Area Sport Fishing Reports
North Slope

Archived Sport Fishing Report

September 02, 2021

* Just a reminder to all anglers, please do your part to help slow the spread of Covid-19 by practicing social distancing while sport and personal use fishing as well as when shopping for fishing supplies from your local store, and by wearing a face covering when social distancing is not possible.

This report is intended for both the Northwest and the North Slope Management Areas.

Sport Fishing

Resident species

Rivers and lakes are open throughout the Northwest and North Slope Management Areas (NW/NSMA). Most rivers are running high due to recent rains and water clarity is poor in most areas.

Fishing for Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden has been slowing down in Norton Sound streams as these fish have a heathy abundance of salmon eggs to eat, but both species can still be caught as the water drops. Small spinners and jigs will catch both species, as will egg imitation flies.

Fishing for northern pike should be good in the Pilgrim-Kuzitrin River complex, and in off-channel habitats of the larger Noatak, Kobuk, and Selawik Rivers. Big spoons and soft baits work well, as does large topwater lures and flies.

Fishing for Arctic grayling in North Slope streams should be good in upstream summer feeding areas, particularly in the Colville River drainage.

Fishing for lake trout and Arctic char in North Slope lakes can be slow but success can be had at deeper lakes. Remember that these populations are generally slow-growing and can support only minimal harvests. Fishing for lake trout in lakes extending 5 miles on either side of the Dalton Highway is catch-and-release only.

Anadromous species

Most salmon enumeration projects are down for the season due to high water and runs of all species except coho salmon are about over. While escapement data is limited, evidence from the subsistence, commercial, and sport fisheries suggest coho salmon runs are healthy and no restrictions are anticipated. These runs peak in mid- to late-August and continue through September.

Sheefish have nearly completed their upstream migration to the spawning grounds in the Kobuk and Selawik Rivers, and fish will remain near the spawning areas until mid-September, upon which they will quickly migrate downstream Hotham Inlet to overwinter.

Similarly, spawning Dolly Varden have begun upstream migration in Northwestern and North Slope rivers, and will remain on or near the spawning grounds until mid-September. Reports from the Nimiuktuk, Kelly, and Kugururok Rivers, all tributaries of the Noatak River, indicate fish are available and 3–12-pound fish can be caught. The Noatak and Wulik Rivers are the most popular spots for large Dolly Varden, with fish over 12 pounds possible in both drainages.

Emergency Orders

Please review the Emergency Orders and Advisory Announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip:

For More Information

Call the Northwest and North Slope Area Management Biologist at (907) 459-7268.

Additional Tips

Don’t forget to bring your 2021 sport fishing license. Help maximize social distancing by purchasing your sport fishing license at the ADF&G Online Store and print it off from the comfort of your home. Also, be sure to review Emergency Orders and the 2021 Northern Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet for the area you are fishing in before you head out.

Because fish typically grow and reproduce more slowly at high latitudes and elevations, please use proper techniques when engaging in catch-and-release in order to ensure the survival of the released fish such as:

  • Use lures with a single hook and crimp down the barb. Do not use bait.
  • Land the fish with a soft net and keep the fish in the water when removing the hook.
  • To release the fish, hold it gently facing into the current or in water without current gently cradle the fish and move it slowly back and forth until it swims away under its own power.


North Slope Area Archives for:
Sep 02, 2021 Aug 03, 2021 Jul 06, 2021 Jun 08, 2021

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