Area Sport Fishing Reports
May 6, 2021
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. Be sure to always check for any updates to regulations before you start your fishing trip.
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 012.
For more information on travel restrictions please visit the State of Alaska Traveler Information page.
Beginning in 2021, all charter operators who operate in saltwater will be required to submit their data through the elogbook program. Paper logbook pages will not be accepted.
From April 26 through September 12, 2021, it is prohibited to fillet or de-head Lingcod, slope rockfish, and king and coho salmon at sea. This does not prohibit gutting or gilling these fish. These fish may be processed on board a vessel once it is tied up at a docking facility where the fish will be offloaded.
Current Chinook Salmon regulations are:
- The daily bag and possession limit for resident anglers is 3 fish , 28 inches or greater.
- The daily bag limit for nonresident anglers is one fish with an annual limit of four fish, 28 inches or greater.
King season has started off well with anglers reporting success at Vitskari rocks and Biorka Island. Try trolling with whole herring or brightly colored hoochies. You can also try mooching with cut plug herring and a mooching sinker and leader. Please be aware that retention of king salmon is prohibited from Nismeni Point east to and including the Chatham Straight side of Baranof Island, South to Patterson Point.
The season for lingcod will begin May 16th and run through November 30th . Retention is prohibited throughout the remainder of the year to protect spawning lingcod. The size limit for lingcod for nonresidents has increased to 30-40 inches or over 55 inches, with an annual limit of two fish, one in the 30-40 inch class and one above 55 inches. Residents do not have a size limit and their bag limit is one lingcod daily, with a possession limit of two lingcod. Try fishing around rock piles and thump the bottom with a leadhead jig to draw in one of these voracious predators.
In 2021 Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR) fishing remains closed. DSR are a subset of nonpelagic rockfish including: Yelloweye, Quillback, China, Tiger, Rosethorn, Copper, and Canary.
Anglers are allowed one slope rockfish daily, 1 in possession. The most common slope rockfish include: Redbanded, Rougheye, Silvergray, Shortraker, and Vermilion.
Pelagic rockfish is open year-round. Anglers are allowed 5 daily, 10 in possession, with the exception of CSEO (Sitka Area), where nonresidents are allowed 3 daily, 6 in possession. See the Sitka Area Special Exceptions for a map of CSEO on page 24 of the Southeast regulation summary.
The department has developed a guide to assist anglers in identifying species groupings here.
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. Also be aware that certain types of shellfish in Southeast Alaska have been known to cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) which can be fatal.
For Dungeness crab, try placing pots in bays and around the mouths of river where crabs congregate to feed. If fishing with friends, be sure to keep each angler’s catch separate to avoid pooling bag limits. Double check that your gear meets legal requirements where escape mechanisms, ring sizes, and buoy requirements are concerned. See the shellfish section of the Southeast Alaska Sport Fishing regulation Summary or check out this video: Southeast Pot Regulations
Anglers shrimp fishing are required to obtain a free permit for sport, personal use and subsistence shrimp harvest for each calendar year. 2021 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. Sport shrimping is closed in Sitka Sound, but this generally only affects nonresidents as most resident anglers harvest shrimp under the more liberal personal use regulations. Please also be aware of the closure boundary in Hoonah Sound.
Steelhead season is in full swing. Though it’s been relatively cold, these fish are showing up in the local streams. While tricky to coax into biting, these lunkers are world-class sport fish. Try fishing at Salmon Lake Creek, Sawmill Creek or any other river system containing an anadromous lake.
Dolly Varden and Rainbow/Cutthroat Trout
Dollys and rainbow/cutthroat trout can be targeted year-round in freshwaters. Currently fishing for them is good around the mouths of streams where they’re targeting out-migrating pink and chum fry. These fish make for a fun fight and don’t require a boat to get good access.
There are 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.