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Area Sport Fishing Reports
May 24, 2016
Week of May 23 to May 29
Emergency Orders and regulation reminders
- For full details of all Emergency Orders that have been issued this year, click on the links in the “Kodiak EO’s” box, above.
- Effective June 1, in the Ayakulik River drainage, king salmon sport fishing is restricted to catch and release. All king salmon caught must be released without being removed from the water. In addition, bait is not allowed for any sport fishing and only single hooks on artificial lures may be used.
- Effective June 1, in the Karluk River drainage, including Karluk Lagoon, sport fishing for king salmon is closed. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited for all sport fishing downstream of Karluk Lake.
- Effective June 1, Monashka Creek and Bay are closed to sport fishing for king salmon. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited in Monashka Creek.
- Marine boat anglers returning to any port on the Kodiak road system from May 31 - August 31 may not fillet, mutilate, or de-head king salmon until they have been brought to shore and offloaded, unless the fish have been consumed or preserved on board.
- Department of Fish and Game counting weirs on the Buskin, Afognak, Karluk, and Ayakulik rivers are now operating to count returns of sockeye salmon. King salmon returns will also be counted at Karluk and Ayakulik weirs. Respective escapement goals for these two runs are 3,000 – 6,000 and 4,000-7,000 fish. The current Buskin River sockeye salmon escapement goal is 5,000-8,000 fish, and the Afognak River sockeye goal 20,000 – 50,000 fish. As of May 22, small numbers of sockeye salmon have already been counted at most drainages; however, more than 1,500 have been counted in the Afognak River.
- In anticipation of relatively poor returns in 2016, sport fishing for king salmon in the Karluk River drainage (including Karluk Lagoon) is closed. In addition, the use of bait for all sport fishing is prohibited downstream of Karluk Lake and single hooks must be used.
- Poor returns are also expected this year for the Ayakulik River king salmon run. Consequently, king salmon sport fishing is closed as well. Bait is not allowed for any sport fishing and only single hooks on artificial lures may be used.
- In recent years, returns of stocked king salmon have been poor to Monashka Creek, though they have been excellent at the American and Olds rivers. Poor returns are expected again this year and Monashka Creek and Bay are subsequently closed to king salmon fishing to aid in collection of brood stock for enhancement of road system king salmon runs. In addition, in Monashka Creek, bait may not be used and only single hooks are allowed.
- The freshwaters of Pillar Creek are open to fishing from the highway downstream; however, all saltwaters of Monashka Bay are closed to king salmon fishing, including the beach in front of Pillar Creek.
- King salmon returns to the American and Olds rivers should be excellent this season and fish may be showing up in Middle and Kalsin bays any time, though they are not expected in the rivers until mid-June or later.
- Relatively healthy returns are anticipated for the Kodiak Road Zone’s Buskin River sockeye salmon run, which usually peaks during mid-June, and in the last 10 years has averaged about 12,000 fish. The daily bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon within the Kodiak Road Zone is two fish.
- Afognak River (Litnik) is off to a great start with a strong, early pulse of fish. Reports of fish being caught in river are already coming in.
- After Kodiak salmon counting weirs begin operating anglers can find daily updated counts at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/FishCounts/ .
- Dolly Varden are leaving their over-winter fresh waters and most may have already left local lakes and rivers. Recent fishing success has been reported in the near-shore waters of local beaches. Popular places for fishing Dollies are Mission Beach, the mouths of Pillar and Monashka creeks, Kalsin Beach and at the mouth of Buskin River. Dollies are also often caught off of the beaches near Roslyn and Myrtle creeks. During June, Dolly Varden should be available in salt waters near most rivers along the Kodiak road system.
- May is an excellent time to fish rainbow trout in the stocked lakes along the Kodiak road zone, as during and shortly after ice-out the fish travel shoal areas in search of food. Visit lower elevation lakes for rainbow fishing, as fish will be more active in warmer waters. Although ADF&G currently stocks only sterile juvenile trout, some lakes with a stocking history dating to the 1950s may also contain spawning populations of adult fish. Be sure to check the local sport fishing regulations for a current list of stocked lakes as harvest of rainbow trout is only allowed in lakes that are currently stocked. Rainbows typically spawn during the month of May, and anglers wishing to avoid catching these fish should target their efforts away from flowing waters into or out of the lakes.
- Halibut fishing reportedly has been spotty so far this year, but appears to be picking up. There have been many reports of anglers catching halibut while trolling for king salmon. Fishing should get progressively better for the remainder of May and during June. Popular places to fish halibut in the spring are Whale Pass, Cape Chiniak and Williams Reef.
- Trolling for Chinook (king) salmon in Kodiak’s marine waters has become very popular in recent years. Kings can be fished successfully year-round, though fishing can be spotty and difficult to predict. Recent reports indicate that trolling has been excellent in many places, including Buoy #4, Whale Pass, Sharatin Bay, and Kalsin Bay.
- The current near-shore abundance of herring can occasionally produce results for anglers fishing kings from local beaches. Shore fishing along the Kalsin Bay and Pasagshak River beaches is a good choice for this prospect.
- Other well-known trolling spots along the road system are Cape Chiniak, Cape Gravelle and waters between long and Woody islands. Kodiak king salmon average 20 pounds, but fish up to 70 pounds are occasionally caught.
- Last year, silver salmon were caught as early as June 12th in Chiniak Bay, keep an eye out for feeding school of silvers during the month of June as they may move in to near-shore waters early again this year.
- The annual Kodiak King Salmon Derby sponsored by the Kodiak Association of Charter Operators (http://www.kodiakkingsalmonderby.com ) is ongoing.
Other salt water fishing
- Black rockfish can currently be caught at depths of 10 fathoms or less near kelp beds along rock pinnacles and other natural or man-made structures. Rockfish are also frequently caught from shore at locations such as the outer reaches of White Sand beach and the breakwater barrier shielding St. Paul Harbor.
- Anglers are reminded that the lingcod season does not open until July 1.