Sitka -- Great Fishing Great Place -- weird size limits (slots) suck

TanstaaflSD

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Dec 3, 2013
456
283
San Diego, CA, USA
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Tanstaafl
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n/a
Sitka is a great place!! Incredible scenery and friendly people!!

I will go back to visit Alaska ..... but probably not for a saltwater fishing trip .... until they rationalize the size /take limits imposed on tourists.

Currently all Halibut over 38 inches long are banned for tourists and tourists get to keep only one 38 inch or less Halibut per day....all others are to be released.

The Ling Cod have even weirder tourist rules -- a limited middle slot. It was like porridge and the three bears ..... some fish were too small, some fish were too big, but only a few fish were "just right" and within the 'slot'.

The 3 king salmon per year limit is strict, but I want the runs to flourish and that is at least not weird.

I wonder if Alaska is reducing the value (cost/benefit) for tourist fishermen such that there will be fewer and fewer second timers??? ((I believe that Alaska trips now cost about as much as prime 10-day or longer Long Range trip (or two short off-season trips). ))

Is Alaska's probable historic over-fishing now being replaced by over-regulating, that will discourage repeat tourist fishermen ???
Any thoughts?
 
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bent rod todd

Ling cod killa
Jun 5, 2011
467
327
Auburn,ca
Name
Todd
Boat
Skipjack 20 open (Ding A Ling) 14ft mirrocraft ( Lil Ding A Ling)
I agree they are overpriced and not worth the money in fish returns , hell you can stay home and catch a 38 inch halibut and lings.,
 
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makairaa

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May 1, 2005
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Go self-guided. 2 halibut per day and no size limit. Lings still have strict regs but they are trying to protect the species. They give more generous limits to the residents as they figure they live there and use it to help feed their families.
 

waldocod

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Mar 27, 2007
206
181
Washington
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Steve
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Arima Sea Legend
The trip we did out of Sitka a few years ago had a slot limit. Either the halibut had to be smallish by Alaska standards , about 25 lbs. or humongously big! We had to throw back a bunch of 60 to 100 lb. fish. As far as lings, we were incredibly lucky to get limits of lings in the slot. The lodge said we were the first boat all season to do that.
 

STANWOOD BOB

Well-Known "Member"
Oct 1, 2012
50
18
WA
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Bob
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NA
Been fishing North now for about 14 years and I have seen the ebb and flow of the fisheries! AI numbers on Chinook were great a few years ago hence 6 Chinook for non residents for maybe two years was quite generous IMHO! "The Blob" arrived and water temps went from 48 to 54 degrees and it took a toll on the fisheries for salmon. I'm OK with 3 per year and 1 a day for Chinook to give the resource a chance to rebuild. ADFG is doing a great job with their management fisheries as I get updates on which fisheries open and close or limit increase/decreases daily in email form. Halibut? I feel your pain as I do remember "The Good Old Days" when BIG fish were allowed! NOAA and IPHC control the halibut fisheries so it's out of ADFG's control! Rumor has it ( very reliable source) by 2021 there might be a change coming for non-residents halibut size catch so stay tuned! Rockfish limit dropped from 5-3 recently too but you must understand with 100+ guided boats in Sitka alone hammering rockfish a day on a 3-4 day fishing trip it adds up fast... Lings I hate shaking those big ones too but I think it's for the overall good of the fisheries. Regarding cost yes it might be spendy but to me it's not about the number of boxes but making new friends and meeting up with old ones again at the place I fish out of. Went in early June this year and plan to head up again in a few weeks for Coho! Can't wait! BTW next time see if you can find a rental boat as the halibut limit is more generous but have yet to see a small boat out at the 600-800 foot line fishing where the BIG halibut lurk! Good Luck and Tight Lines!

DSCN0512.JPG
 
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May 17, 2019
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32
31
Eagle River
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Joe
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Salmonella
just an FYI its not specific to "tourists". any guided angler is limited to the one fish and a slot limit for the federally regulated zone. As stated by BOB above, the state does not come up with the regulations for halibut, its the federal government so if you have issues with halibut regulations, complaining about the state of alaska being greedy and not giving up more liberal limits for tourists is not the way to go about it. Where i fish there are certain days where guides cant even fish halibut so they focus on rock fish and salmon. Doesnt take long to bonk a ton of rock fish... and thats another big concern now because of the depths they catch them at. Next year where i fish we are required to have deep water releases when fishing for rock fish. I dont think alot of people actually realize how much meat comes off those big fish. You get some people who come up realize they now have to deal with 120 pounds of halibut meat and they probably have never even seen that much fish meat on a table before. Not saying its always the case but when i see certain people at the fish cleaning table in homer watching there 120 pounds of fish get thrown into boxes i get a feeling that they are in way over their head.
 

