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Thread: Southeast on the Fly in June

  1. #1

    Default Southeast on the Fly in June

    Great forum guys!

    I'm making a trip to Petersburg in June next summer for my first SE Alaska fishing trip and would like to do some fly casting to trout and salmon from a USFS cabin within a reasonable floatplane ride from Petersburg (Petersburg Lake, Kah Sheets, etc..).

    I'm wondering if anyone has any experience fishing for sockeyes here...timing, run sizes, fishing pressure, etc. I understand that June is not the best month for salmon in fresh water, but my wife is due August 1st, so I'm limiting myself to June for a trip. Is catching a limit of sockeye in mid-late June wishful thinking?

  2. #2
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    June is PERFECT for Sockeye in Petersburg. Later June even better. The sockeye are hitting hard in Juneau around that time as well. As far as cabins go, I wouldnt know where to tell you to go, but Petersburg Creek is always a hot spot for em. Just a 5 minute boat ride from downtown P-Town.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the promising news, epw. I'll be staying in Petersburg for a few days before departing for a USFS cabin, so I think I'll give Petersburg Creek a try.

    Do you know if the creek is navigable by kayak all the way to the lake? Also, is it fairly easily wadeable?

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    It is navigable by kayak and that would be a cool way to do it. You would HAVE to kayak in on a flood tide though because it rips out of there and vice versa on the way out. All the way up to the lake may entail some wading though, given the tide. The creek empties out pretty good all the way out to the aid in Wrangell Narrows and at a good low tide it COULD be wadable but I would definitly NOT advise wading into it. It is possible to hike the creekside from the mouth to the lake, given you get across the Narrows first. Plenty o' bears over there, but if you hit it right, the fishing is outstanding. I am in Juneau now, but would love a few more days fishing the Creek. Good Luck!

  5. #5

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    Thanks again epw! This is extremely helpful. When time is of the essence, it's so nice to have some feedback from someone with experience. It sounds like a kayak might be the way to go. Hopefully the current is slow enough to figure out an escape route in case I approach any bears. I'll post pics and share any extra info I gather in the process. Tight Lines!

  6. #6
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    Default Kah Sheets

    I've been to Kah Sheets mid-July when the Sockeyes were running. Went by boat from Petersburg and stayed at the bay cabin for access to salt water, but the lake cabin is a bit bigger and not as dark. The Sockeye run didn't seem that big, but the fish would school up below the falls a short hike up from the bay cabin. It was cool to watch them attempt the leap over the falls, bet there might be bears there often (didn't see one though). This spot below the falls wasn't ideal for flyfishing, but the fish were easy to catch there. Didn't really see them schooling up anywhere else on the creek, so that seemed to be the only spot to effectively fish for them. Not sure how the sockeyes would be in June, but I would assume you would be fine by late June. Also fished the creek up from the cabin and even down on the tideflat for cutts, they were spread throughout the creek and relatively abundant. some seemed to be residents, others searun. The trail that connects the lake and bay is very short (2 miles) and easy, there is decent fishing for cutts in the lake as well. Can't say anything about Petersburg creek, as I've never fished it, but I'd like to hike/fish my way up to the cabin there sometime and then West to the cabin on the salt chuck. Good luck!

  7. #7

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    jjac,

    Thanks for the Kah Sheets info. I've also considered doing what you did- going to the bay cabin by boat. What was your experience as far as docking the boat near the cabin? Were you able to motor right up to the cabin, or was it a grueling mud flat hike? I've heard that you need to hit the tide just right or it can be ugly. I would need to rent a boat, so I'd also want to be certain that it could be parked safely near the cabin for a few days should I decide to spend a lot of time at the creek/lake. How was the saltwater fishing near there? Also did you happen to see any pinks or chums in the creek at that time? It's looking like early July (1st week) is when I'll be there so I just want to be sure there's enough fishing opportunity to keep me busy for a few days even if the sockeye run is too late or too small. I'm really glad to hear that you were able to catch some cutts. Was there an egg bite on with the sockeyes in the creek, or were you fishing with bugs? Were you able to score any bows or dollies there? Is most of the creek reasonably easy to wade and fly fish?

