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Early July sees the Ship Creek king salmon wind down to its season closure on July 13. A reminder: once you have harvested a king salmon, you must immediately record that harvest on the back of your fishing license, or on an ADF&G Annual Harvest Record Card (see the regulations). Also, once you harvest a king salmon, you may not fish for any species of fish in waters open to king salmon fishing for the remainder of the day.
By mid-July silver salmon start to return to Anchorage’s Ship Creek and Campbell Creek, as well as Bird Creek, which is about 27 miles south of downtown Anchorage on the Seward Highway. Most silvers caught in Ship and Bird creeks are taken about two hours before high tide, or 1 hour after high tide. In Campbell Creek, most silver success is early in the morning, before the sun shines onto the creek. Ship Creek and Bird Creek silver salmon fisheries peak in late July to early August, while Campbell Creek peaks around mid- to late August. All are hatchery release-driven fisheries.
Campbell Creek opens to silver salmon fishing from Dimond Boulevard upstream to Shelikof Street on July 14. Campbell Creek has two sections closed to all fishing year-round. They are those sections of Campbell Creek/Campbell Lake downstream of Dimond Blvd. to Cook Inlet, and Campbell Creek between Shelikof Street and Lake Otis Parkway. Open seasons and legal tackle vary according to which section of this stream you are fishing. Be sure to check out the map in the regulation booklet and know where you are when you fish.
On even-numbered years, good numbers of pink salmon also enter Ship and Bird creeks. Pinks are an excellent way to introduce youngsters (and other novice salmon anglers) to fishing.
Streams at the head of Turnagain Arm — such as the Placer River and the Twentymile River — also start to see adult salmon returning to spawn. Starting in mid- to late July both of these streams have wild runs of pink and chum salmon starting to show, along with a few silvers.
The bag and possession limit for salmon (other than king salmon 20” or longer) in all Turnagain streams, with the exception of hatchery enhanced streams (Bird, Ship and Campbell creeks), is 3 salmon of which only 2 can be silver salmon. In Bird, Ship, and Campbell creeks, daily limits for salmon (other than king salmon 20" or longer) are 3 per day/3 in possession, and all 3 can be coho (silver) salmon. All Turnagian Arm stream are closed to fishing for king salmon, including catch and release.
Some of the more popular silver and pink tackle includes medium VibraxTM spinners, Spin-n-GlosTM, PixeesTM, yarn flies – some with fluorescent corkies, and fresh salmon roe. Bait is legal in the Ship, Bird, and Campbell creek salmon sport fisheries. Salmon eggs under a bobber at high slack tide on Ship Creek is a very effective method for silvers.
King and red (sockeye) salmon are still migrating up Campbell Creek in July. Anglers are reminded that the entire Campbell Creek drainage is closed to king and red salmon sport fishing, including catch-and-release. Poaching is a big problem at Campbell Creek. Enforcement personnel from Fish and Wildlife Protection and Anchorage Police Department officers have beefed up their patrols along Campbell Creek as a result. If you see any illegal fishing please call either the Alaska State Troopers’ Fish and Wildlife Protection office (269-5954 or 269-5541) Fish and Wildlife Safeguard’s “Report Poachers” hotline (1-800-478-3377) or the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Southcentral Region Information Center (267-2218).
Rainbows and Dolly Varden / Arctic Char — Flowing Waters
Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden fishing should be fair to good in Campbell Creek upstream of Dowling and fair in Chester Creek near University/APU Lake. Rainbow anglers also like to fish Ship Creek from Reeve Boulevard to Department markers upstream of the Chugach dam, but remember this reach is no bait, single-hook, artificial lures only and rainbow trout cannot be kept.
Upstream of the forks at Piper Street, Campbell Creek turns to unbaited, single-hook, artificial lures only, and rainbow trout cannot be kept in these waters. Dolly fishing should be great in upper Campbell and the North Fork Campbell Creek in late July as they follow the spawning kings looking for an easy meal.
Rainbows and Dollies often become less active as the sun climbs the sky. Best success is usually early in the morning, or later in the evening. Fish the deep pools, or the deeper channels.
July is an excellent month to try one of Anchorage’s stocked lakes. Rainbow trout from 8" to 12" provide good to excellent fishing in the early morning hours! Some lakes receive Arctic grayling, and some Arctic char. Small spinners and flies are effective (size 10 or 12), while the best baits include raw shrimp, salmon eggs, and worms. The lakes are also a great opportunity to introduce a youngster (or oldster!) to fishing.
A free brochure with maps and area lake information is available at Department of Fish and Game offices. Also visit our stocked lakes maps and the fish stocking updates web pages.
Illegally-introduced northern pike were confirmed present in Sand, Campbell, Otter, Lower Fire, and Cheney lakes but have since been eradicated in all but Lower Fire Lake. There is no daily bag limit for pike and spears and bow fishing are legal. Hunt for pike in shallow, weedy areas. The highest pike concentration in Lower Fire Lake appears to be along the shore near where Fire Creek empties into this lake near the Old Glenn Highway. As the water warms up, the pike become more lethargic, so pike anglers have better luck early in the morning and later in the evenings. Bait and multiple hooks are legal, and be sure to keep all the pike you catch. If it’s more than you can eat, check with your favorite charity to see if they would like to accept some fresh fish. Remember: it’s illegal to waste sport-caught fish. Respect private property and be alert to float planes in the area.