With a forecast for 4 foot seas on the outside waters, we departed Sitka on Friday, June 21 to fish near Cape Edgecumbe. Marcia had heard that it was the current “hot” area. The several dozen boats, about half of which were guide fishing boats, certainly confirmed that a lot of locals thought it was the place to be. Sadly, the salmon did not think it so “hot” and had gone elsewhere.
After a night in the cove outside the entrance to De Groff Bay, the next morning we tried Dog Point for the early bite, but nobody bit. We were “oh for four” with our Sitka fishing efforts so we decided to head back to Chatham Strait which had proved productive a week earlier.
We retraced the previous steps we took to Sitka, this time substituting Ell Cove for Takatz Bay, before we reached the fishing area in Chatham Strait on Monday, June 24. After about an hour of trolling, Marcia had a hit on her line and reeled in a 32-inch, 15-pound chinook salmon.
The Alaska annual non-resident limit for chinook salmon is three fish if caught before July 1 but only one if caught after. Marcia figured she had six more days to get that last fish and was determined to try.
After anchoring the night in Gut Bay, we went back out into Chatham early the next morning. The weather pattern had changed and a blocking ridge in the Gulf of Alaska brought an end to the rain that we had seen earlier. Unfortunately, better weather often means higher winds on inside waters. The winds can either be afternoon sea breezes driven by warm land and cool waters or the prevailing northerlies of building high pressure. In any event, the forecast for Chatham Strait was now 15 knot winds and 3-foot seas. Where we were fishing it was a steady 15-20 knots with short choppy seas because the flood current was opposing the wind. After about 2 hours of fishing with no action, we called it.
We tried again the next day but the winds and seas were the same or a little bit worse so we decided to head into Fredrick Sound looking for quieter conditions and perhaps a halibut. While we found light winds and calmer seas, after fishing two locations we had no halibut to show for the effort.
With Marcia’s chinook salmon clock running out, we headed back into Chatham on Friday, June 28 and anchored the night in Security Bay on Kuiu Island. A half-hour after we dropped the anchor, the 5-10 NW winds in the anchorage clocked around to 10-15 SE winds and stayed there the entire night.
The next morning, we headed out hoping for the best but by the time we reached Kingsmill Point on Kuiu Island the 15-20 S winds convinced us that it wasn’t safe for us to fish. Even if we were lucky enough to hook a fish we couldn’t safely land it as it requires standing on the swim step to net the fish.
With two king salmon in the freezer, we changed our plans and headed up Chatham aiming for Juneau. After stops in Ell Cove and Funter Bay we arrived in Juneau on July 1.
Last year we had an extended stay in Juneau necessitated by waiting for a furnace part to be repaired. We ended up having a wonderful time. We’ve decided to repeat that this year voluntarily. Our guests, Debbie & John Wick, arrive on Sunday July 7. We plan on departing Tuesday, July 9. We’ll do a week in Glacier Bay, do some more fishing in Chatham and Fredrick Sound, visit the Pack Creek Bear Observatory and end their visit at Petersburg on Saturday, July 27.