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Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Chatanika Personal Use Whitefish Spear Fishery

This fishery occurs in the fall every year on the Chatanika River just north of Fairbanks.  Whitefish migrate every fall from the Minto Flats area upstream to spawning grounds on the upper Chatanika.  These fish move primarily at night, and users spear whitefish during the dark using lanterns and bright headlamps. 

The fishery is open only from the Elliot Highway Bridge downstream to the Alyeska Pipeline crossing (approximately seven miles downstream of the Elliot Highway Bridge).  Most people access the fishing area from either the DNR Whitefish Campground just beyond the Elliot Highway bridge or from the DNR Olnes Pond Campground.

Every year, a limited number of household permits (100 – 200) are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning sometime in late August.  This is to keep the total harvest from the fishery at a sustainable level.  Permits are available from the Sport Fish Division at the Fairbanks Fish and Game office.

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