Area Sport Fishing Reports
May 11, 2018
Emergency Orders and Regulation Reminders
During the 2018 Board of Fisheries meeting in Sitka, regulation changes were adopted that affect sport fisheries in the Sitka area. The following is a summary of those changes:
- A guided sport ecotourism Dungeness crab fishery was established in Nakwasina Sound, near Sitka, AK. The deadline to register for the fishery is Friday, April 13.
- The board established a regulation requiring a shrimp permit for the noncommercial (sport, personal use, subsistence) harvest of shrimp. The department is currently developing the permit which will be available online and at Fish and Game offices. Anglers may continue to harvest shrimp under existing regulations until this permit system is developed. A news release will be forthcoming announcing when the permits will be available.
- The board established a regulation requiring a king crab permit for the harvest of king crab in all areas of Southeast Alaska. The department is currently developing the permit which will be available online and at Fish and Game offices. Anglers may continue to harvest king crab during open seasons under existing regulations until this permit system is developed.
- The Southeast Alaska King Salmon Management Plan was modified to allow retention of other salmon species while fishing for king salmon with two rods from October 1–March 31.
- In the freshwater drainages of the Sitka Sound Special Use Area, the king salmon bag limit is 10 fish, 10 in possession, no size limit, and the nonresident annual limit does not apply.
- The board established a regional sablefish annual limit of 8 fish for nonresidents, and harvest recording is required.
- The mandatory retention requirement for nonpelagic rockfish was repealed.
- Beginning January 1, 2020, all anglers fishing from a vessel in salt waters of Southeast Alaska will be required to have in possession, and utilize, a deep water release mechanism to return and release nonpelagic rockfish to the depth it was hooked, or to at least 100 feet in depth, whichever is shallower. All vessels will be required to have at least one functional deep water release mechanism on board and readily available for use when sport fishing activities are taking place.
- In all waters of Central Southeast Outside Section (CSEO), the nonresident pelagic rockfish bag limit was reduced to 3 fish, with 6 allowed in possession, no size restrictions.
Current News Releases for the Sitka Management area and Southeast Alaska:
Emergency Orders are in effect for the following Sitka fisheries:
- King Salmon: regional Southeast Alaska sport fishing regulations for 2018 were released on April 3, 2018;
- Lingcod: regional Southeast Alaska sport fishing regulations for 2018 were released on May 2, 2018;
- No filleting or disfiguring of king salmon, lingocd, and non-pelagic rockfish released on April 18, 2018;
The 2018 Southeast Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary is currently available, and are currently available at Fish and Game offices and at many sport fishing license vendors:
Relevant Spring Fisheries:
- The spring steelhead fishing season is peaking in area rivers and streams. Fishing has been good for steelhead. Early abundance surveys indicate average run sizes, with fish spread throughout the drainages. Water temperatures have warmed a little as have air temperatures. Water levels remain low as snow-pack accumulated over the winter was below average.
- Generally associated with stream systems with lakes, the Sitka area has several locations with steelhead. On the road system Sawmill Creek offers the best chance at catching a steelhead, while Indian River and Starrigavin Creek provide minimal opportunity. Other steelhead streams nearby are accessed by boat or airplane and include Salmon Creek, Sitkoh Creek, and Ford Arm Creek among others. Steelhead in the Sitka management area generally enter freshwater streams to spawn during May.
Dolly Varden and Trout
- Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout can be targeted year-round but are most active in the spring months. Fishing is very good for these species right now.
- Fishing with lures (spinners, spoons, plugs) or flies that imitate juvenile pink salmon emigrating from local streams should produce. There are several great locations for trout and Dolly Varden fishing in the Sitka Area. On the road system the marine waters near the mouths of Starrigavin Creek, Indian River and Sawmill Creek should be productive. Most other stream mouths accessible by boat or plane should be good as well.
- The few reports received recently indicate king fishing is decent if you are able to get out further from town. Weather recently has allowed anglers to get out to the more popular fishing locations near The Cape and Biorka producing decent catches. King salmon fishing in most Sitka area waters should begin to pick up by the end of this month.
- It is still early to target halibut as most fishing is done in the summer months, however catching a halibut is still possible this time of year. Good halibut catches have been reported out at The Cape. Halibut fishing in most Sitka area waters should begin to pick up by mid to late-June.
- Sport fishing for lingcod is currently closed in all Southeast Alaska waters.
- Fishing for rockfish is good. Rockfish are available year-round, and fishing is generally good this time of year. Anglers are encouraged to use a rockfish release device whenever releasing nonpelagic rockfish. 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.
For further information, please feel free to contact the Sitka area sportfish management staff at (907) 747-5355.