Andrew Gryska, Area Management Biologist
(907) 459-7339, email@example.com
Area Sport Fishing Reports
September 1, 2023
NOTE: This will be the final fishing report of the season for the Tanana River Drainage Management Area.
Fall rains over the past week and a half have pushed the Tanana River back up to bank full. Water levels in most Interior rivers and streams are high due to the rain, which will hinder fishing success.
- Sport fishing for chum and coho salmon in the Tanana River drainage was closed by emergency order effective on August 31, 2023 due to a weak coho run. This closure includes the popular Delta Clearwater River coho fishery. If you are fishing for other species and hook a coho salmon, it must be released immediately and cannot be removed from the water. As of August 31, an estimated 35,982 coho salmon had been counted at Pilot Station sonar in the lower Yukon River. That compares to an average of 124,166 coho for that date.
- The king and chum salmon runs in the Chena and Salcha rivers are over. As a reminder king and chum salmon fishing in the Tanana River drainage remains closed by emergency order. If you are fishing for other species and you hook a king salmon, you may not remove it from the water while releasing.
- Arctic grayling are still actively foraging for aquatic insects to fatten up for winter. Small spinners, jigs and any number of dry flies or nymphs should produce good results attracting the interest of grayling.
- Learn other grayling fishing techniques by watching the video, How to Fish for Arctic Grayling, on the ADF&G Youtube channel.
- Fall is a great time for burbot fishing in the Tanana River, though high water levels may hinder fishing. While bait is not allowed in any tributaries of the Tanana River due to the closure of the salmon fisheries, bait may be used in the mainstem Tanana. Try fishing bait on the bottom of the river in back eddy areas, at along seams of the Tanana River and tributary mouths, and slow-moving waters in the mainstem of the Tanana River.
- Lake Trout are typically found in water deeper than 30 feet but should begin venturing into shallower depths during the cooler nights, giving shore anglers a better chance at success. Look to find lake trout hanging out off shelves and near structure. Bathymetric maps can help you find the deeper water and structure. Maps can be found at the Alaska Lake Database.
- Northern pike should also becoming more active and aggressive with the cooler weather. Try various sized, flashy spoons off weed beds, top water lures like frogs, mice, ducklings, and swim shads and soft baits near shoreline drop offs and structures (logs, downed trees, rocky points) to attract the attention of pike. As a reminder, the bag and possession limit for northern pike in the Tolovana River drainage, including Minto Flats, Minto Lakes and the Chatanika River is 2 fish a day, only one of which may be 30 inches or longer.
- ADF&G stocked almost 15,000 catchable-size rainbow trout into local lakes in the Fairbanks area to provide prime fall fishing opportunities for anglers. Fairbanks-area lakes that received fish included Chena Lake, Olnes Pond, Cushman Lake (Tanana Lakes Recreation Area), Ballaine Lake and 47.9 Mile Pond on Chena Hot Springs Road.
- Rainbow trout tend to cruise near weed beds at this time of year feeding on the multitude of insects congregating around lily pads. Arctic char, lake trout, and landlocked salmon tend to be found in deeper, cooler water.
- Fishing with dry or wet flies such as an egg sucking leech, bead head nymph, or mosquito pattern; small spoons and spinners size #0 or #2; or small bait under a bobber generally produce good results.
- To find a stocked lake near you or one you’ve never fished before, check out the Tanana River Drainage Stocked Lakes Fishing Guide to find access and stocking information for different lakes. Check out the Alaska Lake Database to find bathymetric maps on the stocked lake you are going to fish.
Please review the Emergency Orders and Advisory Announcements below in their entirety, and consult the 2023 Northern Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet for the area you are fishing in before you head out:
- Emergency orders 3-KS-U-6-23 and 3-CS-U-7-23 issued March 29th closed the sport fishery for king and chum salmon in all flowing waters of the Tanana River drainage effective April 5th. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited in all Tanana River tributaries through September 30.
- Emergency order 3-R-U-08-23 issued April 24 restricts Kimberly Lake to catch-and-release fishing only for all fish species due to PFAS contamination. Any fish caught while sport fishing in Kimberly Lake must be released immediately.
- Emergency order 3-NP-U-10-23 issued May 1 reduces the bag and possession limit for northern pike in all lakes and flowing waters of the Minto Flats area to two fish, only one of which may be 30 inches or longer, effective from June 1 – October 14.
- Emergency order 3-SS-U-22-23 issued August 29 closes all waters of the Tanana River drainage to sport fishing for chum and coho salmon. All chum and coho salmon caught incidentally in the Tanana River drainage while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
- ADF&G is mobile. 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. Download the ADF&G Mobile App today.
Rod Loaner Program
- The Fairbanks and Delta ADF&G offices offer a free fishing rod loaner program. Each office has rods suitable for fishing stocked lakes and resident species such as Arctic grayling, northern pike and salmon. Resident anglers, 18 and older, and non-resident anglers, 16 and older, must have a current Alaska sport fishing license to sign out a rod. This is a first-come, first-served program and fishing rods cannot be reserved. For more information, check out the Rod Loaner Program webpage or call the Fairbanks ADF&G office at 907-459-7228 or the Delta Junction office 907-895-4632.
Tanana Valley Fisheries Center
- The Tanana Valley Fisheries Center in the Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery at 1150 Wilbur Street in Fairbanks is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free so stop in to say hi and see what’s growing in the hatchery.
- Be sure to follow the ADF&G Sport Fishing Interior Alaska Facebook and Instagram pages to get the most current information about fishing in the area.
For More Information
Call the Fairbanks office at (907) 459-7228 or the Delta Junction office at (907) 895-4632.