Area Sport Fishing Reports
March 23, 2020
Check out the Haines/Skagway interactive map to discover popular fishing locations and information on fish run timing, fishing gear selections, and angler access tips thru the Sport Fish wefishak pages.
Winter Fishing Opportunities
Char and Trout
The Chilkat River mainstem waters along the Haines Highway are opening up as the days get longer, and cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden are actively feeding on emerging chum salmon fry.
River fishing for Dolly Varden is also good on the Chilkoot River. Chilkoot Lake Road is not plowed in the winter.
Dolly Varden fishing can be very good on Chilkoot Lake right after the ice cover goes away.
The cool weather still allows for ice fishing for Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout at Mosquito Lake and Chilkat Lake. Be sure to check for safe ice thickness before venturing on to the ice, and beware of a layer of overflow slush on top of the solid ice in some locations. Chilkat Lake is accessed by a 3 mile snowmachine trail from the end of plowing on Chilkat Lake Road.
Regulations specific to Mosquito and Chilkat Lakes:
- Bait is not allowed.
- Cutthroat and rainbow trout: 2 fish bag and possession limit, with a slot length limit of 14-inch minimum to 22-inch maximum length required to keep a fish.
In the remainder of Haines-Skagway area waters, bait is allowed, and the cutthroat and rainbow trout slot length limit is 11-minimum to 22-inch maximum.
Regulations specific to Chilkoot Lake and Chilkoot River:
- Dolly Varden: 4 fish bag and possession limit, no size limit.
In the remainder of Haines-Skagway area waters, the Dolly Varden bag and possession limit is 10 fish.
Pot fishing for shrimp and Dungeness crab is open year-round in the Haines and Skagway area salt water. With a sport fishing license, non-Alaska residents catch shellfish with the following bag & possession limits:
- Dungeness crab - 3 legal size males.
- Shrimp - 3 quarts or pounds.
Alaska residents fish under subsistence or personal use regulations with more liberal bag limits.
All shrimp harvesters must print a no-cost permit from the ADF&G online store and record their daily pot fishing effort and harvest on the paper permit. The harvest information must be reported online, or the paper permit must be returned to ADF&G by December 31, 2020.
Sport Fishing Outlook
- Through March 31, the bag and possession limit is 1 king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length. Through June 30, the non-Alaska resident total harvest limit in 3 king salmon in Southeast Alaska.
- From April 1 through December 31, in the Haines and Skagway area (Lynn Canal north of the latitude of Sherman Rock), the retention of king salmon will be prohibited; any king salmon caught must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed.
- From April 1 through July 15, the waters of Chilkat Inlet, north of Seduction Point, will be closed to king salmon sport fishing.
The Chilkat River king salmon population has been critically low since 2012. The 2020 king salmon sport fishing restrictions will be the same as those in effect in 2017 through 2019.
These conservation measures in 2019, in coordination with commercial and subsistence fishery restrictions, were successful in the Chilkat River king salmon run achieving the escapement goal range of 1,850 to 3,600 large kings. ADF&G will continue conservation measures to allow the Chilkat River king salmon stock to rebuild.
Due to declining abundance of some long-lived species of rockfish, regulations to conserve rockfish are in place in 2019:
- No retention of nonpelagic rockfish. Pelagic rockfish species may be retained up to the bag limit.
- All vessels must have at least one functional deepwater release mechanism on board and readily available for use when sport fishing activities are taking place. Persons sport fishing in marine waters when releasing rockfish (pelagic or nonpelagic), must use a deepwater release mechanism to return the fish to the depth it was hooked or to a depth of at least 100 feet.
Sport Fishing Licenses
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.
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.
For more information about sport fishing in Haines and Skagway, call Area Biologist Richard Chapell at 907-766-3638.