Area Sport Fishing Reports
Archived Sport Fishing Report
July 06, 2023
With water conditions having returned to better levels and visibility increasing, fishing in either the sport fishery or the subsistence rod-and-reel fishery in the Kuskokwim River drainage and the Kuskokwim Bay drainages has been good.
Sport fishing for king salmon has been closed in the Kuskokwim River drainage, but remains open in the Kuskokwim Bay streams (Kanektok, Goodnews, and Arolik Rivers). Sport fishing for king salmon in the Kuskokwim River drainage will remain closed for this season due to poor expected escapement numbers and extensive subsistence fishery closures. Catches of king salmon in the Kanektok and Goodnews Rivers are reported to be good. The Kuskokwim Bay rivers (Kanektok, Goodnews, Arolik) may be a good alternative to king fishing on the Kuskokwim river tributaries. The Kuskokwim Bay tributaries remain open at this time – but please check for any announcements prior to making plans.
Chum salmon have been coming in at very low numbers for the last few years, prompting a sport fishing closure for chum salmon in the entire Kuskokwim-Goodnews Area (including the Kuskokwim Bay drainages) for 2023. This closure will remain through the season.
Coho salmon numbers are expected to be poor, as the 2022 coho run was very poor. Please be aware that an Emergency Order and Advisory Announcement may be forthcoming.
- Sheefish are catchable at the mouths of many clearwater rivers such as the Aniak and Holitna Rivers, as well as other clearwater streams near Bethel such as the Kwethluk and Kisaralik. Large colorful spoons and spinners work well for these fish. High water levels have given way to more average levels and clarity has improved, which has contributed to better catch rates.
- Rainbow trout catches are currently reported as fair in both the sport and subsistence rod-and-reel fisheries. These popular fisheries occur in the Kuskokwim Bay rivers - Goodnews, Kanektok, and Arolik, and in the lower Kuskokwim drainages that include the Kisaralik, Kwethluk, Kasigluk, and Aniak. These are popular guided and outfitted fisheries in remote Alaska, with many private businesses that provide excellent services and opportunities.
- Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, and Arctic grayling fishing this time of year is generally good, but is highly dependent on fishing conditions, particularly water clarity. This year, high water and debris and low visibilty is hampering the early efforts.
- The high elevation lakes offer excellent early opportunities for rafters who put in at the lakes for fishing for char/lake trout and Dolly Varden as soon as the ice is out.
Dolly Varden catches have been reported to be spotty to poor in many Kuskokwim River tributaries. Many locals have cited the low chum numbers as possibly responsible for Dolly Varden behavior patterns as they adjust to other food sources.
Northern pike fishing has been excellent with increasing water clarity as high water conditions have decreased. Any clearwater mouth or connected slough complex along the mainstem Kuskokwim River affords excellent fishing. Anything that imitates prey and attracts attention will work. Crocodiles and larges spoons work anytime, and topwater lures such as jitterbugs and large fly patterns work best in late evening under the midnight sun when large pike will lurk in the warm surface waters.
Please review the Emergency Orders and Advisory Announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip:
- Emergency Order 3-KS-V-01-23 closes the Kuskokwim River drainage to sport fishing for king salmon.
- Emergency Order 3-CS-V-02-23 closes the Kuskokwim-Goodnews Area to sport fishing for chum salmon.
- Download the ADF&G Mobile App today. You can purchase and display your fishing license and king stamp, record your annual harvest (i.e. king salmon, halibut), access sport fishing regulations and locations, and so much more on your mobile device. You can also purchase your license and dipnetting permits at the ADF&G online store.
- You may also purchase your sport fishing license at the ADF&G Online Store and print it off from home. Also, be sure to review Emergency Orders and the 2023 Northern Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet for the area you are fishing before you head out.
For more information, please call the Kuskokwim Goodnews Area Manager John Chythlook at (907) 459-7361.