The Golden North Salmon Derby last weekend had a variety of boating weather and a large winning king (36.9 pounds). But the number of fish entered (approximately 200 king and 1,000 coho salmon) was one-half the usual number of the respective species entered in recent years. The coho and halibut fishing in the Juneau area remained fair at 15 and 12 rod hours per fish, respectively, although both catch rates are roughly twice their five-year averages. Catch rates for king salmon decreased last week to above 100 rod hours.
King salmon catch rates in the local Juneau area dropped off last week to 113 rod hours per fish, as fewer feeder kings were being picked up. That compares to a rate last year at this time of 63 rod hours, and a five-year average of 82 rod hours. The local hot spots for feeder kings were North and South Shelter, while anglers at the Auke Bay, backside of Douglas, Young's Bay, and off of the south end of Douglas also landed a few as well. Fish deep when targeting kings as these fish are being taken typically in depths greater than 100 feet. The daily bag and possession limit for king salmon remains at one king 28 inches or over in length, in most Southeast Alaska waters.
However, the daily bag and possession limit remains four king salmon per day of which up to three of the four may be 28 inches or more in length in the saltwater terminal harvest area of Auke Bay, Fritz Cove and the upper Gastineau Channel (north of the Juneau-Douglas bridge). Please reference news releases at the local boat launches and harbors for further information regarding this terminal harvest area.
The coho salmon catch rate decreased to 15 rod hours per fish. Last year at this time the catch rate was five rod hours per fish, and the five-year average is seven rod hours. Approximately one-third of the coho salmon sampled last week on the docks were from the North Shelter area, with coho from Point Retreat and Funter Bay together representing another third of the harvest. Other local hotspots were South Shelter, backside of Douglas, Auke Bay, and Outer Point. Anglers venturing out to Lizardhead and Homeshore also bagged some cohos as well. The daily bag limit for coho salmon is six fish per day, and a possession limit of 12 coho.
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 of this year, 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.
Roadside anglers should try their luck for coho, chum, pink, and king salmon at the Gastineau Hatchery area. Coho salmon should also be available along shoreline areas such as Point Louisa, as they continue their migration toward and into the local freshwater systems.
Local streams with returning chum, and pink salmon and the beginning of the coho runs 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.
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. 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.
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!