Area Sport Fishing Reports

March through April Season

Don't forget: your fishing license expired Dec. 31! A sport fishing license makes a great gift - one that lasts all year. (Neither the ADF&G Permanent ID license nor the ADF&G Disabled Veteran's license expire.)

The sport fishing regulations are good through April 15 of the new year. Look for new booklets in late March or early April.

Ice Fishing

Early spring ice fishing is slow for landlocked salmon, but can be decent for rainbow trout and pike. You can check the stocking records on our website to find out which lakes were stocked for ice fishing. The web pages also have links to maps of the area’s stocked lakes, showing the contours of the lakebed. You can also find a listing of stocked lakes in the regulation booklet.

Although the ice usually does not break up until mid-May, mild winters or unusually warm temperatures may weaken the ice in March and April. Be sure to chop or drill test holes before going out too far on the ice. Once the ice does melt, it usually melts near the shoreline first. Casting over these open water leads towards the edge of the receding ice is usually the avid angler’s first fishing experience of the year.

Jigging lures or using bait near drop off areas still works well for rainbow trout and catchable salmon. The more popular baits include fresh (not frozen) cocktail shrimp, single eggs, or preserved egg clusters. For lake trout/char, fish the bottom of the deepest hole you can find. Corn is not recommended, because it can clog up the digestive tract of fish. If you release a fish, or if other fish feed on the corn, they may die. Tossing a few eggshells through the hole helps with visibility.

Travel on the ice is at your own risk. Ice thickness can vary widely from system to system. ADF&G does not monitor ice thickness. Sometimes the manager of the land around the lake does that, as time allows.

  • For ice conditions on Municipality of Anchorage lakes try the Municipality Parks and Recreation at (907) 343-4474.
  • For lake ice and snowpack conditions on Fort Richardson Army Base, try (907) 384-2744.
  • For lake ice and snowpack conditions on Elmendorf Air Force Base, try (907) 552-2282 or 2436.
  • For ice and snow pack conditions in Chugach State Park, call (907) 345-5014.

Unless an Emergency Order has been issued, the limit for rainbow trout in stocked lakes and streams is 5 fish per day, and only 1 trout can be over 20 inches. You may have 5 unpreserved rainbow trout in your possession. The limit for catchable salmon in stocked lakes is 5 fish per day, and you may have only 5 unpreserved landlocked salmon in your possession. The limit for Dolly Varden/Arctic Char in stocked lakes is 5 per day/5 in possession.

Every year, ice fishing anglers are ticketed for having more than their daily limit of fish. Don’t be a statistic! It’s 5 trout and 5 salmon and 5 char per day, NOT PER LAKE/STREAM!

Only 2 trout per person per day may be kept from lakes or streams that are not stocked.

Northern Pike

Pike fishing success is great in late winter and early spring. Pike are spring spawners, often spawning under the ice. Before spawning, pike are very active, and actively chase shiny lures and jigs. Head to Lower Fire Lake which is the only lake where pike should be found in Anchorage. Eradication efforts have taken place in all other Anchorage lakes where ADF&G had previously confirmed pike had been introduced. Spearing is legal, as is bow and arrow fishing. The arrow must have a barbed tip, and be attached to the bow by a line.

We appreciate all your help in controlling this illegally-introduced species. There is no bag limit for northern pike in Anchorage area waters. If you don’t want to use the pike you catch, we suggest contacting a local charity to see if they would appreciate a donation of fresh fish. Many pike recipes can be found on the Internet. ADF&G also has a handout with two recipes, as well as pike fishing tips and a listing of all known or suspected pike waters.

People who are dumping pike into local waterways are a real threat to your recreational fisheries. Anyone with any information on illegal stockings is encouraged to contact Fish and Wildlife Safeguard at 1-800-478-3377 or State Troopers’ Fish and Wildlife Protection at (907) 269-5954 or 269-5541.

Rainbow Trout/Dolly Varden - Flowing Waters

March and April usually see the end of the ice-covered months on the area’s flowing waters. The ice on Campbell Creek is often unsafe in March and April.

Once open water develops, look for deep pools or beaver ponds, and cast your small lure or fly through those. Fishing success will go down if the water is muddy from snowmelt.

Upstream of the forks near Piper Street, no bait is allowed, and you must use single hooks – no treble hooks or multiple hooks. Also upstream of the forks, Campbell Creek is catch-and-release only for rainbows. Daily limits are the same as for stocked lakes.

Hooligan (Eulachon/Smelt)

Although it technically opens April 1, the hooligan run to the Twentymile River usually does not pick up until late April. The run usually peaks in mid- to late May, and the season closes in salt waters on May 31, and June 15 for fresh waters.

All hooligan runs are very changeable in size and timing. You must be an Alaska resident to use a dipnet to catch hooligan. You must also have your fishing license (or ADF&G Permanent ID Card or ADF&G Disabled Veteran’s Card, as appropriate). Dipping on the rising tide just after a rain usually gives the best success, since hooligan seem to wait for high water. Check your local newspaper for the Anchorage tides, and add about 45 minutes to the high tide time to get the time of high tide at Twentymile.March through April