The weekly sport fish report is written by the Alaska Department of Fish &Game and made available to the public on a weekly basis. For more information of sport fishing regulations, visit adfg.alaska.gov.
Most streams in Southeast support small annual returns (in the hundreds) of steelhead and thus can be vulnerable to over-fishing. Anglers are reminded that retention of steelhead in the Juneau area road system freshwaters is prohibited. All steelhead caught must be released immediately.
Typically steelhead anglers begin fishing in late April through May. Often, entire days can be spent searching for a few quality “looks” at a fish, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time, because the fight of a fresh steelhead will make it all worthwhile. There are a number of streams on the Juneau road system that contain small runs of steelhead that are easily fishable. Keep in mind that all fish should be treated with great care regardless of size to ensure the best chances for survival upon release.
With the low steelhead production in Peterson Creek during the last few years, Juneau Sport Fish staff recommend foregoing a trip to Peterson this season in order to protect the spawners that do return. Most other area streams on the Juneau road system such as Cowee, Montana and Fish Creeks also produce a few steelhead. Steelhead prefer deeper water associated with cover, often becoming more active at dawn and dusk. Go mid-week, take your time and enjoy the solitude. You may be rewarded by a hook-up and explosive fight of a fresh steelie. Streamer flies made of Marabou with a touch of bright color can be effective. Attractor beads when used with a fly, lure, or bare hook must be either fixed within two inches of the fly, lure or hook, or be free sliding on the line or leader, by regulation.
Dolly Varden/cutthroat trout fishing
Anadromous Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout have left freshwater and moved into saltwater and are congregating at the mouths of local creeks such as Salmon Creek, Sheep Creek and Cowee Creek to feed on emigrating salmon smolts. Using small smolt imitation fly patterns or small spinners and spoons is the best way to catch these fish. There will also be some fish that do not leave their “over wintering” sites and head for the ocean. Known as “residents,” these fish stay in their home lake, pond, or stream the entire year. While these fish may move around in the system to take advantage of food or environmental conditions, they will be present for your fishing pleasure all year.
In all drainages crossed by the Juneau road system, as well as the saltwater adjacent to the Juneau road system to a line ¼ mile offshore, cutthroat and rainbow trout bag limits (in combination) are two daily, two in possession with a 14 inch minimum and 22 inch maximum size limit. Dolly Varden limits are two daily, two in possession, no size limit. Anglers should check the 2017 Southeast Alaska Sportfish Regulation Summary for special regulations specific to the stream or lake they intend to fish.
King salmon retention remains closed in marine waters near Juneau.
From April 1, 2018 through June 14, 2018, any king salmon must be released immediately.
The 2018 preseason forecast for the total terminal run indicates that the Taku River escapement goal is unlikely to be met unless harvests of Taku River king salmon are reduced. Even with elimination of harvest the forecast indicates that the lower bound of the escapement goal may not be achieved. Therefore, a non-retention period is warranted in the time and area where these migrating fish are present.
Please note that additional restrictions will be implemented in the marine waters north of Juneau and the marine waters south of Juneau.