The 2000 Golden North Salmon Derby has nearly arrived. While coho and halibut fishing remain decent at 10 rod hours per fish in the Juneau area, catch rates for king salmon decreased last week.
King salmon catch rates in the local Juneau area dropped off last week to 90 rod hours per fish, as fewer feeder kings were being picked up. That compares to a rate last year at this time of 59 rod hours, and a five-year average of 68 rod hours. The hot spots for feeder kings were North and South Shelter, while anglers at Benjamin Island, Pt. Retreat, Auke Bay, Outer Point, backside of Douglas, Youngs Bay also landed a few as well. Fish deep when targeting kings as these fish are being taken in depths greater than 100 feet.
The coho salmon catch rate remained at 10 rod hours per fish, as was the catch rate the previous week. Last year at this time the catch rate was four rod hours per fish, and the five-year average is seven rod hours. Approximately half the coho salmon sampled last week on the docks were from the North Shelter area, with coho from Point Retreat and South Shelter representing a majority of the rest of the sampled fish. Cohos were also picked up on the Breadline, Outer Point, Youngs Bay, and the Backside of Douglas.
With the coho season in full gear, the Department reminds anglers that heading and filleting of their KING AND COHO salmon prior to returning back to port is prohibited; however, gutting and gilling of king and coho salmon is allowed. This emergency regulation went into effect on April 24, and will remain in effect until Sept. 24. Please reference the notices posted at local boat launches and harbors, or contact this office for further information.
Please note that the Division of Sport Fish will NOT be conducting sampling efforts at the weigh-in stations during the 2000 Golden North Salmon Derby. All sampling efforts to recover coded-wire-tagged fish entered in the Derby will occur at the fish processor to increase our sampling efficiency. However, we will still be conducting dockside interviews with returning anglers both from the Derby grounds, and other areas. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Halibut fishing remains decent at 10 rod hours per fish. In comparison, the catch rate last year at this time, as well as the five-year average, is seven rod hours. Halibut were caught throughout the Juneau area, with north end hot spots being Benjamin Island, North and South Shelter, and Point Retreat, while on the south end anglers did well on the backside of Douglas, Auke Bay, and Outer Point. Halibut fishing in the Juneau area typically continues to improve through August.
Roadside anglers should try their luck for chum, pink and king salmon at the Gastineau Hatchery area. Local streams with returning chum and pink salmon, such as Montana and Cowee creeks, also have Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout present. Remember that fishing with bait is NOT allowed in freshwater during Nov. 16 through Sept. 14, with the a few local exceptions such as Twin Lakes and the Fish Creek Pond. Consult your sport fishing regulation booklet or contact the Division of Sport Fish for further details on freshwater fishing opportunities and regulations. Within a few weeks, coho salmon will be available along shoreline areas such as Point Louisa and at Gastineau Hatchery, as they continue their migration toward and into the local freshwater systems.
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. While pink and chum salmon have started moving into Sweetheart Creek, sockeye are still available. Note that the sockeye are starting to change into their spawning coloration.
People are urged to use caution and common sense while fishing at Sweetheart Creek, as brown bears-including a sow with two cubs-have been fishing in the area as well during the last few weeks. Dont leave your fish unattended, make sure you clean your fish and dispose of carcasses in the water, stay on the trail, stay in groups, make noise, and minimize encounters with bears
King crab effort and catches have been increasing in recent weeks, predominantly in the Section 11-A personal use area that includes most of the local Juneau waters. Remember that you must have your sport fishing license and personal use harvest permit in your possession when you are harvesting red or blue king crab from those waters. You can obtain that harvest permit from the Commercial Fisheries Regional office in Douglas. If you had a personal use king crab harvest permit from last season, you must turn this in prior to receiving a harvest permit for this season.
As of Aug. 4, the personal use daily bag and possession limit in Juneau Section 11-A was increased from two to three male red or blue king crab per person. Additionally, the seasonal personal use bag limit was increased from 10 to 20 male red or blue king crab per individual, and from 20 to 40 crab per household.
Fishers that have already harvested their previous individual or household season limits of 10 or 20 red king crab, respectively, may be issued an addendum permit allowing them to harvest up to a total of 20 red king crab per individual or 40 king crab per household. Fishers must return their original permit to the Commercial Fisheries office in Douglas before an addendum permit will be issued.
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!