Area Sport Fishing Reports
Archived Sport Fishing Report
July 14, 2023
King salmon fishing has slowed down as typical during this time of year. Catch rates have dropped in the Wrangell Narrows/Blind Slough THA and the dry hot weather is challenging for the king salmon above Blind River Rapids attempting to return to the hatchery.
The Wrangell Narrows/Blind Slough THA remains open until July 31st with a bag and possession limit of two king salmon greater than 28” in length and two king salmon less than 28” in length. King salmon caught in this area do not count toward the nonresident annual limit.
Starting July 15th, the remaining majority of the Petersburg/Wrangell area is open to king salmon retention with a bag and possession limit of two daily over 28” for residents. From July 16 through December 31, the nonresident annual harvest limit is one king salmon, 28” or greater in length; any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 15 will apply towards the one fish annual harvest limit.
Sockeye salmon are passing through area waters and into the area freshwaters. Fishing for them may be slow as they are not aggressive feeders and as such catch rates should be expectedly low. Anglers are reminded that snagging is not allowed in any area freshwaters where sockeye salmon are found.
Pink and Coho salmon are beginning to show, and they will soon be present in good numbers. Area coho fishing in marine waters traditionally is strong during mid-August, along with Pink salmon.
Halibut catch rates have remained consistent and this is a good species to target in July. If looking for halibut locations, target high points under the water that come up to as shallow 100 feet. Another option might be offshore of a creek that has salmon spawning. Halibut catch rates should increase as they come into shallow waters over the summer. Traditional fishing areas such as The Eye Opener in Sumner Strait or north of town in Frederick Sound hold the most promise. Large halibut tend to be at 300 feet or greater, try to fish the slack tides with heavy duty gear and use whole herring for bait. If you are in Petersburg fishing from a small skiff and need to stay close to town, fish just south of the red buoy just outside of Wrangell Narrows in 300 to 400 feet of water
Specific to charter operators in Southeast Alaska and new this year: Monday closures. Charter vessel anglers in Area 2C may not catch and retain halibut (except GAF) on all Mondays beginning July 24, 2023, and continuing through December 31, 2023.
Dolly Varden and Cutthroat Trout
Dolly and cutthroat are likely to be caught in salt or brackish water estuaries, and anglers can find them in at the Blind River, Petersburg Creek, around most of the city docks, and in Wrangell Narrows along North Nordic Drive. Resident cutthroat and Dolly Varden can also be found in area streams and lakes accessed by the Petersburg and Wrangell road systems.
Sport fishing for lingcod opened on May 16. Nonresident bag and possession limits have changed since last year. For Northern Southeast Nonresidents – 1 daily, 1 in possession, size limit: 30 to 35 inches in length, or 55 inches or greater in length. Annual limit of 2 fish, one of which is 30 to 35 inches in length, one of which is 55 inches or greater in length. For Southern Southeast Area Nonresidents – 1 daily, 1 in possession, size limit: 30 to 40 inches in length, or 55 inches or greater in length. Annual limit of 2 fish, one of which is 30 to 40 inches in length, one of which is 55 inches or greater in length. Alaskan Resident bag and possession remain – 1 daily, 2 in possession, no size limit.
There have been some changes to rockfish regulations since the last fishing season. Pelagic rockfish regulations remain the same with a daily bag limit of 5 and possession limit of 10 in the Petersburg, Wrangell, and Kake area. Slope and demersal shelf rockfish species both have a daily bag limit of one fish and possession limit of 2 for Alaska residents, but demersal shelf rockfish are closed to retention for nonresidents anglers and yelloweye are closed to retention for all anglers. A helpful species identification guide has been published on the ADFG website here https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/pdfs/KeepDontKeepRockfish.pdf. Please see current emergency orders for a full description of these management actions https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm?ADFG=region.NR&Year=2023&NRID=3442.
Anglers are reminded that a rockfish release device is now required to be used whenever releasing rockfish and a rockfish release device must be onboard your vessel whenever sport fishing in marine waters.