I was referred to you by Drifter 016 on the Alaska Outdoor Forum. I am looking at doing some roadside/hike in fishing for Steelies in December on the Situk. I am not familiar with the area and I was told you were the man to go to for answers. Looking at the Blog entries from last winter that the fish should be in the river. What is the best way to access the river this time of year? Will there be road access issues due to snow? How feasible is it to hike/snowshoe/ski in to the upper portions of the river? What kind of patterns generally produce this time of year?
Also, for next fall I am looking at possibly doing a fly out and float for Steelies in your region. I received two reccomendations for flying to some cabins on the middle Situk or checking out the Akwe River. Any input or information you have on this would be greatly appreciated.
Great ideas, but... The road to the Situk closes when the snows come.
That is the biggest obstacle for planning ahead for a winter steelhead trip.
As long as the road is open, you can get to some fish. Most of the last few years, we haven't had much snow till after the new year. Last year, we did get enough to shut us down. Hard to plan for... Most people (because of access) plan their winter trip in November. The winter run essentially trickles in all winter so long as there is water flowing and they all spawn together with the spring fish in April and May. Right now, not many steelhead in the river, but still a lot of silvers and dollies.
Hiking is easy along the Situk, till the snow falls. Snowshoeing or skiing would be great if you can get to the river... The road is 9 miles out to where the bridge crosses the river. No one rents snow machines yet and I think there would definitely be a market for them. If you have a flexible schedule and can come without too much notice, you can have an incredible late fall/winter trip as long as you watch the weather and know if the road is still open.
The Garcia Glo Bug is the most popular fly on the Situk both seasons. Black buggers, anything with rubber legs, long bunny leeches, a pretty wide variety of patterns work on the Situk.
Fall isn't the time for steelhead here. It is winter and spring. Our timing doesn't quite line up with most other areas. The Situk does have two cabins at the middle river, with a landing strip between them. You can also drift down to the cabins and drift back down to the bottom landing as well. Makes for a great trip to have a cabin 1/3rd of the way down the river. The Akwe does have a small steelhead run, but the timing is odd and it doesn't have enough fish to target that in the fall/winter. Just the spring.
Ask any questions you have.