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. 

9-22-08 Report PDF Print E-mail

It has been a rainy few weeks in Juneau and high river levels have been the norm. In between the storms the rivers have dropped down, Gastineau Channel has cleared, and some good silver fishing has taken place.

The rest of September and early October should produce more fish when the rivers drop. Most rivers around Juneau will clear and be fishable within 24-36 hours of the rains stopping. Cowee Creek, being a much larger drainage, takes 36-48 hours to come back into shape. Cowee also drops when over night temperatures go down and its headwater glacier freezes up. Late season can produce some great coho days. Watch the weather forecast and plan your outing during (or just after) one of Juneau's short dry spells.

It is hard to say if Gastineau Channel is done or not. Silvers being taken at the hatchery are still chrome bright but the rest of the channel has been very slow of late. I will update this report if it turns back on. 

The lakes also are a good bet late in the season. Fat Cutthroat and Dolly Varden return from a summer of feeding and are aggressively taking flies before the ice sets in. Windfall Lake is my favorite. The Dredge Lakes and Auke Lake can be very good, too. Try #8 Black Egg Sucking Leeches, Beadhead Thin Mints, and Matukas in Olive or Black.

Make sure to get out and fish before it all wraps up!

See you on the water! Brad

SE Report 9-5-08 PDF Print E-mail

If the weather has kept you from fishing this summer, now is the time to hit it! The silver season is in full swing and the run has been very good. Without a doubt, the run is far better than last year and river levels are ideal.

For starters, Gastineau Channel has silvers all over it. It has been like the times of old when getting a limit of silvers wasn’t particularly hard to do. Salmon Creek, Lemon Creek, DIPAC and Bayview have all been productive. The best fishing is from 2-3 hours before the low tide right through until you get pushed out by the flooding tide. Chartreuse & White Clouser Minnows and Pink & White Clouser Minnows are the best flies.

 Montana Creek has been steadily producing fish. The best fishing has been mostly around the confluence and just upstream from there.

 Peterson Creek has had fish out front in the saltwater for the last couple of weeks. They can be targeted as they stage before coming over the falls on the high tide.

 Finally, Cowee Creek has silvers from tidewater all the way up past the bridge. Fish deep and alternate between swinging and stripping flies. Dolly Llamas , Pink & White Half-N-Halfs , Conehead Popsicles , Hareball Leeches in Pink , Fuschia , Chartreuse , and Aleutian Queen , Purple Egg Sucking Leeches , and Starlite Leeches are all patterns that should be in your fly box. You will lose flies so doubling down on patterns is a good idea. There is nothing worse than losing the one fly you had that was working!

 Get out there and fish!

 See you on the water! Brad

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