The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
NEW! Check out the wefishak page on the ADF&G website for the new gofishak interactive map to discover popular fishing locations and information on species run timing, fishing gear selections, and boat and angler access tips!
* Please do your part to slow the spread of Covid-19 by practicing social distancing while sport and personal use fishing, and wearing a face-covering when social distancing is not possible.
Fall Fishing Opportunities – Fresh Water
Coho (silver) salmon
Coho salmon counts through the Chilkoot River weir and the Chilkat River fish wheels are above average so far. Chilkoot River anglers start connecting with silvers in the 2nd half of September. Silver fishing on the Chilkat River picks up in October as the weather cools and the river water clears.
You can see the Chilkat River water level for the last 7 days and a water level forecast for the next 3 days, thanks to the National Weather Service. River fishing improves when the water level is stable and low.
The sockeye salmon run through the Chilkoot River weir is winding down, but there are still lots of fish in the river and lake. This year’s escapement is approaching 90,000 fish, above the upper end of the escapement goal range.
You can learn a technique for sockeye sport fishing in glacial water starting at 2:45 in this ADF&G video.
Sockeye salmon counts through the Chilkat Lake weir are below average this year and trending below the low end of the escapement goal range.
Pink salmon are abundant in the Chilkoot and the Chilkat rivers. They are aggressive biters and fun to catch.
Char and Trout
Fish for Dolly Varden and Cutthroat Trout in clear water streams and lakes. Chilkat Lake and Mosquito Lake have special regulations to protect cutthroat trout:
- Bait is not allowed.
- Cutthroat and rainbow trout: 2 fish bag and possession limit, with a slot limit of 14-inch minimum to the 22-inch maximum length required to keep a fish.
In the remainder of the Haines and Skagway area fresh and salt waters, bait is allowed, and the regional length limit for cutthroat and rainbow trout is 11-minimum to the 22-inch maximum.
Fishing for Dolly Varden on Chilkoot Lake is good near the mouths of tributary streams. Chilkoot Lake and Chilkoot River have a special Dolly Varden bag limit:
- Dolly Varden: 4 fish bags and possession limit, no size limit.
In the remainder of Haines-Skagway area salt and fresh waters and most of Southeast Alaska, the Dolly Varden bag and possession limit is 10 fish.
Salt Water fishing opportunities
Pot fishing for shrimp and Dungeness crab is open year-round in the Haines and Skagway area saltwater.
- Non-Alaska residents with a sport fishing license catch shellfish with these bag & possession limits:
- Dungeness crab – 3 legal size males.
- Shrimp – 3 quarts or pounds.
- Alaska residents catch shellfish under subsistence or personal use regulations with more liberal bag & possession limits. See the Southeast Alaska Shellfish Regulation Summary booklet for details.
All shrimp harvesters must print a no-cost permit from the ADF&G online store and record their daily pot fishing effort and harvest on the paper permit. The harvest information must be reported online, or the paper permit must be returned to ADF&G by December 31, 2021.
There are still halibut in upper Lynn Canal. Catch rates typically decline at the end of the pink salmon runs.
When the water is calm, take a trip south of town to catch rockfish.
Each vessel sport fishing in Southeast Alaska saltwater is required to have at least one functional deepwater release device on board, regardless of the species targeted. Anglers are required to use a deepwater release device to release rockfish to the depth it was hooked or to at least 100 feet depth. To see examples of rockfish release devices and how they work, see the Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary rockfish PDF, or visit the Rockfish Conservation web page, or visit the Haines ADF&G office.
Rockfish regulations vary by species category. A handy rockfish ID guide is available to download or pick up a hard copy at the Haines Fish & Game office.
Demersal Shelf Rockfish
- Retention of demersal shelf rockfish is prohibited.
- Demersal shelf rockfish species are yelloweye, quillback, china, tiger, canary, copper, and rosethorn rockfish.
- One slope rockfish per day; one in possession.
- Some common slope rockfish species are redbanded, rougheye, silvergrey, shortraker, and vermilion rockfish.
- Five pelagic rockfish per day; ten in possession.
- Some common pelagic rockfish species are black, dark, dusky, widow, and yellowtail rockfish.
Chinook (King) Salmon
The preliminary estimate of Chilkat River king salmon run is an escapement that exceeded the lower bound of the goal range. Restrictions on sport, commercial, and subsistence fisheries were successful in delivering healthy king salmon escapements to Chilkat River spawning grounds in 2019, 2020, and 2021. ADF&G will continue king salmon conservation regulations to rebuild the stock as recruits from the smallest escapements (years 2016, 2017, and 2018) complete their return to the river in years 2022 through 2024.
- Now through December 31 – In the entire Haines and Skagway area, the retention of king salmon is prohibited; any king salmon caught must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed
Sport Fishing Licenses
Alaska residents under 18 years old do not need a sport fishing license. Non-Alaska residents under 16 years old do not need a sport fishing license.
Residents of Yukon Territory in Canada may purchase an annual Alaska non-resident sport fishing license for the same price that Alaska residents pay. Yukoners are not Alaska residents, so Yukoners must comply with the non-resident regulations such as the number of shellfish pots, shellfish bag limits, and king salmon bag and annual limits. The Yukoner license is available from license vendors in Whitehorse, Haines, and Skagway.
For more information about sport fishing in Haines and Skagway, call Area Biologist Richard Chapell at 907-766-3638.