Sport fishing effort in the Juneau marine boat fishery continues to drop off as more people are switching to hunting or pulling their boats out for the season. However, anglers still venturing out in pursuit of coho are encountering some success.
Coho catch rates declined to 13 rod hours per fish, while last season's catch rate at this time was four rod hours and the five-year average of six rod hours per coho. The hotspots for coho this past week were the Breadline, North and South Shelter Island, and the southern end of Gastineau Channel. For the marine waters, the daily bag and possession limit for coho 16 inches or more in length is six per day, 12 in possession, with an additional daily bag and possession limit of coho less than 16 inches in length of up to 10 per day and in possession.
King salmon fishing continues its seasonal decline, with a catch rate last week of 314 rod hours. The catch rate for the same time last year was 250 rod hours per king, and five-year average was 238 rod hours. Finding feeder kings can be difficult this time of year, although the backside of Douglas can usually be productive as we head into the winter months. Remember that the daily bag and possession limit is one king salmon 28 inches or greater for the remainder of the 2000 season.
As of Sept. 25, the prohibition has ended on heading and filleting of king and coho salmon prior to returning back to port. The department would like to thank anglers for complying with this prohibition during the creel survey season, as it allowed for improved recovery of heads from coded-wire-tagged king and coho salmon harvested in the Juneau sport fishery.
Halibut fishing effort last week was low, and no halibut were sampled at the docks. The five-year average catch rate for this time of year is 19 rod hours per flatfish.
The Juneau roadside fishery has been producing some coho salmon. Success in local streams has been mixed, although should improve with another heavy rain bringing in more fish. Bait is prohibited in Montana Creek and Windfall Lake year-round, but is allowed in Cowee Creek and other select local streams during Sept. 15 to Nov. 15 -- please consult your regulation booklet before setting out for the day when considering the use of bait. The freshwater daily bag and possession limit for coho salmon 16 inches or more in length is two per day, two in possession, with an additional daily bag and possession limit of coho less than 16 inches in length of up to 10 per day and in possession. The dock and beach near Gastineau Hatchery is also another option for roadside anglers searching for coho, as there are bright coho still returning to the facility.
This is the final sport fishing report for the 2000 fishing season. We would like to thank all anglers, charter boat operators, and harbor facility personnel, for their continued cooperation and support with sampling efforts on the docks and boat ramps this past season. Information collected during the dockside interviews is vital to the management of the salmon, halibut and crab fisheries. Your continued support is very much appreciated.
If you need further information on sport fish opportunities or regulations, please contact the Division of Sport Fish at 465-4270. Have a nice winter, and see you next season!!!