King salmon fishing in the Juneau area continues its seasonal decline. It took the average marine boat angler 70 hours to land a king salmon the week ending July 17. That is almost twice the amount of time that it took to land a king salmon the previous week. The five-year average is 63 hours and last year during the same week, it took 50 hours to land a king.
Most of the king salmon in our survey were harvested from the backside of Douglas Island or the Auke Bay/Fritz Cove terminal harvest area, with a few kings coming from Point Retreat and South Shelter.
Coho catch rates remain very good for this time of the year. The average marine boat angler put in five hours to land a coho. Last year it took 10 hours per coho and the five-year average is also 10 hours. The hotspot for silvers two weeks ago was South Shelter, followed by the backside of Douglas Island and North Pass.
The harvest rate for halibut two weeks ago was four hours per fish, which is better than average for the Juneau area. Last year during the same week it took six hours to land a halibut, and the five-year average is seven hours. The majority of the halibut sampled in the survey were harvested from Icy Strait. Halibut also were reported from Poundstone Rock and Point Retreat.
The terminal saltwater area near Juneau is open to harvest surplus hatchery-produced king salmon. The bag and possession limit in the saltwater terminal harvest area and in the fresh water drainages that are open to fishing is four king salmon, no size limit. This bag limit will apply to resident and nonresident anglers. In addition, king salmon taken in these waters by nonresidents do not count toward their annual limit of three king salmon. These regulations will remain in effect through Aug. 31.
The saltwater terminal harvest area is defined as the contiguous marine waters of the Auke Bay area, Fritz Cove and Gastineau Channel that are bound on the west side by a line that extends from Point Louisa to the navigational aid at the northern tip of Portland Island, along the eastern shore of Portland Island to its southern most tip and then to the tip of Outer Point on Douglas Island. The eastern boundary is the Douglas Bridge.
Outside the terminal saltwater area, for all resident sport anglers in Southeast, the daily king salmon bag and possession limit is two king salmon 28 inches or greater in length. Nonresident anglers are limited to one king salmon 28 inches or greater in length per day. In addition, all nonresident anglers are limited to three king salmon annually.
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 creel survey crews at the docks to examine intact salmon for evidence of coded wire tags and to collect heads from tagged salmon.
The Juneau area (Section 11-A) personal-use red and blue king crab summer season began July 1. Harvest permits are available online through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game licensing Web page (http://www.admin.adfg.state.ak.us/license).