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Area Sport Fishing Reports
August 24, 2016
Derby weekend is now over and despite the very rough marine forecast for nearly the entire weekend a good number of king and coho were turned in. There were nearly 100 king salmon turned in and over 1,600 coho for the weekend. This is still below the long term average but a good showing considering the poor catch rates leading up to the derby.
King Salmon Fishing - Marine and Roadside
Most of the king salmon action was reported from anglers fishing deep on the backside of Douglas near Pt. Hilda, Middle Pt. and Inner Pt. There were also a few reported south of Juneau in Stephens Passage near Doty Cove, South Island, Limestone, Slocum and Taku Inlets. As for roadside king salmon fishing the local hatchery return is at its end with very few fish left at the release locations. From now until next spring anglers will have much more luck trolling or casting for feeder king salmon that will be present throughout the fall and winter.
King Salmon Regulations
The regional saltwater bag limits are: bag and possession limit is 3 king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length for Alaskan Residents, and 1 king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length for nonresidents, with a nonresident annual limit of six king salmon.
The saltwater designated hatchery area regulations as well as freshwaters crossed by the Juneau road system still have a 4 fish limit with no size restricition in place. As mentioned these fisheries are pretty much at the end of their run and those saltwater regulations expire on August 31. Anglers should consult the Sport Fishing Emergency Orders and News Releases for relevant maps and bag and possession limits at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm. The maps provided with the News Releases are especially helpful in describing the hatchery harvest area, the closure area around the Wayside Park fishing dock, and for the general Southeast Alaska king salmon regulatory boundaries.
Public boat anglers and charter captains are reminded to please allow marine creel samplers access to their salmon catch, so that samplers can look for adipose-clipped fish that carry coded-wire-tags in their noses, and to take genetics samples and length measurements. This data collection is vital to the management and longterm conservation of the stocks that all anglers rely on for recreational harvest.
Coho salmon fishing continues to be below average with many anglers returning to port describing slow fishing or having to "work" for fish. On the bright side the coho that are being caught appear to be above average in size with many coho turned into the derby that were 17 to 19lbs. Anglers still seem to be reporting the best catch rates on the backside of Douglas near Pt. Hilda. Also being reported as hot fishing right now is the area in and around Sheep Creek. This location is currently producing excellent catch rates for hatchery coho. It is a great opportunitiy for shoreline anglers to catch high quality large coho to fill their freezers. Fishing can be good both from shore and for those folks casting or trolling in boats. Anglers are having luck using large spinners or spoons in chartreuse or bright pink and orange. Fly anglers are having luck using large clouser minnow patterns in similar colors. In the next couple of weeks look for coho freshwater fishing opportunities to be productive as wild fish return to their natal streams. Fishing should be really good from now through September in Peterson Creek Salt Chuck, Fish Creek on Douglas Island, as well as Cowee Creek out the road.
Halibut and Rockfish
Halibut fishing continues to be productive for local Juneau anglers. It has been particularly good for folks fishing in the Icy Strait/Pt Couverden area. It has also been good on the north end near Halibut Cove and Vanderbilt Reef. There have also been decent catch rates for rockfish near Pt. Retreat.
Anglers are reminded that halibut limits for unguided anglers are 2 fish per day, any size with 4 in possession. Charter anglers may keep 1 fish daily, which must be less than or equal to 43 inches or greater than or equal to 80 inches in length.
All non-pelagic rockfish caught must be retained until the anglers bag limit is reached. These include ALL species other than Dark, Dusky, Widow, Black, Blue, and Yellowtail. For the Southeast Inside Waters around Juneau, Alaska residents may keep 3 non-pelagic rockfish daily of any size, of which only 1 may be a yelloweye. Two daily limits may be in possession. Nonresidents may keep 2 daily of any size, only 1 of which may be yelloweye, with 4 in possession, of which no more than 2 may be in possession. All yelloweye must be recorded in ink on the back of the angler's sport fishing license, or onto a harvest record card. Charter anglers are reminded that nonpelagic rockfish and halibut must not be filleted or deheaded prior to docking so that ADF&G sampling technicians can get length measurements.
Anglers should consult the Southeast Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary, page 36 for identification of pelagic species and some non-pelagic species. Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Bulletin No. 25, "Guide to Northeast Pacific Rockfishes" is also an excellent reference for rockfish identification, available from the Alaska Sea Grant Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Sport Fishing in the Freshwaters of the Juneau Area
Dolly Varden char, Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout fishing
Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout appear to have moved into area streams. Fly fishermen should have increasing success with egg patterns and should target lake outlets, streams and rivers connecting to salt waters. The mouth of Montana creek above Brotherhood Bridge, and Peterson Creek and Salt Chuck might be a good area to try casting. The saltwater shoreline around Point Louisa and the estuary at Fish Creek on Douglas could also produce dollies. Spoons and spinners work well, as do smolt and fry imitations.
Anglers should check the 2016 Southeast Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations for trout and Dolly Varden regulations. Juneau Area Freshwater Special Regulations for local lakes, creeks, rivers, and drainages can be found on pages 18-21. Unless otherwise specified, cutthroat and rainbow trout limits (in combination) on the Juneau Road System are 2 daily and 2 in possession, 14 inch minimum and 22 inch maximum. Dolly Varden limits are 2 daily, 2 in possession, no size limit.