Area Sport Fishing Reports
Archived Sport Fishing Report
July 27, 2023
King salmon fishing is near the end with the Wrangell Narrows/Blind Slough THA closing on July 31st. It is still possible to encounter a king while trolling for coho as we have some king salmon feeding here throughout the year. Remember to purchase a king salmon stamp if you hope to harvest a king. A legal king salmon must be greater than 28 inches from tip of snout to tip of tail (in its natural open position). Also keep in mind that effective July 15th the nonresident anglers annual harvest limit is now one king salmon and any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 15 will apply towards that one fish annual harvest limit.
Coho salmon are building at this time. Catch rates have begun to increase and are more regularly being seen in the sport fishery. Coho catch rates start out strongest on the outside waters but steadily improve on inside waters as they return to local steams. Anglers can expect marine catch rates to continue to improve over the next few weeks.
It is still early for freshwater fishing for coho salmon, but anglers may begin to encounter the first few returning coho in local streams and lakes. Freshwater fishing will improve throughout August with ample opportunity from mid-August through early September.
Anglers continue to report success when fishing for halibut. Historically, halibut catch rates increase from here as we progress into August and peak in the early fall.
Specific to charter operators in Southeast Alaska and new this year: Monday closures. Charter vessel anglers in Area 2C may not catch and retain halibut (except GAF) on all Mondays beginning July 24, 2023, and continuing through December 31, 2023.
Dolly Varden and Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout continue to be present and found in area streams and lakes, often encountered alongside salmon. These fish offer great angling opportunity on lightweight rods and are certainly tasty to eat.
Sport fishing for lingcod opened on May 16. Nonresident bag and possession limits have changed since last year. For Northern Southeast Nonresidents – 1 daily, 1 in possession, size limit: 30 to 35 inches in length, or 55 inches or greater in length. Annual limit of 2 fish, one of which is 30 to 35 inches in length, one of which is 55 inches or greater in length. For Southern Southeast Area Nonresidents – 1 daily, 1 in possession, size limit: 30 to 40 inches in length, or 55 inches or greater in length. Annual limit of 2 fish, one of which is 30 to 40 inches in length, one of which is 55 inches or greater in length. Alaskan Resident bag and possession remain – 1 daily, 2 in possession, no size limit.
There have been some changes to rockfish regulations since the last fishing season. Pelagic rockfish regulations remain the same with a daily bag limit of 5 and possession limit of 10 in the Petersburg, Wrangell, and Kake area. Slope and demersal shelf rockfish species both have a daily bag limit of one fish and possession limit of 2 for Alaska residents, but demersal shelf rockfish are closed to retention for nonresidents anglers and yelloweye are closed to retention for all anglers. A helpful species identification guide has been published on the ADFG website here https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/pdfs/KeepDontKeepRockfish.pdf. Please see current emergency orders for a full description of these management actions https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm?ADFG=region.NR&Year=2023&NRID=3442.
Anglers are reminded that a rockfish release device is now required to be used whenever releasing rockfish and a rockfish release device must be onboard your vessel whenever sport fishing in marine waters.