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Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince William Sound
December through February Season
Don't forget: your fishing license expires Dec. 31! A sport fishing license makes a great gift -- lasts all year.
The sport fishing regulations are good through April 15 of the new year. Look for new booklets around March or early April.
(Neither the ADF&G Permanent ID license nor the ADF&G Disabled Veteran's license expire.)
Halibut fishing is closed Jan. 1 through Jan. 31, and lingcod fishing is closed Jan. 1 through June 30. Closures are necessary in order to protect spawning fish. Anglers will likely have a hard time catching large halibut because most spawning fish are far offshore along the continental shelf, in 400-600 feet of water.
Anglers must keep the first two non-pelagic rockfish they catch. Non-pelagic rockfish - such as "red snapper" - need this additional protection because they rarely survive the change in pressure as they are brought to the surface. Rockfish are extremely long-lived fish, and are slow to reach sexual maturity. Overharvest would quickly reduce the number of mature fish available to spawn.
"Winter" kings may be caught throughout the Sound, and in many near-shore salt waters of Alaska. Also called "feeder" kings, they are cruising the Sound, fattening up before returning to their home stream to spawn. Try using downriggers fishing 60 feet or deeper.
Freshwater Fishing Opportunities
Area fresh waters should prove fair for Dolly Varden fishing. Try fishing the mouths of freshwater streams, where they empty into the Sound. Good bets are imitations of the salmon lifecycle - eggs, flesh flies - or small silvery spinners or spoons.
Fishing for cutthroat trout should be poor to fair throughout the Sound in the winter months. The bag limit for trout in all waters other than the Special Management Area is 2 trout per day, 2 in possession of which only one per day and in possession may greater than 20 inches in length, all trout over 20 inches retained must be recorded on the harvest recording form of your license and only 2 fish over 20 per year may be retained.
Some nice stocked rainbow trout in the 6-8" range are caught from Blueberry Lake and Ruth Pond in Valdez. Grayling are stocked in Thompson Lake near Valdez. Both these aggressive feeders will go after small spinners or flies. Try an egg-sucking leech, Royal Coachman, or bead-headed Prince nymph.
Anglers are also reminded that the Copper River Delta "Special Management Area for Trout" has been established to protect unique stocks of trout east of the Copper River. Check the regulations for special restrictions and a description of the area.
The shrimp season does not open until April 15. Subsistence Tanner and king crab fisheries are now allowed in winter months. See Prince William Sound subsistence regulation books for these fishery regulations.