Monday, April 14, 2014

Yakutat 2014 Return to the Situk

Well the clock has been ticking and we are officially starting the countdown. Only 17 days away until we visit one of the last remaining Frontiers left on this plant...Alaska. For those that are not aware, Yakutat Alaska is home to Mount St Elias, The Hubbard Glacier, Russell Fiord, and the world renowned Situk River. The Situk boasts the planets largest self sustaining wild population of Steelhead. Fish in the 40" class are not uncommon and annual run numbers in excess of 8000 can be experienced. The freestone glacier fed river runs some 20 miles from it's headwaters at Situk Lake through the Tongass National Forest where it eventually drains into the Gulf of Alaska. The only access to the river is at the 9 mile bridge via the forest service road. Here you hike up river and wade fish or float down river some 14 miles in a drift boat towards the take out at the estuary. It's truly a one of a kind self guided fishery that affords one the opportunity of double digit days, 40" class fish, Coastal Brown Bears, Black Bears, Moose, Bald Eagles, wolf and lynx all encompassed within the boundaries of the worlds largest remaining Temperate Rainforest...The Tongass. It's truly an epic adventure about to unfold... **with the exception of the Steelhead snaps all pics contained withing the slide show are courtesy of Google images. Thanks Google!!

Ahhhh...seriously!


Ok...This is some seriously dangerous water!  All the west side flows are near or past flood stage.  It's a complete sh*t show.  Those poor fish...

Graph of

Sunday, April 13, 2014

KaaaBooom

It was inevitable...The river is a giant muddy mess. With the amount of snow base this year and the certainty that Spring would eventually poke her head from the shadows it was only a matter of time. Well it has happened. The flow is epic and the visibility is zero. She won't be fishable by my standards for a week and that's only if the rains subside. If I recall correctly last years spring was similar and she didn't have any decent visibility for weeks. Timing is everything my friends. Hopefully the Easter weekend brings some opportunity but I'm not liking my chances. On a side note young Cole Lauzon put together a really cool video of our trip over to the West side a few weeks back. It's his first video. I think he did a really good job with it. Enjoy...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Paying it Forward Part 2...Michigan

I am fortunate and blessed to have within my means the ability to own and frequent a property in Northwestern Michigan literally a stones throw away from fabled waters. I remind myself of this each and every time I pull into the cabin drive. I do not take this for granted. With the property comes the ability to share this gift with others. This past weekend I had the opportunity to extend a Steelheading offer to young fishing prodigy Cole L. If you all remember, Cole and I had fished back in the fall on the home waters of Ontario. He still makes reference to that trip today. I can't help but see a spark in this kid that reminds me of myself at that same age. An unparalleled burning desire to chase these crazy fish that defies all logic and reasoning. The longing for an opportunity can almost be torture. It's hard to understand unless you are stricken with this affliction and have been there. The extended and miserable winter must have been hard on the young fella staring at his new switch rod rig and drooling over his Instagram account photos. An opportunity arose and I thought what a gift I could offer...We cleared it off with his parents and made the trek over to the West Side for two days of early spring adventure. The fishing wasn't epic but the crowds were. We made the best of it and had a lot of fun. I'd do it again in a minute. This kid can fish and has an appreciation and respect for the fishery like only a die hard Steelheader would. It wasn't looking good with the lack of fresh fish and the crowds but in the 11th hour Cole popped a nice Hen on the faithful Atomic Orange $$ bead. It's not like I don't have an ulterior motive though...I'm still banking on this kid dragging me to the river when I'm old, intolerable, and without the means. Ah yes...money in the bank.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

She won't let go...

Winter...She just won't let go. All week I had looked forward to fishing Saturday. It was forecast to be the last day in the positives prior to yet another cold snap. After a short diversion to take care of some business outside of Grand Rapids I drove into some rain heading North. I watched the ambient temp gauge slowly creep from above freezing into the negatives. Luckily I drove out of that mess prior to the rain freezing and becoming a hazard. I arrived at the cabin and unloaded the gear. It was nearing 10 pm and damn cold. I lit the woodstove and settled in for a few drinks to unwind before calling it a night. Saturday morning came and went. I spent my time stoking the stove, drinking coffee with Bailey's, and trying to muster up the ambition to hit a partially frozen winter river. It was 1 pm before I finally donned the gear and made the drive to the access. In my youth I would have been devastated by a fishy morning wasted but with age comes experience, patience, and wisdom. My days of burning the candle at both ends and pulling no stops to fish first light are long over. I'm happy to arrive on my schedule well rested and ready to clean up the scraps. It's served me well and I have learned to go with the flow. I don't need much anymore and have nothing to prove. I am there to set my head straight and capture some memories and images on film. Well...as fate would have it my plan paid off in spades. The river was being her miserable winter self and reports from the morning shift were grim. I shook it off and put my time in, kept the faith, and covered water. The Atomic Orange Great Lakes Steelhead Co 10mm bead came through again. When I left I had turned 6 fish on a river that was being a stingy miserable bitch. My reel froze solid after the third fish. I battled iced guides and bone freezing winds the entire outing. As much as I'd like to complain it was a great day on the water. My gear kept me dry and warm and the crowds pushed me to some old water that paid off in dividends. It was a refreshing reminder to leave no stone unturned. Excellent advice for the quickly approaching combat Spring Fishery.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Reprieve

