Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince of Wales Island

Archived Sport Fishing Report

August 21, 2020

Sport fishing opportunities on Prince of Wales (POW) during August 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 pink, chum, sockeye and coho salmon, Dolly Varden, cutthroat and rainbow trout. Fishing in marine waters during late August can be good for bottom fish and coho salmon but slows down for king and pink salmon.

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.

* 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 while sport and personal use fishing and wearing a face covering when fishing and if you are needing fishing supplies from your local store as indicated in Health Alert 010.

Chinook Salmon

Chinook (king) salmon will remain present in the marine waters of POW year around, but fishing has slowed down considerably in August and will likely remain slow into the winter.

Chinook Salmon bag limits were increased on July 31:

  • Sport fishing for chinook salmon is open for resident anglers with a daily bag and possession limit of five fish over 28 inches.
  • The daily bag limit for nonresident anglers is three fish over 28 inches and an annual limit of nine fish.
  • Immediately upon landing and retaining a chinook 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.

Coho Salmon

Coho (silver) salmon fishing has recently slowed down in the marine waters of POW. Based on recent marine sport fishing and commercial trolling catches it appears that coho numbers are down this season. Fall run coho are now present in many freshwater drainages and fishing will continue to improve into September. Most drainages have coho salmon and popular drainages include Staney Creek and Klawock, Harris and Thorne rivers. Klawock River hatchery coho are currently projected to be down from recent years, but there are still expected to be enough fish to provide good fishing.

Pink and Chum Salmon

Pink and chum salmon are now present in many of the freshwater drainages, although pink salmon abundance is down in many drainages and both species have or will start spawning soon.

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye (red) salmon are present in some freshwater drainages and have or will start spawning soon. Drainages with sockeye salmon include Red and Hatchery creeks, Sweetwater, Thorne, Sarkar and Karta river drainages.

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 very good in the fall. Flies or beads that imitate salmon eggs are very effective in the fall as salmon start to spawn. 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 catches have been good in the marine waters surrounding POW.


Lingcod fishing is good around rocky structure.


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 and vermilion 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