Fishing Updates From Around Alaska

Photo by Mike Lunde

The following press releases are courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Fishing Updates

Northern Kenai Fishing Report

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Regulation Reminders

  • Anglers are reminded to review Emergency Orders and News Releases and the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the Northern Kenai Peninsula Area before heading out on their next fishing trip.
  • Per Emergency Order No. 2-DV-1-04-18, effective January 1, 2018, the retention of Arctic char/Dolly Varden is prohibited in Stormy Lake to continue the restoration of native fish stocks.
  • Per Emergency Order No. 2-NP-1-03-18, effective January 1, 2018, in Soldotna Creek Drainage Lakes sport fishing will be permitted at East and West Mackey, Sevena, Union, and Derks lakes; however, the retention of all species of fish is prohibited at these lakes.
  • Many flowing waters closed May 1, 2018, to sport fishing by regulation in order to protect spawning fish. Anglers are reminded to check the current regulation booklet as the water they may intend to fish may be closed to ALL fishing.

Freshwater Fishing

Salmon

  • Fishing for early-run king salmon on the Kenai River is slow. Water conditions are low and clear.
  • Fishing for early-run king salmon on the Kasilof River is slow with a few king salmon being caught in the section of the river near the Crooked Creek State Recreation Site.
  • The Upper Kenai River and Russian River do not open to sport fishing until June 11.

Lake Fishing

  • Lake fishing for trout should be improving with warming lake temperatures.
  • Spirit (Elephant) and Island Lakes have recently been stocked with catchable Arctic char.
  • Johnson Lake has recently been stocked with catchable rainbow trout.

Personal Use

  • Hooligan fishing on the Kenai River has dropped off and is reported as slow.

Northern Pike

  • All lakes with developed public access on the Peninsula have had invasive pike removed.

Bristol Bay Fishing Report

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Regulation Reminders

Freshwater Fishing

  • All rivers and most lake are now ice free.

King Salmon

  • It is still early for king salmon in the Naknek and Alagnak drainages. Sport fishing should be productive by mid-June in the Naknek and late June in the Alagnak.
  • It is still early for king salmon in the Nushagak drainage. 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 inseason information will be available until after June 20. Productivity of Nushagak kings has been consistently fair to good in recent years; therefore, ADF&G is cautiously optimistic for a good return in 2018.
  • In the Togiak River and nearby drainages is it still early for king salmon. Sport fishing will not likely be productive until late June.

Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling

  • Most of the flowing waters of the Kvichak 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.
  • In the Togiak River and nearby drainages, there have been no angling fishing reports from this section, though opportunities should improve as ice recedes and waters warm.
  • In the Wood River Lakes system fishing should be good to excellent in and at the outlets of larger tributaries of the lakes.

Northern Pike

  • In the Naknek and Alagnak River drainages angling is good in the portions of the drainage that remain open to fishing.
  • In the Wood River Lake system fishing should be good along the lake and slough shores.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

  • In the Nushagak Bay area fishing should be fair off the coast of Protection Point.

Kodiak Fishing Report

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Regulation Reminders

  • Anglers are reminded to review Emergency Orders and News Releases for the Kodiak Area before heading out on their next fishing trip.
    • Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-4-06-18, effective June 1, 2018, in the Ayakulik River drainage, king salmon fishing is restricted to catch and release. All king salmon caught must be released without being removed from the water. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited and only one unbaited, single-hook artificial lures may be used.
    • Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-4-07-18, effective June 1, 2018, in the Karluk River drainage, including Karluk Lagoon, fishing for king salmon is closed. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited for all fishing downstream of Karluk Lake.
    • Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-4-08-18, effective June 1, 2018, Monashka Creek and Bay are closed to king salmon fishing. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited in Monashka Creek.
  • Anglers are reminded there are new rockfish regulations for the Kodiak Area.
    • The bag and possession limits for rockfish in Chiniak and Marmot Bays has been reduced to 3 per day, 6 in possession, only 2 per day, 4 in possession may be non-pelagic, and only 1 per day, 2 in possession may be a Yelloweye. Please review the 2018 Southwest Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for a detailed map of the affected area.

