Area Sport Fishing Reports
June through July Season
Summer brings an increase in fishing opportunities as salmon begin to migrate into local watersheds on their way to natal spawning grounds or hatchery release sites. During this time large numbers of king salmon, pink salmon, and chum salmon can be found throughout the Juneau area. Saltwater king salmon fishing opportunities include; Auke Bay, Fritz Cove Road, North Douglas, and Gastineau Channel. These areas host good catch rates as large numbers of hatchery king salmon move through the area on their return to hatchery release sites at DIPAC, Fish Creek pond, and the mouth of Auke Creek. These king salmon may be targeted in all saltwater areas and freshwater drainages along the Juneau road system icnluding Fish Creek and Fish Creek pond. Sockeye salmon can be found at Windfall Creek where sport fishing is prohibited from June 1st – July 31st, except for Wednesdays and Saturdays during the month of June. Pink and chum salmon can be found in large numbers near the mouths of freshwater streams as they begin their spawning migration. Pink salmon are notoriously aggressive and make up the largest runs of any species of Pacific salmon. During this time, Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout can be found in Cowee Creek, Montana Creek and Sheep Creek as they move upstream to coincide with the arrival of the salmon. Halibut fishing begins to pick up during this time and halibut can be found in Icy Straits, North Pass, Halibut Cove, and the reefs north of Shelter Island.
Coho (silver), chum (dog), and pink (humpies) salmon arrive in Juneau area marine waters during June and July. Marine harvest rates for chum and pink salmon peak around the end of July to the first of August. Coho salmon fishing is generally excellent later in the year but cohos will start to show up in the marine fisheries in mid-summer. King salmon are also present in good numbers near the hatchery release sites. Some popular marine angling spots are the Breadline, Pt. Salisbury, Pt. Bishop, the backside of Douglas Island, North and South Shelter Island, and Pt. Retreat.
Anglers usually harvest salmon in marine waters by trolling or mooching herring, hoochies, flies, or plugs. Trolling involves actively pulling terminal fishing gear through the water fast enough to provide a spin or roll which imitates a wounded baitfish. Mooching is done from an anchored or drifting boat and is an effective technique when fishing in medium to strong currents. This type of fishing involves jigging or mooching gear that allows the gear to flutter and drift with the current.
Freshwater and Saltwater Shoreline Fishing
Many anglers consider late July through September to be the best time to fish freshwater streams in the Juneau area. Pink and chum salmon fishing is excellent during the last few weeks of July and first couple weeks of August. Some good fishing spots for pink and chum salmon include Cowee Creek, Echo Cove, Amalga Harbor, and Macauley Hatchery. Freshwater anglers have success with spinners, spoons, and flies. Hardware anglers typically use bright colors, but can also have good luck with silver or black. Fly anglers will have good luck with red, orange, black, or green colored streamers, egg sucking leaches, and egg patterns. Try a variety of retrieves from “dead” drifting along the bottom to quick strips of the line across the upper part of the water column. Following Board of Fisheries action taken during January of 2015, freshwater drainages crossed by the Juneau Road System that are open to sport fishing were opened year-round to king salmon fishing with a bag and possession limit of 4 fish of any size. King salmon caught by nonresidents in these drainages do not count toward their annual limit. In addition, liberlized methods and means went into effect for Fish Creek Pond from June 1- August 31. Please consult the Southeast Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet for these regulations.
Although saltwater shoreline catch rates for king salmon have generally ended by the first week of June, good catches of hatchery king salmon in good condition can often be had at the mouth of Fish Creek on Douglas and along the shoreline at DIPAC from mid to late June. Casting with large spoons or sinners or mooching with plugs will often entice a strike. Snagging is prohibited in saltwater at the mouth of Auke Creek, at the mouth of Fish Creek, at the mouth of Peterson Creek, and off the Gastineau Channel Wayside Park fishing dock.
Trout and Char fishing
During the summer months, sea run Dolly Varden follow salmon from marine waters into freshwater systems. “Dollys” are often associated with spawning salmon and can be seen feeding on salmon eggs. Anglers are successful with egg imitation patterns like beads or egg sucking leaches. Dolly Varden also actively feed on salmon carcasses and are often taken with flesh imitation flies. Anglers using spinning tackle can have success with small spinners, pixies and other spoons.
Sea run cutthroat trout can be found near stream mouths and along area shorelines. The abundance of sea run cutthroat trout is low compared to sea run Dolly Varden, so bag and possession limits are more restrictive and size restrictions apply. The regulations for cutthroat are 2 per day, 2 in possession, with a 14 inch minimum and 22 inch maximum length. Please check the regulation summary booklet for the watershed you are fishing for trout regulations. Similar techniques used for harvesting Dolly’s can be effective while fishing for sea-run cutthroat. Some popular fishing spots for Dollys and cutthroat trout include Montana Creek, Peterson Creek (including the saltchuck), Cowee Creek, Gastineau Channel, Auke Lake, and Windfall Creek (closed June and July) and Windfall Lake.
Some freshwater opportunities exist for trout and char that are partially or completely isolated from marine waters. On the Juneau road system, these systems include Peterson Creek (above the falls) and lake, Cropley Lake, Salmon Creek Reservoir (brook trout), Dredge Lakes, and Fish Creek above Eaglecrest Road. Dolly Varden and trout caught in these systems are generally small (6” – 10”) and are mostly considered to be resident fish.
Crab and Shrimp
Fishing for Dungeoness and Tanner crab is open in the the immediate Juneau area. King crab and shrimp fishing in the area closest to Juneau (Section 11-A) are currently closed due to low abundance. Opportunites to fish for these species exist outside the immediate Juneau area but there are limited bag and possession limits. Anglers should check with the Juneau area Fish and Game office to determine which sport and personal use regulations apply before setting pots.