August Fishing / Coho Salmon Fishing
August is our best month for catching and harvesting coho (silver salmon). Our guided salmon fishing trips are some of the closest available boat charters from Anchorage. We are booking reservations for August 2023 coho salmon fishing trips– with many prime fishing dates available — NOTE: please call if you experience difficulty finding availability on the dates you would like to fish: 907-746-2199. Sockeye salmon, chum salmon, and pink salmon are also caught on some of our August fishing trips. Similar to last year, August will likely provide our best salmon catching/ harvest opportunity of the entire 2023 open water fishing season.
What to expect in August Updates:
August 1–5 The best August opportunity to catch multiple salmon salmon usually occurs during the first 5 days of the month.
August 6 -9. Bait fishing is scheduled to open on Little Susitna River on August 6. This day often producers the largest sport coho salmon harvest of the entire season at Little Susitna River — expect this fishery to be busy with anglers harvesting coho salmon for the next few days as well.
August 10 — 31 — Prime Coho salmon catching opportunities with less fishing pressure — as public schools are getting started for another school year, hunting seasons take other sportspeople away from the rivers, the Alaska State Fair starts about August 20, and the busiest season for Alaska summer visitors starts winding down. Want to enjoy a more relaxing time on the river with excellent opportunities to catch silver salmon? Call us at 907-746-2199.
August Fishing Reports 2023
Tuesday August 1, 2023 — ADF&G Opens Fish Creek to salmon fishing every day from August 1 – 11 with a limit of 6 salmon — none of which may be coho salmon except two per day may be coho salmon during the YOUTH ONLY FISHERY DAYS on August 5 and 6.
I guided a group of 4 gentlemen who caught and harvested 3 coho salmon they caught on #5 Flashtrap Spinners. We covered lots of prime water — but the guide must have been off in his calculations as we never ran into any big concentration of salmon.
I guided a family group of 3 guest in the after noon who caught and harvested a single coho salmon on a #5 Flashtrap Spinner. One other coho salmon was hooked and fought right to the boat before it shook loose of the hook and swam on its way. We once again covered plenty of prime water where other guests have caught lots of salmon, but failed to connect with a good group today.
In the evening I wrote the fishing column for the Friday edition of the Frontiersman Newspaper — That was one long day, and I hope my writing does not appear to sleep inducing or full of typing mistakes.
August 2, 2023 — Little Susitna River has been extremely busy lately, and that is where I guided a group of 4 (two fathers and their young sons). Each angler hooked one or more salmon, with one angler landing 4 chum salmon and a pink salmon. One of the boys also caught a rainbow trout. Each guest hooked salmon on #5 Flashtrap Spinners and some fish were also hooked on a #4 Vibrax Spinner.
August 3, 2023 — I guided a morning group of 6 guests who caught and harvested 2 coho salmon and a chum salmon. They also caught and released 2 pink salmon, 1 chum salmon, and a rainbow trout. During the trip they saw bald eagles and ducks along the river.
I guided an afternoon group of 6 guests who caught and harvested 9 coho salmon and a rainbow trout. They also caught and released 2 pink salmon and a chum salmon. During the trip they saw some bald eagles.
August 4, 2023 — I guided a morning group of 4 guests who caught and harvested 2 coho salmon.
I guided an afternoon group of 3 guests, one of whom caught and released a chum salmon. During the trip the saw bald eagles and ducks.
August 5, 2023 — I guided a group of 3 adults who caught and harvested 2 coho salmon while casting with #5 Flashtrap Spinners. It was a sunny and pleasant day on the river, and my guests casted well and fished well for each bite. During the trip we saw ducks and shorebirds along the river.
August 6, 2023 — 2nd day of Youth Weekend at Fish Creek. I guided an 8-hour trip for 5 men who wanted to fish the entire trip, so they casted Flashtrap Spinners the whole trip. They caught and released one chum salmon and one coho salmon — but only managed to hook a few additional salmon during their trip..
August 7 , 2023 – I guided a family group pf 4 people who each harvested a limit of coho salmon ( 8 coho) and they released several chum salmon — all of the salmon were caught by drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB bobbers.
August 8, 2023 — I guided a group of 5 men who chose to do some catch & release fishing with #5 Flashtrap Spinners. They caught and released a few chum and pink salmon and also caught and harvested 2 coho salmon — so they could get some good pictures with the coho.
I guided an afternoon family group of four who harvested 7 coho salmon and 2 chum salmon by drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers.
August 9, 2023 — I guided a morning group of 4 men who each caught / harvested a limit of 2 coho salmon by drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers.
