Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince William Sound
Archived Sport Fishing Report
August 17, 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 the sound. Dolly Varden can be targeted by fishing salmon egg or fry imitations.
- Eshamy Creek is seeing good numbers of sockeye and fishing will be good for the remainder of the month. Over 10,000 sockeye salmon have passed through the Eshamy Creek weir.
- Coho salmon fishing has picked up on Ibeck Creek and Eyak River. With over 3 inches of rain in the forecast, more coho salmon should push into Copper River Delta stream but high water will make fishing more challenging. Anglers will do better fishing just above the Ibeck Creek highway bridge once the waters begin to rise. Fish will continue to move in into September and fishing should pick up 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.
Halibut fishing has been good. Most anglers continue to produce steady catches of halibut further out near the entrances into Prince William Sound including Montague Strait, Hinchinbrook Entrance, and other passages. With thousands of pink salmon carcasses flushing into Prince William Sound, halibut fishing can be good in many of the inside bays. Try fishing the entrances of bays around Knight and Perry Island, as well as the bays in Eastern Prince William Sound. Spending time anchored up with a chum bag can help increase your odds of catching halibut.
Lingcod season opened on July 1 and fish continue to be picked up late into the Summer. Fishing has been good near the outer portions of Prince William Sound. 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 less than a month 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 been slow but steady for some anglers. Fish are being caught sporadically throughout Prince William Sound while anglers are targeting other species. Try trolling a large flasher with small to medium-sized herring.
- Coho (silver) are being caught throughout Prince William Sound and fishing continues to improve. Catches have been good near Pigot Bay, and Crafton (near Main Bay), Glacier (Valdez Arm), and Perry Islands.
- Anglers are also catching good numbers of coho salmon in Valdez Arm and the Port of Valdez, and catches have been good near Allison Point. Fishing in Valdez will continue to improve into Labor Day weekend.
- Coho salmon fishing at Fleming Spit (Cordova) has been slow to fair but should begin picking up any day now. With high water on the Copper River Delta, Fleming Spit may be a good opportunity to target Coho in Cordova while the water is high on the delta.
- Remember the Cordova Terminal Harvest Area is closed to snagging from June 1 - September 30.
- Sockeye salmon fishing in Eshamy Lagoon has been good, but is slowing down this late in the run. This is a great opportunity for anglers to harvest some late season sockeye if they are in the area. For trip planning to Eshamy Bay, check the fish counts.
- Fishing for pinks from shore around Allison Point and the Valdez harbor has been good. Most of the pinks are beginning to show spawning colors and deterioration of their meat.
- Brighter pinks are still present throughout the remainder of Prince William Sound.
- Blueberry and Thompson lakes and Ruth Pond (Valdez area) have been stocked with rainbow trout!
- With nights getting longer and cooler, fishing should heat up in Blueberry and Thompson Lakes.
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.