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.
August often brings rainy weather to Norton Sound, which affects water levels and clarity, but there is still good fishing to be found. Pink and king salmon fishing winds down in August in Norton Sound streams, but there are still some chum salmon around. August is coho salmon season, with good runs of these tough fighters found in freshwater rivers throughout the Sound, particularly in the Unalakleet and Fish River drainages but also Snake and Nome rivers. All types of flashy lures work, as does cured eggs behind a Spin-N-Glo, or just under a bobber. Coho salmon fishing is generally good throughout the month. Fishing for Dolly Varden picks up too as more fish enter freshwater rivers to spawn. Arctic grayling fishing can still be good and egg-imitation flies work really well now. Dry flies will still catch Arctic grayling as well, with the Fish/Niukluk, Snake, and Sinuk rivers being the best roadside streams to try. Fishing for northern pike should be good in the lower Pilgrim and Kuzitrin rivers as long as the water stays low and clear. In addition to typical pike hardware, fresh cut whitefish fished under a bobber works well.
Fishing for both Dolly Varden and Arctic grayling should be good throughout August, with the second (and generally larger) pulse of spawning Dolly Varden moving into the upper reaches and tributaries of the Noatak, Wulik, and Kivalina rivers. Towards the end of August, large groups of immature and non-spawning Dolly Varden (Dolly Varden only spawn every other year once they become sexually mature in Northwest Alaska) come in to these rivers to overwinter, and in the Wulik River this can number can be over 100,000 fish. Chum salmon are still moving into the Kobuk and Noatak rivers, however many fish tend to be in spawning colors now and are less palatable than July fish. The run will remain steady through most of August. Fishing for sheefish is very good throughout August, with most spawning fish in the river and most fish can be found upriver near spawning areas. 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 fishing in the lower Noatak, Kobuk, and Selawik rivers can still be good, with better fishing in slower off-channel sloughs and small lakes.