Area Sport Fishing Reports
North Gulf Coast \ Resurrection Bay
October through February Season
Don't forget: your fishing license expired Dec. 31! A sport fishing license makes a great gift -- lasts all year. (Neither the ADF&G Permanent ID license nor the ADF&G Disabled Veteran's license expire.)
The sport fishing regulations are good through April 15 of the new year. Look for new booklets around the end of March or early April.
Halibut fishing is closed Jan. 1 through Jan. 31, and lingcod fishing outside of Resurrection Bay is closed Jan. 1 through June 30, to protect spawning and nest-guarding adults. Lingcod fishing in Resurrection Bay north of a line between Cape Resurrection and Aialik Cape is closed year round. All lingcod incidentally caught must be landed by hand or with a landing net and released immediately.
Otherwise, when weather permits, hardy anglers may find a few rockfish and smaller halibut.
Anglers leaving from Seward should review the rockfish regulations before heading out. The latitude of Cape Puget is the dividing line between two areas that have different rockfish regulations: 1) Prince William Sound, and 2) The North Gulf Coast (which includes Resurrection Bay).
In Prince William Sound, anglers must keep the first two non-pelagic rockfish they catch. Daily limits for rockfish, including non-pelagic rockfish are also different in the two areas.
Non-pelagic rockfish – such as “red snapper” – need this additional protection because they rarely survive the change in pressure as they are brought to the surface. Rockfish are extremely long-lived fish, and are slow to reach sexual maturity. Overharvest would quickly reduce the number of mature fish available to spawn. Anglers targeting rockfish are encouraged to fish for black or dusky rockfish in waters less than 10 fathoms (60 feet) so that fish that are released have a fair chance at survival. Also, halibut anglers are strongly encouraged to fish with a single large hook (size 16 or larger) and avoid rocky areas to minimize their unintentional rockfish catch. There’s a handy rockfish ID chart posted on the web, and also printed in our regulation booklet.
Sharks are occasionally taken in Resurrection Bay fisheries. The daily bag limit for sharks is one fish of any species, and the annual limit is two sharks of any species. This includes spiny dogfish as well as salmon and sleeper sharks. Sleeper sharks are generally considered inedible and should be released. All harvested sharks must be recorded immediately upon capture on the back of your license or on your Harvest Record Card.
Sharks have a high urea content, and are inedible unless handled properly. Bleed your shark immediately upon capture by cutting the underside of the tail, and let the bleeding continue until the heart stops. Gutting the fish with a single cut from the anus to the gills can enhance the quality of the meat.
Bag limits “carry over” between areas, and daily limits apply per day, NOT PER AREA. For example, if you keep 2 red snapper (non-pelagic rockfish) east of Cape Puget, then travel west of Cape Puget and stop to fish, you are over your daily limit, because west of Cape Puget the daily limit for non-pelagic rockfish is 1. You may pass through an area on your way back to port, but check the limits if you’re thinking about stopping to fish.
Small numbers of silver salmon continue to return through the month of October. Try fishing the breakwater near the Seward Small Boat Harbor. Anglers trolling in Resurrection Bay also have a slight chance of picking up a chum salmon or sockeye (red) salmon. The daily bag limits in saltwater for salmon (other than kings) is six.
“Winter” kings may be caught throughout the North Gulf Coast area, and in many nearshore salt waters of Alaska. Also called “feeder” kings, they are cruising the ocean, fattening up before returning to their home stream to spawn. Try using downriggers in at least 60 feet of water, especially near schools of baitfish.
A king salmon stamp IS required before fishing for kings (unless you have the ADF&G Permanent ID Card or the ADF&G Disabled Veteran’s Card, or you are under 16 years old). Kings caught in the North Gulf Coast/Resurrection Bay do not need to be recorded on the back of the license or on the harvest record card.
North Gulf Coast is closed to all crabbing due to low population levels. The personal use shrimp pot fishery does not open until April 15.
Fresh Water Fishing Opportunities
In early October, anglers may find a silver salmon or two in the open portion of Resurrection River, which is the only Resurrection Bay fresh water drainage open to salmon fishing. Consult your regulation booklet for details.
Most Resurrection Bay freshwater lakes and streams are open year round to Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, lake trout, and Arctic grayling sport fishing, although fishing success declines dramatically in winter. There are several lakes and streams in the Seward area accessible by road or trail that support resident fish populations. A free handout outlining sport fishing opportunities in the Seward area is available at your local ADF&G office, or on the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Brochures page.
By December, the ice on the smaller lakes is usually thick enough for safe travel (6” for foot traffic, 12” for vehicle). Ice conditions are extremely variable from year to year. Some years, there is open water all winter. On other years, however, there can be 3 feet of ice, especially near shore. Drill or chop test holes before going out too far on any ice-covered waterway.
Travel on the ice is at your own risk. ADF&G does not monitor ice thickness.