Area Sport Fishing Reports
April 20, 2022
Guides and businesses; don’t forget to register for 2022! You can register online at the ADF&G Store. As of 2021, all Southeast saltwater guides are required to use an eLogbook.
Beginning April 25 and ending September 11, Marine boat anglers returning to Sitka will be prohibited from filleting, mutilating, and de-heading sport caught lingcod, nonpelagic rockfish, and king and coho salmon at sea unless they have been preserved or consumed on board.
King Salmon fishing is beginning to pick up for the year. Anglers are reporting success off both The Cape and Biorka, as well as the bays south of town. Anecdotally the fish have been on the smaller side, though a few 30-pounders have come across the dock.
- The resident bag and possession limit is two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length;
- From February 3 2022 through March 31, 2022, and October 1, 2022, through March 31, 2023, a resident sport angler may use two rods when fishing for king salmon, a person using two rods under this regulation may only retain salmon.
- The nonresident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length;
- The nonresident annual limit is three king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
- 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
Halibut fishing has opened for the year as of February 1 and will continue to improve as we move into summer. Try fishing on shelfs and underwater “hills” with a bait that has a lot of scent. The IPHC has announced the 2022 bag and slot limit for guided anglers as one halibut; 40 inches or under or 80 inches or greater. There are no size restrictions for unguided anglers and the bag limit is 2.
Demersal Shelf Rockfish
Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR) fishing is open for Alaska resident anglers (excluding yelloweye). DSR available for harvest is China, Tiger, Rosethorn, Copper, and Canary. The bag and possession limit is one fish.
Slope Rockfish is open for all anglers. Limits are one slope rockfish daily, 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.
Fishing for Pelagic Rockfish (like Yellowtail or Black Rockfish) is good all year. These rockfish make for excellent table fare when salmon are harder to come by.
As of 2020, anglers are required to use a rockfish release device to return all 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.
Lingcod season will open on May 16 and will run through November 30.
Be sure to check your local fishing regulations to be aware of harvest limits and size requirements and necessary permits 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 rivers 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. 2022 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 personal use regulations. Please also be aware of the closure boundary in Hoonah Sound.
While Steelheads are tricky to coax into biting, these lunkers are world-class sport fish. As we move further into April, these fish will move into the streams in greater numbers. Try fishing at Salmon Lake Creek, Sawmill Creek or any other river system containing an anadromous lake.
Dolly Varden and Rainbow/Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden fishing is good right now as they congregate around the mouths of streams to take advantage of emigrating juvenile salmon. Dolly Varden 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.
Check out 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!
For further information, please feel free to contact the Sitka area sportfish management staff at (907) 747-5355.