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Alaska Department of Fish and Game

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Area Sport Fishing Reports

September 26, 2016

Fall 2016 fishing opportunities

Coho (silver) salmon

The sport fishery on Chilkat and Chilkoot Rivers is starting as cool weather reduces glacial melt and the river water begins to clear up. 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 adn better fishing.

Chilkat River fish wheel coho salmon counts are below average so far, but on track to meet the escapement goal. Poor fishing reports from other Southeast Alaska locations and a low number of Chilkat coho coded wire tags in the troll fishery indicate a below average coho salmon run its way to the Chilkat River.

Char and Trout

Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout are following immigrating chum and coho salmon spawners into the Chilkoot River, Chilkoot Lake, and clearwater Chilkat River tributaries. The Chilkat River is high and turbid with glacier melt water, but char and 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.

Sockeye salmon

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 winding down. Fish wheel sockeye salmon counts have been above average this season. Upstream sockeye salmon counts at Chilkat Lake weir are on track to meet the Chilkat Lake escapement goal (70,000 to 150,000 fish).

Pink salmon

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.

King salmon

The 2016 preliminary Chilkat River king salmon population estimate is 1,375 large fish, which 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 has been 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.

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