SE Report 7-7-08 PDF Print E-mail

July is the month when pink and chum salmon flood into our local creeks. Large schools of chums can already be found at the mouth of Peterson Creek in Amalga Harbor, Sheep Creek on Thane Road, and in front of DIPAC. Chums circling in saltwater are famous for being tight-lipped zombies but a Fuschia Hareball Leech , Pink Leadeye Egg Sucking Leech , or a Green Death on a slow retrieve can sometimes entice a grab. If you can find chums holding in current they are much more likely to take a fly.

Pinks are also 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. 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!

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, Montana Creek, Sheep Creek, and Fish Creek are all good bets. These streams all 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.

Small stream Dolly Varden fishing is some of the most exciting and rewarding fishing we have in Southeast Alaska. Making short but tricky casts to likely looking water, hooking aggressive but often wary fish, and walking some of the prettiest and least-fished water to be found anywhere is a real treat. Don't miss out on it this year.

A 4 weight is a great small stream Dolly rod. When only a short cast is needed, the sensitivity and sportiness of a 4 is unmatched. We have a full line of light rods from Sage and Winston in all the price ranges. Stop by the shop or check them out on line.

See you on the water. Brad
SE Report 6-19-08 PDF Print E-mail

June is in full swing and there are almost too many fishing choices! Kings, sockeye, sea-run Dollies and cutts. It seems like there aren't enough hours in the day. I guess it is not a bad problem to have.

The Dolly and cutt fishing is still going on off the beaches and in the river mouths. Due to our long and cold spring, there are salmon fry that haven't headed out into the deep water and the Dollies are grabbing every one they can. 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. 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. The fry will soon 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!

The king salmon season is also going strong. DIPAC's prediction of a larger than average return seems to be coming true. 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.

Finally,the sockeye run at Windfall Creek is on for the month of June. 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. Good luck!

See you on the water! Brad

SE Report 5-30-08 PDF Print E-mail
Juneau | Page 5

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. The steelhead season is past its peak but isn't over yet. Many of the fish that are currently in 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 is going to release their chum fry the first week in June. This is 2-3 weeks later than normal but due to the cold spring they are holding the fry longer to allow them to mature. There will be two releases, one in early June and one later in the month. All told they will release over 35 million fry in Gastineau Channel and over 47 million fry in Amalga Harbor. The Dolly fishing is already very solid in the channel. Once the DIPAC fry 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. 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, Salmon Fry in size 6, Epoxy Mini Minnow in size 6, and Stinger Clousers in Olive/Whit e and Gray/White .

See you on the water. Brad

SE Report 5-16-08 PDF Print E-mail
Juneau | Page 5

Its another cold spring. Spring 2008 is looking a lot like a repeat of 2007 with cold temperatures, low water, and a slow start to the fishing.

So far, the steelhead fishing has been tough due to very cold water temperatures and gin-clear low water. The stream survey guys at Fish and Game were recording river temps of 1-2 degrees celsius! While some steelhead have moved in, they have been skittish and hard to hook.

What we need is a dose of warm rain and it looks like we are going to get it this week. If things play out like they did in 2007, steelheading is about to get really good. Here is the scenario. The rains set in and this starts melting the snow pack and bringing 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 Foxee Prawn in Popsicle. Fish deep and vary the action of the fly. MOAL (Mother of All Leeches) in Pink or Black , Frank's Fly , 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, 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 , 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 4-2-08 PDF Print E-mail

The snow is melting fast and Dolly Varden, cutthroat, and steelhead fishing is right around the corner. There is a lot less snow at sea level this year so hopefully things will start a little more quickly than they did in 2007.

The dolly and cutthroat fishing is just about to pick up. Currently they are still holding in the lakes where they have spent the winter in a state of semi-starvation. As we gain more daylight the dollies (and cutthroat) will out-migrate to the saltwater where they will spend the next several months feeding voraciously on salmon fry. In my opinion, the dolly fishing around Juneau is as good as it gets in S.E. Alaska. In April the dollies have the wild fry to chase and then DIPAC hatchery releases tens of millions of chum fry in mid-May which immediately turns the fishery from hot to absolutely ridiculous. Look for Dollies to start heading out in mid-April and the Dolly fishing to really pick up in early May and continue through mid June. Some good early spots include Sheep Creek, Dupont, the mouth of the Amalga Harbor Salt Chuck, and lower Cowee Creek. Hot patterns include Clouser Minnows in olive or gray, Thunder Creeks, and our local favorite the Green & Gold Salmon Fry . A hot fly from last season is the Stinger Clouser. It is tied like a standard Clouser but it has a stinger hook near the back of the fly. This helps hook more of the notorious short-striking Dollies.

As always, it is hard to predict how the steelhead season will go. There is a huge snow pack in the alpine. Almost as much as our record snow pack of 2007.  If last year is an indicator, the run will start a bit later but the steelhead will linger in the streams for a longer period of time. This would mean that steelheading will get rolling around the end of April and stay strong through late May. Keep in mind that most SE runs are quite small and catch and release is a must to keep the runs continuing for years to come. Top producing flies include Thunder MOAL Leeches, Neon Shrimp, Polar Caballeros, Steelhead Globugs, and the infamous Jerry Garcia Sculpin. We have a huge selection of string leeches, articulated leeches, and Intruder-style steelhead flies as well.

See you on the water! Brad
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