Area Sport Fishing Reports
Note: Presence of a particular fish species does not necessarily mean that it is legal to fish for that species. In addition, some waters have terminal tackle restrictions and all have bag and possession limits that may differ between drainages. Please consult current sport fishing regulations for the waters in which you plan to fish.
Sometimes sport fishing regulations are modified inseason, usually in the case of salmon. Please review these “Emergency Orders” prior to wetting your line.
Chum, pink, and king salmon can all be found now in Norton Sound streams, with the king and pink salmon runs peaking in mid-July and the chum salmon run peaking a bit later. Pink salmon runs are generally very strong in even years. Coho salmon start entering freshwater in late-July but typically don’t peak until mid-August. Spoons, spinners, and flashy flies should work well for chum, pink, and coho salmon, with both pink and coho salmon occasionally caught on large floating flies retrieved quickly. Fishing for Dolly Varden and Arctic grayling should continue to be good. Try using small jigs and smolt-imitation flies. Dry flies will catch Arctic grayling as well, with the Fish/Niukluk, Snake, and Sinuk rivers being the best roadside Arctic grayling streams. Fishing for northern pike should be good in the lower Pilgrim and Kuzitrin rivers as long as the water stays low and clear. Burbot fishing is generally poor in Norton Sound streams, but there are a few to be caught in the Fish, Pilgrim, and Kuzitrin rivers with fresh bait fished on the bottom.
Fishing for both Dolly Varden and Arctic grayling should be good throughout July, with the first pulse of spawning Dolly Varden moving into the upper reaches and tributaries of the Noatak, Wulik, Kivalina rivers. These fish can be 15 pounds or more and be quite aggressive. Large runs of chum salmon move into the Kobuk and Noatak rivers in early July, and the run will remain strong through most of August. Sheefish begin their spawning migrations in the Kobuk and Selawik rivers at this time as well, but typically don’t reach their spawning areas upriver in large numbers until August. Juvenile sheefish (12-20 inches) can be caught in the lagoon near Kotzebue all summer. Spoons and soft rubber lures work best, fished close to the bottom. Northern pike in the lower Noatak, Kobuk, and Selawik rivers will hit these lures as well, as will the occasional lake trout that drop out of headwater lakes of the Noatak and Kobuk to feed. Lake trout fishing in the larger lakes (Walker, Selby, and Minakokosa) can be good all summer, with fish over 20 pounds available.