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Area Sport Fishing Reports

September 2, 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.

Sport Fishing

Resident freshwater species

Arctic Grayling

Despite recent rain showers, rapid-runoff streams such as Nome Creek and the Ikhèenjik River (Birch Creek), which can be accessed from the Steese Highway, are running clear and offer excellent fishing opportunities for Arctic grayling. In Nome Creek, only catch-and-release fishing for Arctic grayling is allowed. Conditions are similar for streams within the Fortymile River drainage, which can be accessed from the Taylor Highway and drainages along the Dalton Highway such as the Jim and Kanuti Rivers. However, additional rain showers are forecasted for these areas. In early autumn as water levels drop and ambient temperatures cool, Arctic grayling will slowly migrate to downstream areas to overwinter.

Popular gear used to capture Arctic grayling are shiny spoons when the streams are wide enough and colorful jigs for narrower streams and creeks.

Watch the ADF&G video, How to Fish for Arctic Grayling, for helpful tips on technique and gear.

Northern Pike

Sport fishing for northern pike is good in slower moving waters. Popular fishing locations for large northern pike are at the mouths of major tributaries that drain into the mainstem Yukon River. The Innoko, Nowitna, and Dall Rivers are known to contain large northern pike. Fishing guides who operate on the Innoko and Nowitna Rivers report that at this time of year fewer but larger fish are typically caught. Similar to Arctic grayling, with the coming of autumn and cooler temperatures, northern pike will move to overwintering areas in lower river tributaries, lakes, or the mainstem Yukon River. Popular lures that fishers have reported success in capturing northern pike include buzzbait, booyah, jitterbugs, shiny spoons, and shads.


Sheefish spawn during late September and early October and are currently entering their spawning tributaries of the Sulukna [Nowitna], Innoko, and Alatna Rivers, and Yukon Flats. Prior to spawning, they will mill in back eddies and nearby river confluences (i.e. Porcupine River). Large, shiny and/or colorful spoons are popular lures for capturing sheefish such as crocodiles, pixies, and daredevils as well as various shads that mimic juvenile prey.


King Salmon

The king salmon run has essentially concluded in the Yukon River. However, even for the trickle that remains, sport fisheries for king salmon remain closed throughout the Yukon Management Area (excludes the Tanana River) because of the continuing closure of the subsistence fishery due to a poor run.

Chum Salmon

Sport fisheries for summer chum salmon were closed throughout the Yukon Management Area (excludes the Tanana River) as of July 2, 2021. The summer chum salmon run was the lowest on record and subsistence fishing was closed. The fall chum salmon run strength usually mirrors that of summer chum salmon and is also the lowest on record. Therefore, the subsistence and sport fisheries will remain closed for all chum salmon for the remainder of 2021.

Coho Salmon

This year’s coho salmon run is trending to be the lowest on record. As of August 31, 25,818 coho salmon have been counted past the Pilot Station sonar, which is well-below the median cumulative of 130,034. In order to ensure these fish reach their spawning areas, the sport fishery was closed on August 26 and subsistence closures have been implemented on gear and fishing times in order to conserve chum and coho salmon.

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-Y-2-2021 closes the Yukon River drainage excluding the Tanana River drainage, to sport fishing for king salmon.
  • Emergency Order 3-CS-Y-1-2021 closes the Yukon River drainage excluding the Tanana River drainage, to sport fishing for chum salmon.
  • Emergency Order 3-SS-Y-1-2021 closes the Yukon River drainage excluding the Tanana River drainage, to sport fishing for coho salmon.

For More Information

Call the Yukon Area Management Biologist at (907) 459-7202 if you have any additional questions.

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.


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