Area Sport Fishing Reports
Archived Sport Fishing Report
August 08, 2023
Coho salmon are now dominating the harvest in saltwater. Trolling for them in Frederick Sound around Beacon Point or Frederick Point might offer good opportunity to both catch a coho and spot a whale. Sumner Strait has seen increasing catches with Baht Harbor, Vank Island, or the Elephant’s Nose all being good options. Coho marine catch rates will continue to improve over the next few weeks as the coho increase in weight and prepare to enter the streams to spawn.
Coho are also being seen in the freshwater systems and it appears this might be a good coho year. Positive ocean conditions have resulted in a strong pink salmon return and coho may share in this benefit. The rain we are experiencing this week will certainly move fish upstream. While the creeks are loaded with pink salmon, should coho be present they will be aggressive when biting. Any and all combination of colorful lures and flies can be used to tempt them. Freshwater fishing will improve throughout August with ample opportunity from mid-August through early September.
King salmon fishing is now over, with the exception of the king salmon that are ever present feeding here throughout the year that one can catch while trolling for coho in saltwater. Remember, you still need to purchase a king salmon stamp if you hope to harvest a king you happen across. A legal king salmon must be greater than 28 inches from tip of snout to tip of tail (in its natural open position). Most importantly know that as of July 15th the nonresident angler's annual harvest is limited to one king salmon and if a nonresident harvested a king salmon previously between January 1st and July 15th it applies toward that one fish annual harvest limit.
Pink salmon are excessively present and a bright one makes a tasty meal. They lose their bright silver look and develop their spawning colors quickly once they hit freshwater.
If you’ve been waiting for the opportunity to catch a salmon, August is a great month to give it a try.
Anglers see success when fishing for halibut, though many smaller ones are being reportedly harvested. Historically, halibut catch rates increase from here as we progress into August and peak in the early fall. Often these halibut are attracted into shallower water (~100 feet) due to pink salmon carcasses being flush out of the streams providing them nutrition.
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 are now found throughout the 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.