Spring is here and so are the king salmon.
Many folks consider their first robin sighting as the official start of spring. I prefer to think of spring as officially arriving when I hear about spring kings showing up in the traditional areas: the Breadline, Picnic Cove, Tee Harbor, Cordwood Creek and the southern end of Gastineau Channel. And, the kings are showing up in pretty good numbers.
According to our first week of creel sampling, the Breadline and Picnic Cove were the most productive spots, followed by the area between Cordwood Creek and False Point Retreat. Last week, it took the average Juneau area marine boat angler 31 rod hours to land a king. This is well below last year's 67 rod hours and the 1996-2000 average of 100 rod hours per fish.
Fishing should improve over the next few weeks, peaking around Memorial Day. Remember you must have in your possession a 2001 fishing license and a king salmon stamp.
Perhaps more noteworthy, two chum salmon were harvested last Saturday. It is quite uncommon to catch a chum in April, much less pick up two.
For all sport anglers in Southeast Alaska and Yakutat, the daily king salmon bag and possession limit is one king salmon 28 inches or greater in length. Additionally, non-resident anglers are limited to three kings annually. King salmon fisheries in Southeast Alaska are managed to stay within a quota set according to an abundance-based management agreement negotiated through the Pacific Salmon Commission.
The Department of Fish and Game reminds anglers that heading and filleting king and coho salmon is prohibited prior to returning to your port. However, gutting and gilling is allowed. Once you return to port, you may head and/or fillet your catch at a cleaning table or on your vessel after tying up at your slip. This restriction allows our creel survey crew at the docks to examine intact salmon for evidence of coded wire tags and to collect heads from tagged salmon.
The Southeast Red King crab personal-use fishery closed by regulation on April 1, and will remain closed until the season reopens on July 1. Personal-use fishers may continue to harvest Dungeness and Tanner crab, as there is no closed season for these crab species for personal-use fishers in Southeast Alaska.
All Section 11-A personal-use king crab permit holders are reminded that the deadline was April 15 for turning in their permits with completed harvest report information. All permits must be completed and returned, even if no crab were harvested. Failure to turn in your 2000 permit may result in you not qualifying for a 2001 permit.
Please consult your sport fishing regulation booklet for further specifics on roadside regulations and fisheries in the Juneau area.
For further information concerning sport fishing opportunities or regulations in the Juneau area, please call the Division of Sport Fish at (907) 465-4270. See you on the water!