Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince of Wales Island

Archived Sport Fishing Report

January 02, 2020

Prince of Wales Sport Fishing

Sport fishing opportunities are present on Prince of Wales (POW) during the 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.

Chinook Salmon

Chinook (king) salmon will be present in the marine water of POW through the winter, although fishing is generally poor.

  • 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.
  • Sport fishing for king salmon in Southeast Alaska is open to nonresidents. From January 1 through June 30, the annual limit is three king salmon 28 inches or greater in length.
  • 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.

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 provide good fishing in the marine waters surrounding Prince of Wales and can be caught through the winter, however the season is closed January 1-31.


Lingcod fishing is closed December 1 to May 15.


Non-pelagic Rockfish

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

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.

Regulation summaries and copies of the news releases are available at the Craig ADF&G office.

For further information, please feel free to contact the Prince of Wales Area Management Biologist: Craig Schwanke (907) 826-2498.

Helpful links