Area Sport Fishing Reports
August 16, 2018
King salmon fishing in the Sitka area improved over the last ten days. Based on preliminary logbook data for vessels, catch rates increased from an average of one king salmon every trip the last half of July, up to more than one king salmon a trip the first half of August. Catch rates continue to be higher near Cape Edgecumbe and West Kruzof. The second half of the commercial troll season for kings opened August 15 and catch rates in the marine sport fishery should decrease over the next few days. Fishing is expected to be slow for king salmon for the foreseeable future.
Silver salmon fishing has been spotty the last couple of weeks but overall continues to be excellent and most anglers are achieving bag limits. Catch rates dropped some from August 3rd to August 9th but have come back up over the last few days. Catch rates from August 10th thru the 12th averaged approximately five silvers per angler. The average catch per trip is 23 fish with an average of four anglers. Most fishing is occurring near West Kruzof and The Cape. Silver salmon have yet to really move into Sitka Sound but should soon. Catch rates for silvers should continue to remain high from this point forward with peak catches occurring over the next few weeks.
Pink salmon have arrived in mass in Sitka marine waters and near the mouths of streams near Sitka. Fish are mixed with kings and silvers in the marine waters and can be observed jumping near Indian River, Sawmill Creek, and Starrigavin Creek. Good luck keeping them off your hooks! Fishing is excellent! Snagging is allowed in salt water. Be aware of where the stream mouth markers are for each stream.
Halibut fishing continues to be good with most guided anglers achieving their bag limits. Good halibut catches have been reported offshore near The Cape and West Kruzof Island. Halibut fishing in most Sitka area waters should peak through the fall months.
Fishing continues to be average for lingcod in the Sitka area. Try fishing locations near pinnacles or ledges in the ocean floor. Large lead jigs or rubber-tail jigs, baited or not, seem to work well.
Starting Wednesday August 1st through August 31st 2018, retention of non-pelagic rockfish was prohibited in Southeast Outside Waters by emergency order. Non-pelagic rockfish may not be retained and must be released immediately using a deep-water release device, releasing the fish at depth of capture or at least 100 feet. A deep-water release device must be onboard every vessel engaged in sport fishing in Southeast Outside Waters regardless of target species. Please see the news release describing this closure.
Fishing for pelagic rockfish continues to be excellent. Pelagic rockfish are available year-round, and fishing is generally good this time of year. Any type of shiny lure or bait will work. Please see p. 38 of the “Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary” or visit your local ADF&G office to see examples of rockfish groupings (pelagic vs. nonpelagic).
A few silver salmon have moved into freshwaters but are still few and far between. Silvers aren’t expected to enter freshwaters in large numbers until September.
Most sockeye salmon freshwater fishing opportunities are over now. Fish are starting to turn in preparation of spawning.
Pink salmon have moved into freshwater in large numbers and are available for sport fishing. Recent rains raised water levels pushing fish into the creeks and they will be present until spawning is finished. Fishing is excellent.
Dolly Varden and Trout
Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout can be targeted year-round. Fishing is good for these species right now.
Fishing with lures (spinners, spoons, plugs) or flies that imitate juvenile salmon should produce. Also egg or flesh patterns are good when salmon begin spawning soon. There are several great locations for trout and Dolly Varden fishing in the Sitka area. On the road system the freshwaters of Starrigavin Creek, Indian River and Sawmill Creek should be productive, while lakes such as Thimbleberry, Heart, and Beaver lakes offer unique fishing experiences. Most other stream mouths accessible by boat or plane should be good as well.
For further information, please feel free to contact the Sitka area Sport Fish management staff at (907) 747-5355.