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Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince William Sound
Halibut fishing generally improves in mid-June, and when the weather cooperates, good fishing can be found in the waters around Hinchinbrook Entrance, Montague Strait, and outside of Montague Island. However, small boat anglers can obtain decent catches closer to port. Out of Whittier, good catches can be made in Port Wells and out to Lone Island. Valdez anglers in small boats typically fish the northeast part of the sound, including Jack Bay, Galena Bay, Port Fidalgo, Knowles Head, and Bligh Reef. Orca Bay and the north side of Hinchinbrook Island provide good fishing for Cordova anglers.
The city of Valdez sponsors a halibut derby. Check with the city's Chamber of Commerce for details.
By early June, hatchery stocked king salmon should be showing up in Cordova and Valdez. By mid-June, catches at Fleming Spit in Cordova are very good on the rising tides. Also by mid-June, hatchery returns should be good in Valdez. These runs are over by the end of June. Successful anglers cast hardware or drift salmon eggs with a bobber a couple of hours before the peak high tide. Sockeye begin moving up the Copper River in early June, but haven't spread into the systems off the Copper River Highway by then. Look for these fish to enter the streams by mid-June. The fly-fishing area at the mouth of Eyak Lake is good spot to try. Mid-June on the western side of the Sound sees sockeye returning in good numbers to Main Bay and the Coghill system.
Chum salmon fishing near Lake Bay on the southern end of Esther Island, and in Passage Canal and Wells Passage is very good in early to mid-June.
Pink salmon return by mid-June, and excellent fishing is usually reported from Valdez by then.
Other Saltwater Fishing Opportunities
Lingcod fishing remains closed until July 1. All lingcod incidentally caught must be landed only by hand or with a landing net and released immediately.
Rockfish fishing remains good in June. From May 1-Sept. 15, the limit is 4 rockfish per day/ 8 in possession, of which no more than 2 per day/ 2 in possession may be non-pelagic species. Anglers must retain the first two non-pelagic rockfish they catch. Additional protection is needed for non-pelagic species because of their extreme longevity and low productivity. The use of a deepwater release mechanism is highly recommended to release rockfish that can’t be kept. Halibut anglers are strongly encouraged to fish with a single large hook (size 16 or larger) and avoid rocky areas to minimize their unintentional rockfish catch. Anglers targeting rockfish are encouraged to fish for black or dusky rockfish in waters less than 10 fathoms (60 feet) to minimize mortality of released fish.
The daily bag limit for sharks is one fish of any species, and the annual limit is two sharks of any species. The exception is spiny dogfish. The daily bag/possession limit for spiny dogfish is 5 fish and there is no annual limit. Sleeper sharks are generally considered inedible and should be released. All sharks have high urea content, and are inedible unless handled properly. Bleed your shark immediately upon capture by cutting the underside of the tail, and let the bleeding continue until the heart stops. Gutting the fish with a single cut from the anus to the gills can enhance the quality of the meat. Please do not cut off the head or tail until after the fish is landed to ensure that ADF&G port samplers have an opportunity to obtain measurements.
The Division of Sport Fish collects data from the recreational bottomfish fishery in the Whittier and Valdez boat harbors. Fishery technicians interview returning anglers and sample halibut, rockfish, and sharks for length, weight, sex, and age statistics. You can help by providing information when interviewed and by returning fish carcasses to the harbor for sampling by the technicians. Information collected by this project is used to monitor the health of the fishery, advise halibut management agencies, and help the Board of Fisheries formulate regulations that protect fish stock and provide maximum fishing opportunity. Contact Barbi Failor in Homer (235-1731) for additional information.
By mid-June, the herring show up at the Valdez City Dock, and anglers can be found jigging small strands of multiple hooks.
In June, opportunities for Dolly Varden are good to fair throughout Prince William. Dolly fishing should become excellent as Dollies follow the salmon into the lakes and streams. Try targeting Dollies by presenting them with a dry fly at the water's edge, or casting a lure with some silver flash to imitate salmon fry and smolt.
The Sport Fish Division stocks rainbow trout in Blueberry Lake, Thompson Lake, and Ruth Pond near Valdez. Grayling were also historically stocked in Thompson Lake.
Only artificial, unbaited lures may be used in fresh waters until June 15. Also, fishing for cutthroat trout is closed from April 15- June 14 to protect spawning trout. Once fishing opens June 15, fishing should be good throughout the Sound. The bag limit for trout in all waters is 2 trout per day, 2 in possession of which only one per day and in possession may be greater than 20 inches in length, all trout over 20 inches retained must be recorded immediately and only 2 fish over 20 inches per year may be retained.
Shrimp fishing is open until September 15th. Shrimp are primarily found in deep waters and often in inlets that have glacial inputs. Shrimp will begin to move into deeper waters as the fall season progresses.