Area Sport Fishing Reports
Archived Sport Fishing Report
August 23, 2023
We are experiencing a very nice coho season around the area. They continue to dominate the weekly angling harvest in saltwater. Trolling or mooching for them in many places have proven successful for anglers. Craig Point, Low Point, and Woodpecker Cove are all possible locations in Sumner Strait. In Frederick Sound, jumpers can be spotted near Five Mile Creek and can be trolled for off the Kupreanof Island shoreline all the way to Cape Strait and beyond or on the Mitkof Island shoreline around City Creek and up past Frederick Point. Blind Slough Hatchery offers the opportunity to catch Coho in the Wrangell Narrows. Coho marine catch rates are peaking so this is the time to be out there.
Coho are also being seen in the freshwater systems in abundance. The wet conditions of a week ago have driven them far up into some creeks. The current dry spell is causing the water in these creeks to drop and the latest coho arriving will likely be nearer the mouths as they await more rain. For anglers, this means a lot of area and opportunity for one to catch coho in the streams. Blind Slough Rapids offers a great opportunity to land a coho salmon on its way back to the hatchery and is easily accessed from the Mitkof Highway. Freshwater fishing will peak in the upcoming weeks, but there is plenty of opportunity from now through mid-September.
King salmon fishing is more or less over in large amounts, but there are always some king salmon feeding in this area 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, though fewer bright ones are available. They lose their bright silver look and develop their spawning colors quickly once they hit freshwater.
Anglers see success when fishing for halibut, though many smaller ones are being reportedly harvested. If you anchor out from a salmon stream, such as outside of Kah Sheets Bay, you might have a good chance this time of year.
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. Unless otherwise specified in regulation, cutthroat and rainbow trout (in combination) bag limits are 2 per day and 2 in possession but must be a minimum of 11 inch and a maximum of 22 inches. Dolly Varden have no size limit and bag limits are 10 per day and 10 in possession.
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 nonresident anglers and yelloweye are closed to retention for all anglers. A helpful species identification guide has been published on the ADFG website. Please see current emergency orders for a full description of these management actions.
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.