I woke up feeling slightly defeated knowing that we were leaving on this day. We had not caught a fish. Most of the fish were in the lower half of the river. We were up at the upper portion of the river. We had not fished above the bridge yet so we thought that we would give it a shot before our trip to the airport. There was so much good looking water, but just no fish. That isn’t entirely true. We saw a few fish. Sight fishing to these beasts is quite exhilarating. We walked and walked. We fished and fished. Nothing happened. We gave up. We headed back to camp to have lunch, pack everything away, and head to the airport.We arrived at the infamous nine mile bridge. There were a couple of guys fishing it that had been there since about 5 am. They were taking a break, so I stepped in. I had a couple of follows from some big fish which made my heart race. I switched to a fly that I have to most confidence in. We call it, “The Magic Fly”. I was working it hard. A guide stepped in and told me how few fish were caught on the flies from the bridge area. He also handed me a fly that he thought would work. It looked very similar to my magic fly. We laughed about our taste in flies. It gave me a little more confidence. In the 11th hour. I hooked up.It all came together. Caught, pictures, release. Now I can return home with a smile on my face. Now we are planning our return for next year. Hopefully, just like this steelhead.
When thinking of planning a do it yourself trip to Yakutat, there are a couple of important websites to check with. One is Bob’s blog. He will give you an honest representation of what is going on with fish in the river. It might not be what you want to hear, but it will be the truth of what he hears. The other website is the USGS water conditions. CFS is what was checking the most.
Now, I will be the first to tell you that I became obsessed with these websites for a month leading up to our trip. It didn’t matter. If the weather said it was raining, Bob said that there were no fish, and the USGS gauge wasn’t working, we were still going on this trip. In reality, the weather forecast changed every 5 minutes, Bob said that a few fish had been reported in the river, and the gauge showed that there was hardly any water in the river. Tickets were booked, boats were made ready, we were on our way.
When we arrived at the Yakutat Airport, our boats were waiting and everything was working out. I was starting to get excited about the fishing. The Yakutat Lodge would be setting up our shuttles and providing information from their guides that had been on the water every day.
There wasn’t much snow on the ground and we were ready to get out there. After we bought beer, flies, fuel, and firewood that is. Second stop was the Situk river Fly Shop out in a WWII hangar. It was pretty cool.
We arrived at the boat launch where there are 6 elevated camping platforms free to use provided by the forest service. We arrived and were unprepared for what we found. There was still snow. More snow than we wanted to sleep on. So we got to work. This was bad for my casting muscles.
We set up our camp and I ran to the river. Amanda strolled over with a beer and took a couple of pictures.
That night we made margaritas, talked about fishing around the fire, and tried to sleep in anticipation of floating the river the next day. Day one was done and no fish were caught.
Luckily, we stumbled upon the coolest campsite of our trip. It was a little hidden as you can see in the picture below. In fact, at high tide, you could paddle between the island and not see the fire pit or flat tent area.We were surrounded on 3 sides by water. This allowed us to sit and watch the wildlife.There were Stellar sea lions, harbor seals, birds galore, orcas, and humpbacks everywhere.
In the middle of the night we were woken up because the whales were so close. We could hear them breathing and talking to each other. The full moon made it easy to see them as they swam through Blackney Passage singing to each other.
We were alone with just as and the animals when we were startled by a small boat that came cruising by. It had a few people on it, but they were watching the big screen and didn’t see us or the whales.
Every homesteader needs a chicken coop. We had a shed that housed firewood despite our house not have any wood burning capabilities. I suppose there is an elevated fire pit outside that we use twice a year, but nothing that warrants half a cord of wood to be kept dry all year long. Here is the picture before:There were a couple of
vegetable boxes that held some weeds and green onions, so we took them apart and moved them next to the street in the front of the house so that they might get some sun. Then we planted peas, kale, lettuce, and cilantro. Then we built a chicken coop. I have step by step pictures and one day I may put them all together. We re-did the roof so that we can collect rain water and have an automatic watering system. The feeder is also pretty cool, but I am going to make sure that it will work before I post the details about it.
Step 1: Buy boards from Home Depot. Measuring the space that is open helps. Drawing “blueprints” on a piece of paper really makes you feel like you know what you are doing. You don’t want the people at Home Depot to think that these are the first shelves that you have ever made. They wear vests so they must know what they are doing.
Step 2: Cut a couple of the boards into the shelf dividers. These shelves are 17 inches tall. That seemed to be the maximum height I could get to have room above for hats and below for the alarm system. The shelves are 8 feet long because that is how long the boards were at Home Depot. Be able to have some flexibility in your plans. 9 feet was the original plan, but without a 9 foot board, that quickly changed. Thank God that my phone has a calculator so I could figure out the new plans at Home Depot. Again, I don’t want the vest wearers to know I am an amateur.
Step 3: Attach all the pieces. This seems pretty simple. It wasn’t too tough, but a ruler was crucial. The cubby holes were supposed to be alternating sizes, so it took an extra couple of minutes of squinting at all of the pieces before it made sense. Being able to squint at the materials without strangers around definitely makes you feel smart when it all works out.
Step 4: Make sure that you spend a little extra money for a good stud finder. The first one had me drilling a couple inches left of where the studs actually were. Eventually, the holders, or bases, or whatever they are actually called were installed and level.
Step 5: Make sure that everything is in a straight line. This took a while longer than I thought that it would. Then I realized that the wood from Home Depot (the cheapest possible) was a little warped. It would straighten out as I put weight on it though.
Step 6: Put assembled shelves onto shelf holder. Put stuff into shelves. Screw hooks into bottom of shelves.
So far nothing has come crashing down. I now have a killer drill. I feel more manly using power tools. A shoe rack might be next. Just as soon as I have some free time!