The spring king salmon season started out slow this year, in part due to recent stormy weather.
The amount of effort sampled in our creel survey during the last week of April was below average, although those anglers heading out were catching a few fish. Catches were above average for this time of year at 66 rod hours per king salmon-compared to the five-year average of 105 rod hours per king.
Kings were being picked up at the typical productive areas for this time of year - the Breadline, Outer Point, and southern end of Gastineau Channel. The spring king salmon fishery should be improving over the next few weeks of May, with the peak around Memorial Day weekend.
Don't forget about your 2000 king salmon stamp and valid sport fishing license - these must be in your possession while you are sport fishing for king salmon.
Effective at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, the king salmon bag and possession limits for all sport anglers fishing in the marine waters of Southeast Alaska and Yakutat are reduced to one fish 28 inches or greater from two. In addition, the annual limit for non-resident anglers is being reduced from four to two king salmon 28 inches or greater.
These reductions in bag limits are necessary to avoid the Southeast Alaska sport fishery from exceeding its harvest quota in the year 2000. For more information, please reference the news release issued Monday and posted at the local docks and boat launches, or call the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Division of Sport Fish at 465-4270.
Roadside anglers fishing at the False Outer Point/Picnic Cove area have started to pick up some kings during last week. The fishery at Picnic Cove is expected to continue to improve over the next two weeks, and then the fishery will diminish by the end of May. Spinning gear rigged with an ounce or less of feed, and a whole herring are the best bets when casting from shore.
A reminder to all those personal use Section 11-A red/blue king crab permit holders from 1999 - did you remember to return your permit to the Department by the April 15 deadline? If not, please do so as soon as possible.
Remember that you must turn in your 1999 permit - even if you ended up not participating in the personal use king crab fishery in the Juneau area during the 1999-2000 season. Failure to turn in your 1999 permit may result in you not qualifying for a 2000 permit.
The Department of Fish and Game reminds anglers that effective April 24 to Sept. 24, heading and filleting king and coho salmon is prohibited prior to returning back to your port; however, gutting and gilling is allowed. Once back in your port, you may head and/or fillet your catch on a cleaning table or on your vessel once tied up at your slip.
This restriction allows our creel survey crew to improve the sampling percentage of harvested salmon for coded wire rags. Please refer to bulletins posted at all City and Borough of Juneau boat launches and harbors for additional information.
For further information concerning Sport Fish opportunities or regulations, please feel free to contact the Division of Sport Fish at 465-4270. Good luck fishing.