Area Sport Fishing Reports
October 18, 2017
Fall fishing opportunities
Coho (aka “silver”) salmon have arrived in the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers. Last weekend catch rates were good on the Chilkat River, but catch rates declined on the Chilkoot River. Spawning ground surveys show a below average run so far.
The water in glacier-sourced streams, such as the Chilkoot River, Chilkat River, and Taiya River, is still turbid with silt. Fishing in these big rivers will improve as temperatures cool, glacial melt stops, and the water levels drop. The National Weather Service tracks the Chilkat River water level near Klukwan and provides a forecast for the next 3 days. Stable or dropping water levels are usually best for fishing.
Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout are feeding in clear water tributaries, and those that spent the summer in salt water are returning to the rivers and lakes for the winter. Bait is allowed when fishing in most waters in the Haines/Skagway area, except bait is not allowed when fishing in Chilkat Lake, Mosquito Lake, or their inlet and outlet streams, to reduce trout catch and release mortality.
The pink salmon run is finished in Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers.
Pot fishing for Dungeness crab and shrimp is open year round in the Haines and Skagway area salt water.
Chilkat River king salmon abundance is very low, so retention of king salmon is not allowed in Subdistrict 15-A (Haines and Skagway area) now through December 31, 2017.
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 Alaska residents only, the southeast Alaska red and blue king crab personal use fishery is open July 1 through March 31. In the Haines/Skagway area, the bag and possession limit is one legal size male crab.
Poor king salmon runs in 2017
The 2017 wild king salmon runs were very weak in the Chilkat River and other southeast Alaska rivers, such as the Unuk, Stikine, Taku, and Alsek. The preliminary estimate of Chilkat River king salmon abundance was 1,200 large fish, which is well below the goal range of 1,850 to 3,600 large fish.
For more information about sport fishing in Haines and Skagway, call Area Biologist Richard Chapell at 907-766-3638.