King salmon fishing remains above average in the terminal harvest area. Pink and chum salmon are starting to make a showing in the Juneau area, while halibut fishing remains excellent out in Icy Strait but slow in the local waters.
King Salmon catch rates in the local Juneau area improved slightly last week to 17 rod hours per fish. In comparison, the catch rate last year at this time was 20 rod hours, and the five-year average is 27 rod hours. The majority of the king salmon harvested was caught in the Juneau Saltwater Terminal Harvest Area located at Fritz Cove and Auke Bay. Additional local areas where king salmon were picked up were South Shelter, Point Retreat, backside of Douglas Island, south end of Gastineau Channel, and Taku Inlet.
Those anglers venturing out to Funter Bay, Hawk Inlet and the Homeshore area also bagged a few kings as well.
Chum and pink salmon are beginning to show up in the Juneau area, although the majority of these continue to be from the Hawk Inlet to Point Retreat area. Reports of large schools of chum and pink salmon from Cross Sound to Icy Strait to the Point Retreat area indicate these two salmon species will soon arrive. Look for the pink and chum salmon runs to peak in the local Juneau waters in mid-July.
A few coho salmon have been harvested in the last few weeks, although these have also mainly been harvested beyond Point Retreat. By mid-July the local coho stocks should start to show, and will then steadily increase their presence through September.
Halibut fishing effort increased last week to 45 percent of total effort. The halibut catch rate was 15 hours per flatfish, while last year's rate at was 7 rod hours and the five-year average is 6 rod hours per halibut.
The majority of the halibut harvest continues to be from the Icy Strait and Hawk Inlet to Point Retreat area, although there continues to be noticeable increases in halibut harvests in areas closer to home, such as Benjamin Island, North Shelter, Backside of Douglas, and Young's Bay.
Look for halibut catch success in the local Juneau waters to steadily improve in the upcoming weeks as the halibut make their way into shallower inside waters.
King salmon are returning to the Fish Creek Pond. Anglers are allowed to snag and use bait to harvest these king salmon in this pond. Snagging fish is not allowed anywhere else in freshwater in the Juneau area - including Fish Creek above the pond. The use of bait is prohibited in all other freshwater drainages crossed by the Juneau road system from November 16 through September 14, except at Twin Lakes where bait is allowed throughout the year.
Roadside anglers should also try their luck for king salmon at the Gastineau Hatchery area. Anglers are reminded that all waters within 150 feet of the Gastineau Hatchery fishing dock and the fishing dock itself are closed to snagging. Any fish hooked elsewhere on the body other than the mouth must be released immediately in this no-snagging area. Areas along the beach near Gastineau Hatchery that are open to snagging are clearly marked.
Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout are also available along the area beaches, such as in Gastineau Channel and beaches out the road, as well as in local freshwater streams and lakes. The daily bag and possession limit for Dolly Varden in both freshwater and saltwater beaches is two fish per day, with no size limit. The daily bag and possession limit for cutthroat and rainbow trout (in combination) is two fish per day, with a 14-inch minimum and 22-inch maximum size limit. Please consult your regulation book for further specifics on the roadside fisheries in the Juneau area.
The personal use sockeye fishery at Sweetheart Creek in Gilbert Bay (37 miles SE of Juneau) is open from June 1 to October 31. Personal use permits for this sockeye fishery are available at the Division of Commercial Fisheries in Douglas. The daily bag and possession limit is 25 sockeye salmon, and the personal use fishing at Sweetheart Creek is open seven days a week.
July 1st marked the beginning of the personal use red king crab season in Section 11-A of the Juneau area. Those who have not yet obtained a 2000-2001 permit, they are available from the Division of Commercial Fisheries office in Douglas. A 1999-2000 Section 11-A permit must be returned to the Division of Commercial Fisheries before applying for the 2000-2001 Section 11-A permit.
Conservation concerns for the red king crab stocks in Section 11-A have prompted the reduction of the personal use daily bag and possession limit to one male king crab per person. The seasonal bag limit has been reduced to five red or blue king crab per individual and ten crab per household.
For further information concerning Sport Fish opportunities or regulations, please feel free to contact the Division of Sport Fish at 465-4270. For further information concerning the personal use sockeye and Section 11-A king crab fisheries, please contact the Division of Commercial Fisheries at 465-4250.