CaptJgray

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Jan 23, 2014
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Huntington Beach
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Jeff Gray
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hell no....
Another option is fishing a different area of the State.

The area I fish has been a bit tough for King fishing the last couple years but the Halibut and ling cod size limit restrictions are way easier to deal with. Plus we typically fish them in less than 100' of water and if you are on a skiff the limit is 2 fish of any size for halibut.
 

bent rod todd

Ling cod killa
Jun 5, 2011
467
327
Auburn,ca
Name
Todd
Boat
Skipjack 20 open (Ding A Ling) 14ft mirrocraft ( Lil Ding A Ling)
Some of the charters also have commercial IFQ's and participate in the GAF program that allows a sport fisherman to keep an oversized halibut. The weight will be deducted from the IFQ and sold to the client based on average commercial size and wholesale market price. https://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFdocuments/halibut/Implementation/2016GAFreport.pdf
Do I understand this correctly? You pay to charter a boat then have to pay a price per pound if you catch a halibut. Fyi I didn't read the article yet just based off your post. Seems insane if that's the case, I understand the comeraderie and the trip itself is valuable but to pay per pound is a joke hope all fisheries dont go that direction.
 

makairaa

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May 1, 2005
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Tustin CA
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Philip Hunkins
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Do I understand this correctly? You pay to charter a boat then have to pay a price per pound if you catch a halibut. Fyi I didn't read the article yet just based off your post. Seems insane if that's the case, I understand the comeraderie and the trip itself is valuable but to pay per pound is a joke hope all fisheries dont go that direction.
You are allowed 1 either under or over the slot limit. Then some of the lodges buy a percentage of the commercial quota. Then if you would like to keep a 2nd fish you can pay for the second one. I have not seen anyone charging by the pound (although some may), most charge a flat fee of 200 to 400 dollars per fish. Basically how much money they paid for the quota divided by the number of fish allowed to be taken under the percentage of quota they bought.
 

CaptJgray

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Jan 23, 2014
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hell no....
Yep,
or you could fish a different area with much less pressure, much better quality, less restrictions, and fish with small reels and lighter rods and use artificials...

my buddies kid got a 225 on a Penn Fathom 25 on Tuesday, the rest of the fish kept were 75-150. Tons of big lints as well.
 
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STANWOOD BOB

Well-Known "Member"
Oct 1, 2012
50
18
WA
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Bob
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NA
Yep,
or you could fish a different area with much less pressure, much better quality, less restrictions, and fish with small reels and lighter rods and use artificials...

my buddies kid got a 225 on a Penn Fathom 25 on Tuesday, the rest of the fish kept were 75-150. Tons of big lints as well.
WOW! That's a whole LOT of fish! :-(
 

kevina

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Sep 10, 2006
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redondo beach
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kev
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25' aqua sport
Basically the gaf is for people that already caught their limit for the day and were continuing to catch and release halibut. If you caught a 200lb after you already had your limit, The GAF program would give you the option to pay the tag fee (Appx $150-$300 dollars depending on the boats arraingement with the gaf program) and keep the halibut instead of releasing it. You don't need to pre purchase the tag prior to fishing, You catch a big fish tell the captain I want to buy a GAF tag and they gaff or harpoon it and you pay up. I believe you are only allowed to purchase 1 tag a year, Maybe 2 at the most per year, Not per trip. It's a good program if your limited out and you catch a barn door, you don't need to let it go and kick yourself in the ass for keeping a substancially smaller fish earlier in the day. Hope that explains it better for people that don't understand it. But Keep In Mind only a few boats particapate in the gaf program. If your interested in this, Check with the boat to see if they particapate in the program before going on that boat.
 

CaptJgray

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Jan 23, 2014
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Jeff Gray
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hell no....
The steelhead fishing down there sucks!!!

almost as bad as the saltwater, i hate catching big halibut and lings in shallow water close to home.
 
