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Area Sport Fishing Reports
August 22, 2016
Summer 2016 fishing opportunities
Sockeye salmon counts through the Chilkoot River weir averaged 300 per day since August 9. The season total weir count through August 21 was 82,000 fish, approaching the upper end of the escapement goal range (38,000 to 86,000 fish). The Chilkoot River is milky with glacial silt.
Pink counts through the Chilkoot River weir were below average last week. Overall, this year's Chilkoot pink run is late and below average.
Pink salmon counts at the Chilkat fish wheels continue to be a small fraction of the long-term average.
In the Haines and Skagway area, because of the pink salmon's 2-year life cycle, pinks are fewer in even-numbered years than in odd-numbered years.
Char and Trout
Some Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout have moved to salt water for the summer to feed near river mouths. Dolly Varden are also following immigrating sockeye salmon up the Chilkoot River, Chilkoot Lake, and clearwater Chilkat River tributaries.
The Chilkat River is high and turbid with summer glacier melt water, but Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout can be caught in clearwater tributaries and lakes.
Bait is prohibited when fishing in Chilkat Lake or Mosquito Lake and their inlet and outlet streams. See the Haines/Skagway area regulations for details and a map.
Legal-size kings were hard to find in the Skagway salt water area last week. Anglers caught and released a few king salmon feeders less than 28 inches in length. Hatchery-reared king salmon smolt that were released in Pullen Pond through 2015 will contribute to Haines and Skagway salt water sport fishing in 2017 and 2018.
The sport fishing bag and possession limit is 1 king salmon 28 inches or greater in length in the waters of Lynn Canal north of Sherman Rock, including Chilkoot Inlet, Lutak Inlet, and Taiya Inlet. Non-Alaska residents must record each king salmon they harvest on the back of their license, and the non-resident annual limit is 6 kings in Southeast Alaska.
The fresh waters of Pullen Creek, including Pullen Pond in downtown Skagway, are open to king salmon fishing now through mid-September. The bag & possession limit will be 4 kings of any size, and kings caught in Pullen Creek waters will not count toward the nonresident annual limit for king salmon. This opening allows harvest of hatchery-produced king salmon that have returned to Pullen Creek. There will be no king salmon broodstock collected at Pullen Creek this year.
ADF&G is managing sport, commercial, and subsistence fisheries conservatively to meet the Chilkat River king salmon escapement goal. Learn the latest results of ADF&G's king salmon research projects in the Spring 2016 issue of Chinook News.
King salmon bag and possession limits are more liberal in other parts of Southeast Alaska where local stock abundance is not a concern.
Coho (silver) salmon
The sport fishery on Chilkat and Chilkoot Rivers typically gets going in late September when the glacial waters begin to clear up.
Coho salmon counts at the Chilkat River fish wheels so far and fishing reports from other Southeast Alaska locations indicate a weak coho salmon run this year.