No Retention Of Arctic Char/Dolly Varden Allowed At Fish Creek (Big Lake) Drainage

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

Photo by USFWS/Randy Brown

Retention of Arctic Char/Dolly Varden Prohibited in Fish Creek (Big Lake) Drainage

(Palmer) – To protect Arctic char/Dolly Varden and ensure fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation for the Fish Creek (Big Lake) drainage effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, January 1 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, December 31, 2023. The retention of Arctic char/Dolly Varden is prohibited (catch-and-release only) in the Fish Creek (Big Lake) drainage. All Arctic char/Dolly Varden caught must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed. Popular lakes effected by this regulatory change include Big, Flat, and Mirror lakes.

“Big Lake produces a population of native lake dwelling Arctic char/Dolly Varden uncommon in Southcentral Alaska and a unique opportunity for anglers to catch large trophy-sized char of brilliant coloration close to a major population center, particularly during the ice-covered months,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “Catch and harvest data indicates a decline in the overall abundance of char, particularly for fish larger than 20 inches in length. Protection through nonretention, while still allowing fishing opportunity, will maximize the number of fish entering into mature age classes and the number of times a fish may spawn as an adult, providing a means of recovery from the present state of decline. It is prudent to provide this level of protection until this stock can be further evaluated.”

Anglers are encouraged to follow best release practices by releasing a fish as quickly as possible. Only handle fish with wet bare hands; handling a fish with gloves or placing a fish on the ice can cause scale loss and can remove the protective slime layer.

All other regulations governing Big Lake remain in place, including allowing only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure per line from November 1 through April 30. Fishing and retention of other species, including rainbow trout, burbot, and northern pike are unchanged by this management action.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey at (907) 746-6300.