ADFG Shares Ketchikan-Area Winter Fishing Ops

The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Ketchikan Fishing Report

December 05, 2023

*Alaska fishing reports will resume in the spring*

An excellent resource for planning a trip is the gofishak interactive map for Ketchikan which provides information on popular fishing locations, species run timing, fishing gear selections and boat and angler access.

King Salmon

Anglers can still chase king salmon all winter long as weather allows. Residents may use two rods when fishing for king salmon from October 1, 2023 through March 31, 2024.

Regional king salmon regulations:

Alaskan Resident: bag and possession limit is two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length;

Nonresident: bag and possession limit is one king salmon 28 inches or greater in length;

  • 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.

North and Northeast Behm Canal

Salmon fishing is closed year-round in Behm Canal and the contiguous bays enclosed to the north by a line from the western entrance of Bailey Bay to the northern tip of Hassler Island and a line from Fin Point to Dress Point to a line from Cactus Point to Point Eva.


Halibut will be available most of the winter months. Fishing for halibut closes January 1 – January 31.


Fishing for lingcod closes December 1 – May 15.


Rockfish can be caught year-round. A helpful webpage is available on the Fish and Game website to assist anglers with identification.

All sport fishing vessels are required to have at least one functional deep water release device (regardless of species targeted) and anglers are 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

Demersal shelf rockfish are the following species: Yelloweye, Quillback, Copper, Canary, China, Tiger, and Rosethorn rockfish.

The retention of demersal shelf rockfish is now open for residents of Alaska with a daily bag limit of one per day, one in possession. Retention of Yelloweye rockfish is prohibited.

Demersal shelf rockfish are closed to harvest for nonresidents.

Slope Rockfish

Some slope rockfish are common in marine waters surrounding Ketchikan. The most common species are silvergray, rougheye, shortraker, and vermilion rockfish.

One per day; one in possession.

Steelhead, Rainbow, Cutthroat and Brook Trout

There are a few freshwater fishing opportunities throughout winter in the Ketchikan area. Fall-run steelhead are available between late October and mid-January, peaking in late November through December. Anglers wanting to chase fall-run steelhead should try Ward Creek on the road system or if remote fishing is on the agenda try Fish Creek, Gokachin Creek, Ella Creek, Spit Creek, and the Naha drainage.

Depending on seasonal temperatures, most low-level lakes can remain ice free through the winter and will offer opportunities to fish for cutthroat, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden. If you are up for the hike, try for brook trout in Perseverance Lake.

Be sure to check the 2023 Southeast Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations. The Ketchikan Area Freshwater Special Regulations can be found on pages 30-32. Regulations vary depending on the waters you plan to fish.