The 2015 season kicked off early with the Bill Donwen group fishing May 4, 5, and 6 with Captain David (DJ). Although we were a bit cautious with what to expect from the beginning of May, they ended up with limits of kings and halibut on day one. That was followed by decent king fishing and great halibut action on the following two days.
Hook It & Cook It kicked off 2015 in earnest on May 15 with all 8 boats out. The fishing produced limits of kings and halibut for all and it looked like we were headed for the promised land for the rest of the spring given that trend at that time of year is almost always upward. That wasn’t the case in 2015. On May 16 the fishing was good. On May 17 it was decent. On May 18 it was challenging. As for Hook It and Cook It, we had the highest attendance ever and Ludger Szmania did his usual spectacular job cooking and imparting his knowledge of fish preparation. For four nights, we were treated to three-course meals and a relaxed atmosphere with many returning and new guests. Ludger will return to do it again in 2016.
What followed Hook It and Cook It was an extremely unusual and very slow stretch for kings. The king bite became highly variable and, at times, nonexistent. As we hit the last week of May, things improved. Some days we had quick king limits, while others required a patient and persistent effort. Fortunately, halibut, rockfish, and lingcod remained excellent.
During the month of June, the king fishing was not white-hot, but it was solid. Our June guests who are accustomed to days of catch and release for kings had to become more efficient and take advantage of their opportunities. Otherwise, it took more time to fill their generous daily bag limit of two per angler. Similar to 2014, the Cape proved our most reliable king location. It often required great patience, but if you stayed put, you were typically rewarded. Silvers (coho) salmon began to arrive in the middle of June and the first boat limits came in on June 25. Strangely, the month of June, a time of the year when the king runs are normally at or near peak, saw another challenging period.
Halibut and rockfish are as reliable as ever. We often catch halibut on the salmon grounds, but the offshore deep spots produced the most reliable limits of bigger fish along with the much-desired black cod. We’ve had great success offshore, finding fish just below the 42-inch regulation and we expect that to continue throughout the season. Rockfish are abundant and of big around the Cape. Some of the black rockfish hit 8 pounds.
Visit our photo gallery to see what our clients are catching in 2015.
The weather for the first half of the season has been unusually rainless. The dry weather in May was accompanied by a persistent northwest wind and a dense marine layer on the outer coast. It was cold and a bit bumpy on the fishing grounds, but sunny and warm on shore. June brought one big blow that kept us off the ocean for a day, but otherwise, the weather has been pretty darn good. We’ve seen a lot of sunshine over the ocean and a number of dead calm days.
As always, AU has assembled a highly experienced crew this year with some great new additions that fit right in. The compliments we get for customer service and professionalism keep coming in. We work hard at this and we’re operating like a well-oiled machine. Every day you can be certain that our crew will make sure they’re doing everything they can to make your vacation as productive and memorable as possible.
We thank everyone who fished with us during the first half of 2015 and we look forward to taking the best care of those coming for July, August, and September. If you’d like to share one of your highlights from your trip in May or June, please leave it in our comments section.
Here are our grades for 2015 nearly half way through the season:
Despite mostly good results, king numbers were down especially given the high abundance forecasted. The favorable regulations were a big plus, allowing our guests to bring home plenty of king salmon to enjoy. The average size king seemed a bit better than recent years until the last week of June when the fish at the Cape seemed a bit smaller. (Bear in mind that a C in Sitka is an A in most ports).
They arrived a couple weeks early. They are good size with lots of fish hitting the 8 to 10 pound mark.
Most people like halibut catching a lot more than halibut fishing. We’ve been able to get to the grounds and get the job done quickly.
Rockfish: Always a solid A – fast and furious. A fun way to end the day.
Lots of lings available, but challenging to find them within the 30 to 35 inch slot.
Fishing deep for these highly valued fish varies from day to day – never a sure thing and not the target species, but when they mix in with the halibut catch, it’s a big bonus.
Lots of really nice days on the ocean mixed in with a few lumpy ones. Only a day or two of being blown off the ocean during May and June. What we love about fishing Sitka is that even during a blowy day, the lee shores of legendary salmon spots like the Shark Hole and Biorka make a great day possible.