Marching Toward Great Fishing Opportunities
Don’t put away your ice fishing gear quite yet. March is often a very productive month for people to get out on the ice. The days are longer, the weather is generally more pleasant, and the fish are hungry. Get out there and wet a line through the ice while there’s still time.
Before you head out, be sure you have your 2023 sport fishing license. Visit our online store if you need to purchase one. Or download the ADF&G mobile app and you can store your licenses, tags and permits in your mobile device.
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We'll see you on the water
Tazlina Lake: A giant, lonely lake waiting to be discovered
Tazlina Lake is a glacial lake about 21 miles long, 3.5 miles wide and over 200 feet deep and is the largest lake in the Upper Copper River drainage. It is tucked into the Chugach Mountain range about five miles south of the Glenn Highway. There are a series of winter trails that lead to the lake. The total distance is about nine miles between a pullout at Mile 155.5 of the Glenn Highway and the lake. Access in the summer is primarily by float plane, but some folks access the lake via jet boat up the Tazlina River or by floating down the Little Nelchina River to the Nelchina River and then into Tazlina Lake. Overland travel to the lake in summer is nearly impossible.
Tazlina Glacier lies at the far south end of the lake and is easily accessible by snowmachine. The glacier is a popular destination for folks up for the 50-mile round trip from the Glenn Highway.
The main fish targeted in winter include lake trout, burbot, whitefish, Arctic grayling and rainbow trout. The best places for lakers and burbot are near the stream mouths and underwater shelves. Rainbow and steelhead trout can be found in Kaina Creek and Tokaina Creek, so fishing the mouths of those creeks in winter may produce a rainbow or two. Another good fishing location is the outlet of the lake. More adventurous folks can try to make a run up to Kaina Lake or other high lakes for lake trout and rainbows. Although no fish of exceptional size have been reported caught in the lake, it gets very little angler attention, so you never know if the monster of all monsters isn’t waiting for your hook. Since the lake is glacial, the fish caught there are curiously more silver than you may expect, but they still taste great.
Sport fishing regulations for Tazlina and surrounding lakes are found in the Northern Alaska regulations summary. These lakes generally fall under the area background regulations, meaning you may use bait and keep up to two lake trout of any size, and five burbot per day. For rainbow trout, you may keep two fish with only one 20 inches in length or greater, if you are so lucky. Remember, if you plan to fish multiple days, your previous day’s catch must be frozen before you retain fish for that next day’s limit. As with all lakes in the Upper Copper Upper Susitna Management Area, set lines are prohibited. You must closely attend all your lines.
If you want to fish for burbot with a set, it must include a strike indicator (a tip-up is a good example), and you must be closely attending the set. Closely attending can be interpreted as having the set within your line of sight, being able to get to the set within a few minutes and be keeping an eye on the set. For reference, if you put a tip-up outside your icehouse but you aren’t routinely looking out to check on it, you are not closely attending it and could be cited.
If you plan on using an icehouse and not removing it at the end of the day, you must register that icehouse with ADF&G. All icehouses, including pop-ups, that are or will be left up on lakes overnight in the UCUSMA must be registered and permitted through the Glennallen ADF&G office.
For any questions regarding sport fishing regulations in the Upper Copper/Upper Susitna Management Area, including those on Tazlina Lake, please contact the Division of Sport Fish in Glennallen at 907-822-3309.
Tazlina Lake is remote with only one piece of private property that is routinely occupied. There are a couple of old trapping cabins along the lake, but for the most part there is no readily accessible shelter. As with all large lakes in Alaska, overflow can be a very real hazard so be prepared with the proper equipment. Some trappers work the shorelines of the lake and some of the trails to and from the lake so be extra cautious if you bring a dog along or take the time to ski to the lake.
Springtime Situk Steelhead
Well, it’s that time of year again. The most wonderful time of the year. Springtime steelhead fishing season! Maybe it’s the fact that it’s one of the first sport fisheries of the year, or just simply that most of us have cabin fever and are chomping at the bit to get outside and walk along a stream searching for any movement or shadow lurking in the water, or a nice deep run along a cut bank to cast through.
Southeast Alaska has hundreds of streams and rivers with known steelhead populations, and anglers will find fishing opportunity all across Southeast Alaska. But the granddaddy of them all, hands down, is the Situk River in Yakutat. A 16-mile winding slow gradient stream with many runs, deep holes, riffles, seams, logjams, cut-banks, etc. Everything an angler could wish for with a diversity of water types to fish and methods an angler could use to try and catch one of the thousands of steelhead hiding out during the spring months in the Situk.
The Situk has the largest run of steelhead in the state. Maybe the Karluk or even the Anchor rivers occasionally have some runs close in size to the Situk, but for the most part the Situk River is king in Alaska. And its exceptionally easy to access, top to bottom, depending on your physical abilities and drive. Angler trails parallel the river almost from top to bottom, with parking and boat launches located at river mile 0.5 and river mile 12.0. If you wanted to cover a larger area, then the Situk is set-up nicely for putting in a drift boat or inflatable raft at the 9-mile bridge and floating the Situk downstream to the Lower Landing boat launch located near the mouth of the river. It’s an all-day float, and anglers should plan for a long day of fishing along the way. While the peak of the spring fishery occurs from Mid-April through Mid-May, there is a large component of the run that comes into the Situk in the fall and overwinters in the river and lake. This means that fish are present as early as early-March regardless of spring fish run-timing.
