Area Sport Fishing Reports
November 21, 2018
NEW! Check out the Haines/Skagway interactive map to discover popular fishing locations and information on species run timing, fishing gear selections, and boat and angler access tips thru the Sport Fish gofishak application.
Winter 2018-2019 fishing opportunities
Char and Trout
Late season Dolly Varden fishing can be productive near chum spawning areas on the Chilkat River and also on the Chilkoot River.
Regulations specific to Mosquito and Chilkat lakes:
- Bait is not allowed.
- Cutthroat and rainbow trout - 2 fish bag and possession limit, 14-inch min. and 22-inch max. length required to keep.
Regulations specific to Chilkoot Lake and Chilkoot River:
- Bait is allowed year-round.
- Dolly Varden - 4 fish bag and possession limit, no size limit.
The National Weather Service provides a graph of the Chilkat River water level for the past week. Declining and stable low water levels usually mean good fishing conditions.
Coho (silver) salmon
The main coho salmon runs are in October, but some fish will continue to enter the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers into December. ADF&G spawning ground surveys in October showed the Chilkat River coho salmon escapement was about 66,000 fish, which is near the upper end of the escapement goal range (30,000 to 70,000 fish).
Pot fishing for shrimp and Dungeness crab is open year-round in the Haines and Skagway area salt water. Non-Alaska residents catch shellfish under a sport fishing license with the following bag & possession limits:
- Dungeness crab - 3 legal size males.
- Shrimp - 3 quarts or pounds.
NEW! Shrimp harvesters must obtain a no-cost permit in advance and record their harvest on the paper permit. The shrimp harvest, location, and number of pots pulled must be recorded each day, and the permit must be returned to ADF&G or reported online at the end of the year.
King crab fishing is open only to Alaska residents. A sport fishing license and a Southeast King Crab Personal Use Permit are required. The bag limit is 1 legal size male king crab.
The Chilkoot River weir sockeye salmon count was at the upper end of the escapement goal range for that river.
The Chilkat Lake weir sockeye salmon count was in the middle of the escapement goal range for that lake.
The pink salmon runs are over at the Chilkoot River weir and Chilkat River fish wheel projects. The Chilkoot River weir pink salmon count for the 2018 season was the 5th lowest in 27 years (1992-2018).
Pink salmon runs in the Haines-Skagway area are typically weaker in even-numbered years than in odd-numbered years.
Chilkat River king salmon abundance in salt water is very low, so retention of king salmon is not allowed in the Haines and Skagway area through the end of this year.
Despite fishery restrictions in 2018 and in previous years, the Chilkat River king salmon inriver abundance was below the goal range for the third consecutive year. The Taku River and Stikine River king salmon runs also did not achieve the lower end of their respective escapement goals in 2017 and 2018.
Sport Fishing Licenses
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.
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.
For more information about sport fishing in Haines and Skagway, call Area Biologist Richard Chapell at 907-766-3638.