I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests who harvested 6 coho salmon by drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers.
August 10, 2023– The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) announced with emergency orders today:
1. that sport fishing would be restricted to artificial lures only in Little Susitna River starting Saturday August 12.
2. In addition all flowing waters of the entire Susitna River drainage will be restricted to artificial lures starting Monday August 14. Further the coho salmon daily bag limit will be reduced to 1 fish in the big Susitna drainage flowing waters starting Monday August 14.
I guided a group of 4 guests who caught and harvested 1 chum salmon and 9 coho salmon ( some had proxies). All of the fish were caught on Fire Cured salmon roe drifted under ESB Bobbers.
I guided a husband and wife on an afternoon trip. They caught and harvested one coho salmon on Fire Cured salmon roe drifted under ESB BOBBERS. During the trip a bald eagle along the river.
August 11, 2023 — I guided a morning group of 4 guests who harvested 7 coho salmon and 3 chum salmon by drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers. It was exciting sharing the trip with a grandson visiting from Iowa and catching a big silver salmon while fishing with his Alaska-resident grandfather.
I guided an afternoon group of 5 guests who harvested 2 coho salmon while drifting Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers.
The number of coho salmon available in the lower Little Susitna River is considerably lower than normal for this time of year — so I expect sport catches to plummet when regulations go to artificial lures only starting tomorrow August 12. As inriver coho salmon numbers increase over time following the restriction to artificial lures, I would then expect some rebounding in sport coho salmon harvests from the river.
Saturday August 12, 2023 — With fishing expectations down because of low inriver coho salmon numbers, and a restriction back to artificial lures only, our guests chose to cancel charters scheduled for today.
Sunday August 13 — salmon fishing trips cancelled and refunded
Monday August 14 — salmon fishing trips cancelled and refunded
Tuesday August 15 — salmon fishing trips cancelled and refunded. — I wrote and submitted fishing column for Friday August 18, 2023 Frontiersman Newspaper.
Wednesday August 16 — salmon fishing trips cancelled and refunded. ADF&G announced today that Little Susitna River would be closed to coho salmon fishing starting Saturday August 19, 2023. Jim Creek will also be closed to all salmon fishing starting Saturday August 19.
Thursday August 17, 2023 — Even with Little Susitna River restricted to a coho salmon bay limit of one fish — after harvesting which the angler would be required to quit fishing for the remainder of the day — and even with the fishery restricted to artificial lures only — Two guests chose to fish a long-ago-scheduled salmon charter on Little Susitna River. I guided the two guests on a longer than normal 8-hour trip. Each of them caught 2 salmon — 3 fish were caught on #5 Flashtrap Spinners and 1 fish was caught on a #4 Vibrax Spinner. Early in the trip one of the guests caught a good-sized blushed male coho salmon — he chose to continue fishing and perhaps catch a better fish. Later in our trip that same angler hooked and caught an average-sized chrome coho which he chose to harvest — so he was done fishing. The second angler fished nearly the entire trip before he managed to hook, land. and harvest a chum salmon. It was time to quit fishing at the end of the trip — but on the way back to the landing I stopped at one last prime fishing spot to fillet the two salmon already in the boat. My second angler managed to hook, land, and harvest his one coho salmon of the trip before I even started filleting the chum salmon he had caught earlier. During the trip we saw bald eagles both perched and soaring, ducks, and a pair of otters swimming in the river at one of the spots we were fishing. 2 Anglers — harvest 1 chum salmon and 2 coho.
Friday August 18, 2023 — Last day of the season Little Susitna River is open to coho salmon fishing — I guided a family group of 6 with some people visiting from out of state — on the morning trip. 4 0f the guests hooked, landed, and harvested one coho salmon each — after which each retired from fishing for the remainder of the trip. One guest caught her coho at the first spot we fished and therefore only made a few casts during the entire trip. I can only recall one salmon being hooked and lost before it could be landed. 3 coho salmon were caught on #5 Flashtrap Spinners and 1 coho salmon was caught on a #4 Vibrax Spinner.
I guided a man and woman visiting from Washington state on an afternoon trip with bright sunny weather. The wanted to experience Alaska salmon fishing more than they wanted to harvest fish. One of them caught 2 coho salmon and the other caught a single coho salmon. All of the fish were unhooked and released as gently as possible — while still in the water. Each fish was caught on a #5 Flashtrap spinner. During the trip we saw several bald eagles and some ducks and shorebirds along the river. This may have been our last guided salmon fishing charter of the season.
