Area Sport Fishing Reports
Note: Presence of a particular fish species does not necessarily mean that it is legal to fish for that species. In addition, some waters have terminal tackle restrictions and all have bag and possession limits that may differ between drainages. Please consult current sport fishing regulations for the waters in which you plan to fish.
Sometimes sport fishing regulations are modified inseason, usually in the case of salmon. Please review these “Emergency Orders” prior to wetting your line.
King salmon are distributed throughout the Nenana, Chena, Salcha, Chatanika, and Goodpaster rivers in July. Chum salmon will start to increase in numbers in mid-to late July. The Salcha River typically has the largest returns of king and chum salmon in the entire Tanana River drainage. Be sure to note areas closed to salmon fishing and gear restrictions before heading out to fish. King salmon may be caught using standard king salmon tackle such as spin-n-glos, Kwikfish lures and large pixie spoons. Chum salmon are more readily caught on small pixie spoons.
Resident Species Fishing:
There is limited road accessible sport fishing for northern pike in the Tanana River drainage, the major northern pike fisheries (George, Volkmar and Minto Lakes) are only accessible by boat or floatplane. Northern pike are aggressive summer feeders and fishing with surface lures such as artificial frogs and/ or mice is often productive. Because northern pike are fish eaters, large silver spoons and rubber fish patterns also work well. Later in the summer weedless lures are often required, and steel leaders are a must when fishing for northern pike.
Arctic grayling will be distributed throughout the Tanana River tributaries in July (Chena, Salcha, Chatanika, Goodpaster, Delta Clearwater, Richardson Clearwater rivers). If fly fishing for Arctic grayling you will want to try to “match the hatch” with dry flies. There are a number of aquatic insect hatches throughout the summer (mayflies, caddis flies, midges, and mosquitos), often making fishing with the right fly very productive. When dry flies aren’t working so well, fishing with nymphs usually works well for fly fishers. Anglers using spinning gear will find that small spoons, spinners, and jigs also provide high catch rates. Cast into pools and slack water eddies for the best success. Fishing is often best in the late evening under the “midnight sun”.
There are over 90 stocked lakes in the Tanana River drainage, ranging from large road-accessible lakes such as Quartz and Birch, to lakes with small public use cabins like Lisa Lake and Ken’s Pond, to secluded, remote fly-in or ATV-access only lakes like Dune and Forrest lakes. These lakes are all stocked with one or more fish species. The most common species is rainbow trout; other species include Arctic char, Arctic grayling, and landlocked king and silver salmon. Remote lakes provide a greater opportunity to catch large “trophy” fish, whereas roadside lakes will have high success rates, but smaller fish, making them a popular destination to take young anglers. Jigging small shrimp, salmon eggs, meal worms, and Power bait can often produce high catch rates on stocked lakes. Fishing a baited hook under a bobber, with the bait just off the bottom will usually catch a fish. Small jigs and silver spinners will often work as well. Enticing a fish to a dry fly is always exciting and a thrill when they hit.
If practicing catch-and-release, utilize techniques that will enable you to release the fish quickly and will increase the fish’s chances of survival:
- Use lures with a single hook or change treble hooks to a single hook,
- Do not fish with bait,
- Crimp down the barb of the hook ,
- Keep the fish in the water when removing the hook
- To release the fish, hold it gently facing into the current or in water without current gently cradle the fish and move it slowly back and forth until it swims away under its own power.