Area Sport Fishing Reports

Archived Sport Fishing Report

July 06, 2023

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 (NW) and North Slope Management Area (NSMA).

  • Fishing for Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden has picked up in Norton Sound streams as the water warms up, and grayling are feeding on the surface now. Small spinners and smolt imitation flies will catch both species, and Arctic grayling can be caught on topwater flies and salmon egg imitations, as well.
  • Fishing for northern pike in the Pilgrim, Kuzitrin, Kobuk, and Selawik Rivers has been great as the water levels have dropped and fish have moved into off-channel habitats. Big spoons and soft baits work well for northern pike, as do large topwater lures and flies.
  • North Slope rivers are running low and clear in most places and fishing for Arctic grayling should be good.
  • Fishing for Arctic char, lake trout, and Arctic grayling in North Slope lakes has been good but the lake trout and Arctic char will move into deeper water as the temperatures rise.

Anadromous Species

  • Salmon have entered streams in the Norton Sound, but it will be another week or two before they arrive in Kotzebue area drainages.
  • Most counting projects for salmon in Norton Sound are up and running. Few pink, chum, and king salmon have been counted so far, but it is still early.
  • Sheefish have begun their upstream migration to the spawning grounds in the Kobuk and Selawik Rivers, and fish have been caught near the Kobuk River villages of Noorvik and Kiana.
  • Spawning runs of Dolly Varden will not begin upstream migration in Northwestern and North Slope rivers for another week or so. 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:

  • Emergency Order 3-KS-W-05-23 closes sport fishing for king salmon in all freshwaters from Bald Head to Point Romanof. This closure includes, but is not limited to, the Unalakleet, Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Ungalik, Inglutalik, and Golsovia river drainages. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used in these drainages. All king salmon caught incidentally in the waters described above while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

Additional Tips

  • 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 a current gently cradle the fish and move it slowly back and forth until it swims away under its own power.

ADF&G News

For More Information

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


Northwest Area Archives for:
Aug 09, 2023 Jul 06, 2023

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