ADFG Sitka Area Regulations as of Spring 2023
ADFG sets fishing regulations for nearly all of the saltwater species in the waters around Sitka, while the federal government in conjunction with ADFG, sets the regulations for halibut. The regulations listed below are based on our current information; we suggest that you look at all fishing regulations at the time you are fishing to be apprised of current developments, special changes to regulations and possible closures.
ADFG basic regulations can be found at ADFG.alaska.org. Follow the link to General Seasons and Bag Size Limits – Salt Waters. Here you will find regulations for saltwater salmon, lingcod, halibut, all rockfish, as well as black cod, Dolly Varden, steelhead, cutthroat and rainbow trout.
Resident vs. Non-Resident
There are certain species, like king salmon and lingcod, where nonresident anglers are subject to different regulations than resident anglers. Nonresident king salmon anglers require a harvest record and an annual bag limit. When it comes to lingcod, residents are allowed one per day of any size, while a nonresident can keep two lingcod per year. One must be between 30- and 40 inches and the other has to be over 55 inches.
ADFG has closed the retention of Demersal Shelf Nonpelagic rockfish for non-residents. Resident anglers have a bag limit of one. These include canary, China, copper, quillback, rosethorn, tiger and yelloweye. You must have a deepwater releases mechanism, stout rod and a sizable ball of lead to descend these fish to either 100 feet or the depth at which they were caught. In fact, even if you aren’t targeting rockfish, you now need to have this setup on board and be ready to deploy it.
Retention of Slope Nonpelagic rockfish is one per day for both residents and non-residents. This includes; blackgill, blackspotted, bocaccio, brown, chilipepper, darkblotched, greenstriped, harlequin, northern, Pacific Ocean perch, Puget Sound, pygmy, redstripe, redbanded, rougheye, sharpchin, shortbelly, shortraker, silvergray, splitnose, stripetail, vermilion, and yellowmouth. Shortraker rockfish can sometimes be caught in the waters around Sitka. This identification guide is helpful.
For experienced anglers able to head out to deep water spots, sablefish (black cod) can be part of the target species. There is no size limit, and four per day of any size. Nonresidents get eight total and have to record them on a harvest record.
King salmon limits have been in flux, so check at the time you are going fishing. Kings usually need to be at least 28 inches for retention. Coho, chum, pink, and sockeye in combination, and over 16 inches, have six fish per day limits for all with no annual limit.
ADFG sets some regulations for halibut. Unguided anglers get two per day of any size. Guided anglers face regulations made by the federal government under international treaty. To see them, visit NOAA.gov.
In a nutshell, guided anglers can keep one halibut per day that is either smaller than 40 inches or larger than 80 inches. This limit allows anglers to keep halibut less than approximately 29 pounds and greater than 276 pounds, round weight.
Monday Closures: Charter vessel anglers in Southeast Alaska (Area 2C) may not catch and retain halibut on all Mondays beginning July 23, 2023 through December 31, 2023.