Area Sport Fishing Reports
Archived Sport Fishing Report
October 12, 2020
* Just a reminder to all our anglers, please do your part to help slow the spread of Covid-19 by following and reviewing the current State of Alaska Health Mandates in effect. This includes practicing social distancing while sport and personal use fishing, and wearing a face-covering when social distancing is not possible, as indicated in Health Alert 010.
Check out the Haines/Skagway interactive map to discover popular fishing locations and information on fish run timing, fishing gear selections, and angler access tips thru the Sport Fish wefishak pages.
Fall Fishing Opportunities
Coho (silver) salmon
Coho salmon catches have been good in the Chilkoot River.
Coho salmon catches in the Chilkat River mainstem are improving quickly as the weather cools, the water clears, and the Chilkat River water level drops.
Catches in the Chilkat Lake area have been very good.
The Chilkoot Lake road is open to the public. The reconstruction project has paused for the winter and will resume in mid-April 2021. Project completion is scheduled for late May 2021. For more details, see the Chilkoot Lake Road Corridor Improvement project website.
The Haines Sportsman’s Association Coho Derby is open now through October 29. Derby tickets are available at the 2 sporting goods stores in Haines. See the Haines Sportsman’s Association Facebook page for the rules and the long list of prizes.
Char and Trout
Fishing for Dolly Varden is good on the Chilkoot River and in tributaries in the Chilkat River drainage. Sea-run Dollies and cutties can also be caught in nearshore marine waters in the Haines and Skagway area. Cutthroat trout fishing has been good in Mosquito Lake and Chilkat Lake.
Regulations specific to Mosquito and Chilkat Lakes:
- Bait is not allowed.
- Cutthroat and rainbow trout: 2 fish bag and possession limit, with a slot limit of 14-inch minimum to 22-inch maximum length required to keep a fish.
In the remainder of Haines-Skagway area fresh and salt waters, bait is allowed, and the cutthroat and rainbow trout slot length limit is 11-minimum to 22-inch maximum.
Regulations specific to Chilkoot Lake and Chilkoot River:
- Dolly Varden: 4 fish bag and possession limit, no size limit.
In the remainder of Haines-Skagway area waters, the Dolly Varden bag and possession limit is 10 fish.
- Pot fishing for shrimp and Dungeness crab is open year-round in the Haines and Skagway area saltwater. With a sport fishing license, non-Alaska residents catch shellfish with the following bag & possession limits:
- Dungeness crab - 3 legal size males.
- Shrimp - 3 quarts or pounds.
- Alaska residents fish under subsistence or personal use regulations with more liberal bag limits.
All shrimp harvesters must print a no-cost permit from the ADF&G online store and record their daily pot fishing effort and harvest on the paper permit. The harvest information must be reported online, or the paper permit must be returned to ADF&G by December 31, 2020.
Due to the declining abundance of some long-lived species of rockfish, regulations to conserve rockfish are in place for 2020:
- Nonpelagic demersal shelf rockfish (including yelloweye): Retention is prohibited.
- Nonpelagic slope rockfish: daily bag limit and possession limit is one slope rockfish.
- Pelagic rockfish: daily bag limit and possession limit is five pelagic rockfish.
- All vessels must have at least one functional deepwater release mechanism on board and readily available for use when sport fishing activities are taking place. Persons sport fishing in marine waters when releasing rockfish (pelagic or nonpelagic), must use a deepwater release mechanism to return the fish to the depth it was hooked or to a depth of at least 100 feet.
Post Season Salmon Run Assessments
Conservative regulations in sport, commercial, and subsistence fisheries were successful in delivering another healthy Chilkat River king salmon escapement to the spawning grounds. The king salmon escapement was estimated at 3,200 large kings in year 2020, and at 2,000 large kings in year 2019. The Chilkat River king salmon biological escapement goal range is 1,750 to 3,500 large kings. Large kings are defined as age-5 and older, and the large portion of each year's escapement includes essentially all of the mature females with eggs. ADF&G will continue conservation measures to allow the stock to rebuild.
- Now through December 31, in the Haines and Skagway area (Lynn Canal north of the latitude of Sherman Rock), the retention of king salmon is prohibited; any king salmon caught must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed.
The Chilkat Lake weir sockeye salmon counts are on track for escapement of 55,000 fish, which will fall short of the Chilkat Lake escapement goal (70,000 to 15,000 fish).
The final Chilkoot River sockeye salmon count through the weir was 60,000 fish, which is in the middle of the goal range for Chilkoot River watershed.
Pink salmon counts in Chilkoot River were strong in late August, and overall close to average for the season.
Pink salmon were scarce in the Chilkat River all season.
Sport Fishing Licenses
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.
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.
For more information about sport fishing in Haines and Skagway, call Area Biologist Richard Chapell at 907-766-3638.