Freshwater Fishing

Salmon

  • The Buskin River weir is currently being installed but no fish have been counted yet. In recent years, the Buskin sockeye salmon run has peaked in the first week of June, but the run appears to be starting out slower this year.
  • The Karluk weir is also being installed right now but just a handful of sockeye and king salmon have been counted. Other weirs currently in place are Litnik and Ayakulik and just a few reds have been counted at these locations.
  • In anticipation of relatively poor returns in 2018, sport fishing for king salmon in the Karluk River drainage, including Karluk Lagoon, will be closed. In addition, the use of bait for all sport fishing is prohibited downstream of Karluk Lake and single hooks must be used.
  • Poor king salmon run returns are also expected this year for the Ayakulik River. Consequently, king salmon sport fishing is restricted to catch and release only. Bait is not allowed for any sport fishing during this time and only single hooks, artificial lures may be used.
  • In recent years, returns of stocked king salmon have been poor to Monashka Creek; however, returns have been excellent at the American and Olds Rivers. Poor returns are expected again this year; therefore, Monashka Creek and Bay are subsequently closed to king salmon fishing to aid in collection of brood stock for enhancement of road system king salmon runs. In addition, in Monashka Creek, bait may not be used, and only single hooks are allowed.
  • The freshwaters of Pillar Creek will be open to king salmon fishing, but the immediately adjacent saltwaters are closed.
  • King salmon should be returning to the American, Olds, and Salonie in good numbers, but look for these runs to start in mid-June.

Trout, Dolly Varden

  • Dolly Varden are leaving freshwaters and headed to the ocean for the summer. Recent fishing success has been reported in Buskin Lake and Buskin River. Look for areas where salmon fry congregate as dollies often feed on salmon fry as they make their way back to the ocean for the summer.
  • Other popular spots on the Buskin include the Beaver Pond and near the upper weir site.

Lake Fishing

  • This is an excellent time to fish our stocked lakes as rainbows are becoming more active as waters warm up and they begin to feed more actively. Visit lower elevation lakes first as fish will be more active in warmer waters.
  • Although ADF&G currently stocks only sterile juvenile trout, some lakes with a stocking history dating to the 1950s may also contain spawning populations of adult fish. Review the 2018 Southwest Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for a current list of stocked lakes as harvest of rainbow trout is only allowed in lakes that are currently stocked.
  • Rainbow trout typically spawn during the month of May, and anglers wishing to avoid catching these fish should target their efforts away from flowing waters into or out of lakes during that time.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

  • Few reports of anglers catching halibut have come in so far. Anglers should try fishing deeper waters in the 200-300 feet range or more for halibut this time of year.

Salmon

  • King salmon fishing has been reported to be good in the vicinity of Chiniak recently when the weather has allowed. Fishing should be picking up in the coming weeks as water temperatures warm.
  • Other popular spots to fish kings in May are Kalsin, Sharatin, and Kizhuyak Bays and in between Woody and Long Islands.

Other Saltwater Fishing

  • Black rockfish can be caught just out of the boat harbor near kelp beds along rock pinnacles and other natural or man-made structures. Rockfish are also frequently caught from shore at locations such as the outer reaches of White Sand beach and the breakwater barrier shielding St. Paul Harbor. Remember to check the current regulations for the area you intend to fish. Bag limits for rockfish have been reduced to 3 per day for pelagic rockfish in Chiniak and Marmot Bays.
  • Anglers are reminded that the lingcod season does not open until July 1.

Mat-Su Fishing Report

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Regulation Reminders

  • Anglers are reminded to review Emergency Orders and News Releases and the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the Northern Cook Inlet Area before heading out on their next fishing trip. The Regulation Summary booklet is available on the ADF&G website, ADF&G offices, and local vendors.
  • Anglers are reminded that flowing waters in the Palmer-Wasilla Zone are CLOSED to all fishing until June 15.
  • Many flowing waters along the Parks Highway are catch-and-release only for rainbow trout until June 15.
  • Anglers are advised that, in an effort to meet king salmon escapement goals in the Susitna River and Little Susitna River drainages, the following sport fishing restrictions are in effect May 1 – July 13:

Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-2-10-18, effective May 1, 2018, for Units 1-6 of the Susitna River drainage:

  • Sport fishing for king salmon (of any size) is open to catch-and-release in the Deshka and Yentna rivers.
  • Sport fishing for king salmon is closed in the remainder of the Susitna River drainage.
  • Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure is allowed in the Susitna River drainages. Single-hook means a fish hook with only one point. Treble hooks and more than one single-hook are prohibited.
  • Fishing for other species, including trout, will be allowed seven days per week, this includes the waters within Unit 2 that are normally closed during the king salmon season.

Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-2-09-18, effective May 1, 2018, for the Little Susitna drainage:

  • Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure is allowed in the Little Susitna River drainage. Single-hook means a fish hook with only one point. Treble hooks and more than one single-hook are prohibited.
  • Fishing for king salmon is allowed; however, king salmon may only be retained on FridaySaturdaySunday, and Monday in the Little Susitna River drainage. King salmon may not be retained on TuesdayWednesday, and Thursday and any king salmon caught on these days may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
  • The annual limit of two king salmon 20 inches or longer is areawide. The total annual limit of king salmon 20 inches or longer taken from fresh waters of Cook Inlet remains at five, which only two may be from the Little Susitna River drainage.
  • The Eklutna Tailrace is excluded from all king salmon emergency order restrictions.
  • Anglers are reminded that on the little Susitna River, a person may not sport fish from a boat that is powered by use of a motor, unless the motor is a 4-stroke motor or direct fuel injection 2-stroke motor. Anglers may use a boat powered by a non-direct fuel injected 2-stroke motor to access areas to sport fish from the bank but may not sport fish from the boat.

Freshwater Fishing

Salmon

  • A few kings have been caught at the mouth of the Deshka River. Fishing should pick up as the end of the month approaches.
  • The Deshka weir is in the process of being installed, fish counts will be available next week.
  • The Little Susitna weir is up and running, only six fish have been counted, king salmon fishing is slow. Harvest is only allowed Fridays, SaturdaySunday, and Mondays.
  • The Eklutna Tailrace should provide a lucky angler with the first king salmon of the season by this weekend.

Trout, Dolly Varden, Grayling

  • Parks Highway streams, including Willow Creek and streams to the north, are providing good action for rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, and Arctic Grayling. Try fishing fly patterns with a beaded head or leech patterns.
  • Reminder, Deception Creek is closed to all fishing until June 15.

Northern Pike

  • Anglers may retain as many pike as they can catch as there is no bag or possession limit. In the freshwaters of West Cook Inlet and Susitna River drainage, anglers are not allowed to release live pike back into the water.
  • Northern pike may be found in shallow, grassy waters where they should now be aggressively feeding following the spawn. Don’t forget to try a weedless leech. This is also a good time to try bow fishing.
  • For road-accessible pike fishing try the Nancy Lake Recreation Area lakes and Big, Prator, Memory, Anderson, and King lakes.
  • Boat-accessible pike fishing can be found in the side sloughs of the Deshka River, Alexander Creek, Fish Creek (Kroto Slough), and in Hewitt Lake.
  • For fly-in pike fishing try Alexander, Eightmile, Trapper, Flathorn and Sucker Lakes.

Lake Fishing

  • Lakes recently stocked with Arctic Char catchables include: Echo, Seventeenmile, Long Lake (Glenn Highway), Lynne, Memory, Prator, and Carpenter Lakes.
  • If you are looking for a good place to camp and fish a stocked lake try: South Rolly, Kepler/Bradley, Matanuska, Finger, Lucille, and Rocky.
  • Long Lake (Glenn HWY), Knob, and North Knob lakes have a few places you can camp which are considered un-developed.
  • If you want a 4-wheel adventure, try Ruby, and Wishbone Lakes.
  • Anglers can visit the ADF&G Hatcheries and Stocking webpage for more information regarding when and where fish are stocked.

Personal Use

  • Hooligan are in abundance this year along sand bars on the lower Susitna River. Dip them while you can. This run will begin to taper off at the end of May. There is no bag or possession limit for personal use hooligan.
  • This is a personal-use fishery and only Alaska residents can participate. No permit is required, but you do need a valid 2018 Alaska resident sport fishing license or an ADF&G Permanent fishing license ID card with you.

 

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