The Golden North Salmon Derby will be the highlight for many Juneau area anglers this weekend. Many fishermen were out honing their salmon fishing skills last week as the number of rod hours spent salmon fishing was nearly double the number of hours spent trying to catch a halibut.
Last week it took 113 hours to land a keeper king, compared to 68 hours the week before. The majority of the chinook harvested were caught in the waters behind Douglas Island, around Outer Point, and from Cordwood Creek to Point Retreat. Last year it took 91 hours to put a keeper in the boat, while the five-year average is 71 hours.
Although king salmon fishing slowed, coho salmon fishing in the Juneau area improved slightly over the previous week. It took an average of seven hours to land a silver, compared to the previous week when it took an average of eight hours. The five-year average for coho fishing is seven hours, while last year it took 11 hours. Most of the coho sampled last week were caught between Cordwood Creek and Point Retreat. North Pass, the backside of Douglas and Lizardhead also produced a good number of coho.
Last week it took an average of 46 hours to catch pink salmon. This is longer than the five-year average of 18 hours and more than last year's average of 26 hours. Most of the pinks were harvested from behind Douglas Island, along North Shelter Island, and Point Retreat. Pinks are generally caught while trolling for coho or king salmon, and they can keep anglers pretty busy.
While most anglers were out salmon fishing, those that pursued halibut spent an average 10 hours to land a fish, the same number of hours as it took to land a halibut last year. This was slower fishing than the previous weeks eight hours per fish. Once again, the greatest number of halibut came from Icy Strait, followed by the Couverden area, and Vanderbilt reef. The limit for halibut is two per day and four in possession with no size restrictions.
During the derby, the Division of Sport Fish will recover tagged king and coho salmon at the fish processing plant instead of sampling at the weigh-in stations. However, angler interviews will be done at the local harbors to ascertain catch rates and locations as usual. For more call 465-4270.