Area Sport Fishing Reports
North Gulf Coast/Resurrection Bay
When weather cooperates, halibut fishing can be good in Resurrection Bay and good to excellent in the North Gulf Coast. Catch rates can sometimes drop in mid-August as larger fish disperse from summer feeding areas. The average weight of harvested halibut should be around 25 pounds.
August is the month for silver salmon in Resurrection Bay. Silvers return to Resurrection Bay in large numbers, and the run is enhanced by hundreds of thousands of smolt stocked annually by the Division of Sport Fish and by private, non-profit hatcheries. The stocking should produce an annual return of 20,000 enhanced silvers.
Expect early catches from Pony Cove, Eldorado Narrows, and on the western side of Fox Island. Silvers move up the bay nearer to Caines Head by mid-August, and usually hit the Seward beaches around the third or fourth week of August. Trolling near both shorelines in Resurrection during August produces some very good silver catches. If you have never fished from your boat in this bay, follow the other boats. Shore anglers can try the Lowell Creek waterfall, the Seward Lagoon outfall culverts, and the salt waters in front of Fourth of July Creek. While many shore anglers are snagging (which is legal in Resurrection Bay), many also use lures and have good luck. The perennial Alaskan favorite for silvers is the PixeeTM spoon, but almost any shiny lure or flashy fly will work. This is also a good time to troll off the Seward beaches to target these stocked fish.
The Seward Silver Salmon Derby runs from about the second Saturday in August through the third Sunday in August. Expect crowded conditions for this popular derby. A little extra courtesy and patience in busy times helps everyone have a better time fishing.
Don’t forget that, with the exception of a portion of the Resurrection River, all fresh waters draining into Resurrection Bay are closed year-round to salmon fishing.
A few pink salmon return to many Resurrection Bay area streams, and present a fun saltwater opportunity. Try the mouths of Spring and Tonsina creeks.
Daily bag and possession limits for salmon (other than kings) are 6 per day. Inside Resurrection Bay, all six of your daily bag limit may be silver (coho) salmon. Outside of Resurrection Bay, you may still keep 6 salmon, but only 3 of them may be silver salmon. Daily bag and possession limits for kings are two, any size.
Other Saltwater Fishing Opportunities
Tossing small spinners or fishing a piece of cut herring off the beach near Lowell Point may produce a Dolly Varden or two in early August.
Rockfish fishing should continue to be good. 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. 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.
Unnecessary harvest of rockfish is discouraged. 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 that rockfish are relatively difficult to clean and do not yield a high percentage of usable meat. Because rockfish are long-lived (some in excess of 100 years) and grow slowly, they cannot support a “meat fishery.”
Some rockfish species can support shallow-water catch-and-release fishing. Schools of black or dusky rockfish can be lured to shallow water using lures without hooks, then taken on light spinning tackle or fly fishing gear. Rockfish can usually be released without injury if caught in less than 60 feet of water.
Lingcod fishing remains open but with special restrictions in effect. The limit between Gore Point and Cape Puget is one fish daily (one in possession), and the limit in Prince William Sound waters east of Cape Puget is two fish daily (four in possession). All lingcod must be at least 35 inches in length with the head attached, or 28 inches from the tip of the tail to front of the dorsal fin with the head removed. A lingcod that is gaffed must be retained. A gaff may not be used to puncture any fish intended or required to be released. Resurrection Bay remains closed to lingcod fishing year-round north of a line from Aialik Cape to Cape Resurrection. Targeting lingcod in Resurrection Bay, even for catch and release, is not allowed. All lingcod caught incidentally in Resurrection Bay must be landed only by hand or with a landing net and released immediately.
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. Likewise, if you take a lingcod from waters outside of Resurrection Bay and then stop to fish for other species in Resurrection Bay, you are in violation because Resurrection Bay is closed to lingcod fishing. All harvested fish become part of the bag limit of the angler who originally hooked it.
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.
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. 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.
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 more information.
North Gulf Coast is closed to all crabbing due to low population levels. One section of the North Gulf Coast, between Aialik Cape and Gore Point, is open to shrimping, by Alaska residents only, with a permit. This pot fishery closes September 15.
Freshwater Fishing Opportunities
Except for the Resurrection River, all freshwater drainages into Resurrection Bay are closed year-round to salmon fishing. The Resurrection River drainage downstream of the Seward Highway and Nash Road opens to fishing for silver salmon on August 1, with a limit of three salmon, two of which may be silvers. Expect fair to decent fishing by the third week of August.
Most fresh waters are open to Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, lake trout, and Arctic grayling sport fishing year-round. There are several lakes in the Seward area accessible by foot trails that support resident fish populations. A free handout outlining Seward area sport fishing opportunities is available at your local ADF&G office, or on the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Brochures page.