Area Sport Fishing Reports
September 06, 2018
Coho salmon continue to be intercepted in the marine sport fishery although anglers can expect marine catch rates to decline as coho salmon move toward their natal streams. Freshwater fishing for coho salmon is picking up as anglers encounter increasing numbers of coho salmon in local streams and lakes. Freshwater fishing opportunity typically peaks in the month of September for most systems in the area.
Anglers are reminded that the use of bait is allowed in many freshwater systems between September 15 and November 15, but be sure to check the 2018 sport fishing regulation summary for a list of the specific freshwater locations where bait is prohibited year-round.
King salmon catch rates have slowed as the season winds into fall. Anglers may continue to intercept king salmon throughout the year although at reduced catch rates. As of August 1, the following king salmon regulations apply for all marine waters in the Petersburg and Wrangell areas:
- The bag and possession limit (residents and nonresidents) is one king salmon 28 inches or greater in length.
- For nonresidents the annual harvest limit is now one king salmon, nonresident anglers are reminded to record their king salmon harvest on the back of their fishing license or harvest record card.
Note that resident anglers may use two rods while fishing for king salmon during the winter season between October 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019.
Anglers are reminded that freshwater fishing for king salmon is closed throughout the area with the exception of Blind Slough.
Anglers are now required to obtain a free permit for sport, personal use, and subsistence shrimp harvest beginning Monday, June 25, 2018. Print your own permit online at the ADF&G store or stop in at your local ADF&G office. This new permit requires anglers to report their harvest of shrimp and will allow ADF&G to collect more accurate shrimp harvest information from all noncommercial harvesters.
While this year halibut catch rates have been below the 5-year average now is a great time to target halibut. Halibut catch rates typically increase throughout the late summer and into the fall as halibut feed in intercoastal areas before beginning the winter migration towards spawning grounds.
Dolly Varden, Cutthroat Trout, and Steelhead
This is an excellent time to target Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout. These species often feed along the nearshore marine environments during the summer months but will move into freshwater as salmon begin spawing, taking advantage of loose salmon eggs as a food source. This time of year anglers may find excellent fishing opportunity in freshwaters. Look for trophy sized Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout lingering behind schools of salmon along cutbanks, confluences, pools and around large woody debris.
Although most steelhead systems in the area are dominated by spring run steelhead there is a fall component to some systems. Although few in numbers, anglers should be on the lookout for fall run steelhead when freshwater fishing.