Juneau


SE Report 8-20-09 PDF Print E-mail

Now that the mid August monsoon has passed, we are all anxious to find some fishable water and more to the point some fat chromers. The high water was just the ticket to flush out a bunch of the half-dead chums and pinks and make way for the first of the silvers. There have been scattered reports of silvers showing up so now is the time to go look for the big bruisers.

There are several places to go out and prospect. The confluence of Montana Creek and the Mendenhall River consistently yields early fish. It is a natural resting spot for silvers as they make their way upstream. Dolly Llamas in Pink/White , Tuiti Fruiti , and Black/White are murder on these early fish. Don't forget  Hareball Leeches in Chartreuse , Aleutian Queen and all Pink as well. This spot usually demands a sink tip fly line or a bunch of split shot to get the fly down where the silvers lurk. Alternate between a dead drift and stripping the fly back in. Lower Cowee Creek is another good early silver spot. The same flies fished deep and retrieved quickly work well. Look for the "soft water" where silvers can rest out of the main current.

A few silvers have also shown up in the ladder and in front of DIPAC Hatchery. Fishing in the neighborhood of the hatchery around the low tide is most productive. These fish usually come around North Douglas on their way up the channel. Stretches of beach from Bayview Subdivision all the way to DIPAC produce as they move through. Once again, bracketing the low tide is best since it tends to concentrate the fish. A floating line, nine-foot 12 pound leader, and a Chartreuse Clouser Minnow or a Tuiti Fruiti Clouser Minnow is the setup to have.

Finally, coho can often be found off the rocks at Point Louisa and Lena Point. A sink tip line is a big help and Marabou Madness and Half-N-Halfs in Chartreuse/White will entice a vicious strike.

Good luck and I will see you on the water. Brad

 
SE Report 7-24-09 PDF Print E-mail

If you were waiting for a lot of fish to show up, they are here. Pinks, chums, and Dollies are all in the creeks and off the beaches right now. Don't mess around. Get out there and fish it!

Here are some high lights of the road side fishery.

Sheep Creek, below the Thane Road Bridge, has turned into a very nice Dolly and chum fishery. Large returns of chums have attracted lots of Dollies. Any tide but the high seems to fish well. Fish the creek itself or right down where the fresh water hits the salt. Unreal Egg Clusters , Unreal Eggs in Peachy King , and Gorman Beadhead Eggs are all producers. Beads, particularly 8mm and 10mm in Mottled Clear Orange, Mottled Dark Roe, and Apricot are deadly for the Dollies. Our Southeast/Kodiak Bead Selection is a surefire way to have everything you need to catch Dollies. If you are curious about fishing beads check out our article Beads; The Bare Naked Truth, in the Newsletters area. It gives a great overview of bead fishing, how to choose beads, and how to fish them. 

If you want to catch chums at Sheep Creek move away from the mouth and slowly strip a Pink Humpy Hooker or Fuschia Hareball Leech . If chum are holding in the current at the fresh/salt confluence you can swing flies at them. You can also fish for chums along the beach in the cove by the Thane Ore House.(Editor's Note: Stop by the Ore House for lunch and a beer after fishing. The food is good and the atmosphere is old-school Alaskan.)

Montana Creek is also fishing well. The Chums are all the way up the creek, the Dollies are laying in behind them, and the water level has been slightly above medium which is perfect. Same flies and beads as Sheep Creek.

Fish Creek is fair (which is normal). A few Dollies below the bridge. Some late king salmon can be found, too. Either at the mouth of the pond or upriver in some of the deep rocky holes.

The Shrine of St. Therese is usually a very productive pink salmon spot. So far it has been slow. A few pinks can be found off the rocks but most of the fish rolling out front are chums. A Pink Humpy Hooker on a floating line is the ticket. Hopefully the pinks will fill in there soon.

Echo Cove is super hot for pinks. They are all the way into the boat launch area. Larger numbers of fish can be found if you are willing to walk the beach out. Stay on the same side as the boat ramp and keep walking until you see fish rolling. Fishing around the low tide is usually most productive. Echo is a great spot to fish if the rivers are high and muddy. Once again, the Pink Humpy Hooker or the Searunner Special is the fly of choice.

Finally, Cowee Creek. There are pinks all the way up to and past the bridge. The numbers aren't huge but with a bit of work you can find fish to catch. A Pink Starlite Leech or Purple Egg Sucking Leech are great flies in Cowee. The chums are in, too. When you find them you can almost guarantee some nice Dollies will be in behind them. Use egg patterns or beads like those I mentioned for Sheep Creek.

See you on the water. Brad

 
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

afgdolly4.jpg

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

 
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