Anglers looking to ice fish for Arctic char and Dolly Varden will again be restricted at Nikiski’s Stormy Lake as the Alaska Department of Fish and Game works to allow populations of the two fish to restore themselves to historic levels.
The lake, which is located in Captain Cook State Recreation Area, was treated with the piscicide, or fish-killer, rotenone in 2012 to eradicate invasive northern pike. The lake was restocked in 2013 with longnose suckers, rainbow trout, Arctic char and Dolly Varden. On Monday, Fish and Game announced that beginning Friday, anglers would not be able to retain the char or Dolly Varden caught between Nov.14 and April 30, 2015 — though Fish and Game surveys indicate that the Arctic char population has been successfully restocked.
The Arctic char that were reintroduced to the lake are hatchery-raised fish from eggs that were taken from Stormy Lake. Those char are distinct from others found in the Swanson River watershed and area management biologist Robert Begich said during a 2012 interview that it was a priority for the department to save those fish because they could not be found elsewhere
Arctic char grow slowly and have low population densities, according to Fish and Game data, and it is unknown how long it will take for the Stormy Lake fish to sexually mature and re-establish natural production.
Sportfishing through the ice is permitted using two closely attended lines, anglers may only use one hook or artificial lure on each line.
Other area lakes, such as Hidden Lake and Skilak Lake, can be fished for Arctic char and Dolly Varden.
In addition, anglers have reported that Engineer Lake is considered to be good Arctic char and Dolly Varden fishing through the ice, once it’s fully formed.
In the Swanson River Road area, Dolly Varden Lake and Rainbow Trout Lake are considered to be good fishing for Arctic char and Dolly Varden, with Rainbow Trout Lake listed as good ice fishing throughout the winter months, depending on ice conditions.
Near Stormy Lake, Daniels Lake is considered to be good year-round Dolly Varden fishing.
Rashah McChesney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.