Thursday, April 23, 2015

Facts about Yak


  • The City and Borough of Yakutat covers an area 6 times the size of Rhode Island (9,463 square miles), making it one of the largest "counties" in the United States with a population of 662 residents.
  • Yakutat at one time had the only railroad in the U.S. built to carry raw fish.  It was retired in 1949 and is on display in the park entering town.
  • During WWII, the U.S. built a major paved airfield in Yakutat in 1941 as part of a long range defense program. The airfield remains today and serves Alaskan Airline commercial flights.
  • The Hubbard Glacier located within the borough, is North America's largest tide-water glacier.
  • Mt. St. Elias has an elevation of 18,008 ft (5,489 meters) with a grade of 50-60% on the upper slopes. It is the highest peak in the world so close to tidewater and the 2nd highest peak in the United States making it the 4th highest in all of North America.
  • It was first ascended in 1897 (after 8 attempts) and was the first of the giant Alaskan mountains discovered. 
  • Mt. St. Elias contains the worlds largest non-polar ice fields
  • Mt. St. Elias produces the largest single ice field in Alaska, called the Malaspina. Ice spreads from the mountain over 1500 square miles.
  • Wrangell-St. Elias  is the 2nd largest national park in the United States covering 13.2 million acres, of which, 5 million are permanently covered with snow and ice.
  • The Tongas National Forest is the US largest national forest and covers most of SE Alaska almost entirely surrounding the famous inside passage.
  • The Tongas encompasses some 17 million acres
  • The Tongas makes up  part of the Pacific Temperate Rainforest Ecoregion which is the largest of its kind on the Planet
  • The World Famous Situk River resides in the Borough of Yakutat within the Tongas National Forest.  It hosts arguably the largest naturally occurring self sustained Steelhead fishery in the world with recorded runs in excess of 10,000 fish.
  • The River is essentially pristine un-touched spawning environment in it's entirety.
  • During salmon season it is not unrealistic to have runs of silvers and chums in excess of 80,000 fish per species.
  • The Alaska Department of Fish and Game operate a fish counting Weir on the river and manage the fishery diligently.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Back to Yak

It’s been a long time since my last entry.  Truth be told there has really been no story to tell.  The Fall/Winter fishery on the West Side has been the worst in Decades and the Spring fishery has seemed to take a similar path.  My ambition and desire to force things has taken the exact same route.  My trips have been few and the time spent on the river when I did indeed venture out was far less than typical.  I have come to realize there is no fighting this and truth be told I am more than willing to let nature run its course.  I apologize to the frequent visitors of this site.  Some of you have reached out via email and others continue to frequently visit in hopes of some new material.  Again,  I apologize but I can no longer bring myself to force things and provide less than mediocre material for the sake of a post. I was asked last weekend if I was done with the Blog.  I had to think for a second and hesitantly replied…”I don’t know…”  I don’t want to be done but again I can’t force things.  After last year’s Alaska Trip I was inspirationally exhausted.  I could not bring myself to put pen to paper.  There wasn’t an epic story to be told…water was low, temps were insanely warm, and fishing was tough.  We had a great trip and caught some good fish including a 103lb Halibut but upon my return I was left with no desire to put forth the effort to share the tale.  Instagram became a quick and appealing means of expressing my photography and I quickly amassed a respectable following of “fish nerds” like myself looking to get their daily fix.  Even that has recently taken a hiatus mostly in part due to a lack of material.  The poor fishing and creative drought have led me to a crossroads.  I am at a potential turning point.  A week from this Friday I will embark on my third trip to the Situk River in Yakutat Alaska.  Truth be told I am extremely excited about this adventure.  From all reports this year’s run appears to be extremely healthy.  Water conditions have been outstanding and the weather forecast appears to tell a favorable story.  This has the potential to be “the year” that we put it all together.  Timing is everything on these trips.  It is extremely hard to time considering the logistics involved and my proximity to Yakutat.  Maybe…just maybe I got it right this year.  All things aside and regardless of numbers the trip will be outstanding.  This may very well be the inspiration I need.  Only time will tell.  For those inclined keep checking back…there just may be a story waiting to be told.

Monday, December 08, 2014

It's been a really challenging season...

