a great time to learn the good holding water on Cowee Creek so you are ready when the silvers come in in September.

July is the month when chum salmon flood into our local creeks. As the chums move in the Dolly Varden won't be far behind. Large schools of chums can already be found at the mouth of Peterson Creek in Amalga Harbor and in front of DIPAC. Chums circling in saltwater are famous for being tight-lipped zombies but a Fuschia Hareball Leech , Pink Kriller , or a Green Death on a slow retrieve or dead drifted under an indicator can entice a grab. If you can find chums holding in current they are much more likely to take a fly.

The Dolly Varden are in the midst of their annual relocation from saltwater to freshwater. The Dollies usually show up in the creeks before the chums and now is the time to look for them. Cowee Creek and Montana Creek are two of the best bets.These streams host big chum runs and significant numbers of Dolly Varden. Try Pink Clouser Minnows, Battle Creek Specials , or Pink Humpy Hookers for the Dollies before the salmon are in. The Dollies will switch over to eating eggs as the chum settle in and begin to spawn. This usually starts around the third week of July.

SE Report 6-11-09 PDF Print E-mail

The summer of 2009 is off to a great start. The best weather we have seen in years and the fishing is good, too. 

King salmon have started their annual return to Gastineau Channel and Fish Creek. DIPAC is predicting a strong run again this season. This is a great year to get into king fishing or to give it another go if it has been awhile. These kings are hatchery fish and return either to DIPAC Hatchery or Fish Creek. A ten weight rod is ideal but an eight will suffice if you just want to give it a try. A medium sink tip line is great for getting the fly down into the strike zone. Fish the dropping tide just after the high at Fish Creek. Kings move into the estuary on the high tide and slowly cruise around until they drop back out at the low. The incoming tide is generally less productive. A Fuschia Hareball Leech , Pink Fergus' Rockstar or a Chartreuse Stinger Prawn are three great patterns to entice a vicious strike. Be prepared for hoards of no-see-ums (tiny little biting flies.) We carry no-see-um headnets and lightweight fingerless bug gloves that will save your bacon out on the creek! To fish the DIPAC return, try the beaches around the hatchery or the mouth of Salmon Creek around the low tide. Kings cruise in this area before finally pushing into the hatchery.

From the lasted reports, the sockeye are in at Windfall Creek. It is open Wednesdays and Saturdays for the month of June ONLY. The creek is closed to all fishing on the other days. It is a very "social" fishery so don't go up there for the wilderness experience. However, it is a great chance to catch what is pound for pound probably the hardest fighting of all the salmon. An eight weight rod, a reel with a good drag system, and a floating line is best. A 9-foot 12 lb tapered leader, strike indicator, and split shot round out the terminal tackle. The #6 Sockeye Lantern and #6 Red Hot are two of the best flies. It is also good to have a few Copper Swans , Montana Brassies , and Shad Flies in your fly box. Practice getting a nice deep dead drift with a tight line so you can feel the strikes.

The Dolly and cutt fishing is still going strong off the beaches and in the river mouths. Due to our long and dry spring, DIPAC delayed many of their fry releases until June. With so many fry just hitting the water the Dolly beach fishing should keep going for another few weeks. Larger Clouser Minnows (#2 and #4) are working well. A quick strip retrieve on top of a boil is the best technique. If no fish are actively feeding try a slower retrieve and let the fly sink 10 to 20 seconds before bringing it back in. Also try slowly sweeping your rod to the side to make the fry look like it is escaping. Bracketing the low tide (2-3 hours before the low until 2-3 after the low) is the prime window. Amalga Harbor, Salmon Creek, Echo Cove, Juneau/Douglas Bridge Beach, and Eagle Beach by the Boy Scout Camp have all fished well lately. The lower reaches of some of the rivers have been quite good as well. By late June the fry will migrate into deeper water and the Dollies will relocate to the rivers to await the return of the pink and chum salmon. This usually happens in mid to late June. Now is the time to get the last of the sea runs! 

Good luck!

See you on the water. Brad

SE Report 5-25-09 PDF Print E-mail


Ahhhh, summer is finally here and the fishing is good! Air and water temperatures are warming, lots of fry are swimming off the beaches, and Dollies and cutts are showing up in good numbers. It is hard to tell if the steelhead season has already peaked or there is still another batch of fish coming. Many of the fish that are currently in freshwater are paired up and spawning. I can't over-emphasize how important it is to leave these fish alone. Look for single fish particularly near the mouth of the streams where the freshest fish tend to be. Often the fish farther up the creek are already in spawning mode. Use some discretion and we'll all be able to fish these magnificent runs long into the future.

Probably the best bet right now is sea-run Dolly Varden fishing. DIPAC just released their first batch of 24 million chum fry in Gastineau Channel. This is later than normal but due to the cold spring they are holding the fry longer to allow them to mature. There will be another release of 12 million fry in the first half of June. All told they will release over 35 million fry in Gastineau Channel and over 47 million fry in Amalga Harbor. Amalga Harbor has not had a release yet but DIPAC expects to start some time in early June. The Dolly fishing is already very solid in the channel. Now that the DIPAC fry have hit the water it will go into over drive.

