July 2020 Alaska Salmon Fishing Reports — Scroll down for the latest Report
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— BIG EXPECTATIONS! July 2020 Fishing one of our scenic Mat-Su Valley rivers north of Anchorage during the month of July provides an opportunity to catch all 5 species of salmon native to Alaska. Following commercial fishing changes, adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries during the February 2020 Upper Cook Inlet meeting, we are expecting significantly larger abundances of chum, sockeye, coho, and pink salmon available in Mat-Su Valley rivers during 2020, 2021, and 2022. Read more about Upper Cook Inlet changes adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries on our January — February 2020 Alaska Fishing Reports page. Scroll down this page for our most recent July Fishing Report Update. You may also want to bookmark this page for easy reference during July 2020.
King (Chinook) Salmon –Through July 13, king salmon are often the most abundant species available at Little Susitna River and Deshka River — July 13 is the last day of our king salmon fishing season.
Chum (Dog) Salmon –Our guests usually start catching chum salmon during the first or second week of July, and chum salmon numbers can skyrocket from July 10 into mid-August. These are hard fighting salmon with the best table quality during the early part of their run timing.
Coho (Silver) Salmon — This species will likely once again command the most sport fishing interest and harvest opportunity during the summer of 2020. We often start seeing our first Little Susitna River coho salmon near the end of the king salmon season on July 13. Coho salmon abundance and catching opportunities should jump upward around July 20 -25 and continue through the entire month of August. There can be strong abundances of coho salmon in numerous Mat-Su Valley streams during July and August, and we sometimes can change Mat-Su Valley trip locations, based on current fishing conditions, to provide out guest with a better opportunity to catch this prized salmon species.
Sockeye (Red) Salmon— Numbers of this salmon species have been low on Little Susitna River for the past several years, however, with changes adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries in 2020, we are expecting guests to see more sockeye salmon in the Little Susitna River, Fish Creek, Knik River drainage, and Susitna River drainage. Peak migration timing occurs during the month of July and sometimes extends into early August. Expect to see more days of personal use dip netting for Alaska residents at Fish Creek and lower Susitna River during the 2020 season. Note: the personal use fishery on lower Susitna River (limited to 6 specific dates during July) was added by the Board in 2020.
Pink (Humpy) Salmon — Inriver abundance of this smaller salmon can vary widely, however, pink salmon showed up in strong abundance during 2019, and pink salmon return numbers are usually even stronger on even numbered years like 2020. The fishery regulations adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries in 2020 will result in a higher percentage of pink salmon returning to Mat-Su rivers and streams over the next 3 seasons. Peak abundance and fishing success can occur from early July though the end of the month. Small artificial lures and flies are often good pink salmon producers.
Key July Dates:
July 10 — Chum salmon numbers in Mat-Su Valley rivers start to build.
July 11 — first day of personal use salmon dip netting on lower Susitna River. Boat access through Deshka Landing or airplane access. Fishery limited to Alaska residents — permits are available at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website. The additional dates this new fishery will be open in 2020 are July 15, 18, 22, 25, 29.
July 14 — Bait Fishing Opens and multiple hooks are allowed at many Susitna River drainage locations. This is the transition day from king salmon management to management for other salmon species . Silver salmon, chum salmon, and pink salmon are available.
July 15 —30 Peak chum salmon fishing at Little Susitna River. Near peak timing for pink salmon at numerous Susitna River drainage streams. Coho salmon numbers building rapidly at this time in lower Knik Arm drainages and Susitna River locations. Inriver silver salmon abundances and daily catches should continually get better through the last 11 days of July. August silver salmon fishing can be even more consistent.
July Fishing Reports 2020 —
July 1, 2020 — I guided a man and his two young sons, and each of them caught a king salmon. One of the boys also caught a rainbow trout, and they also caught a couple jack king salmon. My guests caught fish on Mag Lip Flatfish and a Spin-N-Glo. During the trip we saw some shorebirds and bald eagles. It was a sunny pleasant day out on the river and a good way for one of the boys to celebrate his birthday — with his first king salmon caught!
We have availability most days if you would like to join us for a guided salmon fishing trip! (907) 746-2199.