It’s been a really challenging season to say the least.  The long winter and late spring seemed to have taken a toll on the Lake Huron and Lake Michigan Steelhead fishery.  Outings that typically would have produced multiple returns left us scratching our heads with tails between our legs. 
Theories abound as to which, where, why, and when the fishery will pop and it will be business as usual but we continued to wait for this to become reality. As with each facet of life confidence plays a major component in the success equation. 
  This season we have witnessed and experienced a degradation of this variable.  Water conditions and locations that we deemed “money” dealt us a humbling hike out of the river basin. 
Fortitude and conviction also factor into the formula.  Multiple hours were logged drifting seams, runs and deep holes to no avail.  It seemed as though this may be the season that never was. 
Pessimistic outlooks become contagious and the ability to save face dwindles exponentially after each failure.  Just when it all seemed to be for not a mild spell accompanied by rain hit the forecast for the Great Lakes Region.  A quick thaw and decent bump ensued and a flicker of hope shone on the horizon.  If it were to happen it seemed as though this may finally be the catalyst. 
Schedules were rearranged and absences booked in order to arrive under optimum conditions.  Just when it all seemed like it wouldn’t come together it finally did.  It wasn’t epic by no means but certainly enough to restore our tattered confidence and once again reignite an almost dwindled flame. 
Enough cannot be said about taking things for granted and this Season has repeatedly preached this leasson.

It sure felt nice to finally once again drift water knowing fish are present, willing, and able. It was as equally nice to see some brand new players in the system fresh from the lake.

Perhaps this was a mere coincidence but I certainly hope it plays out equally across my typical haunts. 

I plan to test this theory in the coming days over at the cabin in Michigan.

Monday, November 10, 2014

It hasn't been easy...

Things have been quiet around here this season. 

Mainly in part to my lack of ambition but to be quite honest the outings I have undertaken have been tough. 

I have yet to turn a Steelie on the Manistee and my only trip to the home waters since my last post here proved tough as well. 

From what I gather nothing has been easy this season on the Lake Huron and Lake MI flows.

Historically fish would typically be scattered in decent numbers throughout my usual haunts but the fish we have managed to convince have not come without great effort. 

An unusually long and hard Winter and late Spring had the spring run weeks behind schedule. 

The Fall Salmon run was a mere facsimile of previous years runs and this year's Steelhead season seems to be showing signs of irregularity. 

Perhaps it's a tad bit delayed but the river conditions and temps do not dictate undesirable conditions to move fish.  

It's hard to formulate any educated answer and I have heard a multitude of theories but cut and dry the limited days I have spent on the rivers have been tough. 

It should never be easy but this season has undertones of difference. 

The guys over on the South Side of Erie seem to be holding their own but that act has run it's course for me.

Time will tell and I'm still holding out for my favorite time of the year, the late November and December fishery.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Another Season...

 It's been a long time since my poetic narrative and/or perverse perspective have adorned this humble blogs pages.  Truth be known I have not wet a line since my return from Alaska in early May.  Piscatorially I had become burned out.  So much so that I couldn't muster up the ambition to tell the tale of the second epic AK adventure.  Too much of a good thing I guess...  

There is no better way to end a Steelheading season than on a high note like the AK trip but after that had played out it was sincerely time to check out for a while.  I have always taken a moderate reprieve from the fishing scene come late Spring but this time around it seemed to be way more extreme. 

Summer is time to recharge my batteries. A time to re-instill the passion through abstinence. 
In order to go as hard as I do from October through to May I need to shut it all down and allow my other interests to consume my time and attention.  What this does is allows me to approach the river fully charged in the fall with a rekindled spirit once the rains come and the temperatures plummet. 

Well as fate would have it both occurred somewhat earlier than anticipated this fall.
The stars aligned and the rains came early along with unseasonably cool temperatures.  The usual indicators were screaming green light so we made the trek up the lake to seize the opportunity. 

The winds were extreme and we fished second water all day but we toughed it out and managed to turn a few in our usual haunts. It was a nice segway into what I hope to be a stellar 2014/2015 Fall/Winter season.
To the religious followers of this Blog I thank you for your patience and persistence.  The blogger hits counter broke 101,000 even without any new posts in the past 5 months.   It's nice to see the traffic even when there is no new content. 
I hope to be somewhat regular with my posts in the coming months and provide some decent content for your enjoyment so keep stopping by and chime in once and a while...the comments are always appreciated.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Locked and Loaded

Well the time has come.  It's been a a little bit in the planning but she is finally before us.  The return to the Situk...Yakutat Alaska.
Hopefully things all come together with the weather and the river water levels and such. 
Sure would be nice to tie in a couple crazy 40" slabs like Sean Donahue did last week.  All things aside it should be yet another epic trip.

Monday, April 28, 2014

AK is only a couple of days away...

The Clock is ticking...Time to seriously get packing.

Woodstock Lines...The Anglers Connection

Well I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks back by a package awaiting my arrival on the porch up at the cabin. My good friends at Woodstock Lines and The Anglers Connection sent me an awesome sampling of their outstanding fly line backing as well as some of their floating monofilament to run through the paces. The backing colours are sharp, crisp, and sexy and will look outstanding on any reel to colour accent as well as serve it's intended reel backing purpose. For those of you in need of some quality Dacron for your Fly or Centerpin reels backing needs look them up here at or click on their banner in the sponsors section of the blog. The floating mono has been fishing fine so far and banked a fair share of Michigan chromers. I plan to really put it to the test on some of those giant Alaska fish later this week.