Area Sport Fishing Reports
September 19, 2019
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.
Coho (silver) salmon
The Chilkat River fish wheels have seen strong catches of coho salmon so far this year. Silver salmon fishing in the Chilkat is best in the month of October, when the water level drops and the silt clears up. The Chilkat River water gauge at the Haines Highway bridge shows the water level for the last week and a forecast for the next 3 days. Fishing is best when the the river water level is stable or declining and the weather is cool.
Coho salmon fishing in the Chilkoot River begins in late September, and a higher than average number of coho were counted upstream through the weir before the weir was removed on September 10.
The 3rd annual Haines Silver Salmon Derby runs from September 15 through October 29. Their are prizes for the top 3 heaviest fish, plus additional prizes for random weights. Derby tickets are available at the two sporting goods stores in Haines.
The Chilkoot Lake campground will be closed from September 15 through June 2020 while the Chilkoot Lake Road is improved and repaved. The Chilkoot Lake Road will be closed at the gate from October 1 through May 1 to allow for road construction. Call Alaska State Parks at (907) 766-2292 for more information.
Char and trout fishing opportunities
Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout fishing is good in clear water streams and lakes, such as Mosquito Lake and Chilkat Lake.
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.
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.
Pot fishing for shrimp and Dungeness crab is open year-round in the Haines and Skagway area salt water. Non-Alaska residents catch shellfish with a sport fishing license with the following bag & possession limits:
- Dungeness crab - 3 legal size males.
- Shrimp - 3 quarts or pounds.
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 permit must be returned to ADF&G, or the harvest information must be reported online, by December 31, 2019.
2019 post-season salmon run assessment
The 140,000 sockeye salmon counted through the Chilkoot River weir is the highest count count since the project was started in 1976. This count is above the escapement goal range of 38,000 to 86,000 fish. A few more sockeye salmon will continue to trickle into the Chilkoot River this fall.
Chilkat River fish wheel sockeye salmon counts have been above average, and the Chilkat Lake weir has counted 118,000 sockeye salmon have been counted into the lake through September 18. The Chilkat Lake escapement goal range is 70,000 to 150,000 fish.
Thanks to restrictions put on the gillnet, troll, and sport fisheries in southeast Alaska, the 2019 Chilkat River king salmon run achieved the lower end of the escapement goal range (1,850 to 3,600 large kings). This king salmon population has been critically low since 2012. ADF&G will continue conservation measures to allow the stock to rebuild. In the Haines/Skagway area:
- The retention of king salmon is prohibited in all waters of Lynn Canal north of Sherman Rock now through December 31. Any king salmon caught must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed.
The pink salmon post-spawning die-off continues in the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers. The 2019 pink salmon runs were small compared to other recent odd-numbered years.
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.