Alaska Steelhead Trip 2006

Could someone point me in the right direction for information on summer steelhead in Alaska? I haven’t done a lot of research, yet, but what I have found states that all runs are in the SE part of the state around May & June. Looking to camp or base out of a local motel.
I got a on site report yesterday saying the Anchor, Ninilcheck (sp?) and Deep Creek on the Keni peninsula were hot right now. No shit 20 fish a day type hot. I’m not sure if this is considered SW but its still really interesting.
Alaska is not known for their steelhead runs, better known for their salmon and rainbow fishing. I'd target rainbows that time of year. You'll get much better action and the fish will average 16-18" with some getting up around 30". Most of the steelhead are better fished up there in the fall, but the rivers are crowded unless you pay the bucks and have the gear to get into the real remote spots. I only know of a couple of somewhat accessible steelheading streams that time of year, and they are a complete zoo. Probably not the kind of experience you'd imagine going up to Alaska for.
Was looking to put together a summer trip, but a Septermber one isn't out of the question. One or two sites that I checked seem to indicate that the fall run is much larger.
I've fished all of these and they can put out fish, but it is a complete zoo. Guys in every hole and fishing between holes as well. Rivers are short and the fishing can be hit or miss. Great when it's on, but can die in a hurry. The rivers also get blown out frequently, so you roll the dice a bit by planning a trip up there.

On the Anchor they sell river maps that map out and name every stretch of water on the river.... No secret holes up there.
Well, that pretty much saved me a $1,000 :) :)

I'd rather catch one fish a day maybe and have the hole Deschutes canyon to myself then then put up with that! I was seriously considering hoping a plane.
My first thought was to base out of Talkeetna in June and go for silvers, but damn, I love fishing for steelhead! Maybe I should chuck the Steelhead idea and go back to plan #1?

Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
I drove down to the Anchor one out and didn't even put my rod together. People everywhere! The Anchor is a pretty small stream, about the size of the Deschutes in Olympia.

I've not fished for Steelhead in Alaska but have some friends that have. One has fished the Yakutat done in Southeast AK in early spring and did extremely well. Another friend fished the Thorne river on Prince of Whales Island and has done well. From the research I've done, Steelhead are most numerous in southeast AK, and the closer to the Nass/Skeena the better. As far as I'm aware, you won't find steelhead around Talkeetna. I guided the last 2 summers out near Bristol Bay and there aren't any steelhead that far west/north.

But of the stories I've heard, the one that makes me want to get on a plane and head north are the stories I've recently heard about the winter run steelhead on the Queen Charlotte Islands in Canada. I've heard that the winter runs are numerous, 20 fish days are semi-common, and that they will take a skated fly in early spring!
I fished the Anchor a few years back, and the weekends can definitely be a zoo. If you can fish it during the week it isn't quite so bad. No where near the "battlezone" fishing that you experience during the salmon run on the Russian, but certainly not quiet solitude.

The Situk in Yakutat is a great steelhead fishery, but once again it gets crowded. I think the fishable river is about 7 miles long, not much bank access but lot's of guys floating. I believe I once read that Alaska Fish & Game now believe that the entire run of Situk River steelhead are caught and released on average three times a season. Crazy!

If your willing to bushwhack....there is more fishable water on the Situk. My dad goes every spring and between three or four guys they usually catch/release around 120-150 fish. River flows can be tricky if there is a ton of rain.
Situk is a madhouse, even if you are willing to bushwhack. You either need a boat or are limited to the bottom couple of miles and the bridge area. The bridge area becomes a tent city in April and it is only open for 2 miles above the bridge. If you are willing to hike up above the closed area (5-7 miles), you might get away from the crowds, but the holes are few and far between as the river gets really skinny up there. I know there is one good hole, but that is a long way to hike to find somebody else in there. At the bridge the river is a roll-cast wide and there's generally 30-50 people or more working the water above the bridge, while 50 boats float down from the bridge each day working the downstream water. Another 20-30 guys will be working up from the lower landing.

It is like any other steelhead fishery. If you hit it right, it can be good. I've fished 6 days and caught only 6 fish for a heck of a lot of effort, but I've had some phenomenal days up there as well. Just know what you are getting yourself into. Every year on the flight back I hear people complain about the crowds and how they wouldn't go back again. I think they have this idea that they are going to be alone with the bear and moose.

The National Forest Service, or whoever is responsible for such things, started limiting the number of boat days on the rivers. Each outfitter is only given so many tags for the year (which is quite a few based on the number of boats on the river each day). It is going to start getting very difficult to get one of these tags without hiring a full-time guide unless you are a long-standing client of one of the outfitters. You can use your own boat, but you have to get it there and the shuttles are around $75 to get from the lower landing back up to the top.

Also, the thing about the fish all being caught more than once on average was reported by the dpeartment of fisheries up there.