King Fishing Expected To Improve In Sitka Area

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

Sitka Fishing Report

April 26, 2024

As days get longer and you begin preparing gear for the season, don’t forget to purchase your 2024 fishing license. Charter operators and business owners, register online or in person for your 2024 elogbook.


The warm weather has brought lots of boats out of hibernation for the summer. Some anglers have reported good luck with kings. The creel season just started this week, so there isn’t yet any available catch-per-effort data, however anecdotally, many anglers have had success for kings particularly at Vitskari Rocks. Like the last couple of years, there are several reports of small kings being caught. Fishing for kings should get better through the next couple of months. Other salmon will move inshore later in the season as the weather warms.


Steelhead season is here and the peak run timing for many systems around the Sitka Area is the first and second week of May. Initial surveys of steelhead streams around the region have shown typical numbers of fish. The water is a bit warmer than usual which may shift run timing just a few days earlier.

Dolly Varden

Fishing for Dollies can also be good this time of year. Often schools of dollies are attracted to out-migrating salmon fry (this peaks in the next few weeks). Look for them in saltwater near the mouths of creeks and sometimes even up in the streams a ways. Smolt or fry patterns work well for them. All of the streams in the Sitka Area have at least a small population of Dolly Varden.


Fishing for halibut is open. Fishing for halibut is good and stays relatively consistent through the summer. These fish will begin to show up in greater number as weather warms and other fisheries move more inshore.


For all anglers, the fishing season opens May 16. The resident season will run through the end of November. There will be a midseason closure for nonresident anglers From June 15th through the end of July. Fishing will again reopen August 1st and run through November as well.

Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR)

In 2022, Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR) was opened to provide opportunity for residents. Resident anglers are allowed one DSR rockfish daily, two in possession, EXCLUDING YELLOWEYE. DSR are a subset of nonpelagic rockfish including: Yelloweye, Quillback, China, Tiger, Rosethorn, Copper, and Canary.

Slope Rockfish

All anglers are allowed one daily, two in possession. The most common slope rockfish include: Redbanded, Rougheye, Silvergray, Shortraker, and Vermilion.

Pelagic Rockfish

Fishing for rockfish is good year-round. The most commonly caught pelagic rockfish in the Sitka Area are the Black and Yellowtail, although Duskys aren’t uncommon. Try fishing around underwater structure near kelp beds with a dart or jig. These rockfish make for excellent table fare all the time and in the winter when salmon are harder to come by they seem especially good,

Anglers are allowed 5 daily, 10 in possession, with the exception of CSEO (Sitka Area), where residents are allowed four a day, eight in possession, and nonresidents are allowed two daily, four in possession. See the Sitka Area Special Exceptions for a map of CSEO on page 22 of the Southeast Regulation Summary.

The department has developed a guide to assist anglers in identifying species groupings. If you’d like a copy of this on waterproof paper, stop by the office for a free one.


Be sure to check your local fishing regulations to be aware of harvest limits, size requirements and necessary permits for shellfish. Also be aware that certain types of shellfish in Southeast Alaska have been known to cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) which can be fatal.

For Dungeness crab, try placing pots in bays and around the mouths of river where crabs congregate to feed. If fishing with friends, be sure to keep each angler’s catch separate to avoid pooling bag limits.

Check out the new gofishak interactive map to discover popular fishing locations and information on species run timing, fishing gear selections, and boat and angler access tips!

For further information, please feel free to contact the Sitka area sportfish management staff at (907) 747-5355.