Area Sport Fishing Reports
North Gulf Coast \ Resurrection Bay
Halibut fishing in the Seward area is typically good throughout June. Most fish are in the 20-30 pound range, with occasional catches of fish up to 200 pounds or more. Larger charter boats fish waters far to the east, including Cape Puget, Montague Strait, Cape Cleare, and Elrington Island. Smaller boats occasionally have good success in the deeper waters of Resurrection Bay, with better fishing east of Cape Resurrection.
Early June sees the hatchery king salmon run into Resurrection Bay "hit the beach" near the Seward Lagoon outfall culverts, and near the Lowell Creek waterfall. This run should peak in mid- to late June. Anglers will have the highest harvest rates fishing 1-2 hours before and after high tide. Kings can be taken using a variety of lures and bait as well as snagging. Anglers also have success trolling for kings near these locations, using herring as bait, and setting a flasher above the lure.
King salmon can also be found throughout the bay, with the best fishing in the south, or middle section of the bay. You will benefit be using a fish finder to help adjust your trolling depth.
In Resurrection Bay waters from May 1 – August 31, the daily bag limit in saltwater for king salmon is two, with no size restrictions. In Resurrection Bay waters the rest of the year, and in the rest of North Gulf Coast management area waters all year, the daily bag limit is 1 king salmon. Though a king salmon stamp is required, kings caught in Resurrection Bay do not need to be recorded on the back of the license or harvest record card.
Anglers trolling in Resurrection Bay also have a chance of picking up a chum salmon or sockeye (red) salmon. Anglers fishing the salt waters near the mouth of Resurrection River sometimes have fair success snagging red salmon as the fish attempt to return to the Bear Creek weir. Mid-June anglers trolling for kings in outer Resurrection Bay waters often report chum salmon in their catch. By the end of June, trollers outside of Resurrection Bay sometimes pick up a few silvers in the Pony Cove/ Cheval Narrows area.
Pink salmon return to many of the bay's freshwater streams by late June. They provide excellent action on light tackle, and aren't bad eating if you catch them fresh and silvery, and cook them right away.
The daily bag limits in saltwater for salmon (other than kings) is six.
With the exception of a portion of the Resurrection River (consult the regulation booklet before fishing this river), all Resurrection Bay freshwater drainages are closed year-round to salmon fishing.
Other Saltwater Fishing Opportunities
Rockfish fishing is typically good all summer. By slowly retrieving a black (pelagic) rockfish, the entire school can often be lured to the surface for excellent shallow-water action. Rockfish can usually be released without injury if caught in less than 60 feet of water.
Anglers should review the rockfish regulations before they head out. Additional protection is needed for non-pelagic species because of their extreme longevity and low productivity. Anglers targeting rockfish are encouraged to fish for black or dusky rockfish in waters less than 10 fathoms (60 feet) to minimize mortality of released fish.
The daily bag limit in waters near Seward (Gore Point to Cape Puget) is four rockfish, no more than one of which may be a non-pelagic species. Consult the chart on page 10 of the Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulation Summary to identify non-pelagic species. The bag limit in Prince William Sound (east of Cape Puget) is five rockfish, no more than two of which may be non-pelagic species, and you must retain the first two non-pelagic species you catch.
Anglers are cautioned that bag limits apply to the waters you are fishing. Therefore, if you retain a bag limit of two non-pelagic rockfish while fishing east of Cape Puget and then fish in waters west of Cape Puget, you are in violation of the bag limit for the waters you are fishing. 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.
Remember, it is illegal to fish for, or harvest, lingcod until July 1, and Resurrection Bay is closed to lingcod fishing year-round north of a line from Aialik Cape to Cape Resurrection. Targeting lingcod, even for catch and release, is not allowed. All lingcod incidentally caught must be landed by hand or with a landing net and released immediately.
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 your license or harvest record. Please do not cut off the head or tail until after the fish is landed to ensure that ADF&G port samplers have an opportunity to obtain measurements.
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.
The Division of Sport Fish collects data from the recreational bottomfish fishery in the Seward boat harbor. A fishery technician interviews returning anglers and samples halibut, rockfish, lingcod, and sharks for length, weight, sex, and age statistics. You can help by providing information when interviewed and by returning fish carcasses to the harbor for sampling by the technicians. Information collected by this project is used to monitor the health of the fishery, advise halibut management agencies, and help the Board of Fisheries formulate regulations that protect fish stock and provide maximum fishing opportunity. Contact Dan Bosch in Anchorage at (907) 267-2153 for additional information.
North Gulf Coast is closed to all crabbing due to low population levels. One section of the North Gulf Coast, from Aialik Cape west to Gore Point, is open to shrimping, by Alaska residents only, with a permit. This pot fishery is open from April 15 - September 15.
Fresh Water Fishing Opportunities
The Resurrection River drainage downstream of the Seward Highway and Nash Road does not open to salmon fishing until August 1. If you are fishing this area for salmon, you must be on the ocean side of the ADF&G markers located at the mouth of the Resurrection River.
Most Resurrection Bay freshwater lakes and streams are open year round to Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, lake trout, and Arctic grayling sport fishing. 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.