|SE Report 5-8-09|
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