    I had considered kayaking up Petersburg creek, but after some discussions with others I found out that you can only paddle up the creek about 3 miles. After that, rapids and log jams prevent you from paddling all the way to the lake. You would need to either hike the whole trail, as you've described, or paddle then hike. My understanding is that there's an abundance black bears in the area (no browns) but you would definitely want to take precautions for this one. If you do it someday, please post the results!

    Thanks again for the info!

  8. #8

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    jjac,

    Thanks for the Kah Sheets info. I've also considered doing what you did- going to the bay cabin by boat. What was your experience as far as docking the boat near the cabin? Were you able to motor right up to the cabin, or was it a grueling mud flat hike? I've heard that you need to hit the tide just right or it can be ugly. I would need to rent a boat, so I'd also want to be certain that it could be parked safely near the cabin for a few days should I decide to spend a lot of time at the creek/lake. How was the saltwater fishing near there? Also did you happen to see any pinks or chums in the creek at that time? It's looking like early July (1st week) is when I'll be there so I just want to be sure there's enough fishing opportunity to keep me busy for a few days even if the sockeye run is too late or too small. I'm really glad to hear that you were able to catch some cutts. Was there an egg bite on with the sockeyes in the creek, or were you fishing with bugs? Were you able to score any bows or dollies there? Is most of the creek reasonably easy to wade and fly fish?

    I had considered kayaking up Petersburg creek, but after some discussions with others I found out that you can only paddle up the creek about 3 miles. After that, rapids and log jams prevent you from paddling all the way to the lake. You would need to either hike the whole trail, as you've described, or paddle then hike. My understanding is that there's an abundance black bears in the area (no browns) but you would definitely want to take precautions for this one. If you do it someday, please post the results!

    Thanks again for the info!

  9. #9
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    Friggin huge mud flat in Kah-Sheets. Must go in on a large tide and MUST figure a good way/place to anchor the boat. LOTS of black bears in there as well. I dont know of any wild rainbows in SE and I dont think they stock anything down there. I could be wrong. Anywhere around SE will have dollies at that time though. As long as some of the chums or pinks have started up the stream to do it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugman View Post
    jjac,

    Thanks for the Kah Sheets info. I've also considered doing what you did- going to the bay cabin by boat. What was your experience as far as docking the boat near the cabin? Were you able to motor right up to the cabin, or was it a grueling mud flat hike? I've heard that you need to hit the tide just right or it can be ugly. I would need to rent a boat, so I'd also want to be certain that it could be parked safely near the cabin for a few days should I decide to spend a lot of time at the creek/lake. How was the saltwater fishing near there? Also did you happen to see any pinks or chums in the creek at that time? It's looking like early July (1st week) is when I'll be there so I just want to be sure there's enough fishing opportunity to keep me busy for a few days even if the sockeye run is too late or too small. I'm really glad to hear that you were able to catch some cutts. Was there an egg bite on with the sockeyes in the creek, or were you fishing with bugs? Were you able to score any bows or dollies there? Is most of the creek reasonably easy to wade and fly fish?

    I had considered kayaking up Petersburg creek, but after some discussions with others I found out that you can only paddle up the creek about 3 miles. After that, rapids and log jams prevent you from paddling all the way to the lake. You would need to either hike the whole trail, as you've described, or paddle then hike. My understanding is that there's an abundance black bears in the area (no browns) but you would definitely want to take precautions for this one. If you do it someday, please post the results!

    Thanks again for the info!
    I second that the mudflat is huge, at low tide you can probably walk about a mile out on the flats. I had an 18í skiff and was there for five days, but I never brought the boat all the way up to the cabin as there was a small pool off from the creek (where the creek began to turn out of the grasses and on to the flats) that allowed for a greater window in using the boat on the tides and was still near some trees I could tie off to. This spot was a couple minute walk through high grass from the cabin, but accessing it required crossing the creek once (waders at high tide, boots at low). If you brought the boat all the way up to the cabin, youíd be tying it off into the current of the creek and its real shallow, as thereís really no spot for even a skiff. The tides still dictated when I could take the boat out (mainly to check the crab pot). If youíre taking the skiff to the cabin it is an absolute must that you arrive at high tide with time to scope out the situation. Overall, the logistics of the tides and flats are the biggest negative about Kah Sheets.

