Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince of Wales Island
March 6, 2020
Prince of Wales Sport Fishing
Sport fishing opportunities are present on Prince of Wales (POW) during late winter in marine waters surrounding the island and on a vast road system that provides access to a large number of rivers, creeks and lakes, which provide opportunities for Dolly Varden, steelhead, cutthroat and rainbow trout. During the winter fishing in marine waters is slow for salmon, but can be productive for bottom fish with open seasons.
An excellent resource for planning a trip is the gofishak interactive map for POW which provides information on fishing locations, species run timing, fishing gear and angler access.
Reminder: Buy your new 2020 sport fishing license and king salmon tags prior to fishing in the new calendar year!
Chinook (king) salmon are present in the marine water of POW through the winter and fishing should improve into the spring.
- Sport fishing for king salmon is open for resident anglers with a daily bag and possession limit of one fish over 28 inches.
- Resident sport anglers may not use two rods while fishing for king salmon during the winter of 2019/2020.
- The sport fishing regulations for nonresidents in Southeast Alaska during 2020 are 1 king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length per day with the following total harvest limits:
- from January 1 through June 30, the total harvest (annual) limit is 3 king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length;
- from July 1 through July 7, the total harvest limit is 2 king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length and king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 apply to the total limit;
- from July 8 through December 31, the total harvest limit is 1 king salmon and king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 7 apply to the total limit.
- Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon a nonresident must enter the species, date and location, in ink, on the back of their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.
Winter steelhead began entering some freshwater drainages during November and continue in small numbers through the winter. In general, winter steelhead are found in systems with lakes. Drainages with winter steelhead include: Thorne, Karta and Klawock rivers; Ratz and Eagle creeks. Fishing is most productive during periods of warm weather. Spring fish may start entering freshwater drainages in late March with warming water temperature.
Trout and Dolly Varden
Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden are available in many of the freshwater drainages of Prince of Wales Island and fishing can be good in the winter during warm spells. Productive drainages include: Klawock, Luck and Sarkar lakes; the Thorne River and Ratz Creek. Regulations regarding size limits, bag limits and the use of bait can vary by waterbody, so please check the Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary.
Halibut can provide good fishing in the marine waters surrounding Prince of Wales for the remainder of the winter
Lingcod fishing is closed December 1 to May 15.
The retention of nonpelagic rockfish will be prohibited during 2020. The following regulations are effective 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021:
All Southeast Waters
- No retention of nonpelagic rockfish.
- All vessels must have at least one functional deepwater release mechanism on board and readily available for use when sport fishing activities are taking place. Persons sport fishing in marine waters when releasing rockfish (pelagic or nonpelagic), must use a deepwater release mechanism to return the fish to the depth it was hooked or to a depth of at least 100 feet.
Pelagic rockfish provide good fishing in the marine waters surrounding Prince of Wales.
- Season: year round
- Five per day; ten in possession
Beginning January 1, 2020 all sport fishing vessels will be required to have at least one functional deep water release device (regardless of species targeted) and anglers will be REQUIRED to use a deep water release device to release rockfish to the depth it was hooked or to a depth of at least 100 feet. 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 additional information regarding rockfish identification and management please refer to rockfish conservation on the ADF&G Sport Fish website.
For further information, please feel free to contact the Prince of Wales Area Management Biologist: Craig Schwanke (907) 826-2498.