Eielson AFB-Area Waters To Open For Catch-And-Release Fishing

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

Eielson-Area Lakes and Streams Open to Catch-and-Release

(Fairbanks) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is continuing catch-and-release restrictions in several Eielson Air Force Base area water bodies contaminated with PFAS. The water bodies include Bear, Moose, and Polaris Lakes, Bathing Beauty Pond, Piledriver Slough, and Moose Creek. The emergency regulations are effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 1 through June 30, 2023.

In 2019 and 2020, surface waters from Bear, Moose, and Polaris Lakes and Bathing Beauty Pond exceeded current EPA and DEC action levels for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). High surface water concentrations can result in the bioaccumulation of PFAS in fish tissues to levels that may be unsafe for consumption. Therefore, Bear, Moose, and Polaris Lakes, and Bathing Beauty Pond are being restricted to catch-and-release fishing out of an abundance of caution. Stocking has been discontinued in these lakes, but they may still contain stocked species as well as northern pike. Catch-and-release allows some fishing opportunity while preventing public health issues by prohibiting the retention and consumption of these fish.

In 2021, fish and water tested from Piledriver Slough and Moose Creek were determined to be contaminated with PFAS. Portions of both Piledriver Slough and Moose Creek are within or immediately downstream of the known groundwater contamination plume associated with Eielson Air Force Base. To be consistent with the precautionary approach that has been used on contaminated stocked water bodies in the area, Piledriver Slough and Moose Creek are restricted to catch-and-release fishing for all fish species.

Numerous water bodies around the Fairbanks area provide ample opportunity to harvest fish. Anglers can reference the Alaska Lake Database to explore other fishing opportunities. For a listing of the stocked lakes in the Tanana River, drainage anglers can check pages 41-42 of the 2023 Northern Sport Fishing Regulation Summary Book or call the Fairbanks ADF&G office at (907) 459-7207.

For additional information, contact Andrew Gryska, Tanana Area Management Biologist, at (907) 459-7339 or andrew.gryska@alaska.gov.

For information specific to ground and surface water contaminants within, and adjacent to, Eielson Air Force Base, please contact the Department of Environmental Conservation at 907-451-2180, or visit their contaminated sites website for Eielson Air Force Base (alaska.gov). For information specific to human health and fish consumption, please contact the Department of Health, Environmental Public Health Program at (907) 269-8054, or visit their website.