Steelhead Numbers Increasing On POW Island Amid Low-Water Conditions

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

Chilly nights and sunny days are in the forecast for mid-April spring weather in Prince of Wales which means steelhead anglers can expect low water in creeks and rivers. Current sportfishing opportunities consist of increasing steelhead numbers, as well as, 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 2022! You can register online at the ADF&G Store. As of 2021, all Southeast saltwater guides are required to use an eLogbook.

Chinook (King) Salmon

King salmon fishing reports have been fair on the west side of Prince of Wales with catches reported near Craig in recent days.

Chinook Salmon regulations for 2022:

  • The resident daily bag limit is two fish over 28 inches.
  • The nonresident daily bag limit is one fish with an annual limit of three fish over 28 inches.
  • 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, are closed to king salmon retention until June 15. The closure is a conservation measure to protect Alaska mainland king salmon stocks as they migrate to their spawning rivers.


Spring steelhead has been entering many freshwater drainages on Prince of Wales Island and numbers will build through April with peak timing around the 3rd week of April. Water levels are currently low which can make them spooky and more difficult to catch. Drainages that support good numbers of steelhead include; Thorne, Karta, Harris, and Klawock rivers and Staney, Ratz, and Eagle creeks. Fish are also present in numerous smaller drainages on the island 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 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 currently prohibited.

  • No retention of demersal shelf rockfish which are the following species: yelloweye, 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, rougheye, shortraker, 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 feel free to contact the Prince of Wales Area Management Biologist: Craig Schwanke (907) 826-2498.