What to use for catching these notorious fish? How about anything? Want to drift a bead under an indicator or along the bottom? Good choice. How about nymph-fish any sort of fly or drift a corky and yarn along the bottom? Cast a spinner or spoon? Work a jig under a float along a downed tree? Back down a plug, or side-plane it? Want to swing a streamer? You can do that as well…preferably downstream of the Lower Landing boat launch where its wider and you can get better casts. Anything works for these fish on this river. In fact, most anglers swear by changing it up, especially in areas where other anglers have already worked through. Just remember to put single hooks on any factory lures as the Situk is by regulation single-hook only. The one warning anglers should be aware of when it comes to gear is simple. Bring a lot of it with you. The Situk gobbles up gear and if you are not prepared, you’ll be borrowing gear by the end of the day. The river is loaded with fish sometimes, but it is loaded with woody debris all the time.
The Situk River is the most popular sport fishing destination for steelhead in the state, but it isn’t immune to the natural fluctuations in abundance seen throughout the Pacific. The Situk, like other streams in Southeast Alaska and British Columbia, are seeing some pretty low runs in recent years. 2021 and 2022 saw the two lowest weir-counts of steelhead on the Situk since the early-90’s. Fishing in the past couple of years on the Situk has been difficult. Recent large snowfalls, high and very cold-water levels coupled with small flooding events have made the last two springs on the Situk frustrating and difficult for most anglers. So bring some patience, and just enjoy finally getting back out of the house and try hooking into that one fish…. that first fish that makes you happy its springtime again!
2023 Prince William Sound Noncommercial Shrimp Fishery
Daylight is increasing, snow is melting and those who enjoy fishing out of Prince William Sound (PWS) are looking forward to uncovering their boats and getting their shrimp pots ready for another season. If you are one of these eager anglers, excited at the prospect of harvesting shrimp this season, be sure you understand the newest regulations and have the proper paperwork. Whether you are a seasoned shrimp veteran or new to the waters, there is always something to learn. Check out the information below so you can be successful this shrimping season!
Permits & Emergency Orders
On March 7th, an Emergency Order and Advisory Announcement was released to the public announcing the 2023 noncommercial (sport and subsistence) shrimp pot limits for Prince William Sound and can be found here. The pot limit per person and per vessel has been reduced to three pots; however, of those three pots only two pots can be set in areas of historically high effort including areas near the Port of Valdez, near the Port of Whittier, and in portions of Port Wells and Culross Passage (see map below). These areas make up most of the harvest in PWS and in these areas, pots will be limited to only two pots per person and per vessel. Shrimpers that want to use three pots will have to travel further from the two roadside ports in PWS (Valdez and Whittier; see map). Additionally, spare pots may be carried onboard a vessel participating in the noncommercial fishery.
The 2023 Prince William Sound Noncommercial Shrimp Fishery permits are now available and are free of charge. You can obtain your 2023 PWS Shrimp Permit online here. Or you can download a permit through the ADFG Mobile App.
Anyone who is participating in the "taking" of shrimp must have a permit or be listed on a permit under a household. All permit holders are required to submit a harvest report online here, regardless of whether they fished or not. Harvest reporting is due online by October 15th, 2023, and failure to report could affect your ability to receive a PWS Shrimp Permit in the future. Accurate and timely reporting is important so the PWS shrimp fishery can be managed sustainably, and you are required to record your harvest online every year. Harvest report information from all PWS shrimp fisheries (sport, subsistence, and commercial) goes into the PWS shrimp surplus production model to determine the next year's Total Allowable Harvest (TAH) and provides valuable information to fisheries managers.
Tips and tricks for a successful set
- 1. Before you hit the water, be sure to do a run through of your boat’s electronics, safety equipment and general operation. Do not forget to check the NOAA website for the PWS Marine Forecast and plan accordingly. Pre-plan the area you will set your pots and refer to a marine bathometric map (topographic maps of the marine floor). Choose locations with a drop off, pinnacle or rockslide. Depths of 250 – 450 are a good starting point.
- 2. Weight your pots sufficiently, under-weighted pots can be lifted off the bottom by strong winds or tides and may float away. Be sure to set your pots with enough line. The rule of thumb is to set your pots with stout weighted line at least 15% longer than the depth you are setting in. Strong tides or winds can move pots to deeper locations, and without sufficient length of line, you run the risk of losing your pots to the current.
- 3. Use buoys that are large and brightly colored, mark a GPS location of your pots and label them with large clear text. The Alaska State Troopers often rescue runaway pots. Dropping clearly labeled shrimp pots with your first initial, last name, address, name or AK number of the boat pulling the pots and your phone number, is required and can help troopers return your expensive sets back to you!
- 4. Be sure to check the Southcentral Sport Fish Regulations for shrimp pot requirements. Shrimp pots are required to have an escapement mechanism, and these can differ between types of pots.
- 5. Check your pots often! Leaving your pots for longer periods of time doesn’t equal larger harvest!
Answers to other Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.
Preserve Your Bounty – How to Can Salmon
The summer fishing season will be here before we know it. With that in mind, it might be time to prepare for the coming season by pressure canning some of the left-over salmon in your freezer. Fresh salmon can be used in this method as well.
Watch our “How to Can Salmon” video for a quick tutorial on the process.
Take the "Stocked Waters Challenge"
Do you fish stocked lakes in Alaska? If so, consider participating in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s “Stocked Waters Challenge.”
The “Stocked Waters Challenges” awards a certificate of recognition to individual or groups who successfully complete one or more angling challenges based on fishing at stocked lakes.
You can learn more about the challenge here!
Field to Plate - Recipe of the Month
Recipe of the Month – Spicy Smoked Alaska Pollock Dip
Here’s a delicious recipe for Spicy Smoked Alaska Pollock Dip from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
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