September 2020 Alaska Fishing Reports

September 2020 Alaska Salmon Fishing Reports

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September 2o2o Coho (Silver) Salmon Fishing                                                                                                                                               Early September can provide  opportunity to catch coho (silver) salmon at several Mat-Su Valley locations with low competition from other anglers.   Ocean-chrome silver salmon may still be available for harvest , although many salmon are developing darker colors as they mature to spawn.  With changes adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries in 2020, we had expected  increased coho salmon availability  in September compared to normal year during the past two decades.   You may want to bookmark this page for September 2020 reference.

Scroll down for our latest September Fishing Report Update.   

Key September Dates:

September 1 — Susitna River drainage fisheries change to artificial lure only by regulation.  Little Susitna River remains open to bait fishing through the entire month of September.   

September 5, 6, 7Labor day weekend — Usually the “Busiest” weekend of the month on the rivers, however, more people are often hunting for moose or waterfowl rather than salmon fishing.  This can be a good weekend to catch salmon.

September 11 —    For fishing enthusiasts this is a logical time to consider prioritizing rainbow trout, arctic grayling, northern pike, and arctic char fishing options over most salmon fishing options in the Mat-Su Valley.

September 31 — Last Day of Bait Fishing on Little Susitna River. 


September 2020 Alaska Fishing Reports — 

September 1, 2020 — The water level at Little Susitna River increased from a flow of less than 200 cubit feet per second on August 30 to over 1300 cubit feet per second at 6 am on September 1, as measured by the USGS above the Parks Highway Bridge.    High water conditions create different fishing conditions, however, we plan to post a fishing report by this evening.  

Our guests caught a few silver salmon with sea lice during our last two trips in August. Most silver salmon, at this time, are getting dark in color as they mature to spawn and are not the quality table fare they were earlier in August.  Our September salmon fishing trips during 2020 will likely be more of a catch and release opportunity than chance to harvest prime silver salmon for eating.

Update for September 1 — Greg Acord was scheduled to guide a group this morning and he was going to pass on trip information to me.    Early this morning, however, his group called and decided to cancel the trip.   I’ve talked with 4 other sources, but none of them had any more information other than the Little Susitna River and other local rivers and streams have risen substantially with the  rain.

When I contacted Alaska Department of Fish & Game Fisheries Biologist, Samantha Oslund, I learned the Department had pulled Little Susitna River weir yesterday.   I believe this was a very good decision, as recent coho salmon numbers through the weir had fallen off,  there is not much season left, and the weir was due to be flooded and possibly damaged by high water and debris flowing downriver.   There will be no additional coho salmon counts at this location in 2020 — but the minimum goal was attained and the coho run was coming to an end.

September 2, 2020 — I guided two guests who fished with Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers and also casted with Flashtrap Spinners on the lower Little Susitna River.    We only saw silver salmon in one spot and those fish looked old and tired.   They did not want anything to do with our bait or lures.    Water in the river was high and muddy after the past few days of rain, and the river looked to still be coming up on the lower end.    We fished both upstream and downstream from the boat launch.   With rain forecasted for later this week as well it looks like there will  be a prolonged period of high water — this is looking like it may be about the end of our 2020 salmon fishing season.

September 3, 2020 — I talked with Ben Allen who ran a group on Little Susitna River today and they caught 12 silver salmon, and kept 6 of the better ones.  The USGS water chart indicates that water conditions should be better tomorrow.

September 5, 2020 — I guided a group of 4 guests, each of whom caught at least 2 fish.   The group caught several silver salmon and 3 rainbow trout while drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers.   The silver salmon were dark and they only kept 3 of the better looking ones.   During the trip we saw a couple different groups of ducks along the river.   Mornings are getting cool now, and with the fog along the water there was ice on the bow deck of my boat — made for very careful walking to avoid falling on the bow deck. The water level was down about a foot from the last time I guided on the Little Susitna, and we caught a few silver salmon from several different holes along the river.

September 6, 2020 — End of 2020 Salmon Charters — 2020 provided many business challenges — COVID-19 regulations, transportation shutdowns, combined with extremely limited opportunity to harvest king salmon from the 2 fisheries we primarily guide for king salmon, greatly disrupted our opportunities to guide guests for king salmon.   A huge Thank You, for those who did take a king salmon trip with us!

Starting with the somewhat late arrival of chum salmon and pink salmon, our guided trip numbers started picking up in mid-July.  Silver salmon, however, were a bit late arriving as well.   Little Susitna River experienced both an inseason closure to bait fishing and a sport fish limit reduction for coho salmon — Fortunately, we at times fish alternate locations, and were able to continue providing our guest with quality silver (coho) salmon trips throughout the entire month of August.

We had several more coho salmon trips scheduled for early September, however, a dramatic increase in water levels due to heavy rain had us asking guest if they would like to cancel their reservation and receive a refund.  Most chose that option over continuing with the fishing charter under difficult conditions.

Under such circumstances, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to guide so many wonderful guests during the summer of 2020.   While we scrambled to sell trips and made less money than many past years, YOU still made it a profitable year for us — and we did NOT  take ANY government loans or grants.

Thank You!  and we look forward to guiding guests again during our winter ice fishing trips and during the Summer of 2021.

September 11, 12, 13 — I went moose hunting with my younger brother and his two sons Tyler and Gavin.   We saw a couple bulls, but got no shots.   Weather was clear and warming up during the days, but freezing at night.   We also saw waterfowl, beaver, seals, and bald eagles during the trip.

September 16, 2020 — I went on an Alaska Sportfishing Association fishing trip to the Kenai.   3 of us fished onguide Andrew Chadwick’s boat  for silver salmon.  He found a 3-fish limit of silver salmon for each of us.   We caught the fish by drifting cured salmon roe under bobbers.    What beautiful late-run coho, many had sea lice clinging to them and they were large heavy fish that fought well.   Tasty coming off the grill tonight as well!

  While in Soldotna I stopped by Trustworthy Hardware and purchased new boat seats — as the seats on my primary guide boat are showing their age — so I have another project to work on.    Boat work.

September 21, 2020 — New Custom Fishing Rods — Every year I review all of the fishing gear my guests and I have been using on our salmon fishing charters.  During the 2020 season I was particularly pleased with 3 rod models — 2 spinning, 1 casting — and I plan to build more of each.   A friend of mine examined one spinning rod model yesterday, and told me he would like to get 2 of them.

When customizing a fishing rod you can choose 1 or 2-piece rods, customize rod handles with specific grip materials at preferred lengths, wrap guides with a plethora of different thread colors, and select guides and a tip tops that enhance rod performance in a number of ways.  My guests notice the difference when fishing with my custom rods, and every year I get numerous positive comments and compliments from guests who appreciate the opportunity to fish  these rods.

Wednesday September  23, 24, 25,  2020 — Moose hunting with some of my nephews and a friend.   I did not even see a live moose on this trip, however, I helped my nephews bring out two moose they harvested.  After bringing meat in from the field we spent many hours cutting and processing it.  We had  help from other family members, including my wife and my sister, and I am happy to report the work is over, and we have prime moose meat to eat this winter.     

Guided Trip Availability —  We currently have whole boat availability for  2021 Alaska salmon  fishing trips.     Our first 2021 reservation has already been placed — however nearly all of our prime fishing dates and morning trips are available at this time.  Call 907-746-2199 for more information or to make your 2021 reservation.