Fishing the lower half of the tide is most productive. Three hours before the low until three hours after the low is best. The higher end of the tide tends to spread out the fish. Expect a lull in the fishing right around the low, too. A few spots to try include Sheep Creek (from the creek mouth all the way around to the Thane Ore House), the beach near the Douglas Bridge, little Kowee Creek on Douglas Island, Salmon Creek, the area where Peterson Creek flows into Amalga Harbor, and Echo Cove. Eagle Beach by the Boy Scout Camp will open on June 1 as well. This is by no means a complete list of spots. Dollies move all over in their search for a meal so try your luck at other spots. Another good technique is to look for birds (Arctic Terns in particular) feeding on fry. Birds can often lead you to the fish!

A five or six weight outfit and floating line with nine foot 3X leader is the best setup. If dollies are splashing around eating fry try to cast a fly right on them and strip it quickly. When they are in a feeding frenzy they tend to be much less selective and will recklessly grab a fly zipping away from them. If you don't see much going on, move around covering the water with casts in all directions. Also try letting the fly sink 10-20 seconds and then strip it in. Keep your strip short and quick. If short strops don't work try a longggggg continuous motion strip. Don't let the Dollies get too good a look at your fly. Some good patterns include the Gray/White Clouser Minnow or the Olive/White Clouser Minnow in sizes 2, 4 and 6, Neil Creek Darts in Olive/White , Gray/White and All White , Salmon Fry in size 6, and Stinger Clousers in Olive/Whit e and Gray/White . For a little added fun, try a topwater pattern. Stripping a surface pattern can elicit a vidious grab from feeding Dollies and cutts. One of our favorites is the Wiggleminnow Rainbow .

See you on the water. Brad

SE Report 5-8-09 PDF Print E-mail

Although we have had nice weather so far this spring, it is still pretty wintery back in the woods. It is possible to get around on the creeks, but there are still some pretty deep snowbanks to navigate.

The steelhead fishing is starting to pick up. The warm temperatures we had in late April brought river levels up and over their banks. This brought some fish in but the water temperature was really low. Most of these fish were pretty lethargic and not willing to move much for a fly. This week the rivers have warmed a bit and there have been more fish caught.

As water temperatures warm the steelheading will just keep getting better. Here is the scenario. Warmer tempertures and light rain starts melting the snow pack and brings river levels and water temperatures up. This in turn causes a bunch of big, happy, grabby steelhead to push in. Now through the end of May should be primo fishing for chromers.

Don’t be afraid to swing a big seductive fly when the water is up. Try a Pink Articulated Hareball Leech or a Hot Pink Seeker. Fish deep and vary the action of the fly. MOAL (Mother of All Leeches) in Pink or Black , Money Bugs , Polar Caballeros , and Black Egg Sucking Leeches are all successful patterns. Both Peterson and Cowee Creek are good bets on the Juneau road system.

The beach fishing is just starting to pick up for sea-run Dolly Varden. The salmon fry are late in emerging and the Dollies are taking their time coming out of the lakes. The channel has been slow but fish have been taken around the Douglas Bridge, the Shrine of St. Terese, Sheep Creek, Amalga Harbor, Dupont, and Gastineau Channel.

As we all know, when DIPAC Hatchery releases their chum fry the Dolly fishing goes crazy. Usually the first Chum release is in Mid-May. Due to cold conditions and slower growth rates, DIPAC is looking to start releasing around the third to fourth week of May. The releases will be staggered but when all is said and done over 30 million chum fry will be released in Gastineau Channel! The Gastineau smolt releases will occur at both Salmon Creek and Sheep Creek. Let the feeding frenzy begin! In addition to the the Gastineau Channel release, nearly 50 million chum fry will be released at Amalga Harbor. Clouser Minnows in a variety of colors, Salmon Fry , Neil Creek Darts , and Stinger Clousers are all great producers. Keep your eye out for feeding birds (usually Arctic terns) to help locate schools of fry.

Fishing the lower half of the tide for Dollies is most productive. Three hours before the low until three hours after the low. The higher end of the tide tends to spread out the fish. Expect a lull in the fishing right around the low, too. A few spots to try include Sheep Creek, the beach near the Douglas Bridge, Kowee Creek on Douglas Island, Salmon Creek, the area where Peterson Creek flows into Amalga Harbor, and Echo Cove. The Dollies move around looking for fry but these spots are good starting points.

See you on the water! Brad

SE Report 10-13-08 PDF Print E-mail

Overall 2008 was a great fishing season. Not a great weather season. But you can't have everything!

A harsh winter and late spring delayed the start of Dolly Varden and Steelhead fishing, but once it got going it was very good. June brought more king salmon than we have seen in years. Gastineau Channel was unbelievable at times for these big brutes.  Summer brought a large chum run along with good water levels. That meant hot Dolly fishing in the creeks and reports from anglers seem to indicate that Dollies are getting bigger every year. The pink run was small but they were around in catchable numbers, too. Finally, the silver run was much better than the last two seasons. Creek levels often made targeting them tough but when the water dropped the fishing was awesome. For the first time in several years the channel fishery for coho was terrific.

So, what does October hold for us? At this point steady fishing should continue well into the month. If river levels remain fishable it is a great time to get out and enjoy the last bittersweet days of fall fishing. Make up a thermos of hot coffee, put on your Gore-Tex, and head out! If the rivers blow out don't forget the lakes. Two of my favorites are Windfall and the Dredge Lakes. If you can get out in the lakes with a float tube or canoe you are way ahead of the game. The Cutthroat and Dollies are still feeding like crazy before ice up.

This is the last report for 2008. I will start the report back up April when the fishing starts to pick up. Thanks to all who read the report this season. 

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