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Area Sport Fishing Reports

September 19, 2018

Fall 2018 fishing opportunities

Coho (silver) salmon

Coho salmon counts in the Chilkat River fish wheels have been above average, and anglers have reported good coho salmon catch rates. A strong pulse of coho salmon passed up the Chilkoot River weir before the weir was removed for the season.

The Chilkoot River bag limit is 2 coho salmon per day, and the Chilkat River bag limit is 3 per day. Bag limits are not cumulative between rivers.

With the recent clear weather and cool nights, water in local rivers is low and clearing. Fishing is usually better when the Chilkat River water level has been settled for a few days. The National Weather Service posts a graph of the recent Chilkat River water level and a forecast for the next 3 days.

Trout and Dolly Varden

Dolly Varden char and cutthroat trout can be caught in clear water tributary streams and in lakes, such as Mosquito, Chilkat, and Chilkoot lakes.

Regulations specific to Mosquito and Chilkat lakes:

  • Bait is not allowed.
  • Cutthroat and rainbow trout - 2 fish bag and possession limit, 14-inch min. and 22 inch max. length required to keep.

Regulations specific to Chilkoot Lake and Chilkoot River:

  • Bait is allowed year-round.
  • Dolly Varden - 4 fish bag and possession limit, no size limit.

Sea-run Dolly Varden and cutthroat that are feeding in salt water for the summer can be caught in near-shore salt waters of Taiya Inlet near Skagway, and in Lutak, Chilkoot, and Chilkat inlets around Haines.

Take a hike and fish for Dollies and Cutties on Skagway's shoreline at Yakutania Point, or on two Chilkat State Park trails near Haines: Battery Point, and Seduction Point. Or hike 20 minutes up to Skagway's Lower Dewey Lake to catch Eastern brook trout.


Pot fishing for shrimp and Dungeness crab is open year-round in the Haines and Skagway area salt water. Non-Alaska residents catch shellfish under a sport fishing license with the following bag & possession limits:

  • Dungeness crab - 3 legal size males.
  • Shrimp - 3 quarts or pounds.

NEW Sport shrimp harvesters must record their catch on a paper permit. The no-cost Southeast Sport Shrimp Permit is available online at the ADF&G Store. The shrimp harvest, location, and number of pots pulled must be recorded each day, and the permit must be returned to ADF&G or reported online at the end of the year.

King crab fishing is open only to Alaska residents, and a sport fishing license is required. The bag limit is 1 legal size male king crab.

Sockeye (red) salmon

The Chilkoot River weir was removed for the season this week.Sockeye salmon counts at the Chilkoot River weir diminished toward the end of the run.

The sockeye salmon counts at the Chilkat Lake weir reached the lower bound of the the escapement goal this week. The sockeye salmon counts at the Chilkat River fish wheels continue to be below average this year.

Pink salmon

The pink salmon runs are over at the Chilkoot River weir and Chilkat River fish wheel projects. The Chilkoot River weir pink salmon count for the 2018 season was the 5th lowest in 27 years (1992-2018).

Pink salmon runs in the Haines-Skagway area are typically weaker in even-numbered years than in odd-numbered years.

King salmon

Chilkat River king salmon abundance in salt water is very low, so retention of king salmon is not allowed in the Haines and Skagway area through the end of this year.

Despite fishery restrictions this year and in previous years, the Chilkat River king salmon inriver abundance is below the goal range for the third consecutive year. The Taku River and Stikine River king salmon runs also did not achieve the lower end of their respective escapment goals in 2017 and 2018.

Sport Fishing Licenses

Residents of Yukon Territory in Canada may purchase an annual Alaska sport fishing license for the same price that Alaska residents pay. However, Yukoners are not Alaska residents, so Yukoners must comply with the non-resident regulations such as number of shellfish pots, shellfish bag limits, and king salmon bag and annual limits. The Yukoner license is available from license vendors in Whitehorse, Haines, and Skagway.

Alaska residents under 18 years old do not need a sport fishing license. Non-Alaska residents under 16 years old do not need a sport fishing license.

For more information about sport fishing in Haines and Skagway, call Area Biologist Richard Chapell at 907-766-3638.

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