Area Sport Fishing Reports
November 25, 2020
* Just a reminder to all our anglers, please do your part to help slow the spread of Covid-19 by following and reviewing the current State of Alaska Health Mandates in effect. This includes practicing social distancing while sport and personal use fishing, and wearing a face-covering when social distancing is not possible, as indicated in Health Alert 010.
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.
ADF&G Online Fishing Forum: Ice Fishing 101 on YouTube.
Watch an ADF&G information session about ice fishing basics: ice safety, ice fishing gear, how to find an appropriate place to fish, which species, which tackle, and how to find fishing regulations.
Winter Fishing Opportunities
Char and Trout
Fishing for Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout can be good where late-season chum and coho salmon are spawning, such as open portions of the Chilkat River.
Ice fishing season at Mosquito Lake and Chilkat Lake is right around the corner, once the ice is thick enough.
Regulations specific to Mosquito and Chilkat Lakes:
- Bait is not allowed.
- Cutthroat and rainbow trout: 2 fish bag and possession limit, with a slot limit of 14-inch minimum to 22-inch maximum length required to keep a fish.
In the remainder of the Haines-Skagway area fresh and salt waters, bait is allowed, and the cutthroat and rainbow trout slot length limit are 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.
Coho (silver) salmon
The main coho salmon runs in the Chilkat and Chilkoot Rivers have already spawned, but a few silvers will continue to trickle in open waters of the Chilkat, Tsirku, Klehini, and Chilkoot Rivers. These glacial waters run clear in the winter.
- Pot fishing for shrimp and Dungeness crab is open year-round in the Haines and Skagway area saltwater. 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.
Chilkoot Lake Road
Chilkoot Lake road is open to the public, but the road is not maintained in the winter. The road reconstruction project will resume in mid-April 2021, with paving and sidewalks scheduled for completion by late May 2021. For more details, see the Chilkoot Lake Road Corridor Improvement project website.
The October Haines Sportsmen’s Association Coho Derby winners
Overall by Weight
Largest Coho on Fly Gear category
Youth 11-15 Divison
Youth 5-10 Division
Post Season Salmon Run Assessments
ADF&G foot surveys of Chilkat River coho salmon spawning areas showed a below-average coho salmon run, with escapement near the lower end of the goal range.
Conservative regulations in sport, commercial, and subsistence fisheries were successful in delivering another healthy Chilkat River king salmon escapement to the spawning grounds. The king salmon escapement was estimated at 3,200 large kings in year 2020, and at 2,000 large kings in year 2019. The Chilkat River king salmon biological escapement goal range is 1,750 to 3,500 large kings. Large kings are defined as age-5 and older, and the large portion of each year's escapement includes essentially all of the mature females with eggs. ADF&G will continue conservation measures to allow the stock to rebuild.
- Now through December 31, in the Haines and Skagway area (Lynn Canal north of the latitude of Sherman Rock), the retention of king salmon is prohibited; any king salmon caught must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed.
The Chilkat Lake weir sockeye salmon counts are on track for escapement of 55,000 fish, which will fall short of the Chilkat Lake escapement goal (70,000 to 15,000 fish).
The final Chilkoot River sockeye salmon count through the weir was 60,000 fish, which is in the middle of the goal range for Chilkoot River watershed.
Pink salmon counts in Chilkoot River were strong in late August, and overall close to average for the season.
Pink salmon were scarce in the Chilkat River all season.
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.