Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince of Wales Island
Archived Sport Fishing Report
September 15, 2023
September is prime time for silver salmon fishing in the rivers and creeks of Prince of Wales and coho returns appear to be good. Water levels are currently high due to rain making freshwater fishing difficult. Bottomfish fishing remains good in saltwater but fall weather conditions often limit boat angler's ability to get out.
Check out the wefishak page on the ADF&G website for the gofishak interactive map to discover fishing locations and information on species run timing, fishing gear selections, and boat and angler access tips! There are also two new videos from ADF&G regarding rockfish management and rockfish research in Southeast Alaska.
Chinook (King) Salmon
The summer of 2023 was a good season for king salmon and king salmon will remain present around Prince of Wales in reduced numbers for the remainder of the year. See below for changes to nonresident harvest limits.
Chinook Salmon Regulations for 2023
- The resident daily bag limit is two fish over 28 inches;
- The nonresident daily bag limit is one fish with an annual harvest limit of three fish over 28 inches through June 30;
- From July 1 through July 15, the nonresident annual harvest limit is two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length; any king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 will apply towards the two fish annual harvest limit;
- From July 16 through December 31, the nonresident annual harvest limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length; any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 15 will apply towards the one fish annual harvest limit;
- Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon, a nonresident must enter the species, date, and location on their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.
Coho (silver) Salmon
Coho salmon fishing has slowed in the marine waters of Prince of Wales as fish migrate into freshwater. Coho salmon are entering freshwater in good numbers and will continue through September with peak timing in mid-September. Most drainages including medium sized creeks support coho salmon providing a lot of freshwater options for anglers on Prince of Wales Island. The Klawock River is once again having a good return of hatchery produced coho salmon.
Pink, red and Chum Salmon
Pink, red and chum salmon are spawning.
Trout and Dolly Varden
Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and Dolly Varden are available in many of the freshwater drainages of POW. Fishing can be excellent in creeks during late summer and fall as fish feed on salmon eggs. Productive drainages for trout include Luck, Klawock, and Sarkar lakes, the Thorne River, and Ratz Creek. Regulations regarding size limits, bag limits, and the use of bait can vary by waterbody, so please check the Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary.
Halibut fishing is good and will remain good into the fall.
Lingcod are open to retention. The size limit for nonresident lingcod retention has been reduced for 2023. Lingcod regulations are:
- Residents – 1 daily, 2 in possession, no size limit.
- 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.
- Nonresident anglers shall immediately record the date and location (body of water fished), in ink, of all lingcod harvested either on their sport fishing license or on their nontransferable harvest record.
- Charter operators and crew members may not retain lingcod while clients are on board the vessel.
Rockfish can be caught year-round. There is a section on the Fish and Game website for identifying common rockfish of POW.
All sport fishing vessels are required to have at least one functional deepwater release device (regardless of species targeted), and anglers will be REQUIRED to use a deepwater release device to release rockfish to the depth it was hooked or to a depth of at least 100 feet. Please see the Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary or visit your local ADF&G office to see examples of rockfish release devices and learn about their use.
Demersal Shelf Rockfish
The retention of demersal shelf rockfish is open for residents of Alaska with a daily bag limit of one. Yelloweye remained closed.
Demersal shelf rockfish are closed to harvest for nonresidents.
Demersal shelf rockfish are the following species: yelloweye, quillback, copper, canary, china, tiger, and rosethorn rockfish.
Some slope rockfish are common in marine waters surrounding POW. The most common species are silvergrey and vermilion rockfish.
- One per day; one in possession
Pelagic rockfish provide good fishing in the marine waters surrounding POW.
- Season: year-round
- Five per day; ten in possession
For additional information regarding rockfish identification and management, please refer to the rockfish conservation page.
New for 2023:
Nonresident shellfish anglers fish under the sport fishing regulations while resident anglers can fish under personal use reguations. The nonresident (sport fishing) Dungeness crab fishery in Coffmam Cove, Whale Pass and Klawock Inlet are now closed. Please see pages 29 and 35 of the 2023 sport fishing regulation summary for a description of the closed areas.
For further information, please contact the Prince of Wales Area Management Biologist: Craig Schwanke (907) 826-2498.