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AOJ References ADFG Regulations Book
ADFG Regulations Book
Seasonal Migrations - Timing the Fishery
The Dolly Varden run and fishery in the Anchor River kicks into high gear towards the middle of July with some very big numbers of fish entering the river well into the month of August. Fish that are over 12 inches in length are mature enough to spawn and will do so primarily in September and October.
The smaller fish have entered the river to feed on the loose eggs of spawning king, pink, and silver salmon, and also target alevins and salmon fry in the stream. Eventually though these sub-adults will seek out a wintering drainage with a lake (Anchor River has no lake headwater) while the spawners remain through winter.
The chart below shows the average timing of Dolly Varden entering the Anchor River which were counted at a weir located just upstream of the maximum tidewater reach. These fish tend to remain in the lower reaches of the Anchor River, traveling only a short distance upstream. Therefore the angler's best opportunities remain in the lower portion of the river fishing tidewater as well as the freshwater section up to the Sterling Highway.
The Anchor River is closed to all fishing upstream of the north and south forks confluence (located just upstream of the highway) until August 1st, when anglers are permited to fish upstream in either fork. Read the regulations for all the details.
In many Alaskan sport fisheries, anglers are adopting a voluntary Catch-and-Release philosophy. This is true in the Anchor River Dolly Varden fishery. Anglers are currently releasing over 80% of the Dolly Varden legally caught as the chart below indicates. If released correctly, these fish have a high probability of surviving. To practice Catch-and-Release fishing or to release fish which has been snagged:
1) Use flies or artificial lures. Hooking mortality in fish is much lower if they are caught with flies or lures instead of bait.
2) Do not remove the fish from the water. Remove the hook with a pliers or similar tool.
3) If the fish is hooked deeply, cut the leader short and leave the hook in the fish. The hook will eventually dislodge or rust.
4) Never throw, drop, or kick a fish back into the water. Never handle the fish by the gills.
5) Revive the fish by pointing its head into the current. Gently hold it here until its gills are working and it swims away on its own.
Hanging Out - Where To Stay
The lower Peninsula streams are all assessible from the highway system and for those anglers who live in or are staying in the Kenai/Soldotna area, each stream is only a short drive down the road for a day trip. For those anglers who are traveling from longer distances and have RV's or camping equipment, there are several very nice campgrounds in the area which accomodate all types of outdoors persons and are run by the state. The tables below provide a list of the amenities each campground has.