Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince of Wales Island

Archived Sport Fishing Report

April 30, 2020

Prince of Wales Sport Fishing

Sport fishing opportunities on Prince of Wales (POW) during spring 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 Dolly Varden, steelhead, cutthroat and rainbow trout. During the spring fishing in marine waters begins to improve for king salmon and 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.

Reminder: Buy your new 2020 sport fishing license and king salmon tags prior to fishing in the new calendar year!

Chinook Salmon

Chinook (king) salmon are present in the marine water of POW and fish have been caught in waters near Craig and Klawock, as well as the outside waters at Noyes and Suemez islands.

  • East side of POW: Sport fishing for king salmon is closed on the east side of POW in districts 1, 2 and 6 from April 1 through June 14.
  • West side of POW: Sport fishing for king salmon is open for resident anglers with a daily bag and possession limit of one fish over 28 inches.
  • The sport fishing regulations for nonresidents in Southeast Alaska during 2020 are 1 king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length per day with the following total harvest limits:
    • from January 1 through June 30, the total harvest (annual) limit is 3 king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length;
    • from July 1 through July 7, the total harvest limit is 2 king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length and king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 apply to the total limit;
    • from July 8 through December 31, the total harvest limit is 1 king salmon and king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 7 apply to the total limit.
  • 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.


Late April and early May is the prime time to find steelhead in many drainages of POW. Fishing should be good as water levels drop from a recent large rain event. Drainages with steelhead include but are not limited to the: Thorne, Karta and Klawock rivers; Staney, 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 fishing can be good in the spring as they become more active with increased water temperature. During the spring they can often be found feeding on salmon fry. 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 can provide good fishing in the marine waters surrounding POW during the spring.


Lingcod fishing is closed December 1 to May 15.


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.

Slope Rockfish

Some slope rockfish are common in marine waters surrounding POW. The most common species are: silvergrey, rougheye, shortraker, vermillion and redbanded rockfish.

  • One per day; one in possession

Pelagic Rockfish

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.

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