Saturday August 19, 2023 — Little Susitna River now closed to coho salmon fishing — Jim Creek now closed to all salmon fishing — Deshka River closed to coho salmon harvest — Entire Susitna River drainage flowing waters restricted to artificial lures only with a daily coho salmon limit of one fish (where harvest is allowed). Salmon fishing trips cancelled and refunded for today and most of the remaining days of our season.
Sunday August 20, 2023 — We are now down to one remaining 2023 guided salmon fishing trip reservation that still needs decision on how our guests would like to proceed.
Monday August 21, 2023 — After speaking with a guest who had been hoping for a fun family outing later un the week, we agreed to cancel that trip, as we were not comfortable we could provide much coho salmon catching opportunity at the Mat-Su valley fisheries that still remained open for a very limited coho salmon harvest opportunity.
Tuesday August 22, 2023 — I attended the Mat-Su Basin salmon habitat site tour of the Meadow Creek/ Big Lake / Fish Creek drainage. It was good chance to see one of the larger salmon producing systems in the Mat-Su Valley on a more complete basis, and learn more about some of the concerns connected to this salmon habitat located in a very populated part of the Mat-Su Valley. Thanks to all who participated in this event.
After the site tour I wrote and submitted my Frontiersman Newspaper fishing column for this coming Friday.
Wednesday August 23, 2023 — A nephew, my wife, and I made a road trip to Chitina, in the Copper River drainage, to see what the salmon dip net fishery for Alaska residents at this location was like in late August. We were surprised on the drive up through the mountains that most of the foliage was still green, and we enjoyed a bluebird day with pleasant temperatures into the 70s. There was a bit of visitor traffic on the highways, but it was a very comfortable, scenic, and enjoyable 4-hour drive.
After arriving at Chitina we drove across the bridge over the Copper River and set up our tent camp in the rustic public campground on the east side of the river. There was a couple motorhomes and a travel van in the campground, but it appeared no other people focus on dip netting were present. After setting up camp we used a 4-wheel drive pickup to tow one of my boats across the river bottom and looked for the best location to launch. My nephew was walking and scouting ahead, looking for a firm route that we could drive without danger of getting stuck. The river had been dropping significantly with shorter daylight hours and warm afternoon temperatures for less time each day. Therefore the edge where the gravel / sand and river met was somewhat soft and abrupt. After finding what we thought might be the best location to launch, we slipped the boat into the river and then parked the truck a bit further up on firmer ground.
We dropped my wife off along the bank to fish an eddy from shore, and then my nephew and I attempted to catch salmon out in the boat, as we drifted with the river. We caught nothing from the boat, while my wife caught 3 sockeye salmon from the shore. Before long we were all fishing on the shore. Many of the salmon we caught were maturing in preparation for spawning and getting quite dark in color, so we released more salmon than we actually harvested.
As evening approached I filleted the few salmon we had kept, and we discussed our plans for the following day. We had originally been planning to get up early and harvest more salmon in the morning, but after seeing the condition of the salmon we are catching — and wondering how difficult it might be getting the boat out of the river — and then re-launching in the morning, we decided we would not even attempt to launch and fish again the following morning.
We did get stuck attempting to pull the boat out of the river. With no other boaters on the river, and no one else with a vehicle near where we were stuck, we worked for a couple hours before finally pulling the boat out of the river. We will definitely think twice about fishing at Chitina this late in the season — and especially bringing and launching a boat over the riverbank with the possibility of little or no assistance should we get stuck. We now know what the Chitina dip net fishery may be like in late August — adventure and mission accomplished — but not likely to be repeated.
August 25 — 2023 Little Susitna River Weir Coho Salmon Count — 3,726. With plenty of rain, and the river level rising to flood the weir, it appears this will be the total count of coho salmon migrating past Little Susitna River Weir for 2023.
2023 Deshka River Weir Coho Salmon Count — 1,817. Rising Water that will flood over Deshka River Weir indicates this could be the total number of coho salmon counted migrating past this weir for 2023.
Saturday August 26, 2023 — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) removed the Little Susitna River today as the river started to flood.
Deshka River Weir had no salmon counts starting today as flood waters overtook the weir.
August 30, 2023 — ADF&G posted that flood waters took out the Deshka River Weir salmon counting project today.
ADF&G also reported that Jim Creek Weir was no longer fish tight as of today. ADF&G’s posted salmon counts for the Jim Creek weir are 0 sockeye and 0 coho for August 29, and also 0 sockeye and 0 coho for August 30. The 2023 season total salmon counts at Jim Creek Weir through August 29 are: 299 sockeye salmon and 791 coho salmon.