Area Sport Fishing Reports
Saltwater Fishing Opportunities
Halibut fishing in the Kodiak area is normally excellent throughout July. Popular areas within Chiniak Bay to target halibut during this time include Buoy 4, Cape Chiniak and waters surrounding Long and Spruce Islands. Anglers occasionally also travel as far as Marmot and Ugak Bays for less crowded fishing. . Halibut harvested from Kodiak waters average 30-35 pounds. Mooching with herring, octopus, salmon heads and artificial jig are preferred methods.
Rockfish fishing can be good throughout the month of July. The rockfish bag limit in Kodiak area waters is 5 fish per day and10 in possession, of which only 2 can be non-pelagic species and 1 can be a yellow-eye. In Chiniak and Marmot Bay waters, the rockfish bag limit is 3 per day, 6 in possession and 2 of these (4 in possession) can be non-pelagic and only one of the non-pelagic (2 in possession) can be a yelloweye. Pelagic species (i.e. black and dusky rockfish) are frequently caught and typically weigh between 3 and 4 pounds. Occasionally, the more brightly-colored yellow-eye are caught in deep water and average 9 pounds. There are no size restrictions for harvesting rockfish. Anglers targeting rockfish are encouraged to fish for black or dusky rockfish in waters less than 10 fathoms (60 feet) or use a deep water release mechanism to minimize mortality of released fish.
Lingcod fishing opens July 1 with a bag limit of two fish daily (four in possession). All lingcod landed using a gaff must be retained. Lingcod are often caught by jigging over submerged rock piles and pinnacles.
Sharks are occasionally taken in the Kodiak area. The daily bag limit for sharks is one fish of any species (except spiny dogfish), with an annual limit of two sharks. The bag limit for spiny dogfish is 5 per day, 5 in possession with no annual limit. Edible species include spiny dogfish and salmon sharks. All harvested sharks must be recorded immediately upon capture on your license or harvest record if an annual limit applies. 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 annually collects data from the recreational marine waters fishery in the Kodiak area. A department technician interviews returning anglers and samples halibut, rockfish, lingcod, and sharks for length, weight, sex, and age statistics, and also records individual catches of salmon. You can help the success of this program by agreeing to be interviewed and waiting to fillet or cut up any harvested fish until they can be sampled at the harbor by department 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. For more information about the ground fish research program, contact Martin Schuster in the Homer ADF&G Office at (907) 235-1730.
Salt water trolling for Kodiak king salmon has become very popular. King salmon can be found in salt waters year round, with typically excellent fishing success during July. The best-known fishing spots along the road system are Cape Chiniak and Buoy 4. Kodiak king salmon average 20 pounds or less but fish up to 70 pounds are occasionally taken. In addition to their sport fishing license, anglers sport fishing for king salmon must purchase a current year's king salmon stamp.
July on Kodiak's Road System (Includes salt waters within 1 mile of shore)
King salmon can be found in excellent numbers in Monashka Creek and the Olds and American Rivers in July as well as off the beaches near the mouths of these creeks. Returns of hatchery King salmon typically peak in early to mid-July in these systems. Daily bag and possession limits for king salmon harvested in fresh waters are 2 fish. For king salmon less than 20 inches, the daily bag and possession limit is 10 fish. An annual limit of 5 for king salmon harvested in freshwater is also in effect. All harvested king salmon over 20 inches taken in fresh water must be recorded immediately upon capture on your license or harvest record.
Buskin River red salmon fishing is generally over for the year by the first or second week of July, however, the red salmon returns to Pasagshak and Saltery rivers typically peak around this time. Saltery has the largest red salmon return on the road system, although a four-wheel drive or an ATV is needed to access the fishery. The Saltery River return has averaged 30,000 reds over the past 10 years, while the Pasagshak run is typically much smaller.
Look for pink salmon to show in the salt waters along beaches near streams by mid July.
Charter boats usually start trolling for silver salmon in early to mid-July as the fish school up and begin moving near shore. Popular areas to troll for silvers close to town include Cape Chiniak and Buoy 4. Silver salmon normally don't show in freshwater until mid August.
Chum salmon also return to Kodiak road system streams in July. Try the lower section of the American, Olds or Saltery rivers in middle to end of the month for these large, feisty salmon.
Dolly Varden are available during July in many of the Road System streams, and present an excellent, uncrowded opportunity for light tackle action. Try the American, Olds, Salonie or Buskin rivers. Dolly Varden can also be caught during this time off ocean beaches, particularly near Myrtle Creek and Rosyln River. Anglers usually use emergent salmon (alevin) fly patterns and small spinners.
Rainbow trout are annually stocked in over 15 lakes on the Kodiak road system. Some of the more accessible and better producing lakes include Horseshoe, Abercrombie, Lily Pond, Jack, Lee, Aurel and Caroline. The daily bag and possession limit is 10 rainbow trout (only 1 may be 20 inches or longer). There is not an annual limit or closed fishing season on stocked rainbow trout. Rainbow trout fishing is catch and release only in road system lakes that are not currently stocked by ADF&G. Check the current sportfishing regulations booklet for an updated list of stocked lakes.
July in Kodiak's Remote Area
By early July the king salmon returns to the Karluk and Ayakulik rivers are normally over, although sport fishing for in river king salmon can be excellent during this time as the fish hold in the river awaiting spawning. The Ayakulik historicallys averages an escapement of 14,000 fish while the Karluk averages around 9,000 but in recent years these runs have been much smaller. Ayakulik averages about 9,000 fish while Karluk averages less than 4,000 fish . Returns to both rivers typically are past their peak in July. Check for emergency orders pertaining to these two stocks before fishing as restrictions have been placed on Karluk and Ayakulik Chinook in recent years. Sportfishing for kings on the Karluk and Ayakulik closes by regulation on July 25th.
Fishing for resident rainbows remains productive throughout the month in areas supporting sizable populations of fish, such as the Malina Marka and Afognak rivers. Fishing Kodiak Island for rainbow/steelhead trout is open year round, with an annual limit of no more than 2 fish 20" or longer. All harvested rainbow trout/steelhead 20" or longer must be recorded immediately upon capture on your license or harvest record.