Andy Couch

This past week I’ve been fishing several times, but the catching has been much more limited. All of my catching occurred on the two days I fished lakes stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). One lake had catchable trout stocked this spring, and the biggest of those fish was likely 12 inches with smaller fish down to about 6-8 inches. I caught eight or nine fish casting from shore with a #3 silver / black Flashtrap Spinner. An exciting aspect of fishing both of these lakes was that I fished one of them with no other anglers present, and the other lake I fished with Jason Perrego of Alaska Lakes Guide Service. On the second lake Jason and I fished for several hours from his guide boat and fished around most of the shoreline, but did so without seeing any other anglers. We made lots of casts for each fish caught on this second lake, however, there were some nice-sized rainbow trout in the 20-inch range biting on this trip. We fished other lures, but Jason caught all his fish on a silver and black Roostertail spinner and I caught all of my trout on the same #3 silver / black Flshtrap Spinner.

Fishing these two lesser known lakes was truly an enjoyable experience, and one other anglers can duplicate by exploring lakes on Fish and Game’s stocking list.

Dan Suprak told me about catching some trout and an arctic char while fishing four different lakes this spring. Three of the lakes were stocked by ADF&G, but the 4th is a lake with wild fish. At one of the stocked lakes Dan mentioned he and his wife caught about 30 trout with quite a few fish in the 15 to 18 inch range. The released them all, and it sounded like an impressive trip to me. Access was a bit more difficult at this lake, and likely contributed to the better fishing. Dan also made a couple trips to one of the easiest accessible lakes in the Palmer-Wasilla core area, and he made the second trip because of the exceptional luck they experienced during the first trip. They caught both recently stocked catchable rainbow trout and some significantly larger holdover fish. Again, exploring new waters paid off. Use the following weblink to access ADF&G’s online lake stocking database: Note: there are several more Mat-Su Lakes that have been stocked this week — just waiting to catch your interest!

Up the Parks Highway

One of the staff at Susitna Landing (495-7700) told me Wednesday evening that the trout fishing has been extremely good right near the campground recently. Lots of fish being caught by some anglers and some large trout as well. Water has been coming up as spring progresses, but it is recently quite clear after a few days without rain. Prime camping spots are usually readily available at this location during the week, and for those wanting one of the better campsites on a weekend advanced reservations can be placed with a credit card over the phone. Boat launch is open and boaters have been out exploring the Susitna River. Susitna Landing is now open from 5 a.m. to midnight.

Deshka Landing was one busy boat launch last weekend. ADF&G has been going out on the Susitna Drainage and setting up their fishery project camps. Cabin and homeowners are getting ready for another summer on the river, hooligan fishermen were headed down near the Yentna River confluence, and I was out guiding a northern pike and arctic grayling trip to Deshka River. Bear hunters were out doing their thing, and I had a report of a couple bears being taken. I expect more of the same this weekend, although ADF&G reports some hooligan are now much closer to the Deshka River. Remember: king salmon fishing is closed throughout the entire Susitna River drainage this season. Deshka Landing office is now open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday. For more information call Deshka Landing at 495-3374.

Lakes up the Parks Highway were also stocked in the past week and more will be stocked over the summer, so keep checking the Department’s website for easily accessible up-to-date stocking data for specific portions Mat-Su locations or for locations throughout the entire state.

Will king salmon fishing open in Susitna drainage or Little Susitna River this summer?

As many already know these locations were closed by ADF&G emergency order starting on May 1, but quite a few people have been asking this question. The short and sweet answer is, Only if ADF&G counts adequate number of king salmon through the Susitna River fish wheel and Deshka River Weir or through Little Susitna River weir. ADF&G Area Sportfishery Biologist, Sam Ivey told me this week the Department would only open king salmon fishing if they could be assured of attaining a king salmon escapement goal(s). In other words, I would not expect either king salmon sport fishery to be opened unless the Little Susitna River weir count tops 2,000 king salmon or the Deshka River weir nears 13,000 king salmon. That may not happen at all or if it does happen it may be near the end of June or even early July. Neither weir has passed a king salmon at the time this article was written.

Good Luck and Fish On!

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