North Pole’s Kimberly Lake Opening To Catch-And-Release Fishing

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

Kimberly Lake Open to Catch-and-Release Fishing

(Fairbanks) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is opening Kimberly Lake to catch-and-release fishing for all fish species, effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 1, 2023. All fish caught in Kimberly Lake must be released immediately. This action is being taken to align fishing regulations at Kimberly Lake with those recently implemented for other previously stocked lakes that have PFAS contamination (Bathing Beauty Pond, Polaris, Bear, and Moose Lakes).

Located in North Pole, Kimberly Lake has groundwater that is contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and sulfolane. Tests conducted by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in 2018 revealed that PFAS levels in Kimberly Lake exceeded DEC and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water action levels. Fish from Kimberly Lake were also found to be contaminated with PFAS which bioaccumulates in fish, and the Department of Health recommended that Kimberly Lake fish not be consumed.

Kimberly Lake is no longer stocked. The lake was last stocked by ADF&G on June 5, 2018, with 1-year-old rainbow trout, which have a lifespan of approximately 6 years. Although these fish are reaching the end of their lifespan, some fish remain in the lake. Out of an abundance of caution, fish harvest from Kimberly Lake is not allowed, but catch-and-release fishing is allowed.

“This action will provide fishing opportunity and will be consistent with recent regulatory actions taken by the Alaska Board of Fisheries to allow catch-and-release fishing in other PFAS-contaminated lakes,” said Tanana Area Management Biologist Andy Gryska.

There are numerous water bodies around the Fairbanks area that 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 reference 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, (907) 459-7339.

For information specific to groundwater and surface water contaminants for Kimberly Lake, please contact the Department of Environmental Conservation in Fairbanks at 907-451-2180, or visit their contaminated sites website for Kimberly Lake. 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.