Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince of Wales Island

Archived Sport Fishing Report

March 23, 2021

It's starting to feel like spring with long days, mild temperatures, and herring concentrating in nearshore waters to spawn. Sport fishing opportunities on Prince of Wales (POW) during the spring are highlighted by steelhead which can be accessed on a vast road system with a large number of rivers, creeks, and lakes. These drainages also provide opportunities for Dolly Varden, cutthroat, and rainbow trout. Bottomfish, shellfish, and king salmon fishing improves in marine waters during the spring.

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 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 have been caught in recent weeks in the marine waters of Prince of Wales and fishing should improve through April.

Chinook Salmon regulations for 2021 are:

  • The daily bag limit for resident anglers is three fish over 28 inches. Resident anglers may use two rods while targeting king salmon through March 31, when using two rods the angler may only retain salmon (not bottomfish).
  • The daily bag limit for nonresident anglers is one fish with an annual limit of four fish over 28 inches through 2021.
  • The eastside of POW (Districts 2 & 6) will be closed to king salmon fishing from April 1 to June 14.
  • 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.


Spring steelhead starts entering most drainages in the coming weeks. Spring fish will start showing up in small numbers during March with the majority of fish entering freshwater in April. Drainages that usually have early spring steelhead include Thorne, Klawock, and Karta rivers; Ratz, Eagle, and Staney creeks.

Trout and Dolly Varden

Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and Dolly Varden are available in many of the freshwater drainages of POW during the spring. Productive drainages for trout 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 fishing should improve as spring approaches.


Lingcod fishing is closed from December 1 to May 15.


Rockfish can be caught year-round. A helpful flyer is available on the Fish and Game website for identifying common rockfish of POW.

All sport fishing vessels are required to have at least one functional deepwater release device (regardless of species targeted) and anglers will be REQUIRED to use a deepwater 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 2021.

  • 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