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  Fishing Report  
  Andrew Gryska, Area Management Biologist
(907) 459-7339,

Area Sport Fishing Reports

May 24, 2023

ADF&G News

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Sport fishing

Local conditions

  • Spring was slow in coming to the Interior. Many lakes finally became ice-free late last week with the arrival of the first 70 and 80-degree temperatures of the year. Fishing is usually quite good along open water shoreline areas just after ice-out.
  • Rivers are high and muddy and will likely remain that way through the holiday weekend as mountain snows continue to melt. The high, muddy water will make fishing for Arctic grayling and other freshwater species a challenge until the water clears.
  • Most of the river boat launches are ice-free, although some remain soft and muddy
  • Harding Lake remains ice covered and it will probably be at least another week before the ice goes out. As a reminder, Harding Lake is closed to all pike fishing, including catch and release, and will remain closed for the summer.
  • George Lake south of Delta Junction remains ice covered and the Tanana River boat launch is too soft for launching boats.

Stocked lakes

  • Staff at the Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery in Fairbanks began stocking lakes in the the Tanana River drainage on May 19th and 12 lakes had been stocked with about 16,000 fish as of Tuesday, May 23. Try fishing small pieces of shrimp under a bobber, flashy spoons or spinners to entice fish to bite. Some of the lakes that received fish this week included Ballaine, Birch, Cushman, Little Lost, Manchu, Monterey, Mullins Pit, Quartz and Richardson 28 Mile Pit. Stocking will continue through mid-June. Additional lakes will be stocked this week for the Memorial Day weekend.
  • For a complete list of stocked lakes in the Interior and statewide, check out the Alaska Lake Database. You can see when lakes were stocked, how many fish were stocked and what kind of fish were stocked.

Freshwater species

Arctic grayling

  • Anglers are already catching grayling in the spring-fed Delta Clearwater River near Delta Junction. More grayling are moving into the river daily so fishing should only get better as the weather warms and insects begin to emerge.

Northern pike

  • Northern pike fishing in the Tolovana River drainage, including Minto Flats, Minto Lakes and the Chatanika River, remains closed until June 1 to protect spawning northern pike. The bag and possession limit for northern pike in those waters when the fishery does open has been reduced from 5 fish a day to 2 fish a day, only one of which may be 30 inches or longer.
  • Northern pike fishing in waters that are open to fishing can be productive at this time of year. Try big, flashy spoons to attract their attention.


  • Burbot fishing downstream from the mouths of tributaries in the Tanana is great this time of year. Try fishing bait (herring, whitefish) on the bottom of the river in back eddy areas and slow-moving waters in the mainstem of the Tanana River.

Emergency Orders

Please review the Emergency Orders and Advisory Announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip:

  • Emergency orders 3-KS-U-6-23 and 3-CS-U-7-23 issued March 29th closed the sport fishery for king and chum salmon in all flowing waters of the Tanana River drainage effective April 5th. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited in all Tanana River tributaries through September 30.
  • Emergency order 3-R-U-08-23 issued April 24 restricts Kimberly Lake to catch-and-release fishing only for all fish species due to PFAS contamination. Any fish caught while sport fishing in Kimberly Lake must be released immediately.
  • Emergency order 3-R-U-09-23 issued April 24 restricts Bear, Moose and Polaris Lakes, Bathing Beauty Pond, Piledriver Slough and Moose Creek to catch-and-release fishing only for all fish species due to PFAS contamination. Any fish caught while sport fishing in these waters must be released immediately.
  • Emergency order3-NP-U-10-23 issued May 1 reduces the bag and possession limit for northern pike in all lakes and flowing waters of the Minto Flats area to two fish, only one of which may be 30 inches or longer, effective from June 1 – October 14.

Additional info

  • Both the Delta and Fairbanks offices have fishing rods to loan out as part of the ADF&G Rod Loaner Program. All you need is a current sport fishing license (for resident anglers 18 and older and non-residents 16 or older) to borrow a rod. You’ll have to provide your own tackle but rods are free of charge.
  • Be sure to follow the ADF&G Sport Fishing Interior Alaska Facebook page to get the most current information about fishing in the area.
  • Check out ADF&G’s public use cabin reservation system to see about renting a free public use cabin on one of five different stocked lakes in the Delta Junction area, as well as George Lake.
  • The Tanana Valley Fisheries Center in the Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery at 1150 Wilbur Street in Fairbanks is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop in to say hi and see what’s growing in the hatchery.
  • Don’t forget to bring your 2023 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 2023 Northern Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet for the area you are fishing in before you head out.

For More Information

Call the Fairbanks office at (907) 459-7228 or the Delta Junction office at (907) 895-4632.


Tanana Area Archives for:
May 24, 2023

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