Area Sport Fishing Reports
Upper Copper/Upper Susitna
July 17, 2019
Copper River Chitina Subdistrict is currently open and will remain open through at least Sunday July 28th at 11:59 p.m. Dipnetters may retain a king salmon during the fishery. Parking remains extremely limited at O’Brien Creek and there is no boat launching there. The Copper River water levels have subsided but remain generally high and fluctuations of 1 -3 feet in a day may still occur. Dip net reports indicate fishing is good in the canyon and king salmon are still relatively abundant in the fishery.
ADF&G encourages and advises all dipnetters to exercise caution and safety when accessing the Copper River and to wear life jackets whether fishing from a boat or shore.
Lake trout fishing continues to be productive in area lakes, but higher temperatures are still forcing these fish into deeper, colder waters.
King salmon fishing in the Gulkana River is about done with most fish already past the ADF&G counting tower or in the West Fork. However, anglers are still being successful. So if you enjoy the clear waters of the Gulkana River it is still possible to land a king salmon there. Water temperatures have come down to the low 60’s. We still recommend anglers limit their catch and release fishing. Water levels remain at historic lows on the Gulkana River and even boaters well experienced with the river are finding travel challenging. Remember when fishing below the Richardson Highway Bridge you are limited to unbaited, artificial flies only.
Beginning on Saturday, July 20 the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon will increase to 6 fish per day. Passage by Miles Lake sonar remains above projected and over passage is expected to exceed to the upper bound of the Copper River sockeye salmon escapement goal.
The Klutina River is still running high and hindering harvest of sockeye and king salmon. However, the river level is gradually dropping, and it is expected that salmon holding in the Copper River due to high flows will now start moving into the Klutina and Tonsina rivers. The best fishing for king salmon on the Klutina continues to be in the upper reaches of the river and in the Tonsina River both the lower River near the Edgerton Highway and the middle portion of the river between the Richardson Highway and the Alyeska Pipeline crossing. Remember that on the Tonsina River you must be ¼ mile upstream or downstream of any tributary to legal fish for king salmon.
The continued hot clear days in the Copper Basin have warmed area streams and lakes to above average temperatures. As a result you will find Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden holding in deeper pools and the largest fish moving into the upper reaches of area streams to access cooler waters. Fishing along the Denali Highway, where many streams and small lakes provide for fun angling and a chance to fry up a day’s catch over the fire, continues to be good, but look to those cooler places for the really big fish.
Check our roadside guide for fishing in the Upper Copper Upper Susitna Management Area. It lists nearly every sport fishery in the area, species present and milepost location.
All roadside stocked waters have fresh fish in them ready to be caught. We stock rainbow trout, Arctic grayling and Arctic char in area lakes. Several lakes are a short walk (under a mile) from the road and these are underutilized by the public. What that means is those fish are hungry and ready to be caught. Bring a pack raft or small canoe to really enjoy these off-the-road lakes.