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dss44

Fishaholic
Nov 10, 2007
108
0
Port Hardy, British Columbia
Name
David
Boat
2006 3070 OS Pursuit
Been fishing North now for about 14 years and I have seen the ebb and flow of the fisheries! AI numbers on Chinook were great a few years ago hence 6 Chinook for non residents for maybe two years was quite generous IMHO! "The Blob" arrived and water temps went from 48 to 54 degrees and it took a toll on the fisheries for salmon. I'm OK with 3 per year and 1 a day for Chinook to give the resource a chance to rebuild. ADFG is doing a great job with their management fisheries as I get updates on which fisheries open and close or limit increase/decreases daily in email form. Halibut? I feel your pain as I do remember "The Good Old Days" when BIG fish were allowed! NOAA and IPHC control the halibut fisheries so it's out of ADFG's control! Rumor has it ( very reliable source) by 2021 there might be a change coming for non-residents halibut size catch so stay tuned! Rockfish limit dropped from 5-3 recently too but you must understand with 100+ guided boats in Sitka alone hammering rockfish a day on a 3-4 day fishing trip it adds up fast... Lings I hate shaking those big ones too but I think it's for the overall good of the fisheries. Regarding cost yes it might be spendy but to me it's not about the number of boxes but making new friends and meeting up with old ones again at the place I fish out of. Went in early June this year and plan to head up again in a few weeks for Coho! Can't wait! BTW next time see if you can find a rental boat as the halibut limit is more generous but have yet to see a small boat out at the 600-800 foot line fishing where the BIG halibut lurk! Good Luck and Tight Lines!

View attachment 1043668
For the better or worse?
 

STANWOOD BOB

Well-Known "Member"
Oct 1, 2012
50
18
WA
Name
Bob
Boat
NA
For the better or worse?
IMHO the fishing has gotten better! ADFG as stated before has done a fine job in managing their fisheries. IPHC and NOAA are doing their best to protect the halibut resource too! Seen TONS more small fish the last few years in the areas we fish (maybe just the spots we fish) so I believe there is hope for the future of halibut!
 
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timber20403

Newbie
Nov 9, 2009
4
17
glendora ca usa
Name
Marty
Boat
24' searay Marty
Sitka is a great place!! Incredible scenery and friendly people!!

I will go back to visit Alaska ..... but probably not for a saltwater fishing trip .... until they rationalize the size /take limits imposed on tourists.

Currently all Halibut over 38 inches long are banned for tourists and tourists get to keep only one 38 inch or less Halibut per day....all others are to be released.

The Ling Cod have even weirder tourist rules -- a limited middle slot. It was like porridge and the three bears ..... some fish were too small, some fish were too big, but only a few fish were "just right" and within the 'slot'.

The 3 king salmon per year limit is strict, but I want the runs to flourish and that is at least not weird.

I wonder if Alaska is reducing the value (cost/benefit) for tourist fishermen such that there will be fewer and fewer second timers??? ((I believe that Alaska trips now cost about as much as prime 10-day or longer Long Range trip (or two short off-season trips). ))

Is Alaska's probable historic over-fishing now being replaced by over-regulating, that will discourage repeat tourist fishermen ???
Any thoughts?
This is my 25th year fishing Alaska. Twenty years in Sitka. Five years in Gustavus. Limits and size have gradually gotten less and less. The treaty with Canada regarding Kings was reworked this year. As a result, the commercials have most of the catch, they always have. They just closed down the King Salmon retention starting 8/1/2019. I leave 8/3. So, I cannot keep a King. They say that the King run is at a historical low. I love fishing there but it's getting harder to justify the $$$.
0267066-R1-006-1A.jpg
 

makairaa

I've posted enough I should edit this section
May 1, 2005
4,411
3,573
Tustin CA
Name
Philip Hunkins
Boat
17 starcraft
This is my 25th year fishing Alaska. Twenty years in Sitka. Five years in Gustavus. Limits and size have gradually gotten less and less. The treaty with Canada regarding Kings was reworked this year. As a result, the commercials have most of the catch, they always have. They just closed down the King Salmon retention starting 8/1/2019. I leave 8/3. So, I cannot keep a King. They say that the King run is at a historical low. I love fishing there but it's getting harder to justify the $$$. View attachment 1051711
I feel you. Headed to Prince of Wales in 2 weeks. I just had to get a refund on my king stamp. At least there will be silvers and pinks when I go.
 

CaptJgray

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Jan 23, 2014
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Huntington Beach
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Jeff Gray
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hell no....
I don't feel like Yakutat can ever truly get crowded, it just doesn't have the infrastructure to accommodate large crowds, that being said I don't feel bad giving away the secret. The king fishing is not great, but we do get them. however the halibut, ling, silver, and steelhead fishing is freaking epic. The Situk river steelhead fishing can be downright stupid. I don't ever go there to fish steelhead but have fished them in the afternoons after coming in from the salt and had some unbelievable days, 6 fish for me and 15 for 3 of us in a very short stretch of the river one evening. lots of Dolly's as well which are a lot of fun.

if you know what you are doing you can rent a skiff and go unguided on the salt and have 2 halibut of any size. its a very short run from the harbor to the cape. and if the weather is really bad you can still catch halibut inside the bay. my mom and wife each had fish over 60 inside the bay last year when the wind was up a little too much in the afternoon.