Area Sport Fishing Reports
Many Anchorage area silver salmon runs are in full swing in August. First to appear are the hatchery-enhanced fish at Ship and Bird creeks, followed by the hatchery-enhanced run at Campbell Creek. Area native runs are also well underway during August, and often run into September.
On even-numbered years, a fair number of pink salmon are also available in the area streams open to salmon fishing.
Most people fish Ship and Bird creek 1-2 hours before and after high tide, but when the runs are at peak (early-mid August) fish can be available at all tidal stages. VibraxTM and PixeesTM are perennial Alaskan favorites as are “yarn flies,” though silvers and pinks will often bite at almost any shiny lure. Bait, such as preserved salmon eggs or cut herring is also popular (and allowed) in the Ship and Bird creek salmon fishery. The Ship Creek silver salmon Derby usually takes place during the first two weeks of August.
The Campbell Creek salmon fishery has special opening schedules, and silver salmon are the ONLY salmon you are allowed to fish for on that creek.
On July 14, Campbell Creek is open to silver salmon sport fishing from markers under the Dimond Boulevard bridge upstream to the markers at Shelikof Street and then from the Lake Otis Parkway bridge upstream to the forks near Piper Street. Campbell Creek is closed to all sport fishing between Shelikof Street and the Lake Otis Parkway bridge (Wickersham subdivision), and downstream of Dimond Boulevard (including Campbell Lake).
Low, clear water conditions and warm, sunny days often spook the Campbell Creek silvers. Best silver fishing usually happens after rainy weather, when water temperatures drop, and water levels rise. Look for deep holes, and drift your lure or bait through the hole. Most fishing effort takes place downstream of Dowling Blvd. to the Dimond Blvd. bridge.
The more popular streams with natural runs are the Twentymile, Portage, and Placer river drainages. These runs usually peak in late August or early September. Anglers usually use shiny lures, and bait is also sometimes used. Remember that the upper reaches of Twentymile, Glacier, and Carmen rivers, an un-named slough on lower Portage Creek, as well as portions of Lower Explorer and Skookum creeks closed to sport fishing July 14. Placer Creek in Bear Valley (near the Whittier tunnel) is closed year-round to salmon fishing, but open year-round to for all other species. Consult the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing regulation booklet before heading out to fish these areas and know where you are fishing.
In the Anchorage area, the bag limit for salmon 16" or longer (other than kings) is three per day and in possession. On Ship, Bird, and Campbell creeks, all three salmon may be silvers. On all other streams open to silver salmon fishing, which include portions of Eklutna River, Eagle River, Glacier Creek, California Creek, Twentymile River, Portage Creek, and the Placer River drainages, only 2 of your 3 may be silvers. King salmon sport fishing is closed.
Rainbow Trout/Dolly Varden - Flowing Waters
When weather and water conditions are perfect — not too muddy from recent rains, and not too hot — rainbow trout and Dolly Varden fishing on Campbell Creek can be excellent. Remember that upstream of the forks near Piper Street, it's catch-and-release only for rainbows, and you can use only single-hook, unbaited, artificial lures.
The Anchorage area stocked lakes are consistent producers of fun fishing! As the weather cools, lake fishing usually gets better and better, offering an alternative to shoulder-to-shoulder salmon angling. Check our website for maps to the lakes and stocking information. Three Anchorage area lakes, Jewel, Delong and Mirror lakes, are usually stocked with rainbow trout three times each year, with the last stocking in late August. Best baits are usually single salmon eggs or fresh shrimp. Small spinners and flies are also very effective. Fly-fishing during the fall from a belly boat is an excellent way to catch these late-stocked fish.
Northern pike were illegally introduced into Sand Lake, Lower Fire Lake, Cheney Lake, and Otter Lake. They have been eradicated in all but Lower Fire Lake. There is no limit on pike in the Anchorage area and spears are legal. Anglers pursuing pike with rod and reel are encouraged to target pike, but remember, snagging and wasting speared or rod and reel caught pike is illegal. Effective lures include top-water "poppers" and "buzz baits."
Folks that are dumping pike into local lakes are a real threat to your recreational fisheries. Anyone with any information on these illegal-stocking activities is encouraged to contact Fish and Wildlife Safeguard at 1-800-478-3377 or State Troopers’ Fish and Wildlife Protection at (907) 269-5954 or 269-5541.