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Alaska Ocean Fishing
For ocean fishing on the outer coast of Prince of Wales Island, June, July and August are best. Halibut and rockfish are fine in September, but the salmon have moved on early in September. Below is a chart giving the months most likely to catch a species of fish.
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec  
  King Salmon (Chinooks)                            
  Sockeye Salmon (Reds)                            
  Coho Salmon (Silvers)                            
  Chum Salmon (Dogs)                            
  Pink Salmon (Humpies)                            
  Rainbow trout                            
  Cutthroat trout                            
  Dolly Vardon                            
Halibut regulations are ever changing for out of state clients (Alaska State Fishing Regs: link.) It has been running between one and two fish a day with size restrictions. Regulations now force us to offload halibut every two days, so trips have been adjusting and the typical fishing trip is now four days and generally a multiple of two. Fish run from ten to hundreds of pounds. In 2008, a client released a 96-inch halibut. By the charts, it would have been a state record sport caught halibut at about 500 pounds. I have seen a picture of one over 900 pounds that was caught in a net. We will catch a few dozen this summer over 100 pounds and half a dozen over 150 pounds. Whether you can retain them will depend on fishing regulations in effect during your trip.
King Salmon (Chinook)
King salmon fishing is very good during the month of June. Commercial fishing opens July 1st, and our catch quickly falls off after the first week of July. Some will be caught in the later part of May. Bag limits for out of state fishermen changes, but it is generally one a day and sometimes two, with a maximum number for the year. Rules are set after the first of the year, check with us to find out what to expect. Typical fish run from 15-30 pounds. We have caught fish to 65 pounds, but they are unusual.
Silver Salmon (Coho)
Coho are best during the month of August. We will do well after the middle of July, but will spend more time looking for them. Bag limits are consistently six a day. The fish get larger the later the season. I read once that they put on three inches a month in their last summer. Late June coho might be five pounds and late august coho may reach about fifteen pounds. We will catch coho most days in July, but daily limits are more likely in late July and August.
Reds (Sockeye Salmon)
We never catch sockeye in this area. Some are moving through, but they are hard to catch with regular gear for other salmon and it is not worth switching gear when other salmon are anxious to hook up.
Humpies (Pink Salmon)
Pink salmon are abundant. They do not freeze well for long periods of time. They smoke well and are great fresh or when frozen for short periods of time. They would not be good six months later. There is a local company, Wildfish Smokery wildfish@aptalaska that does a great job of smoking salmon. We fillet the pinks and clean them up perfectly. About fifteen pounds makes a case. It can be done after you leave and sent regular mail, so it is less expensive to ship. Bag limit on pinks is six a day with similar peaks and valleys as mentioned with the coho. Pinks run from 2 to 5 pounds.
Dogs (Chum Salmon)
We do not catch too many chum salmon. We can if we troll slower and fish a little deeper. They are around at the same time as the other salmon and we generally do not target them, as it would mean less of the other salmon. It ranks lower than king and coho. They are fine to eat and hold up as well as king or coho in the freezer. Often chum are targeted for smoking when you have plenty of the other salmon for the freezer. Typical fish are 7-10 pounds.
Yellow Eye (Red Snapper)
Yellow Eye Rockfish are the orange fish pictured on our web page. They are commonly called red snapper. My opinion is that they do not freeze well for long periods of time. Some clients prefer them to halibut. Out of state clients are limited in how many they can retain. That may be one or two for your trip. Typical fish run between 5 and 15 pounds. They live to 140 years if they can escape the hook for that long.
Ling Cod
Lingcod are great eating, but have size restrictions for out of state clients. They tend to be in similar water as yellow eye rockfish. Restrictions on yellow eye numbers and rules about their release have made it hard to target lingcod. New rules allow for the release of yellow eye making it possible to look for lingcod if clients desire. They run from 5-60 pounds. Size restrictions limit which weight class of fish you can harvest.
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