Area Sport Fishing Reports
August through September Season
Late summer brings excellent freshwater trout fishing as Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout begin to feed on salmon eggs. Any stream that has runs of pink and chum salmon will also have aggressive trout. Using egg patterns or small spinners is the best way to catch these feeding trout. During late summer and early fall coho salmon begin to show up in local watersheds. These silver salmon are found in large numbers in Gastineau Channel as they return to DIPAC hatchery, accessible from various turnouts along Egan Drive and Douglas highway, and at Sheep Creek near Thane. Cohos can be intercepted as they return to Montana Creek, Cowee Creek, and Peterson Creek to spawn. Targeting cohos with large fly patterns or spinners is effective. Silver salmon fishing can be good into November, but typically peaks near the end of September. Saltwater fishing for cohos in August in area marine waters can also be quite productive, with fewer pinks around to steal your bait. Fishing for halibut is also decent during August and early September as these fish stay in the interior waters near Juneau to feed on salmon carcasses.
Chum(dog), and pink (humpies) salmon arrive in Juneau area marine waters during July, but usually have peaked by early August, except during odd years when higher pink salmon abundance may extend the season. Coho (silver) salmon fishing is great during August and September with peak marine catch rates occurring by about mid August and freshwater catch rates peaking mid-September into October. Some popular marine angling spots for coho salmon are the Breadline, North and South Shelter Island, Pt. Retreat, and the western shoreline of Admirlaty island. Cohos bound for Canada up the Taku River can also be caught at Pt. Salisbury, Pt. Bishop, and the backside of Douglas Island. These aggresive, hard-fighting salmon make great table fare and are also fun to catch in marine waters and in their natal streams.
Freshwater and Saltwater Shoreline Fishing
Many anglers consider August and September to be the best time for freshwater fishing in the Juneau area. Pink and chum salmon fishing can still be quite good during the first couple weeks of August. Some good fishing spots for pink and chum salmon include Cowee Creek, Echo Cove, Amalga Harbor, and Macauley Hatchery. Anglers in pursuit of coho salmon will find good fishing at Montana Creek, Lena Pt., Cowee Creek, Peterson Creek, Amalga Harbor, Macauley Hatchery, and at the new release site at the mouth Sheep Creek below the bridge. Remember that the bag limit for coho salmon in Juneau freshwater systems is 2 fish per day, 2 in possession. Six coho salmon can be kept daily with 12 in possession from saltwater, which is defined as those waters below mean low tide. Anglers are reminded to check the Sport Fishing Regulations summary booklet or contact the Juneau area office if they have any questions about regulations.
Trout and Char fishing
During late summer and fall, sea run Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout continue to follow the salmon into freshwater stream systems. These egg predators also feed on decaying salmon flesh, which provides additional nutrients to freshwaters and riparian zones stimulating periphyton and insect production. Salmon carcasses bring marine derived nutrients to stream systems that feed a variety of fish, birds, mammals and streamside vegetation for many months. Anglers can be succesful with egg patterns, beads, egg-sucking leaches, flesh imitation flies, small spinners and small spoons. Bag and possession limits for cutthroat trout are more restrictive and size restrictions apply. The regionwide regulations for cutthroat are 2 per day, 2 in possession, with a 14 inch minimum and 22 inch maximum length. Don’t assume that the water you are fishing falls under the regionwide regulations until you have checked to see if there are specific exceptions for that spot. Some popular fishing spots for Dollys and cutthroat trout include Montana Creek, Peterson Creek, Cowee Creek, Gastineau Channel, Auke Lake, and Windfall Creek (closed June and July) and lake.
Crab and Shrimp
Sport and Personal Use shrimp and king crab fishing is still closed in area waters closest to Juneau (11-A) due to low abundance, but Dungeoness and Tanner crabbing can be quite good in the Juneau Area during late summer and early fall. During this period these species are actively feeding on salmon carcasses washed out of the estuaries. For Tanner crab, August and September are also historically the months with the lowest levels of bitter tasting meat caused Bitter Crab Syndrome. Please check the Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet, or call the Juneau area Fish and Game office to determine which sport and personal use regulations apply, how many pots are allowed and how they should be configured, how to identify male crab, what sizes are legal, and what the daily bag and possession limits are for each species.