Area Sport Fishing Reports
February 23, 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.
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.
In the coming weeks look for an update on Chinook Salmon regulations. Current Chinook Salmon regulations are:
- The daily bag and possession limit for resident anglers is one fish over 28 inches. Resident anglers may use two rods while targeting king salmon through March 31. When using two rods an angler may only retain salmon.
- The daily bag limit for nonresident anglers is one fish with an annual limit of three fish over 28 inches through June 30.
Try trolling with whole herring or brightly colored hoochies. You can also try mooching with cut plug herring and a mooching sinker and leader. To make the most of the low winter lighting use a high-visibility or UV flasher. You can expect catch rates to be much lower in the winter and early spring. That being said, there’s nothing better than a winter king!
The season for lingcod runs from May 16 through November 30th annually. Retention is prohibited throughout the remainder of the year to protect spawning lingcod. Be sure to check for news releases that establish bag and size limits as well as annual limits for the area you plan to fish.
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.
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.
Winter is a great time to use the break in fishing to set pots or rings for crab. 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. Please be aware of the closure boundary in Hoonah Sound.
Dolly Varden and Rainbow/Cutthroat Trout
Dollys and rainbow/cutthroat trout can be targeted year-round in freshwaters. Be sure to check the thickness of the ice if you plan on going ice fishing and stay away from areas near moving water.
To satisfy your winter fishing urges, 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.