    There were no pinks or chums when I went, just sockeyes schooled up below the falls. From what I heard, a few weeks later the entire river is jammed with pinks and chums all the way up to the falls. The creek is surrounded by heavy brush and forest, but the river is wadable if you donít mind working for it. The trail offers access at a few points to the creek, but it seemed like it was a ways distant along most of the trail (canít remember what the map indicated). Didnít catch any dollies, but also didnít fish any egg patterns below the falls, as it wasnít a pleasant water to fly fish (just fished for sockeyes there, but not exactly pretty fly fishing). Fished bugs in the Ĺ mile above the cabin, that was pleasant. Caught a very small rainbow that I would bet was a steelhead smolt, but otherwise all cutts. Didnít do any saltwater fishing (with the tides I was faced with either taking the boat out pretty quickly at high tide or staying out all day). There are blacks around Kah Sheets (I didnít see any when I went though). It would be nice if the sockeyes were in more places than just the falls for fly fishing, but I had a great time releasing beautiful cutthroat, eating fresh crab, and even had a few sunny days. Good luck!

  11. #11

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    Thanks for the good info guys. I'll let you know which route I decide to take with this trip (lake cabin fly in or bay cabin by boat) and the results!

    Tight lines!

  12. #12

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    I was wondering if anyone knew how the steelhead fishing was around Duncan Canal? Castle River, Kah Sheets Creek, etc...? Also, has anyone tried salt water fishing in the same area. I'm thinking about renting a boat in early spring to pursue steelhead, cutthroats, crab, and possible salt water fishing. Does anyone know if there are brown bears around Kah Sheet Cabin or just blackies. If you would like send me a PM. Any info would be great. Thanks.

  13. #13

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    From what I've heard, only black bears occupy the Kah Sheets area.

  14. #14
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    Black only. Possibly a cinnamon or two around there though.

  15. #15

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    Do you guys know anything or know anyone who might know how the steelhead fishing is around that area? Also, what flies worked best for the cutthroats. Were they mostly in the creek itself or where they in the tidal water of the creek. Thanks.

  16. #16
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    black egg sucking leech. standard SE cutt fly.

  17. #17

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    Sorry, I've never fished the steelhead run there. It is on my list though! I would guess that leeches, buggers, and even some dries like humpies and elk hair caddis would be productive for cutts, depending on the conditions. One of my favorite characteristics of cutts is that they are more fly-fisherman-friendly than other trouts!

  18. #18

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    Thanks for the info. Have you hunted black bears around the area? If so where do you recommend? Also, have either of you salt water fished around in Duncan Canal or Sumner Strait? I'll be around there staying at Breiland Slough towards the end of April beg of May. Thanks again.

  19. #19
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    AWESOME fishing near Point Baker (western Sumner Strait just before it turns south) for anything. It can REALLY kick up here though if you get a strong southeast wind. You could also get some decent swells here due to the the opening to the gulf just south of here.

    Look at Bananna Point as well (extreme south end of Mitkof Island) for killer king fishing.

    Anywhere with a sandy bottom just north of Snow Pass and Kasheverov Pass (thats the transistion area between Sumner and Clarence straits) is great for Halibut (just HAVE to hit it on a slack tide, otherwise hold on for the ride).

    There really is great fishing all around the Sumner Area, just have to find them fickle *********'s. The southern end of Wrangell Narrows (actually the last half to the outlet) should be great for salmon.

    Now Duncan Canal is a little different. I lived in Petersburg for a while and I dont remember anyone ever talking about fishing in Duncan Canal. Duck hunting is a wholly different story though. Plenty o that over there. You might get more info from some others on here, but I doubt it.

    Good luck with the trip. Wish I was doing it, but I have my own fish to fry in Juneau.

    Oh yeah, hunt Kah Sheets for black bears. Should have GOOD luck there. Cant tell you any specifics bout the area, but EVERYONE I knew that hunted there, got a nice bear.
    Last edited by epw; 01-16-2008 at 19:14. Reason: adding

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