Area Sport Fishing Reports
November through February Season
Don't forget: your fishing license expires 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 regulation booklets are good through April 15. Look for new booklets in early April.
Rainbow Trout - Flowing Waters
Rainbow trout fishing on the flowing waters in the ice-covered months should be good to excellent. Look for trout in the deeper pools and side-sloughs, and be sure your hole is marked well, and off the usual snowmachine trails. Watch out for areas of overflow. Also keep in mind that most of the flowing waters are single-hook and no bait. Remember, Montana Creek, Willow Creek and the North Fork of the Kashwitna River are catch-and-release only for rainbow trout and grayling, except that in Willow Creek upstream of the Parks Highway bridge, 1 rainbow trout less than 16 inches long is allowed daily.
Once lake ice is safe enough for travel (6 inches of clear ice for foot traffic, 12 inches for vehicle), ice fishing is usually great on the area's many stocked lakes. Beware! Ice thickness can vary widely from system to system, and travel on the ice is at your own risk. ADF&G does not monitor ice thickness. For ice and snow pack conditions on state lands, call Alaska State Parks in Palmer at (907) 745-3975.
A few lakes are stocked for winter ice fishing, usually sometime in late October or early November. Anglers can check the status of the lake by using the stocking database on our website. The web pages also have links to maps of the area's stocked lakes. You can also find a listing of stocked lakes in the regulation booklet. Remember the limit for rainbow trout in stocked lakes is 5 fish per day (of which only one may be over 20 inches).
Jig lures or lower bait (if allowed) near drop off areas and areas of underwater contours for rainbow trout and catchable salmon. The more popular baits include fresh (not frozen) cocktail shrimp, canned clams, single salmon eggs, or preserved salmon egg clusters. For lake trout/char, fish the bottom of the deepest hole you can find. Some lakes have more restrictive tackle and bag limits than others, please check the regulations before you head out to fish.
Only 2 trout may be harvested in lakes having native trout populations. A stocked lake handout is available from Department of Fish and Game offices in Palmer and Anchorage to assist you in finding good angling opportunities.
Pike fishing success is great during ice fishing season. For road-accessible pike fishing, try South Rolly, Tanaina, Long and Memory lakes. For fly-in or snowmachine-in pike fishing, it's hard to beat Alexander and Trapper lakes. Pike are also to be found in Flathorn, Sucker and Eightmile lakes.
Pike respond well to decoys, shiny silver jigs, and lures through the ice. Check the regs before you use bait. Where bait is allowed, chunks of herring work well, and whole sardines or hooligan.
There are many lakes where using 5 lines through the ice is legal for pike. Check the reg book, or visit the Pike Page on our website. Also when pike fishing through the ice anglers may use two hooks on a single line, provided that both hooks are attached to one single piece of bait.
A handout describing the Pike Fisheries in the Mat-Su area is available at department offices in Anchorage and Palmer.
Again, ice thickness is not monitored by ADF&G. The Susitna Flats Game Refuge is closed to motorized vehicles until there is 12 inches of snow atop 12 inches of frozen ground. Call Alaska State Parks in Palmer at (907) 745-3975 for more info on snow cover and ice thickness on state lands. For other lands, try to find a local source of info, such as lodges and private property owners.