Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince of Wales Island
February 18, 2021
Sport fishing opportunities on Prince of Wales (POW) during the winter 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 steelhead, Dolly Varden, cutthroat and rainbow trout. Bottomfish, shellfish and king salmon can be caught during the winter.
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 (king) salmon have been caught in recent weeks in the marine waters of Prince of Wales although fishing is generally slow.
There will be an update of Chinook Salmon regulations in coming weeks, but current Chinook salmon limits are:
- The daily bag 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 the angler may only retain salmon (not bottomfish).
- The daily bag limit for nonresident anglers is one fish with an annual limit of three fish over 28 inches through June 30.
- 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.
Some drainages with lake systems currently have steelhead present. Fishing is generally slow due to cool water temperatures and small numbers of fish. Drainages with winter steelhead include the Thorne, Karta and Klawock rivers, 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 can be caught through the winter. 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 fishing slows down during the winter months but should improve as spring approaches.
Lingcod fishing is closed December 1 to May 15.
Rockfish can be caught throughout the winter. A helpful flier 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 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 2021.
- No retention of demersal shelf rockfish which are the following species: yelloweye, quillback, copper, canary, china, tiger and rosethorn 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 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.
For further information, please feel free to contact the Prince of Wales Area Management Biologist: Craig Schwanke (907) 826-2498.