|SE Report 6-11-09|
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!
See you on the water. Brad