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Area Sport Fishing Reports
October 21, 2016
Fall 2016 fishing opportunities
Coho (silver) salmon
Sport fishing for silvers has been good on the Chilkat and Chilkoot Rivers. Cool weather with no floods has kept river water levels low and clear. The National Weather Service operates a water level gauge on the Chilkat River near Klukwan. Big rain events can cloud the water and can reduce angler success. Several days of declining water levels usually mean clearer water and better fishing.
Spawning ground surveys in the first 2 weeks of October have shown that the Chilkat River coho salmon run is below average, near the lower end of the escapement goal range (30,000 to 70,000 fish). Coho salmon have been holding in deep pools and waiting for higher water to move into the shallower spawning areas.
Char and Trout
Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout are following immigrating chum and coho salmon spawners into the Chilkoot River, Chilkat River, and other streams in the Haines/Skagway area.
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.
The Chilkoot River sockeye salmon run is finished for the season. The Chilkoot River weir was removed on Sept. 7, after a season total of 86,642 sockeye salmon passed upstream, which met the escapement goal range of 38,000 to 86,000 fish.
The Chilkat River sockeye salmon run is finished for the season. Fish wheel sockeye salmon counts were average this season. The Chilkat Lake weir counted 87,000 sockeye salmon entering the lake, which is within the Chilkat Lake escapement goal (70,000 to 150,000 fish).
The Chilkoot River pink salmon run is finished. When the Chilkoot River weir was removed on Sept. 7, the season total count was 8,342 pink salmon upstream, which is 24% of the long-term average.
The Chilkat River pink salmon is also finished. The Chilkat River fish wheel pink salmon counts were 3% 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.
The 2016 preliminary Chilkat River king salmon population estimate is 1,375 large fish, which is below the lower end of the Chilkat River king salmon escapement goal (1,850 to 3,600 large fish). ADF&G kept sport, commercial, and subsistence fisheries restricted through July in upper Lynn Canal to conserve returning king salmon.
Most king salmon runs in Southeast Alaska (Unuk, Chickamin, Stikine, Taku, Chilkat, Alsek, and Situk Rivers) failed to meet their escapement goals, which indicates that reduced ocean survival is driving the low populations.Some recent results of ADF&G's king salmon research projects are reported in the Spring 2016 issue of Chinook News.
King salmon fishing was poor in upper Lynn Canal waters this summer. The final batch of hatchery-reared king salmon smolt that were released in Pullen Creek in 2015 will contribute to Haines and Skagway salt water sport fishing in 2017 and 2018.
In the waters of Lynn Canal north of Sherman Rock, including Chilkoot Inlet, Lutak Inlet, and Taiya Inlet, the sport fishing bag and possession limit is 1 king salmon 28 inches or greater in length for the remainder of 2016. 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.
King salmon bag and possession limits are more liberal in other parts of Southeast Alaska where local stock abundance is not a concern.