Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince William Sound
Archived Sport Fishing Report
August 03, 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 opened to retention on June 15 with a bag and possession limit of two fish, between 11 to 16 inches.
- Pipeline lakes (Cordova) are a fun spot for catching cutthroat trout. It’s a nice short hike with lots of locations to try and cast a line.
- Dolly Varden/Arctic char are open year-around with a bag and possession limit of 10 fish (no size restrictions). Dolly Varden have begun entering streams throughout.
- Sockeye fishing has been good in Alaganik Slough. Some sockeye salmon are still around the Eyak River (in Cordova) weir above the bridge. Coho salmon should start to move into Copper River Delta fresh waters 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 been good. Most anglers continue to pick up bigger fish further out near the entrances into Prince William Sound including Montague Strait, Hinchinbrook Entrance, and other passages. Try fishing around Perry Island if you want to stay in closer to Whittier. Spending time anchored up with a chum bag can help increase your odds of catching halibut. The Valdez Halibut Derby leading fish is now 252 lbs, caught on July 28th. This derby runs into early September.
Lingcod season opened on July 1 and fishing has been good. Lingcod are very aggressive and can be caught by actively jigging the water column from top to bottom over rocky pinnacles. Try fishing a few feet off the bottom to avoid excess rockfish catches.
- 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. As of July 1, yelloweye rockfish can now be retained as part of your bag limit.
- For rockfish species identification information visit our website.
- Large schools of pelagic rockfish can be found near the ocean entrances and coastal outside waters of Prince William Sound. Schools of pelagic rockfish have been present inside Prince William Sound and can be located by watching your fish finder around rocky structure.
- 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!
- There is about six weeks left to harvest shrimp! 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.
- Shrimpers have reported that shrimping has improved producing better catch rates at deeper depths of 400’+. 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 picked up for some anglers, but kings have been mixed in with other salmon species. Fish are being caught near Cape Cleare (Montague Island). Try trolling a large flasher with small to medium-sized herring. Other places to start trying as these fish are moving into PWS are Pigot Point (Whittier), near the south end of Culross Passage, Glacier Island (Valdez), and Orca Bay (Cordova).
- If you are leaving from Whittier, trolling just after you leave the harbor past the Cove Creek outlet can produce good catches as kings and coho are heading that direction. A few kings have also been milling in the Whittier harbor. Remember, the Whittier Harbor is closed to snagging.
- King salmon fishing in Fleming Spit (in Cordova) has wrapped up and silvers should show up later this month.
- Remember the Cordova Terminal Harvest Area is closed to snagging from June 1 - September 30.
- Fishing for pinks from shore around Valdez (Allison Point) and the harbor has been good.
- Silvers are getting picked up around Glacier Island (near Valdez), Naked Island, and Crafton Island (near Main Bay). Anglers are also catching silvers in the Valdez Arm. Trolling works great but just jigging is also productive once a school has been located. Depths of 40 – 60’ are a good start but try deeper if you aren’t having success. The leading fish for the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby is 11.76 lbs, caught on July 30th. This derby continues until early September.
- Sockeye fishing in Eshamy Bay should pick up in the next few weeks, with only about 100 fish passing through the weir each day now. Check out fish counts on our website to inform your decision to make a trip out for this early-to-mid-August run.
- Blueberry and Thompson lakes and Ruth Pond (Valdez area) have been stocked with rainbow trout!
- Blueberry Lake has been fishing great. Anglers that are fly fishing are enjoying catching the active Arctic grayling and freshly stocked rainbow trout!
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.