Craig Schwanke, Area Management Biologist
(907) 826-2498, firstname.lastname@example.org
Area Sport Fishing Reports
Prince of Wales Island
May 8, 2023
Steelhead fishing in the freshwater drainages of Prince of Wales is currently good but winding down as steelhead have spawned or are spawning in most drainages and will continue to through May. There are a few fresh fish still entering some drainages. Other sportfishing opportunities during the spring include trout and Dolly Varden in freshwater and king salmon, shellfish, and some bottomfish in saltwater.
Check out the wefishak page on the ADF&G website for the gofishak interactive map to discover fishing locations and information on species run timing, fishing gear selections, and boat and angler access tips!
Guides and Business Owners: don’t forget to register for 2023! You can register online at the ADF&G Store. Vessels can be registered through your eLogbook review application. Southeast saltwater guides are required to use an eLogbook.
Chinook (King) Salmon
King salmon fishing has been good off the outer coast of Prince of Wales although can be spotty from day to day.
Chinook Salmon Regulations for 2023
- The resident daily bag limit is two fish over 28 inches;
- The nonresident daily bag limit is one fish with an annual harvest limit of three fish over 28 inches through June 30;
- From July 1 through July 15, the nonresident annual harvest limit is two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length; any king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 will apply towards the two fish annual harvest limit;
- From July 16 through December 31, the nonresident annual harvest limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length; any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 15 will apply towards the one fish annual harvest limit;
- Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon, a nonresident must enter the species, date, and location on their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.
Eastside of Prince of Wales
Inside waters of Southeast Alaska, including Clarence Straight on the east side of Prince of Wales, closed to king salmon retention on April 1 and reopens June 15. The closure is a conservation measure to protect Alaska mainland king salmon stocks as they migrate to their spawning rivers. Anglers are required to have a king salmon stamp when targeting king salmon for catch and release.
Spring steelhead are present in many freshwater drainages on Prince of Wales Island and many are actively spawning or spawned out and migrating back to saltwater. Some fresh fish will continue to enter drainages into early May. Drainages that support good numbers of steelhead include; Thorne, Karta, Harris and Klawock rivers and Staney, Ratz and Eagle creeks. Fish will also be present in numerous smaller drainages on the island in May for those anglers interested in exploring.
Trout and Dolly Varden
Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and Dolly Varden are available in many of the freshwater drainages of POW. Fishing improves as water temperatures warm through May in both lakes and rivers. Productive drainages for trout include Luck, Klawock, and Sarkar lakes, the Thorne River, and Ratz Creek. Regulations regarding size limits, bag limits, and the use of bait can vary by waterbody, so please check the Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary.
Halibut fishing is good and should remain so through the summer.
Retention of lingcod is prohibited through May 15. The size limit for nonresident lingcod retention has been reduced for 2023. When lingcod fishing reopens on May 16 the 2023 regulations are:
- Residents – 1 daily, 2 in possession, no size limit.
- 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.
- Nonresident anglers shall immediately record the date and location (body of water fished), in ink, of all lingcod harvested either on their sport fishing license or on their nontransferable harvest record.
- Charter operators and crew members may not retain lingcod while clients are on board the vessel.
Rockfish can be caught year-round. There is a section on the Fish and Game website for identifying common rockfish of POW.
All sport fishing vessels are required to have at least one functional deepwater release device (regardless of species targeted), and anglers will be REQUIRED to use a deepwater release device to release rockfish to the depth it was hooked or to a depth of at least 100 feet. Please see the Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary or visit your local ADF&G office to see examples of rockfish release devices and learn about their use.
Demersal Shelf Rockfish
The retention of demersal shelf rockfish is open for residents of Alaska with a daily bag limit of one. Yelloweye remained closed.
Demersal shelf rockfish are closed to harvest for nonresidents.
Demersal shelf rockfish are the following species: yelloweye, quillback, copper, canary, china, tiger, and rosethorn rockfish.
Some slope rockfish are common in marine waters surrounding POW. The most common species are silvergrey and vermilion rockfish.
- One per day; one in possession
Pelagic rockfish provide good fishing in the marine waters surrounding POW.
- Season: year-round
- Five per day; ten in possession
For additional information regarding rockfish identification and management, please refer to the rockfish conservation page.
New for 2023:
Nonresident shellfish anglers fish under the sport fishing regulations while resident anglers can fish under personal use reguations. The nonresident (sport fishing) Dungeness crab fishery in Coffmam Cove, Whale Pass and Klawock Inlet are now closed. Please see pages 29 and 35 of the 2023 sport fishing regulation summary for a description of the closed areas.
Regulation summaries and copies of the news releases are available at the Craig ADF&G office.
For further information, please contact the Prince of Wales Area Management Biologist: Craig Schwanke (907) 826-2498.