Hatchery king salmon fishing has improved for shoreline and marine boat anglers as increasing numbers of fish return to the Terminal Harvest Area around Juneau. Reports indicate that some fish are showing up in Fish Creek and the pond, as well as Auke Bay and Gastineau Channel. The outlook for this coming week should be more of the same with the return of hatchery kings to the release sites of Auke Creek, Fish Creek and Macauley Hatchery. Anglers are reminded that the Terminal Harvest Area regulations are now in effect. For anglers fishing in Auke Bay/Fritz Cove and upper Gastineau Channel the following regulations apply through Sunday, August 31st:
• The daily bag and possession limit is four king salmon of any size;
• King salmon harvested by nonresidents in the designated terminal harvest area and time period do not count toward the annual limit.
King salmon sport fishing regulations for freshwaters crossed by the Juneau road system were also liberalized through August 31st to allow harvest of hatchery king salmon entering local streams near hatchery release sites. The daily bag and possession limit is four king salmon of any size. King salmon harvested by nonresidents in the designated terminal harvest area and time period do not count toward their annual limit.
Regulations for Fish Creek Pond on Douglas Island are as follows:
• Use of bait is allowed;
• Use of weighted hooks and lures, and multiple (treble) hooks with a gap greater than ½ inch between the point and shank is allowed;
• Anglers may retain king salmon that are hooked elsewhere than in the mouth (snagged)
These regulations do not apply in the freshwaters of Fish Creek proper (excluding Fish Creek Pond) and in intertidal waters within a 200 yard radius of the creek mouth. Attempting to snag or retain fish hooked elsewhere than in the mouth is prohibited.
Marine boat anglers fishing outside the Terminal Harvest Area also reported catches this past week from Outer Point, Shelter island area, Cordwood, Pt. Couverden, and as far west as Cross Sound. Generally, catch rates this spring have been better than the past three-year average. Anglers fishing outside of the designated Juneau Terminal Harvest Area are reminded that resident bag and possession limit is 3 king salmon 28 inches or greater in length, with no annual limit. The non-resident bag and possession limit is 2 king salmon 28 inches or greater in length through June 30th. Starting July 1st, the non-resident bag and possession limit is 1 king salmon 28 inches or greater in length. There is an annual limit of 6 king salmon for non-residents and a harvest record is required.
Recent three-year average catch rates for chum salmon are about 12 hours per fish. A few chums are now being caught at the mouth of the Peterson Creek salt chuck near Amalga Harbor as well as in Auke Bay. Catch rates for chums should continue to improve until early July.
Resident and Non-Resident limits for chum salmon are:
16 inches or longer - 6 daily, 12 in possession.
Halibut and Rockfish
Marine anglers interviewed at Juneau area docks reported catching halibut and rockfish from Vanderbilt Reef, St. James Bay, Benjamin Island, Pt. Retreat, Funter Bay, Pt. Couverden, and Cross Sound this week. Anglers are reminded that all non-pelagic rockfish caught must be retained until their bag limit is reached. Please consult the 2014 Southeast Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary Book to identify pelagic and non-pelagic rockfish and for daily bag and possession limits.
Sockeye Salmon — Windfall Creek
Although catch rates are still low, sockeye salmon have begun to migrate into the Windfall system during the past few weeks. Sport fishing is allowed from the outlet of Windfall Lake to the confluence of Herbert River and within 100 yards of the confluence during the month of June on Wednesdays and Saturdays. During these days, the sockeye salmon limit is 1 daily and 1 in possession, 16 inches or longer. Sockeye salmon cannot be retained and must be released immediately if caught in Windfall Lake and all of the inlet streams. Bait is prohibited, and only unbaited artificial lures and flies may be used.
Cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden
Anglers continue to report Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout catches along the Juneau roadside. While Dolly Varden and cutthroat are still being caught in saltwater while feeding on salmon fry, soon they will begin moving back into freshwater systems to feed on salmon eggs. Anglers are still having luck catching fish in saltwater near the mouths of local creeks, but a few reports are now coming in of fish being caught higher up in some of the local freshwater systems (Cowee, Peterson and Montana creeks). Anglers typically have success catching these fish using small spinners or smolt pattern flies. With warming stream temperatures, hatching freshwater invertebrates also provide some food for freshwater resident fish, especially during the warmer periods of dryer days. Later in July, egg patterns will become more effective as salmon begin to return on their spawning migration.
The following bag and possession limits apply in freshwater drainages crossed by the Juneau road system as well as saltwater areas within ¼ mile of shore:
Dolly Varden: 2 daily, 2 in possession, no size limit.
Cutthroat and rainbow trout: 2 daily, 2 in possession, 14 inch minimum and 22 in maximum size limit.
Use of bait in Juneau area freshwaters is prohibited except for in Salmon Creek reservoir, Twin Lakes. The following streams are closed to sport fishing: Auke Creek below Glacier Highway, Auke Nu drainage, Duck Creek, Jordan Creek, Steep Creek, Switzer Creek, and Vanderbilt Creek. Dolly Varden fishing is closed in Auke Lake drainages upstream of Glacier Highway and in Mendenhall Lake. Anglers should check the 2014 Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet available at local vendors, at the ADF&G office, or online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/ for closed areas and bag and possession limits for the various Juneau freshwater systems.
Current emergency orders and news releases for Southeast Alaska can be found here: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm?ADFG=region.R1.