It's been over a month since my last entry. To be quite honest this winter has really put a damper on both ambition and opportunity. I got out this weekend for a few drifts. Friday's positive temps were a blessing. It was nice to finally fish without the threat of frozen fingers and iced up guides. With the warm temps came the front end of the spring fishing crowds but a little leg work afforded me some solitude. It wasn't without effort but what started out as a bust turned into a refreshing day on the river with some very interesting critters to hand. I'm hoping the changing of the weather guard will muster up some inspiration but to be quite honest it's been a challenge lately to find the gumption to put pen to paper. I think it's a natural progression and I have certainly been here before but each time this funk arises I seem to dive a little deeper into the abyss. I liberated once of my collectables recently and the possibility of replacing it has ignited a small flame. My Instagram account has taken off and also fueled some ambition to get out there and capture some images. I have obtained some amazing new sponsors over the winter season that like my others I can stand behind without compromise. The Alaska trip is looming on the horizon and will certainly finish off the season on a high note before my Summer hiatus. Piscatorially I'm blessed but getting tired. Hoping a few well timed trips, some new acquaintances, and some old will get it all going again...

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Water Bucket Trip

As fate would have it what is proving to be a reoccurring theme this winter forced my return to the cabin this past weekend.  A small water leak in the bulkhead over the kitchen counter reared it's ugly head earlier this winter.  I had hoped the purchase and install of some heat tracing on the back of the cabin roof would have remedied the ice daming and water backup issue on the roof  but it only seemed to half way resolve what is proving to be a daunting pain in my ass.  Prior to leaving our last stay I had placed a small bucket on the counter to capture the periodic drops hoping the leak would take up when the cabin cooled and the roof water refroze.  This manoeuvre proved to be a mistake as the thought of an over flowing bucket of water was ever on my mind during the work week.  I was hoping to stay home and enjoy a mild reprieve from the road but my internal thought processes were having no part of that.  With future commitments on the horizon and visions of overflowing water I planned a return trip with a friend from work.  Sledding and Steelheading was on the agenda with a side of "bucket checking".  Late Friday night and my fears were semi-realized.  There was no spillover but the bucket was indeed an inch and a half away from breach.  Luckily for me the roof refroze and the leak took up.  Plans were made for a leisurely Saturday morning in front of the woodstove with coffee followed by some afternoon Steelheading and evening Snowmobiling.  Sunday would see us tend to the roof.
The fishing was cold and proved to be a challenge but the Great Lakes Steelhead Co beads managed to persuade a few to hand.  It was one of the coldest outings I have fished this winter a really tested our commitment.  The evening snowmobiling was awesome.  The trails were prime and there seemed to be a lot of deer traffic out along the countryside.  The highlight was a stop in Brethren for a cold and delicious beverage.  Sunday was spent pulling snow off the back roof, revealing the suspected water ingress culprit and redeployment of the electric heat tape.  I will have to wait until spring or summer to finalize the fix but for now I'm confident I have it figured out.  Til then I have a rather large storage bin on the counter to quench my mental demons and any unforeseen rapid thaws.


Saturday, February 01, 2014

February Already???

The cabin seemed extra cold this morning as I crept from the warmth of the bed. Friday's clear blue skies gave way to the doom and gloom of winter once again. There was a storm on the forecast and the dark grey skies gave a clear message that the snow was indeed on its way. I was on the fence as to whether or not I was going to hit the river but after my morning routine decided to don the gear hand make the trek. The access was surprisingly busy but once again my section of river was devoid of pressure. I fished the river hard for the first hour to no avail when another couple of anglers joined me. Their company forced my hand and I visited some water I had been to neglecting as of late mainly due to laziness on my part. The marabou wasn't producing today and neither were the money colour beads. I opted to tone things down and go with a more natural faint tangerine 10mm bead. After 4 fish in a matter of 30 mins I knew I had finally dialed it in. It was nice to figure it out and  find success in the extreme conditions. It just keeps getting harder on the body and I am now certain my wrist is screwed. First the right shoulder and now the right wrist. It sucks getting old but the allure of the river and these crazy fish won't keep me down.