Area Sport Fishing Reports
Archived Sport Fishing Report
September 05, 2023
As we move into September the heart of the fishing season is behind us, but overall it appears to have been a good one. The coho continue to be caught, though we are past the peak. I still hear of catches occurring in saltwater but suspect these coho to be targeting streams and awaiting the rain to provide access. The dry weather of the past couple weeks left little water in the creeks which tended to consolidate all the salmon in any deep hole making it challenging to target coho. A little more rain is now in the forecast and should it occur will spread out the fish within the streams and offer good opportunity for the remaining weeks of the run.
King salmon will continue to trickle in by those fortunate enough to come across a local one feeding in saltwater. Remember, you still need to purchase a king salmon stamp if you hope to harvest a king you happen across. A legal king salmon must be greater than 28 inches from tip of snout to tip of tail (in its natural open position). Most importantly know that as of July 15th the nonresident angler's annual harvest is limited to one king salmon and if a nonresident harvested a king salmon previously between January 1st and July 15th it applies toward that one fish annual harvest limit.
Pink salmon are all but done but can be found in abundance in the streams spawning and dying to complete their life cycle.
Halibut continue to be present, but size has been on the smaller end. Some success can be found fishing deeper. In Frederick Sound, angers might find it difficult to avoid Pacific Cod that appear to be in abundance this year and are quick to go after the bait being used on the bottom to target halibut. Going a bit deeper can offer a better chance at halibut and reduce the Pacific Cod encounters.
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 Varden and cutthroat trout are fat and happy this time of year and are a great sport fish to target in the streams. Unless otherwise specified in regulation, cutthroat and rainbow trout (in combination) bag limits are 2 per day and 2 in possession but must be a minimum of 11 inch and a maximum of 22 inches. Dolly Varden have no size limit and bag limits are 10 per day and 10 in possession.
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 nonresident anglers and yelloweye are closed to retention for all anglers. A helpful species identification guide has been published on the ADFG website. Please see current emergency orders for a full description of these management actions.
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.