Area Sport Fishing Reports
September 18, 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 in 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.
Chilkoot Lake Road under construction through October 1
The road to Chilkoot Lake is under reconstruction 7 days/week now through October 1. Access is only allowed before 7 am and after 5:30 pm. Please stay out of the construction area so the contractor can quickly finish the fall roadbed work and we can still fish for silvers in October.
After Ocotber 1, construction will be shut down for the winter. Repaving and sidewalk construction work is scheduled to resume in mid-April and project completion is scheduled for late May 2021. For more details, see the Chilkoot Lake Road Corridor Improvement project website.
Fall Fishing Opportunities
Coho (silver) salmon
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.
By the time the Chilkoot River weir was removed, the coho salmon count was the 2nd highest count for that date in the 40+ year history of the project. In years when the Chilkoot weir counts continue into October, the main run arrives in the 3rd week of September and peaks in the first week of October.
On the Chilkat River side, coho salmon counts at the Chilkat Lake weir are average so far.
Halibut fishing has been productive in the Haines area through the summer.
Chilkat River fish wheel sockeye salmon counts are still steady but below average. If the current trend continues, the Chilkat Lake weir sockeye salmon counts will fall short of the lake's escapement goal range.
The final Chilkoot River sockeye salmon count through the weir was 60,000 fish, which is in the middle of the goal range.
Char and Trout
Fishing for Dolly Varden is good on the Chilkoot River and in clear water 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.
Due to 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.
- Pot fishing for shrimp and Dungeness crab is open year-round in the Haines and Skagway area salt water. 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, 202
- 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 River king salmon population has been critically low since 2012. The 2020 king salmon sport fishing restrictions are the same as those in effect in 2017 through 2019.
Conservation measures in sport, commercial, and subsistence fisheries were successful in delivering healthy Chilkat River king salmon escapements to the spawning grounds in 2019 and 2020. ADF&G will continue conservation measures to allow the Chilkat River king salmon stock to rebuild.
Pink salmon - post-season
Pink salmon counts in Chilkoot River were strong in late August, and overall close to average for the season.
Pink salmon have been 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.