Area Sport Fishing Reports
April 21, 2020
The spring steelhead fishing season is off to a strong start. Anglers report strong catch rates in the last week as more bright fish are moving into freshwater. Water levels have been good for fishing with consistent snow melt from our higher than average snowpack at elevation. Anglers can expect several more weeks of fishing opportunity as steelhead continue to enter freshwaters into May.
Steelhead can be found in many local streams but some of the most popular areas to fish are Petersburg Creek, Big Creek and Hamilton River. With so many steelhead systems in the area there is never a shortage of areas to get out and explore while maintaining social distancing.
Dolly Varden and Trout
Dolly Varden and trout can be targeted year-round but are most active in the spring months. Fishing for these species will be picking up over the next few weeks as water temperatures are warming and trout are actively feeding. Low elevation lakes are now, or are quickly becoming, ice free. Try fishing around log jams, cut banks, and eddie lines for these aggressive species.
This time of year pink and chum salmon fry begin to emerge from the gravel and travel downstream to the marine environment. In the coming weeks Dolly Varden can be found in marine nearshore areas as they cruise the shorelines often feeding these juvenile salmon. You may notice schools of juvenile salmon swiming through the harbor or in other nearshore waters.
The vast majority of marine waters in the Petersburg/Wrangell area are currently closed to king salmon retention. Opportunity to harvest king salmon will be available in areas where Alaska hatchery produced king salmon will be returning beginning June 1, 2020. A news release announcing regulations for individual hatchery areas will be released in the next month. For detailed information including maps of areas affected, please see the news release announcing king salmon regulations in the Petersburg/Wrangell area released 2/10/20 which is available on our website. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm?ADFG=region.NR&Year=2020&NRID=2880
Halibut can be targeted this time of year and anglers have reported some recent success. Typically halibut catch rates increase as we progress into the summer.
Sport fishing for lingcod is currently closed in all Southeast Alaska waters but will open on May 16.
There have been some changes to rockfish regulations since last fishing season. Pelagic rockfish regulations remain the same with a daily bag limit of 5 and possession limit of 10 in the Petersburg, Wrangell, and Kake area. Slope rockfish species now have a daily bag and possession limit of 1. The demersal shelf rockfish species are closed to retention (including yelloweye). A helpful species identification guide has been published on the ADFG website here https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/pdfs/KeepDontKeepRockfish.pdf. Please see current emergency orders for a full description of these management actions.
Anglers are reminded that a rockfish release device is now required to be used whenever releasing rockfish and a rockfish release device must be onboard your vessel whenever sport fishing in marine waters.