I’ve often wondered when spin, as in political, advertising, or in this case fishing, becomes lying. We like to remain positive and there’s much to be said for fishing in Southeast Alaska and Sitka that goes beyond the catching. Also, salmon aren’t the only fish in the sea. But, to cut to the chase, the king salmon fishing this May has been the slowest we’ve seen since starting here in 1993. There’s no candy coating this one. We’ve had some days where one boat or another has caught a limit, but king skunkings have outnumbered limits. On the plus side, the kings we’re catching are good size with plenty of 20-pound plus fish. The biggest so far was a 33 pounder.
Why so slow? All blame for all things bad currently goes to “The Blob”. Ocean survival for juvenile king salmon was very weak during the years that this year’s crop of maturing kings came of age. Coastwide king forecasts are down to low levels. Still, what we’ve seen this May seems worse than the forecast and we’re assuming a shot of fish will come any day. The ocean appears quite fertile with large amounts of needlefish (Pacific sand lance) and herring in many of our usual haunts. We’re seeing whales and lots of diving birds. We believe the salmon will follow.
Rockfish and lingcod have been in good supply. Halibut have been steady when the weather allows us to get to the grounds. We had a stretch of rough windy weather after Hook It and Cook It, but the month appears to be ending on a stretch of calm, relatively dry weather.
We’ll be updating the fishing report on a weekly basis from here on in, so stay tuned. We expect the action for kings to improve any day. That’s partly because we’re optimists, but it’s also a matter of history. Sooner or later, Sitka has delivered in every one of our 25 plus years here.