Bristol Bay Fishing Update


Photo by Scott Haugen

The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Bristol Bay Fishing Report for the week of May 25th

Fresh Waters

  • All rivers and most lakes are now ice free or nearly ice free.

King Salmon

  • Naknek River and Alagnak River Drainages
    • It is still very early for kings in the Naknek River and Alagnak River Drainages. Sport fishing should be productive by mid-June in the Naknek River and late June in the Alagnak River.
  • Nushagak River Drainage
    • It is still very early for kings. Sport fishing should be productive by mid-June.
    • The sonar is scheduled to be operational approximately June 5. Management will be in accordance with the Nushagak/Mulchatna King Salmon Management Plan. No substantial in-season information will be available until after June 20. Productivity of Nushagak River kings has been consistently good in recent years; therefore, ADF&G is cautiously optimistic for a good return in 2017.
  • Togiak River and Nearby Drainages
    • It is still very early for kings in the Togiak River. Sport fishing will not likely be productive until late June.

Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling

  • Naknek River and Alagnak River Drainages
    • Most of the flowing waters of the Kvichak River and Alagnak River Drainages and portions of the Naknek River Drainage remain closed to all fishing until June 8, to protect spawning rainbow trout.
    • On the Naknek River, angling is fair to good in the portions of the drainage that remain open to fishing.
  • Togiak River and Nearby Drainages
    • There have been no angling reports from this section, though opportunities should improve as waters warm.
  • Wood River Lakes System
    • Angling is good to excellent in and at the outlets of larger tributaries of the lakes. However, the upper lakes are still partially ice covered and access by boat is limited.

Northern Pike

  • Naknek River and Alagnak River Drainages
    • Angling should be good in the portions of the drainage that remain open to fishing.
  • Wood River Lake System
    • Angling should be good along lake and slough shores as the ice recedes. However, the upper lakes are still partially ice covered and access by boat is limited.

Salt Waters


  •  Nushagak Bay
    • Angling should be fair to very good off the coast of Protection Point.

Here’s also an Anchorage-area preview:

Week of May 25 to May 31

General Area Description: All waters draining into the east side of Knik arm south of, and including, the Eklutna River drainage, and all waters draining into the north and west sides of Turnagain Arm, and all waters draining into the south side of Turnagain Arm east of, and including, Ingram Creek.

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

  • Ship Creek is currently open to salmon fishing from the mouth to a cable 100 feet below the Chugach Power Plant Dam.
  • Campbell Creek (entire drainage) is closed to fishing April 15 through June 14.
  • Chester Creek (entire drainage) is closed to fishing April 15 through June 14.
  • Bird Creek (entire drainage) is closed to fishing January 1 through July 13.
  • Symphony Lake is closed to fishing May 1 through June 30.
  • Eagle River (entire drainage) is closed to king salmon fishing. A section between the Bailey Bridge to an ADF&G marker at the Alaska State Park’s Campground will open to king salmon fishing on a weekend basis beginning Memorial Day Weekend.

New Regulations

  • The NEW 2017 sport fishing regulation summary is available online and at local vendors!
  • Ship Creek is closed YEAR ROUND to ALL fishing from 100 feet below the Chugach Power Plant Dam upstream to 300 feet above the Elmendorf Power Plant Dam, near the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery.
  • A Ship Creek Youth-only king salmon fishery will take place on June 17 from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The area open to youth only is from the C Street Bridge upstream to the Bridge Restaurant. During this timeframe adults may assist youth fishing but only anglers 15 years old and younger may fish in this area.
  • Campbell Creek from ADF&G markers on the upstream side of the Lake Otis Parkway Bridge to an ADF&G maker located near the forks at Piper Street is only open to sport fishing from July 14 through September 30.

Fishing Tip: Before you go fishing ALWAYS review the 2017 Sport Fishing Regulations. For additional information about regulations in the Anchorage Area, please review the 2017 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet.

Sport fishing licenses, king salmon stamps, Personal Use Dipnet, and Prince William Sound Shrimp Permits are available for purchase online at the ADF&G Online Store.

