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Area Sport Fishing Reports

September 15, 2020

* Just a reminder to all of our anglers - please do your part to help slow the spread of Covid-19 by following and reviewing the State of Alaska Health Mandates currently in effect. As indicated in Health Alert 010, please wear a face covering and practice social distancing while sport and personal use fishing, and while shopping for fishing supplies from your local store.

Emergency Orders

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

  • Emergency Order 3-KS-Y-2-2020 closed all waters of the Yukon River drainage (excluding the Tanana River) to sport fishing for king salmon.
  • Emergency Order 3-KS-U-05-20 closed all waters of the Tanana River drainage to sport fishing for king salmon.
  • Emergency Order 3-CS-Y-1-20 closed all waters of the Yukon River drainage (excluding the Tanana River) to sport fishing for chum salmon.
  • Emergency Order 3-CS-U-02-20 closed the Tanana River drainage to sport fishing for chum salmon.

Informational Hotline For The Yukon Management Area (excludes The Tanana River)

  • Fairbanks: 907-459-7202

Sport Fishing

King salmon

The king salmon run has mostly concluded, although a trickle may still be crossing the border into Canada. Nevertheless, due to poor returns, king salmon fisheries in the entire Alaska portion of the Yukon River drainage remain closed for the rest of 2020.

Chum salmon

Sport fishing for chum salmon in the Alaska portion of the Yukon River remains closed due to current and projected low fall chum salmon returns. All chum salmon caught incidentally while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

Coho salmon

Coho salmon are currently entering the Yukon River, and the first pulse should be reaching the mouth of the Tanana River. The majority of Yukon River coho salmon spawn in tributaries from the Yukon River, up to and including the Tanana River drainage. Shiny spoons such as pixies are commonly used.

Resident freshwater species

Arctic grayling

Currently, fishing for Arctic grayling is excellent and easily accessible from streams along the Dalton, Steese, and Taylor highways. However, NO RETENTION of Arctic grayling is allowed in Nome Creek (Steese Highway) and its tributaries. All Arctic grayling caught in Nome Creek must be released immediately, and only unbaited, single hook, artificial lures or flies may be used. Popular gear used to capture Arctic grayling are shiny spoons when the streams are wide enough and colorful jigs for narrower streams and creeks. In early autumn, when ambient temperatures cool and water levels drop in upper tributaries such as Nome Creek, Arctic grayling will slowly migrate downstream to overwintering areas.

Northern pike

The management biologist has received reports that fishing for northern pike has been excellent at the mouths of Yukon River tributaries. The Innoko, Nowitna, and Dall rivers are known to contain large northern pike. Fishing guides who operate on the Innoko and Nowitna rivers report that, at this time of year, fewer but larger fish are typically caught. The management biologist received similar information from anglers at the mouth of the Dall River. Popular lures include buzzbait, booyah, jitterbugs, shiny spoons, shads, and surface lures such as mice and frogs. Similar to Arctic grayling, with the coming of autumn and winter, northern pike will move to overwintering areas in lower river tributaries, lakes, or into the mainstem Yukon River.


Sheefish will be entering spawning tributaries (Sulukna [Nowitna], Innoko, and Alatna rivers, and Yukon Flats) and milling in back eddies and river confluences (i.e. Porcupine River). Sheefish typically spawn in late September and early October. Anglers targeting northern pike in the Innoko and Nowitna rivers report catching sheefish. Some popular lures for capturing sheefish are crocodiles, pixies and daredevils, as well as various shads that mimic juvenile prey.


Burbot become more active in fall and are targeted throughout the winter in the Yukon River drainage. Burbot are voracious feeders and can be caught by jigging large lures just off the bottom. However, most anglers use set lines. Whitefish and herring are commonly used as bait. To learn more about making and using set lines to fish for burbot, check out the ADF&G page and videos at:

Because fish typically grow and reproduce more slowly at high latitudes and elevations, please use proper techniques when engaging in catch-and-release fishing 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. In water without current, gently cradle the fish and move it slowly through the water until it swims away under its own power.

More information on proper catch-and-release techniques can be found at:

Don’t forget to bring your 2020 sport fishing license. Help maximize social distancing by purchasing your sport fishing license at the ADF&G Online Store. You can print your license from the comfort of your home. Also, be sure to review Emergency Orders and the 2020 Northern Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet for the area you are fishing before you head out.

For additional information, please contact the ADF&G Fairbanks Office at (907) 459-7200.


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