Area Sport Fishing Reports
September 15, 2017
Fall fishing opportunities
The water in glacier-sourced streams, such as the Chilkoot River, Chilkat River, and Taiya River, is still turbid with silt. Fishing in these big rivers will improve as temperatures cool, glacial melt stops, and the water levels drop. The National Weather Service tracks the Chilkat River water level near Klukwan and provides a forecast for the next 3 days. Stable or dropping water levels are usually best for fishing.
Coho (aka “silver”) salmon have started to arrive in the Chilkat and Chilkoot Rivers. Anglers report catching coho in the Chilkoot River. Coho salmon counts have been weak so far in the Chilkat River fish wheels.
Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout are feeding in clear water tributaries, and those that spent the summer in salt water are returning to the rivers and lakes for the winter. Bait is allowed when fishing in most waters in the Haines/Skagway area, except bait is not allowed when fishing in Chilkat Lake, Mosquito Lake, or their inlet and outlet streams, to reduce trout catch and release mortality.
The pink salmon run is winding down in Chilkoot River and Chilkoot Lake.
The sockeye salmon run in the Chilkoot River is finished, but the Chilkat River run continues into October. The Chilkat Lake sonar project has counted 82,000 sockeye salmon entering the lake so far, which is within the escapement goal range of 70,000 to 150,000 fish.
Pot fishing for Dungeness crab and shrimp is open year round in the Haines and Skagway area salt water.
Chilkat River king salmon abundance is very low, so retention of king salmon is not allowed in Subdistrict 15-A (Haines and Skagway area) now through December 31, 2017.
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.
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.
For Alaska residents only, the southeast Alaska red and blue king crab personal use fishery is open July 1 through March 31. In the Haines/Skagway area, the bag and possession limit is one legal size male crab.
Poor king salmon runs in 2017
The 2017 wild king salmon runs were very weak in the Chilkat River and other southeast Alaska rivers, such as the Unuk, Stikine, Taku, and Alsek. The prelimnary estimate of Chilkat River king salmon abundance was 1,200 large fish, which is well below the goal range of 1,850 to 3,600 large fish.
For more information about sport fishing in Haines and Skagway, call Area Biologist Richard Chapell at 907-766-3638.