Yukon Drainage Management Area
Virtually all freshwater and migratory fish species sought by anglers in Alaska are available in the Yukon Area. All populations are wild; there is presently no enhancement of fish populations in the management area. Five species of Pacific salmon are available in tributaries of the Yukon River, including king salmon, coho salmon, chum salmon, sockeye salmon, and pink salmon.
Unique opportunities to fish for freshwater resident species in remote wilderness settings exist throughout this area. Exceptionally large northern pike and inconnu (sheefish) are available in the Innoko, Kaiyuh, and Nowitna river drainages. Opportunities to fish for Arctic grayling, Dolly Varden, northern pike, burbot, and lake trout are very widespread and fishing pressure on these wild stocks is very light. The Dalton Highway is a popular destination and provides road access to adjacent lakes and streams which support stocks of Arctic grayling, Dolly Varden, and lake trout. Wild stocks of rainbow trout do not occur naturally in drainages north of the Kuskokwim River drainage.
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Yukon River Salmon
King salmon are found throughout the Yukon River drainage. Chum salmon, composed of a summer run and a fall run, are the most abundant species and are distributed throughout the drainage. Coho salmon are less abundant and spawn in large numbers in only a few identified streams.
King, chum, and coho salmon are important subsistence and commercial species in the Yukon River drainage, but catch and harvest by sport anglers has, to date, been minimal. Sport harvests are primarily from tributaries of the Yukon River watershed, primarily from the Andreafsky, Anvik, Porcupine, and Koyukuk rivers and their tributaries.
Yukon River Northern Pike
Sloughs, interconnected lakes, and the lower sections of large rivers throughout most of the management area are inhabited by northern pike. Many of the lowland area waters are particularly noted for large northern pike. Northern pike are targeted in early summer immediately following spawning and throughout the summer months. Northern pike are often fished in the fall in combination with hunting activities. Some sport and subsistence harvest is taken during winter months through the ice with hook and line gear.
Nowitna River.The Nowitna River offers one of the best opportunities in Alaska for sport anglers to catch large northern pike and sheefish in a wilderness setting. Most (>75%) of the sport fishing effort occurs within the lower 30 miles of the river and connected waters. Both guided and unguided anglers participate in the fishery. In recent years, up to six sport fishing guides have registered with Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge.
Innoko River. The Innoko River enters the Yukon River near the village of Holy Cross. This river system, with its extensive wetlands, provides excellent habitat for whitefish and northern pike. The Lower Innoko River and this part of the Yukon River continue to produce some of the largest northern pike in the state. Both guided and unguided anglers participate in the fishery.
Yukon River Arctic Grayling
Arctic grayling are distributed throughout the entire drainage, from extreme headwaters in Canada to streams that originate in the Yukon Delta. Sport fishing effort is likewise widespread with greater sport use in the middle part of the Yukon River drainage, between the Porcupine River downstream to the Koyukuk River.
Dalton Highway. There is sport fishing opportunity for Arctic grayling in many small drainages accessed from the Dalton Highway. Most of the creeks and rivers crossing the highway contain Arctic grayling, and can be hiked from the highway.
The following links lead to regulation summaries of Alaska sport and personal use fishing regulations published by the Division of Sport Fish as a service to anglers. They are not intended to be a complete digest of all fishing regulations.
Regulations may be changed by the Alaska Board of Fisheries during its regular meetings, by emergency regulation, or by emergency order at any time. Any changes to the regulations are made available through the emergency order link below.