July 2, 2020 — I fished with 2 friends in the morning and we caught 3 king salmon. 2 king salmon were caught casting a Vibrax Spinner and 1 king salmon was caught on a Spin-N-Glo. During the trip we briefly saw a moose along the river, and also saw several ducks, shorebirds, and some bald eagles. It was an enjoyable day on the river with light fishing pressure.
July 3, 2020 — I drove to Eklutna Tailrace and casted a #6 Vibrax Spinner for a about a half an hour at about 9 am. I saw a few salmon surfacing, and I saw 3 small king salmon get caught, but I had no bites myself. There was lots of vehicles in the parking lot, and all of the fish are saw caught were hooked near the confluence of the tailrace and the Knik River. I fished further upstream where there were considerably less people. I also stopped by the Knik River access and noticed there were 12 boat trailers in the parking lot, with another boater pulling out of the river while I was there. The Knik River has come up and got muddier since I fished here about a week ago.
July 4, 2020 — Exclusive Boat Special — $400 thru July 13. From now through July 13, 2020 we are offering special pricing on our exclusive boat guided fishing trip. This is for our 6 hour guided fishing trip and will be limited to your party and the guide. This special pricing runs through the end of our king salmon fishing season on July 13, and you will also have the opportunity to fish for early arriving sockeye, chum, silver, and pink salmon. The commercial fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet have been catching some of these other 4 salmon species for more than a week , and we are expecting to land our first chum salmon and silver salmon during the time of our Exclusive Boat Special. Pricing includes your resident Alaskan guide, customized jet boat, use of custom built rods, quality reels, tackle, with fish filleting near the end of your trip. For optimum fishing room in the boat we suggest groups of up to 4 guests, however you may take up to 6 people in your party with our exclusive boat option. Our primary fishing locations are Knik River, Little Susitna River, and Deshka River — which are all located north of Anchorage and provide a comfortable day fishing trip driving from Anchorage, Palmer, Wasilla, or Big Lake. In addition to the $400 guided fishing price our reservation system adds a nominal additional fee — which you will see at the time of your reservation. To get our Exclusive Boat Special pricing: choose a date from now through July 13, and make your reservation using our website reservation system– choose the exclusive boat option and add in the Promo Code: xboat Feel welcome to call for additional information: 907-746-2199
Sunday July 5, 2020 — I guided a group of 2 people in the morning, one of whom caught a jack king salmon and a rainbow trout and the other caught a foul-hooked king salmon. All of the fish were hooked on Mag Lip Flatfish. My guests also did some casting with Flashtrap Spinners. We fished where there was salmon, but could not get many bites. During the trip we saw a cow and calf moose wading in the river below us. We also saw a bald eagle.
I guided one guest in the afternoon, who hooked two fish on a Spin -N-Glo, but both of them managed to get off the hook before we could get them to the boat. One of the fish was for sure a king salmon as It jumped right beside the boat a couple times and we had a good view of him. The other fish fought deep and we never saw it before it pulled loose. During the afternoon trip we saw a bald eagle, several ducks and lots of shorebirds
Monday July 6, 2020— I guided a group of 5 anglers and one person riding along. They caught 4 king salmon and 1 jack king salmon. 2 king salmon were caught on Mag Lip Flatfish and 2 king salmon and the jack king salmon were caught on Spin-N-Glos. During the trip we saw some bald eagles and ducks along the river. It was a pleasant day with some nice guests with light fishing pressure from other groups.
Looking at Mat-Su Valley king salmon counts through July 5: Deshka River has 10,170 — which is more than 1,000 king salmon into the escapement goal range. Little Susitna River has 1,856 — which is less than 250 king salmon below the escapement range.
Tuesday July 7 — ADF&G opens Deshka River to king salmon harvest with bait below Deshka River Weir Starting at 6 am on Wednesday July 8, 2020 — this was announced by emergency order today – king salmon harvest will start 10 days after the minimum spawning escapement range was attained. 6 days of king salmon harvest will be allowed at Deshka River in 2020.
July 8, 2020 — Little Susitna River — I guided a group of 3 guests. With the heavy rain two of my guests requested to be returned to the landing quite early in the trip. I took the remaining guest fishing and he caught 2 king salmon while casting with a #6 Vibrax Spinner. During the trip we saw a cow and calf moose along the river. Today was very wet, so water levels on various Mat-Su streams are changing before Thursday.
