Area Sport Fishing Reports
Archived Sport Fishing Report
August 24, 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.
Despite being later into the season, king fishing has stayed productive. Based on marine catch sampling from the previous week, king salmon were harvested primarily from Cape Edgecumbe, and Shelikof bay. Things will begin to slow as we move later into summer and in conjunction with the commercial opener.
Sockeye runs are through the majority of their usual timelines, though indications suggest that sockeye runs region wide are either late. These tricky fish seldom bite but be aware of sport and subsistence regulations as well as posted markers if you chose to try and snag them.
Chum, pink, and coho salmon are also returning home and offshore fishing success for these has stayed high the last week. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the markers at stream mouths that delineate salt water from freshwater and the regulation changes between the two. Fishing for pinks from the road system will begin to taper off as the fish begin to shift to their less appealing freshwater forms. Offshore fishing success for coho is currently at its peak as these fish begin their journey home. Most coho won’t enter freshwaters until September.
Halibut fishing is good and will continue to stay good as pink and chum enter their native streams. Based on marine catch sampling from the previous week, most halibut were harvested off Cape Edgecumbe and Outer Kruzof Island.
Sport fishing for lingcod has been average this season. Try fishing near pinnacles and structure with large lead/rubber or metal jigs.
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 follow pinks into streams. Dollys and Rainbow/cutthroat trout can be targeted year-round and actively feed most of the year. Fishing is good in fresh waters and near the mouths of streams. Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, and other resident species target pink and chum eggs in the fall. Patterns that mimic salmon eggs are particularly successful this time of year.
There are also 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.