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.