Steelhead Tail!

It is really nice to see the fishing picking up a little more each week. Pleasant weather and good river flows are helping anglers get out there and find some fish.

Let's get started with Dollies. As mentioned last week, DIPAC released 50% of their chum fry and coho smolt. The channel is loaded with fry and Dollies are on the prowl. Fishing continues to be spotty in some places (notably Sheep Creek) with productive tides being followed by dead tides.  If your usual favorite Dolly spot isn't treating you well, this is the weekend to try a new one. Here are a few close to town spots for you to consider:

  • The beach near the whale statue. This has always been a good spot as it is the narrowest part of the channel and the tide really swirls as it rolls through. Fry get washed in and out of here and Dollies are more than happy to patrol the area.
  • The beach in front of little Kowee Creek (the one next to the Douglas Bridge). This is another way of fishing the same constriction in the channel except for you are on the Douglas side. It can be muddy near the stream mouth but Dollies love this spot.
  • The beaches accessed by the public access at 2.7 Mile North Douglas Hwy. It is just past the giant "Ski Wall" and you are directly across the channel from Salmon Creek. This is a great area to fish Dollies that are targeting DIPAC chum fry. It is quite good on a dropping tide. Look for signs of Dollies tearing through schools of fry and put a fly on them!

Here is a tip for enticing Dollies that seem to be reluctant to really grab a fly. This past weekend I found Dollies coming up and nipping half-heartedly at my fly and then just shadowing it before drifting off. I was fishing a Stinger Clouser which had caught a few fish but then the action dropped off. I moved to a slightly smaller AK Clouser and tried retrieving it quickly so the Dollies didn't get a good look at it.  Unfortunately, that didn't work at all. Hmmmm, so a little smaller with a fast strip didn't work. So I went A LOT smaller and tied on an Epoxy Mini Minnow. Bam! Three fish in three casts. By dropping down to something much smaller and more sparse I found what they wanted. Keep a variety of sizes and colors in your box and don't be afraid to switch it up when you are getting refusals. Pretty soon vibrant colors like AK Clousers in Pink/White or Cerise/Pink will be a good option. All these flies are included in our Grab & Go Fly Selection for the week.

Prospecting for steelhead.

On the steelhead front, there were reports of fish caught (like the chromer in this report's lead photo) but it wasn't easy. But is steelhead fishing ever easy? River levels were a bit too high on many creeks and that allows steelhead to hide just about anywhere. And with runs of 100-200 fish in a river the size of Cowee Creek, well you can see why finding one is a challenge. Late May is typically the end of the steelhead run so if you want to give it one last go this is your weekend. Admiralty Island Creeks have been fishing fairly well so if you have a boat this is a good destination. Plus many of these creeks hold cutthroat trout which are an ideal target if the steelhead aren't cooperating.

Sea Run Cutthroat Trout from a recent steelhead trip.

Now for a bit of shop news. After two months of curbside pick up only and no walk in traffic, this Friday we are going to cautiously re-open the shop to foot traffic. We are following precautions from the governor's most recent mandate to help keep us and you safe while in the shop:

  • We are asking all customers to wear a mask in the shop.
  • Please use the supplied hand sanitizer when you come in.
  • We ask that you use credit cards for payment and not cash.
  • Please keep the family group size in the shop to a minimum.
  • We will have windows open to create cross ventilation whenever it is reasonably possible.
  • We are continuing to practice enhanced cleaning of all public surfaces.

We are really looking forward to seeing you all again even if we are wearing masks! If you prefer to continue to shop online, we will still offer curbside pickup and we plan to continue this service indefinitely. We are also going ahead with our Grab & Go Fly Selections if you would like us to pick a group of the hottest flies out for you. Of course if you have any thoughts or comments on how we can serve you better be sure to let us know.

Thanks and happy fishing this Memorial Day Weekend!