Area Sport Fishing Reports
North Gulf Coast \ Resurrection Bay
Halibut fishing generally remains good in July, with charter boats consistently enjoying higher success rates. The long-term average size for halibut in July is 23-27 pounds, with about 10% of the harvest above 50 pounds.
The tail end of the run of the early hatchery king salmon usually provides a short spurt of action for beach and boat anglers in the first week of July.
Silver salmon return to Resurrection Bay in large numbers. By early July, silver salmon are usually caught in outer Resurrection Bay waters: Pony Cove, Sunny Cove, and Eldorado Narrows. Try trolling in fairly shallow waters with hoochies, squid, or herring near areas of bird and baitfish activity. Change depths often to get into fish. Some anglers also have good success mooching. Don't look for the beach silver salmon fisheries to “heat up” until mid- to late August. When the silvers finally hit the beach, fishing is usually excellent.
In even-numbered years (2006, 2008, 2010), pink salmon should begin showing up in salt waters near Spring and Tonsina creeks and in Thumb Cove by mid-July.
The daily bag limit for kings is two and the daily bag limit for salmon other than kings is six.
With the exception of the Resurrection River, all freshwater drainages flowing into Resurrection Bay are closed year-round to all salmon fishing.
Other Saltwater Fishing Opportunities
Tossing small spinners off the beach near Lowell Point may produce a Dolly Varden or two.
Rockfish fishing is typically good all summer. Anglers should review the rockfish regulations before they head out. Additional protection is needed for non-pelagic species because of their extreme longevity and low productivity. The daily bag limit in waters near Seward (Gore Point to Cape Puget) is four rockfish, no more than one of which may be a non-pelagic species. Consult the chart on page 10 of the Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulation Summary to identify non-pelagic species. The bag limit in Prince William Sound (east of Cape Puget) is five rockfish, no more than two of which may be non-pelagic species, and you must retain the first two non-pelagic species you catch.
Unnecessary harvest of rockfish is discouraged. 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. Remember that rockfish are relatively difficult to clean and do not yield a high percentage of usable meat. Because rockfish are long-lived (some in excess of 100 years) and grow slowly, they cannot support a “meat fishery.”
Some rockfish species can support shallow-water catch-and-release fishing. Schools of black or dusky rockfish can be lured to shallow water using lures without hooks, then taken on light spinning tackle or fly fishing gear. Rockfish can usually be released without injury if caught in less than 60 feet of water.
Lingcod fishing opens July 1, but special restrictions remain in effect. The limit between Gore Point and Cape Puget is one fish daily (one in possession), and 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, and must be landed by hand or with a landing net (no gaffs). Resurrection Bay remains closed to lingcod fishing year-round north of a line from Aialik Cape to Cape Resurrection. Targeting lingcod in Resurrection Bay, even for catch and release, is not allowed. All lingcod caught incidentally in Resurrection Bay must be landed only by hand or with a landing net and released immediately.
Bag limits apply to the waters you are fishing. Therefore, if you retain a bag limit of two non-pelagic rockfish while fishing east of Cape Puget and then fish in waters west of Cape Puget, you are in violation of the bag limit for the waters you are fishing. Likewise, if you take a lingcod from waters outside of Resurrection Bay and then stop to fish for other species in Resurrection Bay, you are in violation because Resurrection Bay is closed to lingcod fishing. All harvested fish become part of the bag limit of the angler who originally hooked it.
The daily bag limit for sharks is one fish of any species, and the annual limit is two sharks of any species. This includes spiny dogfish as well as salmon and sleeper sharks. Sleeper sharks are generally considered inedible and should be released. All harvested sharks must be recorded immediately upon capture on your license or harvest record.
Sharks have a 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 Seward boat harbor. A fishery technician interviews returning anglers and samples halibut, rockfish, lingcod, 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 Dan Bosch in Anchorage at (907) 267-2153 for additional information.
North Gulf Coast is closed to all crabbing due to low population levels. One section of the North Gulf Coast, from Aialik Cape west to Gore Point, is open to shrimping, by Alaska residents only, with a permit. This pot fishery closes September 15.
Freshwater Fishing Opportunities
The Resurrection River does not open to salmon fishing until August 1. All other freshwater drainages are closed year-round to fishing for salmon.
Most freshwater drainages into Resurrection Bay are open to Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, lake trout, and Arctic grayling sport fishing year-round. There are several lakes in the Seward area accessible by foot trails that support resident fish populations. A free handout outlining Seward area sport fishing opportunities is available at your local ADF&G office, or on the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Brochures page.