Area Sport Fishing Reports
August 16, 2018
Summer 2018 fishing opportunities
Sockeye (red) salmon
Chilkoot and Chilkat River water levels have settled down after flooding last week. The National Weather Service posts an hourly graph of the Chilkat River water level and a water level forecast.
Sockeye salmon counts at the Chilkoot River weir have been steady, averaging 450 per day in the last week. The weir was out of service for 1 day last week due to flooding. Sockeye salmon will continue to enter the Chilkoot River through August.
The Chilkat River sockeye salmon run has been below average so far. You can see online graphs of current and historic sockeye salmon counts from Chilkat River fish wheels, and Chilkat Lake weir. The Chilkat River fish wheels were out of service Aug. 9-14 due to flood waters and debris.
It can be challenging to catch a sockeye salmon in the mouth, which is the only legal way to retain a sockeye salmon in fresh water. A how-to article and video on fishing for Klutina River red salmon teaches some proven techniques (starting at 2:50 in the video).
King (Chinook) salmon in the fresh waters of Pullen Creek, downtown Skagway
The fresh waters of Pullen Creek in Skagway are open to king salmon fishing and retention now through September 14. King salmon that were released in Pullen Creek as hatchery smolts in 2015 are returning after growing in the ocean. An Alaska sport fishing license and a king salmon stamp are required to fish for kings. The bag and posession limit is 4 king salmon, with no size limit, and kings caught in Pullen Creek do not count toward the nonresident annual limit.
Anglers who harvest a king salmon should dispose of the carcass in small pieces in deep, fast-flowing water, or in the ocean.
Due to the low abundance of wild Southeast Alaska king salmon stocks, retention of king salmon is prohibited when fishing in salt waters in the Skagway and Haines area.
Pink salmon runs in the Haines/Skagway area are weaker in even-numbered years than in odd-numbered years.
The pink salmon run on the Chilkoot River is below average, with weir counts averaging 80 fish per day over the last week.
The Chilkat River pink salmon run is very weak so far.
Trout and Dolly Varden
Dolly Varden char and cutthroat trout can be caught in clear water tributary streams and in lakes, such as Mosquito Lake, Chilkat Lake, and Chilkoot Lake.
Regulations specific to Mosquito Lake and Chilkat Lake:
- 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.
Sea-run Dolly Varden and cutthroat that are feeding in salt water for the summer can be caught in near-shore salt waters of Taiya Inlet near Skagway, and in Lutak, Chilkoot, and Chilkat Inlets around Haines.
Take a hike and fish for Dollies and Cutties on Skagway's shoreline at Yakutania Point, or on two Chilkat State Park trails near Haines: Battery Point, and Seduction Point. Or hike 20 minutes up to Skagway's Lower Dewey Lake to catch Eastern Brook Trout.
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 Sport shrimp harvesters must record their catch on a paper permit. The no-cost Southeast Sport Shrimp Permit is available online at the ADF&G Store. 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.
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.
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 from April 1-December 31, 2018.
Despite no fishery restriciton in 2018 and recent years, Chilkat River king salmon inriver abundance is again well below the goal range. All wild king salmon runs in Southeast Alaska were also very weak in 2017 and 2018.
For more information about sport fishing in Haines and Skagway, call Area Biologist Richard Chapell at 907-766-3638.