Area Sport Fishing Reports
October 15, 2018
Fall 2018 fishing opportunities
Coho (silver) Salmon
ADF&G has posted videos showing how to fish for coho salmon.
Anglers have reported good catch rates in the Chilkoot and Chilkat rivers since late September. The Chilkoot River water is still clear and fishable, but heavy rain this weekend caused the Chilkat River water level to rise 3 feet, which dramatically reduced the fishability in the Chilkat waters. The National Weather Service posts a graph of the recent Chilkat River water level and a forecast for the next 3 days.
The Chilkoot River bag limit is 2 coho salmon per day, and the Chilkat River bag limit is 3 per day. Fish kept in any waters in the same day apply to the angler's limit. For example, an angler that kept 2 coho salmon on the Chilkoot River in the morning would only be allowed to keep 1 more coho salmon on the Chilkat River in the afternoon.
Trout and Dolly Varden
Sea-run Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout have returned to fresh waters for the winter, and they can be caught in clear water rivers, tributaries, and 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.
Take a hike 20 minutes from downtown Skagway up to 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
Anglers have continued to land bright sockeye salmon in the Chilkat River waters in mid-October.
The Chilkoot River weir sockeye salmon count was at the upper end of the escapement goal range for that river.
The Chilkat Lake weir sockeye salmon count was in the middle of that lake's escapement goal range.
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.
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.