Area Sport Fishing Reports
April 14, 2021
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.
* Please do your part to slow the spread of Covid-19 by practicing social distancing while sport and personal use fishing, and wearing a face-covering when social distancing is not possible.
Early Spring Fishing Opportunities
Char and Trout
In most Haines and Skagway area fresh and salt waters, bait is allowed, and the slot length limit for cutthroat and rainbow trout is 11-minimum to 22-inch maximum.
However, Chilkat Lake and Mosquito Lake have special regulations to protect cutthroat trout:
- 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.
Chilkoot Lake and Chilkoot River has a special Dolly Varden bag limit:
- 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.
The recent warm weather will create slush and puddles on lake surfaces, so ice fishing is no longer recommended.
Conservative regulations in sport, commercial, and subsistence fisheries have been successful in delivering healthy Chilkat River king salmon escapements to the spawning grounds in 2019 (2,000 large kings) and 2020 (3,200 large kings). The Chilkat River king salmon escapement goal range is 1,750 to 3,500 large kings. Large kings, defined as age-5 and older, includes almost all of the mature females with eggs. ADF&G is continuing king salmon conservation measures in 2021 to allow all the Southeast Alaska wild stocks to rebuild.
- 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.
- 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, 2021.
Chilkoot Lake Road
Chilkoot Lake road is open to the public, but the road is not plowed. The road reconstruction project will resume when the snow has melted (by mid-May). The road contractor plans to keep one lane open for public access except for a 1 to 4 day period when paving is in progress. Construction will be complete by June 30. For more details, see the Chilkoot Lake Road Corridor Improvement project website.
2020 Salmon Run Assessments
ADF&G foot surveys of Chilkat River coho salmon spawning areas in October 2020 showed a below-average coho salmon run, with escapement near the lower end of the goal range.
The final 2020 Chilkat Lake weir sockeye salmon count was 55,000 fish, which fell short of the Chilkat Lake escapement goal (70,000 to 15,000 fish).
The final 2020 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 close to average in 2020.
Pink salmon were very scarce in the Chilkat River in 2020.
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.