Area Sport Fishing Reports
July 28, 2021
NEW! Check out the wefishak page on the ADF&G website for the new gofishak interactive map to discover popular fishing locations and information on species run timing, fishing gear selections, and boat and angler access tips!
The previous interactive map for the Sitka is still available but will be retired after September 1, 2021. For the most up-to-date information, please use the new app linked above.
Just a reminder to all our anglers, please do your part to help slow the spread of Covid-19 by following and reviewing the current State of Alaska Health Mandates in effect. This includes practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering while sport or personal use fishing and when buying fishing supplies from your local store as indicated in Health Alert 012.
For more information on travel restrictions please visit the State of Alaska Traveler Information page.
From April 26 through September 12, 2021, it is prohibited to fillet or de-head Lingcod, Slope Rockfish, and King and Coho salmon at sea. This does not prohibit gutting or gilling these fish. These fish may be processed onboard a vessel once it is tied up at a docking facility where the fish will be offloaded.
Please be advised that beginning August 1st king salmon regulations will change to:
- The resident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
- From October 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022, a sport angler may use two rods when fishing for king salmon, a person using two rods under this regulation may only retain salmon.
- From August 1 through August 31, 2021 nonresidents may not retain or possess king salmon; any king salmon caught must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed;
- The nonresident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length;
- The nonresident total harvest limit is one king salmon 28 inches or greater in length, and any king salmon harvested by a nonresident from January 1 through July 31 will apply toward the one fish nonresident total harvest limit;
- Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon a nonresident must enter the species, date, and location on their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.
King fishing has begun to settle down for the season, but they’re not done yet! Anglers are still reporting success off the Cape, as well as north in Salisbury Sound. Anecdotally anglers have been getting lucky fishing off kelp beds in shallower water, so switch up your strategy and try something new to coax a bite. Mix up trolling or mooching to try a fresh approach. Cohos, pinks, and chums are beginning to show up more and more in the fishery, so be sure to identify your fish correctly.
Sockeye salmon are well into their tuns, with a total of 23,726 fish having returned to Redoubt Lake as of July 27th. Redoubt is closed to snagging for nonresident anglers from July 16th through August 31st. Most resident anglers harvest sockeye under personal use/subsistence regulations which require a free permit available at the ADF&G Store. Please be aware that the Redoubt drainage is the only area where rod and reel (snagging) are a legal gear type for subsistence harvesting.
The season for lingcod began May 16th and will run through November 30th. Retention is prohibited throughout the remainder of the year to protect spawning lingcod. The size limit for lingcod for nonresidents has increased to 30-40 inches or over 55 inches, with an annual limit of two fish, one in the 30-40 inch class and one above 55 inches. Residents do not have a size limit and their bag limit is one lingcod daily, with a possession limit of two lingcod. Try fishing around rock piles and thump the bottom with a leadhead jig to draw in one of these voracious predators.
In 2021, Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR) fishing is closed. DSR is a subset of nonpelagic rockfish including Yelloweye, Quillback, China, Tiger, Rosethorn, Copper, and Canary.
Anglers are allowed one slope rockfish daily, with 1 in possession. The most common slope rockfish include Redbanded, Rougheye, Silvergray, Shortraker, and Vermilion.
Pelagic rockfish is open year-round. Anglers are allowed 5 daily, 10 in possession, with the exception of CSEO (Sitka Area), where non-residents are allowed 3 daily, 6 in possession. See the Sitka Area Special Exceptions for a map of CSEO on page 24 of the Southeast regulation summary.
The department has developed a guide to assist anglers in identifying species groupings.
As of 2020, anglers are required to use a rockfish release device to return rockfish that are not harvested to the depth of capture or 100 feet, whichever is shallower. Please see the “Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary” or visit your local ADF&G office to see examples of rockfish release devices and learn about their use.
Be sure to check your local fishing regulations to be aware of harvest limits and size requirements for shellfish. Also, be aware that certain types of shellfish in Southeast Alaska have been known to cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) which can be fatal.
For Dungeness crab, try placing pots in bays and around the mouths of the river where crabs congregate to feed. If fishing with friends, be sure to keep each angler’s catch separate to avoid pooling bag limits. Double-check that your gear meets legal requirements where escape mechanisms, ring sizes, and buoy requirements are concerned. See the shellfish section of the Southeast Alaska Sport Fishing regulation Summary or check out this video: Southeast Pot Regulations
Anglers of shrimp fishing are required to obtain a free permit for sport, personal use, and subsistence shrimp harvest for each calendar year. 2021 Southeast Shrimp Permits are available online at the ADF&G store or at your local ADF&G office. The shrimp harvest, location, and a number of pots pulled must be recorded each day, and the permit must be returned to ADF&G or reported online at the end of the year. Sport shrimping is closed in Sitka Sound, but this generally only affects nonresidents as most resident anglers harvest shrimp under the more liberal personal use regulations. Please also be aware of the closure boundary in Hoonah Sound.
Be aware that freshwater streams crossing the Sitka road system are closed to the retention of the majority of salmon species.
Dolly Varden and Rainbow/Cutthroat Trout
Dollys and rainbow/cutthroat trout can be targeted year-round in freshwaters. Try fishing around structures in the stream but be careful not to lose your lure. These fish make for a fun fight and don’t require a boat to get good access.
There are several lakes on the Sitka Road System that contain rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout, as well as grayling and Dolly Varden. See the new interactive map for more details.
For further information, please feel free to contact the Sitka area sportfish management staff at (907) 747-5355.