Thursday July 9, 2020 — Deshka River — I guided a group of 2 people in the morning, who caught 1 king salmon, 1 king salmon jack, and 1 rainbow trout. All of the fish were caught by drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers. Although the Deshka may have come up a bit, I am thinking it will likely rise considerably more by tomorrow. We saw several bald eagles as well as other anglers along the river. My guests had a few additional bites that were not hooked, but we fished lots of different spots in search of bites.
Friday July 10, 2020 — I guided a morning group of 2 guest, each of whom caught king salmon, one guest also a rainbow trout and a jack king salmon. All of the fish were caught by drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers. During the trip we saw lots of bald eagles and some ducks.
I guided one guest in the afternoon who caught 2 rainbow trout and a jack king salmon 1 rainbow trout was caught by drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under an ESB Bobber. The other rainbow trout and the jack king salmon were caught one a Spin-N-Glo fished with Fired Cured salmon roe. During the afternoon trip we one again saw several eagles and some different species of ducks with duckling.
Little Susitna River Open to King Salmon Harvest — Below Weir — July 11 –13. The lower end of the Little Susitna River king salmon escapement goal was counted through the weir on Thursday July 9, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency order announcement on Friday July 10, and the river will open to king salmon harvest (below the weir only) on Saturday July 11 — Monday July 13. The king salmon spawning escapement remains protected above the weir, and there is a quick opportunity to harvest king salmon for 3 days with artificial lures below the weir. This is what I believe timely responsive management, that allows reasonable sport fishing opportunity, should look like.
Chum Salmon Arrive! ADF&G counted the first 7 chum salmon of 2020 through Little Susitna River weir on Thursday July 9, and posted that information today. Water is high at this time, however, chum salmon numbers should increase dramatically in the later half of July increasing the opportunity to catch hard fighting Alaska salmon on Little Susitna River fishing trips.
Saturday July 11 — Fish Creek Sockeye Salmon — There is a new sportfishing opportunity in the Mat-Su Valley that was adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries in February 2020. The opportunity to harvest salmon at Fish Creek (near Knik Goose Bay Road) was opened to Saturdays and Sundays from 5 am –10 pm from June 15 – July 14. This weekend–July 11 and 12– will provide the best salmon catching opportunity during this time period. Fish Creek weir counts are staring to build with 161 sockeye swimming past Fish Creek weir on Wednesday July 7 and 452 sockeye counted through on Thursday July 8. Catch them while you can! Note: ADF&G will likely post weir counts for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on Monday July 13. The Fish Creek portion near Knik Goose Bay Road is open to harvest of all salmon except king salmon at this time.
I did not have a trip scheduled today, and I am working on fishing tackle in preparation for king salmon fishing on Sunday and Monday, followed by fishing for chum salmon and silver salmon after Monday July 13 — which is the last day king salmon may be targeted and harvested on Deshka and Little Susitna Rivers.
Sunday July 12, 2020 — I guided one guest in the morning who had reserved the whole boat. He caught a rainbow trout, a jack king salmon, and a pink salmon while drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under an ESB Bobber. During the trip we saw bald eagles and several other boat loads of anglers out fishing for salmon. Water was in decent condition today, but rising with the yesterdays and todays rains.
Monday July 13, 2020 — High water at several Mat-Su Valley locations following a couple days of heavy rain. I guided a morning group of 4 people who caught 2 king salmon, a king salmon jack, and 2 chum salmon. 1 king salmon was caught on a Mag Lip Flatfish and all of the other fish were caught on Kwikfish. At the start of the trip we had a very close view of a cow moose walking down to the river — we also saw some bald eagles. The water was high and dark colored, so fortunately my group was able to hook and land every bite they had.
I had an afternoon group, but we decided to reschedule that trip for a bit later in the week when fishing conditions (water level and color) should be better.
Tuesday July 14, 2020 — I guided a group of 3 guests who caught 1 king salmon, 2 king salmon jacks, and 1 chum salmon. The king salmon and king salmon jacks were immediately released. The chum salmon was kept. All of the fish were caught on Kwikfish. Water is still high, but improving in color. We fished lots of holes looking for fish. During the trip we saw bald eagles and some ducks.
