King salmon fishing slowed down and chum salmon showed up in the Juneau area, while halibut fishing remains excellent out in Icy and Chatham straits but slow in local waters.
King salmon catch rates in the local Juneau area dropped off dramatically last week to 68 rod hours per fish. The best success was from the terminal harvest areas of Fritz Cove and Gastineau Channel, but you are still likely to pick one up on the other favorite drags such as North Pass, South Shelter, and the backside of Douglas. Anglers traveling out to Icy and Chatham straits also harvested a few kings as well.
Chum salmon made a showing in the Juneau area last week, and pink salmon should be arriving soon as well. Look for the pink and chum salmon runs to peak in the local Juneau marine waters during the second half of July.
Coho salmon seems to be late in showing up in the local Juneau waters, as last week a only a few were picked up in Chatham Strait, South Shelter, and the backside of Douglas. Look for the coho salmon to begin arriving in during the second half of July, and then steadily increase their presence through September.
Slightly more than half the angling effort sampled last week was targeting halibut, and the catch rate was 14 rod hours per flatfish. The majority of the halibut harvest continues to be from Icy Strait and Hawk Inlet to Point Retreat area of Chatham Strait. Improved success with halibut in the local Juneau area, such as at Benjamin Island, North and South Shelter, and the backside of Douglas indicate that halibut are making their way into our shallower inside waters. Halibut fishing in the Juneau area typically continues to improve into August.
King salmon began moving into Fish Creek Pond at North Douglas a few weeks ago, and should be nearing their peak soon. Bait is allowed in the pond and seems to work the best, although pixies and buzz bombs can be effective as well. Note that snagging is allowed in this pond. The daily bag and possession limit in the pond is four kings, of which up to three may be 28 inches or larger. King salmon caught in this terminal area do no count toward a nonresident's annual limit.
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 Nov. 16 through Sept. 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, and in local streams such as Fish Creek at North Douglas and Cowee Creek near Echo Cove. The daily bag and possession limit for Dolly Varden in both freshwater and saltwater beaches is two fish per day, 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.
Don't forget that Twin Lakes offers a convenient place to take your kids fishing when the weather prohibits safe boating. Bait is allowed there, and the daily bag and possession limit for salmon is 10 fish of less than 16 inches in length.
The personal use sockeye fishery at Sweetheart Creek in Gilbert Bay (37 miles southeast of Juneau) is open from June 1 to Oct. 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.
King crab effort and catches, as indicated by sampling at the docks, were moderate over the past week. A majority of the harvest is from Section 11-A, which encompasses most local Juneau waters.
Remember that you must have your personal-use permit to take king crab from those waters. You can obtain that permit from the Commercial Fisheries Regional office in Douglas. If you had a personal-use king crab permit from last season, you must turn this in prior to receiving a permit for this season.
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 red or blue king crab per person. The seasonal bag limit has been reduced to five king crab per individual and 10 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. Good luck fishing!