Area Sport Fishing Reports
North Gulf Coast \ Resurrection Bay
Halibut fishing typically slows down in September. Many of the adult fish have started their offshore migration, and many anglers turn their attentions to silver salmon during this time, but those who persist may have success. Anglers can expect to catch mostly small halibut inside Resurrection Bay, with better fishing in outside waters. Fall storms and rough marine conditions are also more frequent this time of the year.
Silver salmon are still plentiful in Resurrection Bay throughout September. Shore-based anglers will have success fishing the incoming tides near the Lowell Creek waterfall and the Seward Lagoon outfall culverts. Another good place to try is the breakwater near the Seward Small Boat Harbor. The daily bag limits in saltwater for salmon (other than kings) is six.
There may also be a few silver salmon left in the fresh waters of the Resurrection River (see freshwater opportunities, below, for more details).
Other Salt Water Fishing Opportunities
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. Closures are necessary in order to protect spawning fish and populations with low abundance.
Lingcod fishing outside Resurrection Bay can be good during September, but again, is weather-dependent.
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. Please don’t discard the head or tail until after the fish is brought back to port, so that the ADF&G port sampler has an opportunity to obtain measurements.
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.
Through mid-September, ADF&G has a port sampler stationed in the Seward Small Boat Harbor. The technician interviews returning anglers and samples halibut, rockfish, and sharks for length, weight, sex, and age. You can help by providing information when interviewed and by returning fish carcasses to the harbor for sampling. The 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 stocks 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. 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.
Fresh Water Fishing Opportunities
The Resurrection River drainage downstream of the Seward Highway and Nash Road remains open to salmon fishing, and anglers should expect fair fishing throughout September. All other streams are closed year-round to salmon fishing.
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.