King salmon fishing in the Juneau area slowed considerably last week, taking an average of 47 hours to land a keeper king. Last year during the same week it took 48 hours while the five-year average is 29 hours. The weather was fine for fishing over the long Memorial weekend and kings were sampled from Icy Strait, Lizardhead, False Point Retreat, Doty's Cove and Point Bishop. North Douglas and the Breadline were the "hottest" spots. It's difficult to tell if the herring shortage had anything to do with last week's catch rates.
It sounds like the herring shortage is going to continue for several more weeks. It is against the regulations to fish for salmon with one rod while using a second rod to try and catch herring for bait. There were several reports of this occurring on boats last week. If you prefer to use herring instead of a plug or spoon, you can sport fish for herring with the use of 15 or less unbaited single or multiple hooks attached to a single line. Juvenile salmon swim near schools of herring and they too will bite a herring jig. If you catch a small salmon, handle it carefully and return it to the water quickly.
Chums continue to move into the area. One boat fishing Lizardhead last week picked up three chums and a king salmon in five hours. Several other boats caught chums in the same area. These early chums are bright and are excellent for the smokehouse. Chums can provide a lot of action, as they travel in large schools and will hit spoons, plugs and herring.
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