Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince William Sound
Archived Sport Fishing Report
June 14, 2023
General Area Description: includes all waters between Cape Fairfield and Cape Suckling.
Trout/Dolly Varden/Arctic Char
- Cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, or steelhead trout fishing opens to retention on June 15 with a bag and possession limit of two fish, between 11 to 16 inches.
- Bait is allowed during this time. Anglers may use bait, artificial lures, and flies.
- Pipeline lakes (Cordova) are a fun spot for catching cutthroat trout. It’s a nice short hike with lots of locations to try.
- Dolly Varden/Arctic char are open year-around with a bag and possession limit of 10 fish (no size restrictions). As salmon fry are moving around, fishing near the creek mouths throughout Prince William Sound should begin to improve.
- Sockeye salmon continue to move into the Eyak River weir and more will continue to move in over the coming weeks.
- Remember: Effective June 1 - September 30, Eyak River Special Regulations are in effect. From a point 200 yards upstream from the Eyak Lake dam/weir to a point 200 yards downstream from the bridge at the outlet of Eyak Lake only single hook, artificial flies with a hook gap of 3/8 inch or less between point and shank are allowed. In addition, no additional weight may be attached to your line.
Port sampling efforts are going on in both Whittier and Valdez. Please assist our port sampling program by returning to the harbor with whole groundfish or carcasses and allowing ADF&G technicians to sample your harvest when requested. Data collected from the sport harvest is needed to manage and maintain healthy fisheries. We appreciate you supporting the port sampling program and your assistance in getting managers information that aids in managing fisheries in Southcentral.
- Halibut fishing has picked up. Most anglers are picking up bigger fish further out near the entrances into Prince William Sound including Montague Strait, Hinchinbrook Entrance, and other passages. Halibut are still often getting picked up in shallow waters (60-90’) in various bays throughout Prince William Sound.
- Valdez Halibut Derby kicked off on May 27th and the top fish are all over 100lbs with the leading fish weighing in at over 200lbs!
Lingcod season is closed until July 1.
- By emergency order, rockfish limits have been reduced to three fish per day, six in possession of which only one per day, one in possession can be a nonpelagic rockfish. Additionally, yelloweye rockfish may not be retained from May 1 to June 30. For rockfish species identification information visit our website.
- Large schools of pelagic rockfish have yet to return to the inside waters of Prince William Sound but can be found near the entrances and the coastal outside waters.
- The use of a deepwater release mechanism is required on all sportfishing vessels in Alaska and they must be used to release rockfish back down to depth of capture or 100 feet, whichever is shallower. Never heard of deepwater release? Check out our webpage for more info!
Catches of Pacific (gray) cod have been good throughout Prince William Sound while targeting other saltwater species.
- Don’t forget to get your PWS shrimp permit! The sport and subsistence shrimp season opened on April 15 and will close on September 15. You are required to have your permit with you and document any time you have pots in the water.
- In 2023, the limit is three pots per vessel but only two pots in areas in the vicinity of Whittier and Valdez. See emergency order 2-SHR-6-16-23 and the map that accompanies your permit for area specifics.
- Don’t forget you must record your catch on your permit prior to leaving the site or concealing your catch.
- Looking for a good starting depth? Shrimpers have reported that shrimping has been spotty but are producing better catch rates at shallower depths (150-300’). Pulling your pots every 4 - 6 hours is a good start when trying to find a productive location. Once you find a good spot, let your pots soak for 8-24 hours.
- King salmon fishing in the saltwater has been fair. Fish are being caught near Cape Cleare (Montague Island) in decent numbers. Try trolling a large flasher with small to medium-sized herring. Kings should be present throughout Prince William Sound. Common places to try for early king salmon include Pigot Point (Whittier), near the south end of Culross Passage, Glacier Island (Valdez), and Orca Bay (Cordova).
- King salmon are showing up at Fleming Spit (in Cordova). Large spinners or bait such as herring or salmon roe are good options. Fishing around the high tide is your best bet
- Remember the Cordova Terminal Harvest Area is closed to snagging from June 1 - September 30.
- Sockeye salmon are starting their return to Main Bay hatchery and fishing will start to pick up in the coming weeks. This is a great place to pick up sockeye salmon but there are many other dynamics associated with this fishery anglers should be aware of.
- In Main Bay, if you are in the area near the barrier seine net, please be cautious and don’t get your snagging hooks caught in the net or the buoy line marking the top of the net. If you are motoring over the net, please also use extreme caution. Remember, you are not allowed to fish from a vessel within 60 feet of the barrier seine which is the buoys you see stretched across closest to the hatchery. The 60 feet distance from the barrier seine is typically marked with an additional line of buoys. The basic rule is don’t fish from your vessel beyond the first string of buoys you see.
- Anglers may also see the cost-recovery seine boat operating near the barrier seine as they plan to start up this operation towards the end of the week. There is no set schedule. The harvest of these fish for cost-recovery purposes is very important for this fishery to continue. Please yield to this boat and use extreme caution around their net and do not interfere with their operation.
- Both Blueberry and Thompson lakes are almost fully open. The fish that overwintered will be hungry and fishing small spinners is a good option.
- Blueberry and Thompson lakes and Ruth Pond (Valdez area) will be stocked in late June. Fishing is expected to be slow in these lakes until then
Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.
- Emergency Order 2-SHR-6-16-23 reduced the number of shrimp pots allowed to harvest shrimp in the Prince William Sound noncommercial shrimp fishery. The pot limit per person and per vessel has been reduced to three pots; however, of those three pots only two pots can be set in areas of historical high effort including areas near the Port of Valdez, near the Port of Whittier, and in portions of Port Wells and Culross Passage. This emergency order is in effect through 11:59 p.m. Friday, September 15, 2023.
- Emergency Order 2-RF-6-21-23 reduced the rockfish bag and possession limits in Prince William Sound to three per day and six in possession of which only one per day, one in possession can be nonpelagic. In addition, from May 1 through June 30, 2023, yelloweye rockfish may not be retained.
Don’t forget to purchase your 2023 sport fishing license and king stamp! You can purchase your 2023 sport fishing license and king stamp through the ADF&G online store and print it off from the comfort of your own home. Also, make sure to review emergency orders, advisory announcements, and the 2023 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the area you are fishing in before you head out.
For additional information, please contact the Anchorage Area Office at (907) 267-2218.