ADFG’s Prince Of Wales, Ketchikan Fishing Reports

The following press releases are courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Prince of Wales Island Fishing Report

April 24, 2024

The last week of April is great timing for steelhead fishing in the freshwater drainages of Prince of Wales Island. Fish have been entering drainages since late March and fresh fish are still migrating from saltwater for peak numbers of steelhead in rivers and creeks. Water levels remain low but there is rain in the forecast for next week which should increase water levels and improve fishing. Other sportfishing opportunities during the spring include trout and Dolly Varden and trout 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 2024! You can register online at the ADF&G Store. Southeast saltwater guides are required to use an eLogbook.

Chinook (King) Salmon

King salmon fishing has been spotty on the west side of Prince of Wales.

Chinook Salmon Regulations for 2024

  • 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.


Spring steelhead have and are continuing to enter many freshwater drainages on Prince of Wales Island. Drainages that support good numbers of steelhead include; Thorne, Karta, and Klawock rivers and Staney, Ratz, and Eagle creeks. Fish will also be present in numerous smaller drainages on the island in April 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. Trout and Dolly Varden are currently feeding on salmon fry and smolt. Fishing improves as water temperatures warm throughout the spring 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 will improve as spring transitions to summer.


Retention of lingcod is prohibited through May 15.


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: quillback, copper, canary, china, tiger, and rosethorn rockfish.

Slope 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

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 conservationpage.

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.

Ketchikan Fishing Report

April 25, 2024

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.


Spring steelhead have arrived, and some anglers are reporting success. Low water levels are making fish spook easily and difficult to catch but expect things to heat up after the next rainfall. Peak run timing varies by river system, with most runs peaking in late April. Fishing for steelhead should remain steady in most systems until early May.

Be sure to check the 2024 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.

Trout and Dolly Varden

As water levels increase trout and dollies will make their way out of the lakes and begin heading up stream towards spawning habitat. Excellent trout fishing has been reported along roadside systems. Expect this period of warm, sunny weather to heat up the streams and lead to aggressive fish. Try egg or fry imitations to match the natural forage this time of year.

King Salmon

Opportunity to harvest king salmon will be available in terminal harvest areas beginning in June. On June 15, most of the Ketchikan area (District 1) and east Prince of Wales area (District 2) will open with regional king salmon limits, with a few exceptions. Please see the advisory announcements issued March 28 and April 2, 2024.


Halibut can be targeted this time of year and fishing will continue to improve as summer approaches. Reminder: Filleting halibut: No person shall possess on board a vessel, including charter vessels and pleasure craft used for fishing, halibut that have 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.


Sportfishing for lingcod is currently closed. The season will start on May 16. Reminder: the lingcod slot limit for nonresidents has changed this year.

  • Residents: 1 daily, 2 in possession, no size limit.
  • Nonresidents: 1 daily, 1 in possession, size limit 30 to 35 inches or 55 inches or greater. Annual limit of 2 fish, one of which is 30 to 35 inches and one of which is 55 inches or greater.


Rockfish can be caught year-round. Stop by the Fish & Game office or visit the website for resources on identifying rockfish species. Rockfish regulations remain the same as last year. All sportfishing vessels are required to have at least one deep water release device on board.

Slope Rockfish

  • Resident and nonresident anglers:
    • bag limit of one fish; possession limit of two fish; no annual limit

Demersal Shelf Rockfish (except yelloweye)

  • Resident anglers: bag limit of one fish; possession limit of two fish; no annual limit.
  • Nonresident anglers: Closed; retention is prohibited.

Yelloweye Rockfish:

  • Closed; retention is prohibited by all anglers.

Pelagic Rockfish

  • Five per day; ten in possession.