A nice spring Dolly Varden off the beach.

The fishing took another solid leap forward this week as spring continues to progress. Dolly Varden are more abundant off local beaches and reports of scattered steelhead catches are coming in as well.

Dolly Varden have been pouring out of the lakes this past week. Our friends at the Auke Creek Weir (where they count every Dolly Varden, cutthroat trout and salmon fry that leaves the lake) reported that the out migration spiked in the last week. Where there had been 20, 30, 40 Dollies a day leaving Auke Lake, it suddenly spiked to 300, 400 and even 500 Dollies a day heading out! And that is good news for fly anglers as those Dollies are feeding off the beaches and they are hungry. And if Auke Lake Dollies are on the move, so too are Dollies from Dredge Lakes, Mendenhall Lake, Windfall Lake and everywhere else they over winter.

Fry patterns remain the name of the game for beach fishing. Fishing the bottom half of the tide is generally more productive and keep an eye out for Arctic Terns crashing the water. This usually indicates that salmon fry are in the area and if terns are hitting them from above then Dollies are likely below.

He may be skinny now but give him a month!

Another big factor in Dolly fishing is when DIPAC releases its chum fry. These huge releases add a ton of feed to the water and Dollies key in on them big time. We talked with the fine folks at DIPAC and they reported that the fry are very healthy this year but with water temperatures remaining quite cold they plan to hold the fry until the last week of May. At that time they will release half the fry and then two weeks later they will release the second half. The release sites are at Amalga harbor, the main hatchery at Salmon Creek and near Sheep Creek on Thane Road.

Steelhead fishing continues to slowly build but it doesn't feel like it has peaked yet. This is definitely late but with water temperatures in the streams still very cold, we surmise that the steelhead are still holding out in the saltwater. Fish are coming in for sure, but the numbers don't feel like peak abundance just yet.

BIG tail from a fish landed last week.

If steelhead are on your agenda it is not too late by any means. There should be at least another solid week of steelhead coming in and possibly two weeks. When the water is as cold as it is, getting a fly down to the same depth as the fish becomes critical. Steelhead are much less likely to go tearing after a fly when the water is under 40 degrees. A well presented Liquid Wrench, Beadhead Assassin or Disco Ball Bead is an excellent bet.

Chrome steelhead sitting (as usual) on the bottom.

Now for a few shop related items:

  1. Our first casting class of the year filled up almost instantly. So we are adding another class on Friday May 21st from 6pm - 8pm. As usual the class is free but you need to RSVP to hold a spot. No problem if you don't have a fly rod yet as we have plenty of loaners. Call 586-1550 to jump in.
  2. The shop is now open 7 DAYS A WEEK. Yep, we are open on Sundays for the whole summer from Noon to 5:00pm. Stop by on a Sunday if you need anything.
  3. We got a bunch of great fish photos from you last week. Thank you! Keep 'em coming via email or Instagram.

See you on the water!