Juneau Fishing Updates Include Salmon Restrictions

Fishing Updates from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game: 

JUNEAU

In the waters of northern District 9, District 10, District 11, District 12, southeast portion of Section 13C, Sections 14B and 14C, and District 15 south of the latitude of Sherman Rock:

  • From April 1, 2018 through June 14, 2018,
  • Retention of king salmon is prohibited. Any king salmon must be released immediately.

The 2018 preseason forecast for the total terminal run indicates that the Taku River escapement goal is unlikely to be met unless harvests of Taku River king salmon are reduced. Even with elimination of harvest the forecast indicates that the lower bound of the escapement goal may not be achieved. Therefore, a non-retention period is warranted in the time and area where these migrating fish are present.

Please note that additional restrictions will be implemented in the marine waters north of Juneau and the marine waters south of Juneau. Please see the News Release issued for Haines for further restrictions to District 15. Also, please see the News Release issued for the Petersburg area for further restrictions in Districts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Other Spring Fishing Opportunities

Steelhead Trout fishing

Most streams in Southeast support small annual returns (in the hundreds) of steelhead and thus can be vulnerable to over-fishing. Anglers are reminded that retention of steelhead in the Juneau area roadsystem freshwaters is prohibited. All steelhead caught must be released immediately.

Typically steelhead anglers begin fishing in late April through May. Often, entire days can be spent searching for a few quality “looks” at a fish, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time, because the fight of a fresh steelhead will make it all worthwhile. There are a number of streams on the Juneau road system that contain small runs of steelhead that are easily fishable. Keep in mind that all fish should be treated with great care regardless of size to ensure the best chances for survival upon release.

With the low steelhead production in Peterson Creek during the last few years, Juneau Sport Fish staff recommend foregoing a trip to Peterson this season in order to protect the spawners that do return. Most other area streams on the Juneau road system such as Cowee, Montana and Fish Creeks also produce a few steelhead. Steelhead prefer deeper water associated with cover, often becoming more active at dawn and dusk. Go mid-week, take your time and enjoy the solitude. You may be rewarded by a hook-up and explosive fight of a fresh steelie. Streamer flies made of Marabou with a touch of bright color can be effective. Attractor beads when used with a fly, lure, or bare hook must be either fixed within 2 inches of the fly, lure or hook, or be free sliding on the line or leader, by regulation.

Dolly Varden/cutthroat trout fishing

Anadromous Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout will soon begin to move into saltwater and will congregate at the mouths of local creeks such as Salmon Creek, Sheep Creek, and Cowee Creek to feed on these emigrating salmon smolts. Using small smolt imitation fly patterns or small spinners and spoons is the best way to catch these fish. There will also be some fish that do not leave their “over wintering” sites and head for the ocean. Known as “residents”, these fish stay in their home lake, pond, or stream the entire year. While these fish may move around in the system to take advantage of food or environmental conditions, they will be present for your fishing pleasure all year.

In all drainages crossed by the Juneau road system, as well as the saltwater adjacent to the Juneau road system to a line ¼ mile offshore, cutthroat and rainbow trout bag limits (in combination) are 2 daily, 2 in possession with a 14 inch minimum and 22 inch maximum size limit. Dolly Varden limits are 2 daily, 2 in possession, no size limit. Anglers should check the 2017 Southeast Alaska Sportfish Regulation Summary for special regulations specific to the stream or lake they intend to fish.

YAKUTAT

Steelhead Trout

Cold and relatively dry weather in the Yakutat Area has led to low water conditions in the Situk. Despite these low flow conditions, good numbers of Spring steelhead are showing up in the river. Most fish are spread throughout the system, primarily holding in deeper, more protected pools. Upper sections of the Situk are not holding many fish yet and it appears very few Fall fish are dropping out of the lake so far.

Some rain and clouds are in the forecast which should improve conditions and allow more fish to move up the river, and larger overnight tides should allow more steelhead into the system later this week and next.

As a reminder, the upper Situk closure area, 2 miles upstream of 9-mile bridge and 2 miles downstream from Situk Lake, will be closed from April 15 to May 15.

King Salmon

Sport fishing for king salmon is open in Yakutat Area marine waters. The following regulations are now in effect through May 3rd, 2019:

Residents:

  • Bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
  • Residents may use two rods when fishing for king salmon from October 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019. Residents using two rods may only retain king salmon.

Nonresidents:

  • Bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
  • From January 1 through June 30, 2018 the nonresident annual limit is three king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
  • From July 1 through December 31, 2018 the nonresident annual limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length, and any king salmon harvested January 1 through June 30 will apply to the one fish annual limit
  • Nonresidents shall immediately record, in ink, all king salmon harvested either on the back of their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.

Other Marine Fishing

Halibut fishing is just getting started and the lingcod season will start May 16th.

Nonpelagic rockfish regulations for Southeast Alaska outside waters, including the Yakutat area:

  • Alaska Residents: 1 non-pelagic rockfish per day, 1 in possession, no size limit
  • Nonresidents: 1 non-pelagic rockfish per day, 1 in possession, no size limit; annual limit of 1 yelloweye which must be recorded in ink on the back of the angler’s sport fishing license or harvest record card immediately at the time of harvest

Anglers are encouraged to use a rockfish release device whenever releasing nonpelagic rockfish. Please see the “Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary” or visit your local ADF&G office to see examples of rockfish release devices and learn about their use.

Regulation summaries and the most recent regulatory changes are available online and at the Yakutat ADF&G office, most local tackle and outdoor stores in Alaska.

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