Area Sport Fishing Reports
November 15, 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.
Late fall and winter fishing opportunities
There are still a few silver salmon making their way up the Chilkat River mainstem. Fishing is best when the Chilkat River water level is stable or dropping.
In the 3rd annual Haines Silver Salmon Derby, the top 3 winners with the heaviest fish were John Austin (14.30 lb.), Robert Clay (13.35 lb.), and Zach Tarleton (11.75 lb). There were numerous other prize winners in various categories. Thanks to Haines Sportsman's Association for sponsoring this event.
Char and trout
Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout fishing is good in clear water streams and lakes, such as Mosquito Lake and Chilkat Lake, and in the Chilkat River mainstem. Later in the winter, once the ice is thick enough to be safe, there will be good ice fishing at the lakes.
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.
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.
Dolly Varden can be caught at the outlet of Chilkoot Lake and in the Chilkoot River. The Chilkoot Lake campground is closed for the winter. The Chilkoot Lake Road remains open at this time, but it will not be plowed in the winter.
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.
2019 post-season salmon run assessment
The 140,000 sockeye salmon counted through the Chilkoot River weir is the highest count since the project was started in 1976. This count is above the escapement goal range of 38,000 to 86,000 fish. A few more sockeye salmon will continue to trickle into the Chilkoot River this fall.
Chilkat River fish wheel sockeye salmon counts have been above average, and the Chilkat Lake weir has counted 120,000 sockeye salmon into the lake through September 23. The Chilkat Lake escapement goal range is 70,000 to 150,000 fish.
Coho (silver) salmon
Sport fishing in the Chilkat River was good in October, especially later in the month when the water level was low. Surveys of five spawning streams in the Chilkat River drainage indicate an drainage-wide escapement of 36,000 coho salmon. This was a below-average escapement, but within the escapement goal range of 30,000 to 70,000 fish.
Thanks to restrictions put on the gillnet, troll, and sport fisheries in southeast Alaska, the 2019 Chilkat River king salmon run achieved the lower end of the escapement goal range (1,850 to 3,600 large kings). This king salmon population has been critically low since 2012. ADF&G will continue conservation measures to allow the stock to rebuild. 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.
The pink salmon post-spawning die-off continues in the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers. The 2019 pink salmon runs were small compared to other recent odd-numbered years.
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.