Area Sport Fishing Reports
August 7, 2019
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.
For further information, please feel free to contact the Sitka Area sportfish management staff at (907) 747-5355.
Effective Thursday August 1st through September 15th, retention of King Salmon is prohibited for non-resident anglers in Southeast Alaska marine waters. An emergency order accompanied with a news release was issued on July 22nd, 2019. This closure is needed in the sport fishery to keep the fishery within its allocation.
Catch rates for king salmon have continued to decline since the beginning of July in the Sitka area. However, based on marine sport catch sampling, catch rates are still twice as better than last year for the same time period and slightly below the recent 10-year mean. During the marine catch sampling period of July 31st through August 4th, king salmon were harvested primarily from West Kruzof and Cape Edgecumbe. Kings are being caught trolling or mooching herring, or trolling hoochies and spoons. King salmon fishing in Sitka area waters should continue to decline through late-August.
Effective Thursday, July 25th, retention of non-pelagic rockfish is prohibited in the Sitka area and in all outside waters of Southeast Alaska, through August 31st. An emergency order was issued in April 2019 that prohibits retention of non-pelagic rockfish in outside waters, and it was referenced in the Southeast Alaska sportfishing regulation summary on page 12.
All vessels are required to have at least one functional deep-water release device (regardless of species targeted) and anglers are REQUIRED to use a rockfish release device to release nonpelagic rockfish during this time. 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.
Fishing for pelagic rockfish is open and has been excellent.
Catch rates dropped for silver salmon over the past week, probably due to bad weather days. Silver fishing continues to be slow in the Sitka area with anglers still catching a few silvers near Cape Edgecumbe and West Kruzof. Catch rates are less than half of the recent ten-year average for the sample period of July 31st through August 4th and are the lowest catch rates Sitka has observed since prior to 2009. It is still early, and more will be known about catch rates as the historical peaks of the runs near in the next couple weeks.
Pink fishing remained a little slower than previous weeks in the Sitka area with anglers catching pinks both in outside waters and nearshore in Sitka. Catch rates remained below the recent ten-year average for the sample period of July 31st through August 4th. With cooler weather and some possible precipitation, the bulk of the pink salmon should begin moving closer to shore and into freshwaters in greater numbers.
Halibut fishing has been consistent in Sitka. Catch rates continue to be slightly better than the recent ten-year average. During the marine catch sampling period of July 31st through August 4th, halibut were harvested primarily from outer Kruzof Island/Sitka Sound to offshore waters from Salisbury Sound to Sitka Sound. Fishing has improved also in Sitka Sound, and closer to town. Halibut fishing in Sitka Sound area waters should begin to peak through August with more bait (herring, salmon, crab, etc.) moving inside the Sound.
Sport fishing for lingcod has been good recently. Try fishing near pinnacles and structure with large whole herring, or large lead/rubber or metal jigs.
Pink salmon have moved into freshwaters with the recent rain events. Also chum salmon have been observed in some streams already. Sport fishing for pinks and chums in freshwater should peak over the next few weeks. Be aware of special regulations for certain freshwater streams with regards to fishing for salmon. Try casting spinners or spoons or using brightly colored flies.
Dolly Varden and Rainbow/Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden and trout can be targeted year-round. Sitka has a few streams and lakes that have resident species available such as Indian River, Thimbleberry lake and Heart Lake. Fishing is good right now with spawning salmon moving into freshwaters. Try using spinners, spoons, or flies mimicking juvenile salmon, leeches, or eggs/flesh.