|SE Report 5-25-09|
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