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Area Sport Fishing Reports
June 16, 2016
Sport Fishing in the Marine Waters of the Juneau Area
King salmon fishing around the Juneau area showed some improvement for the week of June 6th. More hatchery fish appear to be returning to Fish Creek and Gastineau Channel as reported catch rates were best in these areas, although few fish have been caught in front of the hatchery so far this season. King salmon were also reported from Outer Point, Fritz Cove and Auke Bay within the Terminal Harvest Area. Anglers fishing north of North Pass and north of Sentinel Rock harvested a few additional king salmon. Anglers fishing Deer Harbor and also reporting to marine creel samplers in the ports of Gustavus and Elfin Cove had the best fishing of the week, with harvests of more king salmon by sport anglers fishing the outer coast than the week previous.
Anglers are reminded that Taku king salmon stock abundance is still low and the area of District 11 to the east of a line from Tantallon Point on Douglas Island to Point Arden and south of a line from Tantallon to Point Salibury is CLOSED to retention of king salmon. Reasons for the low Taku River returns are unknown, but poor marine conditions may be limiting king salmon survival and growth. The Taku River king salmon inseason projection for the total terminal run indicates that the lower end of the Taku River escapement goal is unlikely to be met making the closure south of Juneau necessary.
Gastineau Channel from Point Salisbury to the Juneau- Douglas bridge is under restricted bag and possession limits of 1 fish per angler (resident or nonresident), 28 inches or greater in length. This restricted bag and possession limit of 1 fish per angler is also relevant north of the bridge all the way to Sherman Rock and bounded on the western boundary by a line along the latitude of Little Island Light and a line from Little Island to Point Retreat, except in the area around the hatchery that is described below. The 1 fish per angler restriction also applies to the west and north of a the line from Tantallon Point to Point Arden on the backside of Douglas Island.
To allow anglers access to the hatchery king salmon returning to DIPAC in Gastineau Channel, the area north of the Juneau Douglas Bridge to a line from Outer Point to the Portland Island navigational aid and then to Point Louisa has liberalized bag and possession limits of 4 king salmon of any size within this area. These fish do not count towards nonresident annual limits.
West of Point Retreat and elsewhere in Southeast Alaska, king salmon bag and possession limit is three king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length for Alaskan Residents, and two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length during June for nonresidents, with a nonresident annual limit of six king salmon.
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 boundaries for the District 11 closure area, the restricted bag and possession area around Juneau, the hatchery harvest area, and for the general Southeast Alaska king salmon regulatory boundaries.
Charter captains are reminded to be sure to 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 longterm conservation of the stocks that all anglers rely on for recreational harvest.
Although king salmon fishing has been poor this spring, there is hope! Pink salmon are beginning to be reported as they are caught returning to the Mendenhall estuary and to Fish Creek on Douglas. Although even year abundance is typically less than odd years, pinks should continue to be more abundant in marine catches. Coho salmon are also beginning to be caught in Gastineau Channel south of bridge out to Dupont. These fish are likely hatchery returns to the release site at Sheep Creek, and should provide additional opportunity as the season progresses. Chum salmon returning to the Amalga Harbor area are also being harvested by sport anglers at Point Retreat, North Pass and in Favorite Channel.
Halibut and Rockfish
Early to mid June brings more halibut beginning to move inshore and more marine charter and private anglers in waters areound Juneau. Boat anglers fishing near Juneau reported catching a few halibut and rockfish at Scull Island, Favorite and Vanderbilt Reefs, Point Retreat, and Poundstone Rock. West of Pt Retreat, anglers have had success in Icy Straits at Rocky Island, Couverden Rock, Hanus Reef and the Sisters. Rockfish speceis harvested included Quillback, Black, Dusky, Pacific Ocean Perch, Copper, Silvergrey and Rougheye.
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.
Anglers are reminded that all non-pelagic rockfish caught must be retained until their 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.
Please consult the 2016 Sport Fishing Regulations Summary for Southeast Alaska, page 36, to identify Pelagic and Non-Pelagic rockfish.
No lingcod have been reported in Juneau catches recently. Alaskan residents may keep 1 lingcod daily with 2 in possession, no size limits. Nonresidents may keep 1 lingcod daily with 1 in possession, annual limit of 2. Lingcod size limits are 30-35 inches, or 55 inches or greater. Nonresidents must record all lingcod harvested on the back of their sport fish license or on a harvest record.
Please consult the 2016 Southeast Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations to identify pelagic and non-pelagic rockfish and for daily bag and possession limits for lingcod and rockfish.
Sport Fishing in the Freshwaters of the Juneau Area
Windfall Lake Sockeye
Sockeye salmon fishing at the confluence of Windfall Creek and Herbert River has been slow during these first two weeks of June. Although a few fish have been harvested, with little snowpack this past winter and warm water temperatures sockeye appear to not be spending much time in the outlet stream. Anglers are reminded that Windfall Creek from the outlet of the lake to the confluence with Herbert River is closed to fishing from June1-July 31, except during June on Wednesdays and Saturdays. During these days the sockeye salmon limit is 1 dialy, 1 in possession, 16 inches or longer. Bait is prohibited, only unbaited artificial lures and flies may be used, and fish must be hooked in the mouth and not snagged.
Dolly Varden char, Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout fishing
A few sea-run Dolly Varden char and anadromous cutthroat trout are being caught in the marine boat fisheries in nearshore waters, especially in areas where salmon are beginning to return to their natal streams. A few Dollies are being caught in Fish Creek pond and in the Mendenhall River estuary. THe mouth of ine environment. Fly fishermen have been successfuly targeting lake outlets, streams and rivers connecting to salt waters. Shoreline fishing can be very productive as Dollies and trout cruise the shoreline looking for food. 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.