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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


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Fishing Management - Karluk River

The Department of Fish and Games has formulated a Kodiak area sport fisheries management outlook to better inform anglers of the potential management actions that may be taken in response to anticipated weak returns of king salmon to both the Karluk and Ayakulik Rivers.

Karluk River is located on the southwest end of Kodiak Island. It supports native stocks of steelhead trout and all five species of Pacific salmon. Chinook and coho salmon are the preferred species by sport fishers; however, large runs of sockeye and pink salmon are also harvested.

ADF&G Sport Fish Division classifies the Karluk River chinook salmon sport fishery as Level III, which is characterized as producing a low yield but having a high monetary cost for participation. Level III fisheries are typically remote, often in special management areas, and utilized mostly by guided anglers. Anglers who participate in this type of fishery often have expectations of high catch rates in uncrowded conditions.

Karluk River's principal public land managers include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State of Alaska, and Alaska Native corporations. The Karluk Village owns land surrounding most of the lagoon and 3 miles of the lower river. Koniag Corporation owns land surrounding the lake and the upper river.

The Karluk River is approximately 22 miles long and takes about 24 hours of continuous floating to go from Karluk Lake to Karluk Lagoon, not counting time to fish or camp along the way. There are a number of means anglers can use to access Karluk fisheries. Some travel to the village of Karluk via float- or wheel plane, then fish Karluk Lagoon and the lower Karluk River, while others fly into Karluk Lake, float the Karluk downstream to the "Portage," or continue all the way downstream to Karluk Lagoon. Anglers may also fly into the Portage area of the Karluk River, located 15 miles upstream from the lagoon, and 8 miles below Karluk Lake. Anglers fish the several long, slow, deep spots in the Portage area, or fish and float down to the lagoon. King salmon fishing at the Portage is usually best between June 15-July 10. A two-mile hiking trail from the head of Larsen Bay will also leads to this area.

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