For the week of May 21:
The Juneau sport fishery for king salmon currently requires an average of 115 rod-hours per king salmon. Last year at this time it required 134 rod-hours per fish, and the five-year running average is 92 rod-hours per salmon. Anglers are currently having luck harvesting fish in the areas around False Outer Point/Picnic Cove, Hawk Inlet and the Breadline areas.
The Juneau area halibut fishery is currently requiring approximately 144 rod-hours per fish. Anglers are catching halibut in the Hawk Inlet, and Point Retreat areas. At this time last year the halibut fishery required approximately 45 rod-hours per fish, with a five year average of 38 rod-hours per fish.
The Department of Fish and Game reminds anglers that beginning April 30, marine boat anglers possessing sport caught king and coho salmon, lingcod or non-pelagic rockfish may not fillet, mutilate, or de-head these fish until the fish have been offloaded, unless they have been consumed or preserved onboard. Gutting and gilling is allowed. Once you offload at port, you may head and/or fillet your catch. This restriction allows our creel survey crew at the docks to check for coded-wire-tags and collect biological information. Please check the news release for communities and designated time frames in which the restriction applies.
SOUTHEAST: Sport fishing effort increased at most ports last week, with the total weekly amount sampled by our creel survey crews at each port ranged from below 100 rod-hours at Elfin Cove and Gustavus on the low end, to between 315 rod-hours in Craig/Klawock, to 1,400 rod-hours in Juneau.
Chinook salmon harvest rates ranged from three rod-hours per fish in Sitka to 115 rod-hours in Juneau. The harvest rates at Ketchikan, Craig/Klawock, Sitka, Haines and Yakutat were better than the recent five-year average, while harvest rates were poorer than the five-year average at the other sampled ports. The Chinook salmon fishery throughout the region should continue to improve as we reach the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, and then be productive into mid-July, as the inner Southeast Alaska ports will have hatchery fish returning to enhance local fisheries, while the outer coast ports will continue to have the benefit of access to a mixed-stock Chinook salmon fishery.
All sampled ports had harvested halibut encountered by our creel personnel, with harvest rates ranging from 3 rod-hours in Sitka to 144 rod-hours in Juneau.
In terms of harvest of other salmonid species in the marine boat fishery last week, the first harvested chum salmon (in Ketchikan) and coho salmon (in Yakutat) of the 2012 season were encountered.
The creel survey in Skagway starts up May 29.