Stream Fishing


  • Kings have been caught at Ship Creek! The run is building so you still have lots of time to get your 2017 catch!
  • Right now Ship Creek is the only stream in the Anchorage area currently open to king salmon fishing. Fishing on Ship Creek is open from the mouth up to a cable crossing roughly 100 feet below the Chugach Power Plant dam. Try both roe and spinners.
  • All other waters in the Anchorage Management Area are currently closed to king salmon fishing.
  • If you are successful and would like to report a catch please contact the Sport Fish Information Center at 267-2218.

Fishing Tip: It has been a long winter. Brush up on your fish identification before you head out fishing. Test your fish identification knowledge with the new Pacific Salmon ID Quiz.


  • All of Campbell Creek, Chester Creek, and portions of Ship Creek are currently closed to fishing to protect spawning rainbow trout. The closure on Chester Creek includes East Chester Lagoon, West Chester Lagoon, and APU/University Lake.

Lake Fishing


  • Arctic char were stocked into Sand Lake, Fish Lake, Thompson Lake, Green Lake, and Clunie Lake last week.
  • Rainbow trout have been stocked into Sand Lake, Taku-Campbell Lake, Delong Lake, Campbell Point Lake, Jewel Lake, Spring Lake, Triangle Lake, Waldon Lake, Green Lake, and Hillberg Lake.
  • Airstrip Lake, Alder Lake, and Tangle Lake were stocked at the end of last week.
  • Cheney Lake was stocked with Chinook salmon at the beginning of April.
  • Try casting small lures or wet flies to attract fish. Bait under a bobber is also a good option. In the evening, watch for fish rising, as this is a great time to fish with dry and surface flies.
  • Taku-Campbell Lake is one great place to take the kids for some rainbow trout action!
  • Anglers can visit ADF&G’s Hatcheries and Stocking web page for more information regarding when and where fish are stocked.
  • Often after fish are stocked, they remain in large schools. Spend some time searching for these schools.

Have you noticed a few dead fish washed up along the shores of local lakes this spring? Some winter kill has been observed at Mirror Lake. Don’t be alarmed! Our lakes often see winterkill of some fish. Winterkill is used to describe fish dying because of low oxygen levels. This is a natural process! In the summer, submerged plants and algae create oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. During our long and cold Alaska winters, when lakes freeze over and are covered with snow, very little light makes its way to the vegetation below, reducing and sometimes eliminating oxygen production. In small shallow lakes the limited oxygen can quickly be used up by fish and bacteria. When oxygen levels decline far enough, fish may not survive. Given the long winter and thick ice we just had, some of our lakes may have experienced winterkill.

Fishing Tip: To improve your success in local stocked lakes review the lake bathymetric (bottom depth profile) map online. This will help you determine what type of fish you are fishing for and where they might be. Often a little walk or getting away from the pack will provide rewards.

Northern Pike

  • There are very few opportunities for Northern Pike in Anchorage as they are not native to the region. ADF&G has taken steps to keep pike out of Anchorage lakes. Lower Fire Lake is the closest place to find Northern pike in the Anchorage Area. If you catch a Northern Pike in the Anchorage area, please contact the ADF&G Division of Sport Fish immediately at 267-2218.


  • Open season for hooligan (smelt) in salt waters is April 1 through May 31; in fresh waters, it is April 1 through June 15. There is no bag or possession limit for personal use smelt. Hooligan may be taken by dip net in any fresh or salt water during this time period.
  • This is a personal-use fishery and only Alaska residents can participate. No permit is required, but you do need a 2017 Alaska resident sport fishing license or ADF&G Permanent ID card with you.

20 Mile River

  • The hooligan are in and it’s a busy place. Lots of fish are being caught!
  • The salt water section of this fishery closes on Wednesday, May 31. The fresh waters remain open through June 15.
  • For your safety, and for the safety of others, please park well off the highway. Do not trespass on the railroad tracks or the railroad right-of-way. Please be respectful and take all your trash with you, don’t throw it on the ground.
  • For more information on hooligan dipnetting and hooligan dipnetting regulations, see the 2017 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations summary booklets.