Wednesday July 15, 2020 — I guided a morning group of 4 guests, 1 of whom caught 1 king salmon jack, 1 king salmon, and 1 chum salmon. Other members had a few bites and one of them manage to hook a couple chum salmon, but lost both of them before we could land them. All of the fish were hooked on Kwikfish. During the trip we saw some bald eagles and ducks.
I guided an afternoon group of 3 guests and we fished most of the trip without getting bites. At the second to last spot they managed to hook one rainbow trout and one other fish, both of which got away. Both fish were hooked on #5 Flashtrap Spinners. During the trip we saw bald eagles, ducks, and a moose out in the middle of the river. Water was still high, but dropping.
Thursday July 16, 2020 — I guided a group of 3 guests, who caught 1 pink salmon and 2 chum salmon. This was the first Little Susitna River pink salmon of 2020 in my boat. The pink salmon and 1 chum salmon were caught on a Kwikfish. The other chum salmon was caught on a #5 pink blade Flashtrap Spinner. During the trip we saw some bald eagles, ducks, a moose, and a few other groups of anglers along the river. We also saw a few fish surfacing along the river and I would expect ADF&G’s Little Susitna weir count to include more pink salmon and chum salmon over the next few days. Looking back at previous years it is about time for the first silver or coho salmon to swim through the weir.
Friday July 17, 2020 — I guided a group of 4 people in the morning who caught several pink salmon, 3 rainbow trout, and 5 chum salmon. Fish were caught on Kwikfish, a Mag Lip Flatfish, and a wee wiggler. During the trip we saw multiple bald eagles and some ducks along the river.
I guided a group of 5 people in the afternoon, who caught several chum salmon, and one pink salmon. The salmon were caught on a Mag Lip Flatfish and Kwikfish. During the trip we saw a bald eagle and several groups of ducks. Fishing pressure was light during both the morning and afternoon. Water level and clarity was the best it has been in quite a while.
Saturday July 18, 2020 — After dropping a group off I casted and fished the Little Sustina River a bit myself today. I caught a chum salmon and a couple pink salmon while casting with a #5 silver Flashtrap Spinner. While on the river today I saw some bald eagles and some moose.
ADF&G announced the Fish Creek Personal Use Dip Net fishery will open at 6am — 11pm daily from Sunday July 19 through July 31.
Sunday July 19, 2020 — I guided a group of 4 guests, who caught 10 chum salmon, and lots of pink salmon. The fish were all caught on Kwikfish and MagLip Flatfish. During the trip we saw bald eagles along the river. There were a few other groups out fishing, but overall fishing pressure was light.
Silver (Coho) Salmon Update –– As mentioned earlier on this page July 20 is the timeframe where silver salmon fishing usually starts to pick up on Little Susitna River and at select other Mat-Su Valley locations. The first few silver salmon may be a bit later than some years (possibly because of higher colder water flows), however silver salmon have been caught at several locations now, and sport fish success rates for Mat-Su Valley silver salmon are likely to climb considerably in the next week. We have the ability to guide trips for larger numbers of salmon caught when focusing on chum and pink salmon at this point in the season, but we also have the flexibility to focus on harvesting silver salmon. Let us know what your interests are.
Monday July 20, 2020 — I guided a morning group of 3 guests who caught 4 chum salmon and some pink salmon on Kwikfish. During the trip we saw some bald eagles and ducks.
I guided an afternoon group of 6 guests who caught the first silver salmon of the season from my guide boat, 3 chum salmon, some pink salmon, and a rainbow trout. All of the fish were caught on Kwikfish and MagLip Flatfish. During the trip we saw ducks and bald eagles.
Tuesday July 21, 2020 — I am scheduled to guide a salmon fishing trip, check back in the evening for the latest fishing report.
