Area Sport Fishing Reports

Archived Sport Fishing Report

November 02, 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

The main coho salmon runs in the Chilkat and Chilkoot Rivers have reached the spawning grounds. A smaller number of coho salmon will continue to move up the rivers through November. Chilkat and Chilkoot River waters will continue to clear as the water levels drop.

The Haines Sportsmen’s Association Coho Derby ended on October 29. The Overall Weight winner was Steve Anderson with a 13 lb. 3 oz. fish, with Olen Larson and Tomi Scovill close behind. The Youth 11-15 Divison winners were: 1st place Brooklyn DeWitt, 2nd place Alex Weerasinghe, and the Youth 5-10 winner was Charlie DeWitt. Chris Hill won the Largest Coho on Fly Gear category.

The Chilkoot Lake road is open to the public, but the road is not maintained in the winter. The road reconstruction project will resume in mid-April 2021, with paving and sidewalks scheduled for completion by late May 2021. For more details, see the Chilkoot Lake Road Corridor Improvement project website.

Char and Trout

Fishing for Dolly Varden has been good wherever Chum and coho salmon are spawning in the Chilkat and Chilkoot River drainages. 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.

Post Season Salmon Run Assessments

Coho Salmon

ADF&G foot surveys of Chilkat River coho salmon spawning areas showed a below-average coho salmon run, with escapement near the lower end of the goal range.

King Salmon

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.

Sockeye salmon

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

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.

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