Area Sport Fishing Reports
July 25, 2022
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Fishing for Arctic grayling has been good in streams throughout Norton Sound. Small spinners as well as smolt imitations and dry flies will work well. Soon, egg-imitation lures and flies will become productive as salmon spawning commences. in rivers. North Slope rivers are running low and clear in most places and fishing for Arctic grayling should be good. Grayling fishing in North Slope lakes has also been productive.
Fishing for northern pike has been great as the water levels have dropped and fish have moved into off-channel habitats of the Pilgrim, Kuzitrin, Selawik, and Kobuk Rivers. Big spoons and soft baits work well for northern pike, as do large topwater lures and flies.
Arctic char and lake trout
Fishing for Arctic char and lake trout in North Slope lakes has been good but the lake trout and Arctic char will move into deeper water as the temperatures rise during mid-day. Fishing effort for burbot has historically been low in the Northwest and the North Slope Management Areas (NW/NSMA) but large fish can be found in many North Slope rivers and lakes. These are almost exclusively caught with cut bait fished on the bottom.
- Counting projects for salmon in Norton Sound are up and running. King salmon are not projected to meet the escapement goal on the North River, and king salmon fishing throughout southern Norton Sound was closed by emergency order on June 23.
- Pink salmon runs have been larger than average, and the daily bag and possession limit for pink salmon was increased by emergency order from 10 to 20 fish on July 14.
- Chum salmon runs have been good in Northern Norton Sound, and escapement goals have already been met in the Snake, Eldorado, and Kwiniuk Rivers. Counts of chum salmon in the Unalakleet River drainage have been well below average.
Sheefish have begun their upstream migration to spawning grounds in the Kobuk and Selawik Rivers, and fish have been caught near the Kobuk River villages of Selawik and Kobuk. Spawning generally occurs in late-September, just before freeze-up.
Spawning runs of Dolly Varden have begun upstream migration in Northwestern and North Slope rivers, and fish will trickle in through August. The Noatak and Wulik Rivers are the most popular spots for large Dolly Varden, with fish over 12 pounds possible in both drainages.
Please review the Emergency Orders and Advisory Announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip:
- Emergency Order 3-KS-W-06-22 closes sport fishing for king salmon in all freshwaters from Bald Head to Point Romanof. This closure includes, but is not limited to, the Unalakleet, Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Ungalik, Inglutalik, and Golsovia river drainages. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used in these drainages. All king salmon caught incidentally in the waters described above while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
- Emergency Order 3-PS-W-19-22 increases the sport fish bag and possession limit for pink salmon from 10 to 20 fish in Norton Sound, which includes all flowing waters draining into Norton Sound from Cape Prince of Wales to Point Romanof. In the Unalakleet River drainage, the bag and possession limit for salmon, other than king salmon, is 20 fish, of which only four fish, in combination, may be coho, chum, and sockeye salmon.
- Because fish typically grow and reproduce more slowly at high latitudes and elevations, please use proper techniques when engaging in catch-and-release in order to ensure the survival of the released fish such as:
- Use lures with a single hook and crimp down the barb. Do not use bait.
- Land the fish with a soft net and keep the fish in the water when removing the hook.
- To release the fish, hold it gently facing into the current or in water without a current gently cradle the fish and move it slowly back and forth until it swims away under its own power.
- Don’t forget to bring your 2022 sport fishing license. Help maximize social distancing by purchasing your sport fishing license at the ADF&G Online Store and printing it off from the comfort of your home. Also, be sure to review Emergency Orders and the 2022 Northern Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet for the area you are fishing in before you head out.
For More Information
Call Northwest and North Slope Area Management Biologist Brendan Scanlon at (907) 459-7268.