Wednesday July 22, 2020 — Lower Susitna River Personal Use Dip Net Fishery and Fishing Report. I fished with my wife and a friend running the nets, while I operated the boat. We were one of the first boats on the water in the legal fishing area and fished until about 3 p.m. We caught 13 sockeye salmon, 2 coho salmon, and 2 chum salmon which we kept and we released lots of pink salmon and 2 chum salmon. The Susitna River proved quite challenging for us to fish from the boat — in much of the river there are woody snags. We end up losing 4 dip nets on snags — so if you attempt this fishery try to avoid the spots that look like they may cause problems. We quit fishing when we ran out of dip nets and those fish that we caught were a lot more expensive when one considers the price of a dip net. What we enjoyed about the fishery was the low number of participants. During the trip we saw several bald eagles along the river. In this personal use fishery — only Alaska residents are allowed to participate — a permit and sport fishing license is required. The personal use area is located downstream of the Yentna River confluence and Susitna Station with the lower area boundary located on the northern portion of Bell Island. This personal use fishing area is about an hour boat ride downstream from Deshka Landing in my guide boat. Personal use dip net fishing in this location is only allowed on Wednesdays and Saturdays from July 10 – 31.
Thursday July 23, 2020 — I guided a group of 5 anglers who fished for about 3 hours in the middle of the day. 4 of them caught pink salmon while casting with #5 Flashtrap Spinners. The water dropped a bit more today, and we saw a bald eagle and shorebirds along the river during our trip.
July 24, 2020 — I had a day off and spent time preparing to go dip netting on Saturday.
Saturday July 25, 2020 — Lower Susitna River Personal Use Dip Netting. My nephew and I each drove a boat to the dip netting area. I fished in two different locations from the shore and drifting from a boat in two locations as well. My wife and I harvested 15 sockeye salmon and 8 coho salmon. My nephew had similar success. During the trip we saw several bald eagles along the river, and there were other people fishing in the dip netting area both from boats and from the shore. NOTE: for us this trip takes a long day– and we still have clean up to do the next day.
Sunday July 26, 2020 — I had another day off from fishing — tomorrow I am planning on scout fishing some spots I have not fished or guided at for a while.
Monday July 27, 2020 — Susitna River drainage — I fished with my nephew Stephen Warta who is only in town for a few days. We fished multiple locations and caught 3 silver salmon, several chum salmon, and several pink salmon. All of the silver salmon and most of the chum salmon were caught on Fire Cured salmon roe drifted under ESB Bobbers, while most the pink salmon and several chum salmon were caught by casting #5 Flashtrap Spinners. My nephew also caught and released a rainbow trout and large arctic grayling which he caught while drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under an ESB bobber. It was a very pleasant day of fishing — warm, but not hot, and without rain.
July 28, 2020 — I wrote my fishing newspaper column for the Friday Frontiersman and attended my niece’s wedding.
Wednesday July 29, 2020 — COHO HO! I guided a group of 3 anglers who caught lots of pink salmon, 1 chum salmon, and 1 silver salmon on an afternoon trip. It was a hot sunny afternoon and there had been significant fishing pressure in the morning before we started fishing. Morning trips should be providing considerably better silver salmon fishing most days at this time. All of my guests’ salmon were caught while casting #5 Flashtrap Spinners. During the trip we saw multiple bald eagles and shore birds.
First Boat Limits of Silver Salmon Thursday July 30, 2020 — I guided 3 guests, each of whom caught some pink salmon, one of whom caught a chum salmon, and all of whom caught a limit of silver salmon. All of the fish were caught on #5 pink or #5 silver/black Flashtrap Spinners. During the trip we saw some shorebirds along some of the gravel bars.
Friday July 31, 2020 — I guided a group of 5 guests who caught and released a good number of pink salmon. In addition 4 guests harvested limits of silver salmon and 1 guest harvested a single silver salmon. Most of the fish were caught on #5 Flashtrap Spinners, but some were also caught on a #4 Vibrax Spinner. During the trip we saw a pair of weasels that kept popping out of the bushes to look at us and then scurrying off again. There were a considerably number of people out fishing on the river today.
Kenai River Personal Use Dip Netting — Alaska Residents who would like one more opportunity to catch a supply of quality sockeye salmon — The July 27, 28, 29, and 30 sockeye sonar counts were 4 of the 5 largest single daily Kenai River counts of the 2020 season to date. Best dip netting of the entire season is happening right NOW! July 31 is the last day of the season — the Dip Net fishery official closes at 11:01 p.m. A sport fishing license and personal use permit are required. Good Luck!
Fish Creek Dip Net Fishery — last day is July 31 with the season ending at 11 p.m.
Call for information — or to make a reservation (907) 746-2199. Feel welcome to give us a call.
For our next Alaska Salmon Fishing Report — please go to our August 2020 Alaska Fishing Reports page.