- April to September
Ibeck Creek is located at Mile 7 on the Copper River Highway. It is the most accessible fishing area on the district, since it’s close to town and there are good fishing holes right off the road. Best of all, Ibeck Creek has a huge run of coho salmon starting in mid August.
Sometimes the silty melt water from the Scott Glacier spills over into Ibek Creek making the water cloudy. This makes it tough for the fish to see your lure, but if the lure crosses in front of a coho's nose, it will hit it. There are thousands of coho making their way upstream to the spawning grounds in this system. The spots right next to the road can get a bit crowded, but you can go downstream or walk upstream through the snag forest to find a "honey hole” all to yourself.
Ibeck Creek is also a good place to kick off the fishing season in early spring. Dolly Varden start to show up in mid-April. Later on they’ll feed on the coho salmon smolts heading to the ocean. You can also catch them during the coho season using egg patterns or any of the usual spinners and lures.
Eulachon, a type of smelt, migrate up the creek to spawn around the periods of high tides. The eulachon runs can start as early as February and continue until May or early June, but they’re notorious for their variability – big runs, little runs, one month and maybe not the next. The best way to tell if there’s a run is to watch the bald eagles. If there’s a bunch of eagles hanging out on all of the trees, then the eulachon are in.
Eulachon were highly valued by the Native inhabitants as a source of fresh fish early in the year. In addition, eulachon are quite oily so they provide a good supply of calories during the cold weather. The oil was also a valuable trade item.
Some people think the flesh is too soft and oily, but that’s a matter of taste. Some folks like them brined and smoked. Others like to dip them in a cornmeal batter with some cajun spices and fry them up like catfish.
For more information call the Cordova Ranger District at (907) 424-7661. Please check the current sport fishing regulations at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game web page.