Area Sport Fishing Reports
Archived Sport Fishing Report
May 03, 2023
The steelhead fishing season is upon us, and while the spring has been cold, it appears that we have now turned a corner as temperatures begin to rise. Anglers report slow catch rates, increasing daily as more bright fish move into freshwater with each tide change. Water levels have been good for fishing with consistent snow melt and precipitation. A degree or two of increased water temperature will get these fish more interested in biting. Anglers can expect several more weeks of fishing opportunities as steelhead continues to enter freshwaters in these first few weeks of May.
Dolly Varden and Trout
Dolly Varden and trout are becoming more aggressive biters as water temperatures increase. The ice is coming off the lakes, and the water temperatures are rising. Dolly Varden and trout are found in many places in the streams and are likely to bite while stripping line. Other observations include emerging juvenile salmon, which Dolly Varden will feed upon.
The vast majority of marine waters in the Petersburg/Wrangell area are currently closed to king salmon retention. Opportunity to harvest king salmon will be available in areas where Alaska hatchery-produced king salmon will be returning beginning June 1, 2023. Advisory Announcements for individual hatcheries are available on our website.
Remember that a king salmon stamp is required whenever fishing for king salmon (including catch and release).
Halibut can be targeted this time of year, and anglers have reported some recent success. The sport fishery is open from February 1 – December 31, 2023.
Reminder regarding fileting halibut
No person shall possess on board a vessel, including charter vessels and pleasure craft used for fishing, halibut that has been filleted, mutilated, or otherwise disfigured in any manner, except that each halibut may be cut into no more than 2 ventral pieces, 2 dorsal pieces, and 2 cheek pieces, with enough skin on each piece to identify whether the piece is from the light side or the dark side of the fish.
New Regulation for Monday closures for Southeast Alaska charter operators in 2023
Charter vessel anglers in Area 2C may not catch and retain halibut (except GAF) on all Mondays beginning July 24, 2023, and continuing through December 31, 2023.
Sport fishing for lingcod is currently closed in all Southeast Alaska waters but will open on May 16. Nonresident bag and possession limits have changed since last year.
For Northern Southeast Nonresidents
- 1 daily, 1 in possession, size limit: 30 to 35 inches in length, or 55 inches or greater in length. Annual limit of 2 fish, one of which is 30 to 35 inches in length, one of which is 55 inches or greater in length.
For Southern Southeast Area Nonresidents
- 1 daily, 1 in possession, size limit: 30 to 40 inches in length, or 55 inches or greater in length. Annual limit of 2 fish, one of which is 30 to 40 inches in length, one of which is 55 inches or greater in length.
Alaskan Resident bag and possession remains – 1 daily, 2 in possession, no size limit.
There have been some changes to rockfish regulations since the last fishing season. Pelagic rockfish regulations remain the same, with a daily bag limit of 5 and a possession limit of 10 in the Petersburg, Wrangell, and Kake areas. Slope and demersal shelf rockfish species both have a daily bag limit of one fish and possession limit of 2 for Alaska residents. Still, demersal shelf rockfish are closed to retention for nonresident anglers, and yelloweye is closed to retention for all anglers. A helpful species identification guide has been published on the ADFG website. Please see current emergency orders for a full description of these management actions.
Anglers are reminded that a rockfish release device must be used when releasing rockfish, and a rockfish release device must be onboard your vessel whenever sport fishing in marine waters.