Grayling Bite Solid Around Tanana’s Rivers

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

Tanana Fishing Report

May 22, 2024

Sport fishing

Local conditions

  • All lakes and ponds around Fairbanks and Delta are ice free, including Harding Lake.
  • Higher elevation lakes in the Alaska Range (i.e. Summit, Paxson, Tangle, Lake Louise) have some open water beginning to show around the edges but are still mostly ice covered.
  • River levels are low for this time of year due to the lack of rain and warm temperatures so far this spring. Warmer weather should result in more snowmelt at high elevations, which could push water levels up.
  • Most of the river boat launches are ice-free, although some remain soft and muddy. The George Lake boat launch on the Tanana River south of Delta Junction is too soft for launching boats and there is not adequate water to launch a boat. It may be a bit before the ramp is usable and people can access the lake through this route.

Freshwater species

Arctic grayling

  • Arctic grayling have completed spawning in most rivers and should be migrating to their summer feeding grounds. Anglers are already having success catching grayling in the upper Chena River near Fairbanks and the Delta Clearwater River in Delta Junction, a sign that grayling are available in their summer habitats. Fishing should only get better as the weather warms and insects begin to emerge.

Northern pike

  • Northern pike fishing in the Tolovana River drainage, including Minto Flats, Minto Lakes and the Chatanika River, remains closed until June 1 to protect spawning northern pike. The bag and possession limit for northern pike in those waters when the fishery does open has been reduced from 5 fish a day to 2 fish a day, only one of which may be 30 inches or longer.
  • Northern pike fishing in waters that are open to fishing can be productive at this time of year. Try big, flashy spoons to attract their attention.


  • Burbot fishing downstream from the mouths of tributaries in the Tanana is great this time of year. Try fishing bait (herring, whitefish) on the bottom of the river in back eddy areas and slow-moving waters in the mainstem of the Tanana River. Remember, bait is prohibited in tributaries of the Tanana River but not in the mainstem of the river.

Stocked lakes

  • Staff at Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery in Fairbanks have been busy stocking catchable-size Arctic char and rainbow trout into local lakes and ponds for the past two weeks. To date, hatchery staff have stocked more than 35,000 catchable-size (9-10 inches) Arctic char and rainbow trout into 19 lakes in the Tanana River drainage. More than 5,000 rainbow trout were stocked in Quartz Lake this week and almost 3,000 rainbows were put in Birch Lake. Fish stocking will continue through this week and next.
  • Try fishing small pieces of shrimp or salmon eggs under a bobber or use small, flashy spoons or spinners to entice fish to bite.
  • Some of the lakes that have been stocked include For a complete list of stocked lakes in the Interior and statewide, check out the Alaska Lake Database to see when lakes were stocked, how many fish were stocked and what kind of fish were stocked.

Emergency Orders

Please review the Emergency Orders and Advisory Announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip:

  • Emergency Order 3-KS-U-4-24 closes sport fishing for king salmon in all flowing waters of the Tanana River drainage. King salmon may not be targeted and those caught incidentally while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited in all Tanana River tributaries.
  • Emergency Order 3-NP-U-5-24 reduces the bag and possession limit for northern pike in all lakes and flowing waters of the Minto Flats area to two fish, only one of which may be 30 inches or greater in length. This includes all lakes and flowing waters of the Minto Flats area, including the Chatanika and Tolovana River Drainages and Minto Lakes. This bag and possession limit reduction for Minto Flats northern pike will remain in effect through Monday, October 14, 2024.

Don’t forget to purchase your 2024 sport fishing license and king stamp! Download the ADF&G Mobile App today. You can purchase and display your fishing license and king stamp, record your annual harvest (i.e. king salmon), access sport fishing regulations and locations, and much more on your mobile device. You can also purchase licenses through the ADF&G online store and print it off at home. Make sure to review emergency orders, advisory announcements, and the 2024 Northern Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet for the area you are fishing before you head out.

For additional information, please contact the ADF&G Fairbanks or Delta Junction offices at 907-459-7228 or 907-895-4632.