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Prince William Sound
October through November Season
Halibut, Rockfish, Lingcod
Saltwater fishing usually slows down in fall/early winter. Halibut have moved offshore and wintry weather keeps many boats in port. Anglers will likely have a hard time catching large halibut because most are spawning far offshore along the continental shelf, in 400-600 feet of water.
Although the bag limit for rockfish goes up in September, anglers must still 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.
Lingcod fishing remains open through December 31, and special restrictions remain in effect. The limit in Prince William Sound waters east of Cape Puget is two fish daily (four in possession). All lingcod must be at least 35 inches in length, or 28 inches with the head removed. Gaffs can not be used to land fish that are released. Throughout the fall and early winter, lingcod congregate in nearshore waters in preparation for spawning.
"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.
Silver salmon continue to be available in October in the Coghill area, and near the Whittier docks. The Cordova road system is also worth a try if you're already in the area.
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 good throughout the Sound. 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 immediately and only 2 fish over 20 inches 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.