Fish Alaska’s 2017 Fishing Report 
for the Chena River

Check back for updates from around the state all summer! Submit your local fishing reports here, be sure to include all pertinent information.

Mike Lunde
Chena River
June 8, 2017

Sport fishing success throughout specific locations in the Interior has skyrocketed as warmer temperatures have gamefishes established their summer patterns. Post-spawn arctic grayling have vacated shallow water sloughs and established summer patterns in the middle and upper headwater regions of the Chena and Chatanika Rivers. Recent guiding expeditions on the Chena led by myself, Lee, and Reinhard resulted in 40 to 100 fish days for grayling with 1/16th ounce led head jigs tipped with 2-inch white mister twister tails the hot ticket item. In addition, dry fly action has also been highly effective.  Elk hair caddis, Griffith knats, and blue duns have been excellent.  With no salmon present in the system yet, skating a mouse over log jams of outside bends is excellent for targeting a trophy 16- to 18-inch plus grayling. Dry fly action has also been consistent on the Delta Clearwater.  Pay attention for the mid-afternoon may fly hatch for selecting the appropriate fly patterns. Northern pike fishing has slowly taken off with the larger post-spawn females showing signs to strike anything at will due to their low condition from finishing up spawning. Pike action has been consistent on Minto Flats, Chatanika River, and gravel pits located in the Fairbanks area. Multiple presentation types work well at this time.  My recent success has been experimenting with multiple speed retrieves on Savage Gear 3-D swimbaits with the 7-inch 3-D roach a new personal fan favorite. In particular, this pattern is excellent as it represents a common pike forage item, the humpback whitefish. A visit at Big Rays Fly Shop will get you dialed in on the rigging specifics of this lure.  Burbot continue to routinely patrol eddies as water levels on the Tanana River are low for early June. Baitcasting and spinning rods rigged with bait of choice – longnose sucker, round whitefish, lamprey, squid, and herring – are popular among Fairbanks locals. A sliding 1 to 2 ounce egg sinker connected to a barrel swivel with a 10- to 20- inch leader on the other end of the barrel swivel allows the bait to maintain bottom contact, particularly in moderate-fast flows.  Use an attractor bell attached to the top guide to assist in detecting light strikes.  Habitat locations for targeting burbot right now are eddies connected to the mainstem Tanana River as well as current seams or mouths connected to backwater sloughs. No reports of sheefish action in Interior Rivers around Fairbanks, but with water levels clearing up, look for sheefish action to be decent at night as they consume late run outmigrating chum and king salmon smolts. Experiment with smolt patterns and similar sized Deceivers for best results.