Andy Couch

Rainbow trout will provide most of the catching this week in Mat-Su Valley waters.

Since my last week’s column was printed Deshka Landing boat launch has opened to Deshka Landing Outdoor Association Members and Season Passholders. Last time I talked with manager Amy Davis she was thinking the landing might open to the general public this weekend. Last Friday Dan Sanderlin and I launched from Deshka Landing, drove my guide boat down the Susitna River, and up the Deshka all the way above the weir site. The Deshka was still very high with spring run off and the water was quite muddy as well. The only place Dan and I fished was in a slow side slough. Casting near the weedy banks we each managed to catch a single northern pike on Flashtrap Spinners. With a week gone by, and as the water level continues to drop and temperatures warm up I expect some of the best northern pike fishing of the season to be available at the Deshka ‘River and other Susitna River drainage pike hotspots. Last week we also saw some arctic grayling-sized fish surfacing in some of the slower portions of the main river, warmer and cleaner water should help anglers catch some of these fish in the coming week as well. Small single hook spinners or flies are two of my favorite offerings when attempting to catch grayling. My friend and long-time former Deshka river fishing guide, Bruce Knowles recommends a small flatfish lure or a white jig for Deshka River grayling in the spring-time.

Note: One of the Deshka Landing staff told me that hooligan were already present at the Yentna River (about a 45 minute run downstream from Deshka Landing). Hooligan may be caught without limit for personal use by Alaska residents. Most of the fish are caught with dip nets.

Susitna Landing open to fishing, camping, and boating

More inside

I’ve been talking with the managers at Susitna Landing (turn off at mile 82.5 Parks Highway) and every time I’ve talked with them in the past week, they have been reporting that people are catching fish in front of the campground. Arctic grayling, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, and whitefish are all available. There is now open ice-free water at the boat launch, and although the water is low, some landing regulars have been talking about launching and boating the Susitna River this weekend. Most campsites are not open to use (there are a few closed until dead trees can be removed). Susitna Landing is one of my favorite Mat-Su camping locations, as campsites are spacious and the campground is usually quiet during the week with more use on the weekends by Alaskan weekend warriors. New at Susitna Landing this year guests may reserve campsites with advance payment. You may contact Susitna Landing at (907) 495-7700 — it is a local call in the Mat-Su Valley.

Nancy Lake Recreation Area and other Northern Lakes

I noticed while driving up to Deshka Landing this past week that Nancy Lake had lost nearly all of its ice cover — I would imagine it is all gone by now, and I suspect the ice has now melted of other lakes between Houston and Talkeetna. There are quite a few lakes in this area stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, that tend to see less angling pressure than some of the more popular lakes in the Palmer — Wasilla core area. As of Wednesday none of them had been stocked yet this year, however, there are likely some larger holdover fish from previous years’ stockings for those adventurous enough to look for them. Note: some of the campsites in the Nancy Lake Recreation Area had been previous closed until dead standing spruce trees could be cut.

For an update contact Alaska State Parks Finger Lake office at 745-3975.

Big fish at Big Lake

My friend and fellow guide, Jason Perrego, owner of Alaska Lakes Guide Service, has already been out catching and guiding for some larger Arctic char, rainbow trout, and northern pike at Big Lake. He’s been fishing this location for a few years now, and seems to have it dialed in. For some Big Lake big fish eye-candy visit Alaska Lakes Guide Service Facebook page at or give Jason a call on his cell phone at (452) 491-1516 if you would like to set up a guided fishing trip.

Truck trout motoring to more Mat-Su Lakes

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game hatchery truck has been busy again this week, in addition to lakes I mentioned last week, new Mat-Su lakes getting catchable rainbow trout stockings include Knik Lake, Lucille Lake, Reed Lake, and Reflections Lake.

Two of my friends told me about catching some nice trout at Lucille Lake this past week, and both of them caught a combination of catchable trout in the 10-inch range along with larger holdover trout. I’m personally excited to see the Department stocked Reflections lake on the Palmer Hay Flats near the Knik River exit off the Glenn Highway. This lake has a trail all the way around it and anglers can fish anywhere around the lake. There are almost always vehicles parked here with people out recreating — I would like to hear if people have good luck at this location.

It could be a wet weekend, but fish on and good luck!

Andy Couch is owner/guide of Fishtale River Guides. You may read his daily fishing reports blog at


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