Fishing in Kodiak: Internet Directory


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King Salmon | Red Salmon | Pink Salmon | Silver Salmon | 
Dolly Varden | Steelhead | Halibut | 
Catch, Possession & Size Limits | 
| Kodiak Island Rivers (large map file)|
Kodiak Road System Rivers (large map file) |

King Salmon (Chinook) 
Peak Run June 1 - July 10
Best Bait or Lure: Spoons, spinners, flies, eggs, herring. 
King salmon fishing on the Karluk and Red (Ayakulik) Rivers is excellent. Both of these rivers are on the southwest end of Kodiak Island, about 1 hour from Kodiak. Average weight is 20 to 25 pounds. Timing is important, by June 1 only 5% (less than 1,000) of the run has entered the river. About 50% of the run by June 15, with over 90% of the run upriver by July 1. On the Karluk fishermen most commonly fish from 3 starting points: the lagoon and first mile of the river, the Portage or Karluk Lake. The Lagoon and lower river are good during June. The Portage is located about 15 miles upstream from the lagoon and 10 miles below the lake. A 2 mile hiking trail from the head of Larsen Bay will also take you to Portage. Fishing is best at Portage from June 15 through July 10. Karluk Lake is accessible by float plane. Fishermen generally float down the river, fishing along the way. The Karluk river is about 25 miles long and takes 18 hours to float, not allowing for time to fish or camp. On the Red River most fish just below the confluence of the Red and Ayakulik Rivers, near Bear Creek. This area is accessible by float plane. Fishermen either fish and camp at the landing sites or float downstream and fish along the way. The run timing is the same as Karluk. 
Regulations and Restrictions 
The bag and possession limit on the Karluk and Ayakulik over 20 inches, is 3 kings, only 2 of which may be over 28 inches. 10 kings under 20 inches may be in possession. 
The majority of the land along the Red River is located on the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, and there are public easements near the ocean for aircraft pickup. No special permits are needed to float the river or camp on most of the surrounding land. The land surrounding the Karluk River is completely owned by 2 native corporations, and land use fees are required. The Karluk Village own land surrounding most of the lagoon and lower river. Koniag owns most of the land surrounding the lake and upper river. 
Koniag Native Association 
Karluk River/Larsen Bay - Anchorage - 907-561-2668 
Karluk Tribal Council - Karluk - 907-241-2218


Red Salmon (Sockeye)
Peak Run June 10 - August 1
Best Bait or Lure: Flies. 
Reds are probably the best tasting salmon available and once hooked are good fighters. Reds however do not bite readily and only occasionally take lures. The best results occur when these fish can be seen and a fly is repeatedly drifted past their heads. Red salmon average 4 and 7 pounds, over 10 pounds is rare. 
Reds are mostly associated with a lake. They migrate into the lake via an outlet river, holding in the lake as they ripen, and then spawn along the lake shores and tributary streams. Fishing success is best when reds are migrating through a river into a lake. On the road system Buskin, Pasagshak and Saltery offer the best opportunities. An average of about 10,000 are counted through the Buskin River weir annually. Run begins June 1, reach 50% mark by June 25th and reach 90% by August 1st. Pasagshak and Saltery runs are considerably later. The Saltery run is much larger, averaging 30,000 fish. The road to Saltery Cove is very poor and 4-wheel drive vehicles are necessary. Fish are abundant by July 1 and peaks the last week of July. There are many large red runs off the road. Karluk, Red River, Uganik, Fraser, Upper Station and Litnik are a few.


Pink Salmon (Humpy) 
Peak Run July 20 - August 20 
Best Bait or Lure: Spoons, spinners, flies. 
Pink salmon are the most abundant fish on Kodiak Island. It is not uncommon to have 50,000 fish along the Kodiak road system alone. Pinks range between 3 to 5 pounds, they bite readily and offer a good fight. The Pink run is a great time for new anglers to get experience, see a lot of action and have some fun.
Pinks spawn in rivers and streams, and most good sized streams on Kodiak have a run. The most productive streams along the road system include the Buskin, Russian, Saline, American, Olds, Roslyn and Saltery. Pinks are generally abundant by late July and peak in mid-August.

Silver Salmon (Coho) 
Peak Run Mid-August - September
Best Bait or Lure: Spoons, spinners, flies, eggs. 
Coho fishing in Kodiak can be excellent. Many streams and rivers contain coho, with an average of 150,000 fish spawning annually. Similar to kings they bite readily and are excellent fighters. Run timing is earlier on Shuyak and Afognak islands (abundant mid-August peak early Sept.) more popular areas include, Shangin Bay, Carry Inlet, Big Bay, Paul¹s Bay and Litnik. All accessible by boat or float plane. 
The road system on Kodiak offers abundant cohos by the first of Sept, peaking in late Sept. Natural runs occur in the Buskin, Pasagshak, American, Olds, Roslyn, and Saltery Rivers. Hatchery returns occur along Mill Bay, Mission and Mayflower beaches. Large runs also occur in Uganik, Spiridon, Karluk, Red and Olga Rivers. 
Regulations and Restrictions 
Bag and possession limit along the road system is 2 cohos per day. Also, from Aug 1 through Sept 15, fishing in Chiniak Bay streams is restricted to waters below the highway, except on the Buskin River where fishing is restricted below bridge #1. Off the road system, the bag limits for Salmon other than king is a total of 5 salmon, regardless of what species. The possession limit is 2 daily bag limits.


