Area Sport Fishing Reports
September 9, 2020
Updated Travel Information
An excellent resource for planning a trip to Sitka is the gofishak interactive map which provides information on fishing locations, species run timing, fishing gear and angler access.
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 010.
Also note that new Interstate Travel Protocols have begun on August 11. For more information on travel restrictions please visit the State of Alaska Traveler Information page.
Beginning July 31st and continuing through September 30th, the daily bag and possession limit for king salmon has been increased to five for Alaska residents. During this same time period, non-residents are allowed three king salmon per day, with the annual limit increased to 9. All king salmon must be 28 inches or greater in length.
King fishing has slowed down for the year. Although catch rates have slowed, king salmon are still being found by some diligent anglers. Despite lower number of visitors for the season, we saw an above average number of kings caught in our Marine Sampling program. Many residents and visitors alike we’re able to take advantage of the liberal catch limits and are heading into winter with big smiles and full freezers.
Sockeye salmon fishing is now essentially over and was also good this year with over 41,000 fish having returned to Redoubt lake. The runs came in late across the region but most streams were able to meet their escapement goals.
Chum and pink salmon have made their ways home and are filling the streams as they move to spawn. Cohos are not far behind them and will continue entering freshwaters through October. There are still coho in marine waters with anglers having good success in several locations.
Fishing for halibut continues to be good even at the end of the summer fishing season. Sitka had a good year for halibut as well, with catch numbers staying high despite the lack of effort. Based on the marine harvest program, halibut fishing seemed to be a bit hotter than average with less time required to catch these fish. Halibut will move back to deeper waters over winter where they will dream of next years salmon runs like the rest of us.
In 2020 Demersal Shelf Rockfish fishing is closed. This subset of nonpelagic rockfish includes Yelloweye, Quillback, China, Tiger, Rosethorn, Copper, and Canary. Fishing for slope rockfish and pelagic species is still open year-round. The department has developed a guide to assist anglers in identifying species groupings at: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/pdfs/KeepDontKeepRockfish.pdf
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. Be aware that certain types of shellfish in Southeast Alaska have been known to cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) which can be fatal.
Anglers shrimp fishing are required to obtain a free permit for sport, personal use and subsistence shrimp harvest for each calendar year. 2020 Southeast Shrimp Permits are available online at the ADF&G store or at your local ADF&G office. The shrimp harvest, location, and 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.
Dolly Varden and Rainbow/Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden fishing is good right now as they return to streams following pink salmon and also to spawn. Dollys and rainbow/cutthroat trout can be targeted year-round. Fishing is fair in fresh waters and near the mouths of streams.
To satisfy your winter fishing urges, 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 interactive map for more details.
For further information, please feel free to contact the Sitka area sportfish management staff at (907) 747-5355.