Area Sport Fishing Reports
September 08, 2017
Marine fishing for salmon has slowed some in the past few weeks. While halibut and other groundfish catch rates remain strong in the Sitka Area, coho catch rates have declined some in saltwater. In freshwater, anglers can still catch pink salmon and some coho are begining to show in area streams. The king salmon closure will continue through September.
Due to conservation concerns, the retention of king salmon is prohibited in all Southeast Alaska salt waters including the Sitka Area. This closure went into effect 12:01am, Thursday August 10, 2017 and will continue through September 30. All king salmon caught must be immediately released unharmed. In the freshwaters of Sitka Sound anglers may continue to retain King salmon. For residents and nonresidents fishing in fresh waters of Sitka Sound, the limits are:
- 28 inches or greater in lentgh - 5 fish
- Under 28 inches - 5 fish
The nonresident annual limit of 3 king salmon does not apply to King Salmon harvested in freshwaters of Sitka Sound.
Coho salmon fishing in the marine waters offshore is average/below average. Some coho have begun to enter the fresh waters in the Sitka area. The resident and nonresident daily bag limit is six coho salmon, 12 in possession.
Dolly Varden and Trout
There are several great locations for trout and Dolly Varden fishing in the Sitka Area. Dolly Varden and trout can be targeted year round but are most active in the spring months.
When fishing for trout be sure to check the 2017 Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary to understand regulations for the waterbody you intend to fish. Regulations regarding size limits, bag limits and the use of bait can vary by waterbody.
- Season: February 1- December 31
- Unguided anglers may catch and retain two halibut per day - no size limit, four in possession.
- Charter vessel anglers may catch and retain one halibut per day, which must be less than or equal to 44 inches or greater than or equal to 80 inches in total length. Unguided anglers may retain two halibut of any size.
- Charter operators and crew members may not retain halibut while clients are on board the vessel.
- The Sitka Sound Special Use Area is closed to the retention of halibut by chartered anglers between June 1 and August 31.
Size limits vary between Yakutat, Northern Southeast and Southern Southeast areas. For a description of these boundaries, please review area emergency orders.
- Northern Southeast area (including the Sitka area):
- Season: May 16 – November 30
- Resident – One daily two in possession, no size limit.
- Nonresident – One daily, one in possession, size limit: 30 inches or greater in length and less than 35 inches in length, or 55 inches or greater in length. Annual limit of two fish, one of which is 30 to 35 inches in length, one of which is 55 inches or greater in length, nonresident anglers shall immediately record, in ink, all lingcod harvested either on the back of their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.
- Charter operators and crew members may not retain lingcod while clients are on board the vessel.
- Season: year round (excluding the August 1-21, 2017 closure).
- All nonpelagic rockfish caught must be retained until the daily bag limit is reached.
- Daily bag and possession limits vary between southeast outside waters and southeast inside waters. For a description of these boundaries, please review area emergency orders.
Persons sport fishing from a charter vessel when releasing nonpelagic rockfish, (e.g. after an angler reaches their bag limit), must be in possession of, and utilize a deep water release mechanism to return the fish to the depth it was hooked or to a depth of at least 100 feet. Charter operators and crew members may not retain nonpelagic rockfish while clients are on board the vessel.
All Southeast Waters:
- Pelagic Rockfish- In the Sitka Area- three per day; six in possession.
- Resident – One non-pelagic rockfish daily; possession limit of one fish.
- Nonresident – One non-pelagic rockfish daily; possession limit of one fish; with an annual limit of one yelloweye rockfish.
- Nonresident anglers must immediately record all yelloweye rockfish harvested, in ink, either on the back of their sport fishing license, or on a nontransferable harvest record.
Southeast Outside Waters (including the Sitka Area):
- Nonpelagic rockfish fishing closed August 1 through August 21, 2017. All anglers fishing from a vessel in Southeast Outside waters during this time must have a functional deep water release mechanism on board (regardless of target species) and all anglers must release nonpelagic rockfish at depth of capture or at least 100 feet using a deep water release mechanism.
Regulation summaries and copies of the most recent regulatory changes are available at the Sitka ADF&G office.
For further information, please feel free to contact the Sitka area management biologist: Troy Tydingco (907) 747-5379