Dolly Varden
Peak Run All year
Best Bait or Lure: Small spinners, flies, eggs. 
Dolly Varden are the most frequently harvested fish on Kodiak. They spend the winter in lakes. In May, fish leave the lakes and head for the sea, feeding on pink salmon fry as they go. This is an excellent time to catch dollies. Once at sea, dollies can be taken in salt water along the beaches. In mid-July dollies head up large streams to feed and spawn. Spawning usually takes place in early Oct. Unlike salmon not all dollies die after spawning, survivors leave their spawning streams and head bake to a large lake to overwinter. 
They range between 10 to 20 inches in length, occasionally larger. Along the road system, Buskin, Pasagshak and Saltery Rivers offer good fishing in May. Popular salt water beaches in June are Mission, Mill Bay and Monashka Beach. During mid-July through Oct the Buskin River offers excellent fishing. In the fall the American and Olds Rivers.


Peak Run Mid-August - September 
Best Bait or Lure: Spoons, spinners, flies, eggs. 
Rainbows: Spinners, flies, bait/bobber. 
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has identified 16 tributaries which support steelhead populations in the Kodiak Archipelago. The Karluk and Ayakulik Rivers are thought to contain the largest populations and are the most popular with anglers. Steelhead begin entering Kodiak Island fresh water tributaries in early Sept. (fall run). Steelhead overwinter in lakes or rivers and spawn in April-June, adults that survive spawning return to the sea in June and July. Unlike Pacific salmon steelhead trout are poly-anadromous, surviving spawning repeatedly and migrating between the sea and fresh water for a period of up to 5 years. 
Flowing waters are closed to sport fishing for rainbow trout/steelhead during the spawning season (April 1 - June 14). the bag limit is 2 fish, only 1 over 20 inches. The best time to fish for steelhead is probably mid to late Oct. At this time a significant percentage of the return has entered the rivers. Steelhead can also be taken in Sept. but they are tremendously outnumbered by pink, sockeye, and coho salmon. The Karluk spawning population was estimated at 10,000 in 1995, which is at record abundance levels. The Ayakulik population has been stable with a spawning population of 2,000. Steelhead tend to concentrate in the portage area on the Karluk and are spread throughout the river on the Ayakulik. 
In 1996 a catch and release steelhead fishery was established in the Buskin River and lake during the months of Nov. and Dec. During these two months no bait is allowed in the Buskin. The remainder of the year steelhead/rainbow trout fishing is closed in the Buskin river and lake. 


Pacific Halibut 
Peak Run May through September 
Best Bait or Lure: Octopus, herring, jigs. 
Halibut are abundant around Kodiak and sport fishing is excellent. The best fishing months are from May through Sept. The chances of taking a large halibut are good, with fish over 150 pounds frequently taken. The current Alaska State record for a sport caught halibut is 450 pounds, and a fish must weigh at least 200 pounds to qualify for the State¹s trophy program. Charter boats know all the hot spots and successful techniques. Well known fishing spots near town include waters near Spruce Cape, Long Island, Woody Island, Cape Chiniak and Whale Pass. Good bait includes herring, salmon heads and artificial jigs.


Catch, Possession and Size Limits 
General Guidelines (special restrictions apply to sport fish found in rivers and streams on Kodiak Island. Please refer to the Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations summary for specific information)

King Salmon
Daily Limit 20 inches or more: 3 per day, 3 in possession, only 2 of which may be over 28 inches. Less than 20 inches: 10 per day, 10 in possession
Annual Limit No more than 5 per year; 20" or longer. Harvest record required.
All Other Salmon
Road System 20" or longer total of all species. 5 per day, 5 in possession, only 2 may be Coho and only 2 may be sockeye. Less than 20" 10 daily 10 in possession.
Remote System 20" or longer total of all species. 5 per day, 10 in possession. Less than 20" 10 daily 10 in possession.
Rockfish 10 per day, 20 in possession
Ling Cod Open season July 1 - Dec 31, 2 per day, 4 in possession
Halibut 2 per day, 4 in possession, no size limit
Closed Waters/Season
Rainbow Trout/Steelhead All flowing waters are closed April 1 - June 14 Buskin River and Lake are closed: Except during Nov. and DEC when NO bait, catch and release fishery is permitted
All Salmon Chiniak Bay streams are closed to salmon fishing upstream of the highway from Aug 1 through Sept 15, except Buskin River is closed during this period upstream of Bridge #1

Compiled from "Kodiak Area Sport Fishing Guide" 
Available at : Alaska Dept of fish and Game 
211 Mission Road 
Kodiak, Alaska 99615 
Sport fish Information Line (updated weekly May to Oct) 486-5176


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