Fishing the Eklutna Tailrace
Location: Mile 3.6 on the Old Glenn Highway
Maps:USGS Anchorage B-7 NW
Fishing Pressure: Light to Heavy
Key Species: King Salmon, Silver Salmon
Tides: Anchorage Tide Chart
The new Eklutna Tailrace fishery has been created for
a couple of reasons. First, the ADFG is hoping to ease some of the pressure
put on wild King Salmon stocks in the upper Cook Inlet. Second, they
hoped to create a new sport fishery in the Anchorage area. Time will
tell how much pressure is taken off the wild stocks in the area, but
it is already obvious that a new king fishery in the Anchorage area
is causing some buzz.
The tailrace is a terminal fishery of stocked Silver and King Salmon
fry. It can’t be considered a pristine fishing experience, but
it is far removed from the urban areas of Anchorage and the growing
communities of the Mat-Su valley. At times the crowds get pretty thick
and may continue to grow during the King Salmon season as the fishery
matures. The ADFG plans to continue to improve and develop the area
around the tailrace.
The fishable area is just a short stretch below the Eklutna Power plant,
running just a short distance before dumping into the Knik River. The
glacially silted water flows from the Plant through a channel with access
but limited fishing space. It really isn’t a pristine fishing
experience, but it is a well thought out terminal fishery that gives
the road angler one of their best opportunities at tying into a king.
For that alone, this is a very welcome addition to the Anchorage fishing
Eklutna Tailrace Salmon Runs
It is a still too early to know the timings for the Eklutna
Tailrace salmon runs. But, they should be close to other runs in other
upper Cook Inlet rivers. The King Salmon are an early run strain and
should return in May and peak in June.The Silver Salmon should follow
typical run times for the surrounding creeks. They should start returning
in July with a peak in August.
Other than the salmon, there are a few Dollly Varden that
enter the tailrace. It may be possible to pick up and incidental Dolly
or two but the tailrace is all about the salmon.
General Eklutna Tailrace Fishing Regulations
The Eklutna Tailrace is a pretty liberal fishery as far
as regulations go. King Fishing will be allowed 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week, 365 Days a year. Granted the huge fishing window is pretty meaningless
because the kings will only be in the area during their return run.
The area opened to King fishing include all waters of the tailrace up
to a marker that is 100 feet downstream of the Old Glenn Highway and
all waters of the Knik river in a half mile radius of where the tailrace
meets the Knik River.
Bait is allowed in the tailrace and may be the most effective way to
get fish in the somewhat glacially tinted waters. Remember the daily
bag limit on Kings is one. So, once you harvest a King Salmon over 20
inches, you must stop fishing for the day and immediately enter the
fish on your harvest record card.