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Saltwater Fishing Opportunities
Halibut fishing in the Kodiak area is fair in the early part of May, but typically improves throughout the month. Chiniak Bay, Marmot Bay, and Ugak Bay are the frequently targeted areas. Halibut are usually found in deeper water during the winter months and migrate to shallower water during the spring and summer. Historically the average weight in the sport fishery has been 30-38 pounds in May, with about 10% of the fish over 80 pounds.
Rockfish fishing can be good throughout the month of May. The rockfish bag limit in Kodiak area waters is 5 fish per day and10 in possession, of which only 2 can be non-pelagic species and 1 can be a yellow-eye. Pelagic species (i.e. black and dusky rockfish) are frequently caught and typically weigh between 3 and 4 pounds. Occasionally, the more brightly-colored yellow-eye are caught in deep water and average 9 pounds. There are no size restrictions for harvesting rockfish. Anglers targeting rockfish are encouraged to fish for black or dusky rockfish in waters less than 10 fathoms (60 feet) or use a deep water release mechanism to minimize mortality of released fish.
Lingcod fishing does not open until July 1.
Sharks are occasionally taken in the Kodiak area. The daily bag limit for sharks is one fish of any species (except spiny dogfish), with an annual limit of two sharks. The bag limit for spiny dogfish is 5 per day, 5 in possession with no annual limit. Edible species include spiny dogfish and salmon sharks. All harvested sharks (except spiny dogfish) must be recorded immediately upon capture on your license or harvest record. 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.
Beginning in late May, the Division of Sport Fish annually collects data from the recreational marine waters fishery in the Kodiak area. A department technician interviews returning anglers and samples halibut, rockfish, lingcod, and sharks for length, weight, sex, and age statistics, and also records individual catches of salmon. You can help the success of this program by agreeing to be interviewed and waiting to fillet or cut up any harvested fish until they can be sampled at the harbor by department 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. For more information about the ground fish research program, contact Barbi Failor in the Homer ADF&G Office at (907) 235-1730.
Salt water trolling for Kodiak king salmon has become very popular. King salmon can be found in salt waters year round, with typically excellent fishing success during May. The best-known fishing spots along the road system are Cape Chiniak and Buoy 4. Kodiak king salmon average 20 pounds or less but fish up to 70 pounds are occasionally taken. In addition to their sport fishing license, anglers sport fishing for king salmon must purchase a current year's king salmon stamp.
May on Kodiak's Road System (Includes salt waters within 1 mile of shore)
Small numbers of king salmon are beginning to return to Monashka Creek by late May. The best fishing is along the ocean beaches and in the lower reaches of the creek. Daily bag and possession limits for king salmon harvested in fresh waters is 2 fish. For king salmon less than 20 inches , the daily bag and possession limit is 10 fish. An annual limit of 5 for king salmon harvested in freshwater is also in effect. All harvested king salmon over 20 inches taken in fresh water must be recorded immediately upon capture on your license or harvest record.
In late May red salmon begin to return to the Buskin River. Less than 5% of the run typically occurs in May although fish can be found in pockets along the river. The run usually peaks in mid-June, and total weir counts average around 14,000 fish.
Dolly Varden present an excellent, uncrowded opportunity for light tackle action. Dolly Varden usually begin their annual out-migration to saltwater in early May. Try the Buskin River or the ocean beaches at Pillar Creek and Mission Lake. Schools of Dollies can also be found at the mouths of many rivers and creeks feeding on out-migrating pink salmon fry. Anglers usually use small spinners or emergent salmon fry and alevin fly patterns.
Rainbow trout are also available in over 15 stocked lakes on the Kodiak Road System. Some of the more accessible and better producing lakes include Horseshoe, Abercrombie, Lily Pond, Lee, Aurel and Caroline. The daily bag and possession limit is 10 rainbow trout (only 1 may be 20 inches or longer). There is no annual limit or closed fishing season on stocked rainbow trout. Rainbow trout fishing is catch and release only in road system lakes that are not currently stocked by ADF&G. Check the current sportfishing regulations booklet for an updated list of stocked lakes.
May in Kodiak's Remote Area
By the end of May, king salmon returns to the Karluk and Ayakulik rivers are just beginning. The Ayakulik historicallys averages an escapement of 14,000 fish while the Karluk averages around 9,000 but in recent years these runs have been much smaller. Ayakulik now averages about 9,000 fish while Karluk averages less than 4,000 fish . Returns to both rivers typically peak around June 15. Check for emergency orders pertaining to these two stocks before fishing as restrictions have been placed on Karluk and Ayakulik Chinook in recent years.
Steelhead are out-migrating to the ocean during May, but fishing for resident rainbow trout should remain productive throughout the month in areas supporting sizable populations of fish, such as the Malina, Marka, Uganik and Afognak Rivers. Fishing Kodiak Island for rainbow/steelhead trout is open year round, with an annual limit of 2 fish 20 inches or longer. All harvested rainbow trout/steelhead 20 inches or longer must be recorded immediately upon capture on your license or harvest record.