Craig Schwanke, Area Management Biologist
(907) 826-2498, firstname.lastname@example.org
Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince of Wales Island
October 9, 2023
The drainages of Prince of Wales have good silver salmon returns this fall. Fish are getting dark but some bright fish are still present in many drainages and angling pressure is light. October has been rainy creating high water levels making it difficult to fish some drainages. Drainages with lake systems can be high from the rain but often remain clear, whereas systems without lakes can be off colored during high water. Bottomfish fishing remains good in saltwater but fall weather conditions often limit boat angler's ability to get out.
There are two new videos from ADF&G regarding rockfish management and rockfish research in Southeast Alaska. Check out the wefishak page on the ADF&G website for the gofishak interactive map to discover fishing locations and information on species run timing, fishing gear selections, and boat and angler access tips!
Chinook (King) Salmon
The summer of 2023 was a good season for king salmon and king salmon will remain present around Prince of Wales in reduced numbers through the winter. See below for changes to nonresident harvest limits.
Chinook Salmon Regulations for 2023
- The resident daily bag limit is two fish over 28 inches;
- From October 1 through March 31, 2024, a resident sport fish angler may use two rods when fishing for king salmon, a person using two rods under this regulation may only retain salmon
- Through December 31, the nonresident annual harvest limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length; any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 15 will apply towards the one fish annual harvest limit;
- Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon, a nonresident must enter the species, date, and location on their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.
Coho (silver) Salmon
Coho salmon returns are good and fresh fish will continue to trickle into some drainages through October. Most drainages including medium sized creeks support coho salmon providing a lot of freshwater options for anglers on Prince of Wales Island. The Klawock River is once again having a great return of hatchery produced coho salmon.
Small numbers of steelhead start entering some drainages in late October and will continue through the winter. In general, fall/winter steelhead are present in drainages with lakes where they can seek refuge during low river flows in the winter. Drainages with winter steelhead include the Thorne, Klawock, Karta, Ratz and Luck drainages.
Trout and Dolly Varden
Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and Dolly Varden are available in many of the freshwater drainages of POW. Fishing slows down as water temperatures decrease in late fall and winter. Productive drainages for trout include Luck, Klawock, 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 is good and will remain good into the fall.
Lingcod are open to retention through November 30. The size limit for nonresident lingcod retention was reduced for 2023. Lingcod regulations are:
- Residents – 1 daily, 2 in possession, no size limit.
- Nonresidents – 1 daily, 1 in possession, size limit: 30 to 40 inches in length, or 55 inches or greater in length. Annual limit of 2 fish, one of which is 30 to 40 inches in length, one of which is 55 inches or greater in length.
- Nonresident anglers shall immediately record the date and location (body of water fished), in ink, of all lingcod harvested either on their sport fishing license or on their nontransferable harvest record.
- Charter operators and crew members may not retain lingcod while clients are on board the vessel.
Rockfish can be caught year-round. There is a section 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 open for residents of Alaska with a daily bag limit of one. Yelloweye remained closed.
Demersal shelf rockfish are closed to harvest for nonresidents.
Demersal shelf rockfish 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 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.
New for 2023:
Nonresident shellfish anglers fish under the sport fishing regulations while resident anglers can fish under personal use reguations. The nonresident (sport fishing) Dungeness crab fishery in Coffmam Cove, Whale Pass and Klawock Inlet are now closed. Please see pages 29 and 35 of the 2023 sport fishing regulation summary for a description of the closed areas.
For further information, please contact the Prince of Wales Area Management Biologist: Craig Schwanke (907) 826-2498.