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Area Sport Fishing Reports

May 18, 2018

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Regulation Reminders

  • Anglers are reminded to review Emergency Orders and News Releases and the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the Northern Cook Inlet Area before heading out on their next fishing trip. The Regulation Summary booklet is available on the ADF&G website, ADF&G offices, and local vendors.
  • Anglers are reminded that flowing waters in the Palmer-Wasilla Zone are CLOSED to all fishing until June 15.
  • Many flowing waters along the Parks Highway are catch-and-release only for rainbow trout until June 15.
  • Anglers are advised that, in an effort to meet king salmon escapement goals in the Susitna River and Little Susitna River drainages, the following sport fishing restrictions are in effect May 1 – July 13:

Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-2-10-18, effective May 1, 2018, for Units 1-6 of the Susitna River drainage:

  • Sport fishing for king salmon (of any size) is open to catch-and-release in the Deshka and Yentna rivers.
  • Sport fishing for king salmon is closed in the remainder of the Susitna River drainage.
  • Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure is allowed in the Susitna River drainages. Single-hook means a fish hook with only one point. Treble hooks and more than one single-hook are prohibited.
  • Fishing for other species, including trout, will be allowed seven days per week, this includes the waters within Unit 2 that are normally closed during the king salmon season.

Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-2-09-18, effective May 1, 2018, for the Little Susitna drainage:

  • Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure is allowed in the Little Susitna River drainage. Single-hook means a fish hook with only one point. Treble hooks and more than one single-hook are prohibited.
  • Fishing for king salmon is allowed; however, king salmon may only be retained on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday in the Little Susitna River drainage. King salmon may not be retained on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and any king salmon caught on these days may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
  • The annual limit of two king salmon 20 inches or longer is areawide. The total annual limit of king salmon 20 inches or longer taken from fresh waters of Cook Inlet remains at five, which only two may be from the Little Susitna River drainage.
  • The Eklutna Tailrace is excluded from all king salmon emergency order restrictions.
  • Anglers are reminded that on the little Susitna River, a person may not sport fish from a boat that is powered by use of a motor, unless the motor is a 4-stroke motor or direct fuel injection 2-stroke motor. Anglers may use a boat powered by a non-direct fuel injected 2-stroke motor to access areas to sport fish from the bank but may not sport fish from the boat.

Freshwater Fishing


  • It is early for king salmon in the Susitna and Little Susitna drainages. Fish counts are now available on the ADF&G Fish Counts webpage for the Little Susitna but only a few have passed the weir.
  • The waters downstream of Burma Landing on the Little Susitna River and the mouth of the Deshka River are good places to catch an early king.
  • The gate is now open to the Eklutna Tailrace; typically the first kings caught there are towards the end of May. Water levels are back to normal.

Trout, Dolly Varden, Grayling

  • Rainbows overwintering in the Susitna River are starting to ascend Parks Highway streams. The mouths of the Parks Highway streams including Willow Creek and streams to the north are providing some good rainbow and grayling fishing with the occasion Dolly Varden being caught.
  • Reminder, Deception Creek is closed to all fishing until June 15.

Northern Pike

  • Anglers may retain as many pike as they can catch as there is no bag or possession limit. In the freshwaters of West Cook Inlet and Susitna River drainage, anglers are not allowed to release live pike back into the water.
  • Pike are just now starting to spawn and may be found in shallow, grassy waters. Nancy Lake canoe system and Big Lake along the shore lines and near outlets may prove productive for spear fishing as the ice retreats.
  • Pike can be a little sluggish while spawning, so try a variety of lures. Where bait is allowed, herring under a bobber can’t be beat. This is also a good time to try bow fishing for pike.
  • For road-accessible pike fishing try the Nancy Lake Recreation Area lakes and Big, Prator, Memory lakes.

Lake Fishing

  • Lake fishing was excellent this week, the stocking truck has been very active and many of the lakes receiving catchable fish have been stocked.
  • Rainbow trout catchables have been stocked at: Bruce, Canoe, Crystal, Echo, Gate, Irene, Kepler/Bradley, Knik, Loberg, Lucille, Matanuska, Meirs, Memory, Reed, Rocky, Slipper (Eska), and Tanaina Lakes.
  • Arctic Char were stocked in: Carpenter, Lynne, Memory, and Prator Lakes.
  • Anglers can visit the ADF&G Hatcheries and Stocking webpage for more information regarding when and where fish are stocked.

Personal Use

  • Hooligan fishing is open and fish are now below Yentna in the lower Susitna River headed upstream.
  • Hooligan fishing typically peaks on the Susitna River during Memorial Day weekend. There is no bag or possession limit for personal use hooligan.
  • This is a personal-use fishery and only Alaska residents can participate. No permit is required, but you do need a valid 2018 Alaska resident sport fishing license or an ADF&G Permanent fishing license ID card with you. 

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