Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince of Wales Island
November 9, 2020
Sport fishing opportunities on Prince of Wales (POW) during the winter include marine waters surrounding the island and a vast road system that provides access to a large number of rivers, creeks and lakes, which provide opportunities for steelhead, Dolly Varden, cutthroat and rainbow trout. Bottomfish, shellfish and the occasional king salmon can be caught during the winter.
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.
* 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 while sport and personal use fishing and wearing a face covering when fishing and if you are needing fishing supplies from your local store as indicated in Health Alert 010.
Small numbers of Chinook (king) salmon will remain present in the marine waters of POW year around, but fishing is usually slow during winter.
Chinook Salmon bag limits from October 1 to December 31:
- Sport fishing for chinook salmon is open for resident anglers with a daily bag and possession limit of one fish over 28 inches. Resident anlgers may use two rods while targetting king salmon, when using two rods the angler may only retain salmon (not bottom fish).
- The daily bag and annual limit for nonresident anglers is one fish over 28 inches and any king salmon harvested from January 1 to September 30, 2020 will apply to the one fish annual limit.
- Immediately upon landing and retaining a chinook 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.
Some drainages with lake systems have small returns of steelhead from November through the winter. Fishing is generally slow due to cool water temperatures and small numbers of fish. Drainages with winter steelhead include the Thorne and Klawock rivers, Ratz and Eagle creeks.
Trout and Dolly Varden
Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden are available in many of the freshwater drainages of POW and may be caught through the winter. 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 fishing slows down during the winter months and is closed during January.
Lingcod fishing is closed December 1 to May 15.
Rockfish can be caught throughout the winter. A helpful flier is available on the Fish and Game website for identifying common rockfish of POW.
As of January 1, 2020 all sport fishing vessels are 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.
Demersal Shelf Rockfish
The retention of demersal shelf rockfish is prohibited during 2020.
- No retention of demersal shelf rockfish which are the following species: yelloweye, quillback, copper, canary, china, tiger and rosethorn rockfish.
Some slope rockfish are common in marine waters surrounding POW. The most common species are: silvergrey, rougheye, shortraker and vermilion rockfish.
- One per day; one in possession
Pelagic rockfish provide good fishing in the marine waters surrounding POW.
- Season: year round
- Five per day; ten in possession
For additional information regarding rockfish identification and management please refer to the rockfish conservation page 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.