Sitka Area Regulations as of Spring 2021
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 here. Click on the link for General Seasons and Bag Size Limits – Salt Waters. It’s here you will find regulations for saltwater salmon, lingcod, halibut, all rockfish, as well as black cod, Dolly Varden, steelhead, cutthroat and rainbow trout.
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 35 inches and the other has to be over 55 inches.
ADFG has closed the retention of Demersal Shelf Nonpelagic rockfish. 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 and 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.
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, go here. In a nutshell, guided anglers can keep one halibut per day that is either smaller than 50 inches or larger than 72 inches.
ADFG has local offices so you can reach out to either the local office or regional office in Juneau should you have specific questions or need clarification.