Area Sport Fishing Reports
September 5, 2019
Check out the Haines/Skagway interactive map to discover popular fishing locations and information on fish run timing, fishing gear selections, and angler access tips thru the Sport Fish wefishak pages.
Halibut have followed the salmon runs up Lynn Canal, and anglers are having some success in the Haines area.
The record-setting Chilkoot River sockeye salmon run is winding down, and daily Chilkoot River weir counts now average 300 sockeye salmon upstream per day. The season total count is approaching 140,000 fish, which surpasses the escapement goal range of 38,000 to 86,000 sockeye salmon. To take advantage of this surplus, the sport fishing limits in the Chilkoot River and Chilkoot Lake are 12 sockeye salmon per day and 12 in possession.
Coho (silver) salmon
The 3rd annual Haines Silver Salmon Derby will run from September 15 through October 29. The first place cash prize is for the heaviest fish, and additional merchandise prizes will be awarded for random weights. Derby tickets are available at the two sporting goods stores in Haines.
Coho salmon fishing in the Chilkoot River begins in late September, and a few coho have already been counted upstream through the weir.
The Chilkoot Lake campground will be closed from September 15 through June 2020 while the Chilkoot Lake Road is improved and repaved. Call Alaska State Parks at (907) 766-2292 for more information.
The early coho salmon counts through the Chilkat River fish wheels indicate a run that will meet the escapement goal. Coho salmon fishing season in the Chilkat River is best in the month of October, when the Chilkat River water level drops and the water clears up. The Chilkat River water gauge at the Haines Highway bridge shows the water level for the last week and a forecast for the next 3 days. Fishing is best when the the river water level is stable or declining and the weather is cool.
Pink salmon continue to enter Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers, but the post-spawning die-off has begun.
The water level in Pullen Creek has increased, which allowed pink salmon to access the creek and spawn. There is a school of pink salmon holding in Pullen Pond.
Char and trout fishing opportunities
Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout fishing is good in clear water streams and lakes, such as Mosquito Lake and Chilkat Lake.
Regulations specific to Chilkoot Lake and Chilkoot River:
- Dolly Varden - 4 fish bag and possession limit, no size limit.
In the remainder of Haines-Skagway area waters, the Dolly Varden bag and possession limit is 10 fish.
Regulations specific to Mosquito and Chilkat Lakes:
- Bait is not allowed.
- Cutthroat and rainbow trout - 2 fish bag and possession limit, with a slot length limit of 14-inch minimum to 22-inch maximum length required to keep a fish.
In the remainder of Haines-Skagway area waters, bait is allowed, and the cutthroat and rainbow trout slot length limit is 11-minimum to 22-inch maximum.
Pot fishing for shrimp and Dungeness crab is open year-round in the Haines and Skagway area salt water. Non-Alaska residents catch shellfish with a sport fishing license with the following bag & possession limits:
- Dungeness crab - 3 legal size males.
- Shrimp - 3 quarts or pounds.
All shrimp harvesters must print a no-cost permit from the ADF&G online store and record their daily pot fishing effort and harvest on the paper permit. The permit must be returned to ADF&G, or the harvest information must be reported online, by December 31, 2019.
The Chilkat River king salmon population has been critically low for 7 years, so the following conservation measures are in effect in the Haines/Skagway area:
- The retention of king salmon is prohibited in all waters of Lynn Canal north of Sherman Rock now through December 31. Any king salmon caught must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed.
Sport Fishing Licenses
Alaska residents under 18 years old do not need a sport fishing license. Non-Alaska residents under 16 years old do not need a sport fishing license.
Residents of Yukon Territory in Canada may purchase an annual Alaska sport fishing license for the same price that Alaska residents pay. However, Yukoners are not Alaska residents, so Yukoners must comply with the non-resident regulations such as number of shellfish pots, shellfish bag limits, and king salmon bag and annual limits. The Yukoner license is available from license vendors in Whitehorse, Haines, and Skagway.
For more information about sport fishing in Haines and Skagway, call Area Biologist Richard Chapell at 907-766-3638.