Petersburg / Wrangell Alaska Fishing Report January, 2020

While some anglers may hang up their fishing rods until Spring, don’t forget about the many angling opportunities that exist throughout the winter. Remember to purchase your 2020 fishing license prior to fishing in the new calendar year.

Winter King Salmon

King salmon can be found year round in local marine waters although catch rates are typically much slower during the winter time. New regulations have been issued as of January 1, 2020. The current regulations for all marine waters in the Petersburg/Wrangell management area are as follows:

  • Alaska Residents: the bag and possession limit is 1 king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length. No annual limit.
  • Nonresidents: the bag and possession limit is 1 king salmon 28 inches or greater in length. Between January 1 and June 30 the annual limit is three king salmon.
  • Reminder: Only one rod per person may be used to target king salmon this winter.


Rockfish regulations have changed as of January 1, 2020. The retention of nonpelagic rockfish is prohibited during 2020. The following regulations are now in effect:

All Southeast Waters:

  • No retention of nonpelagic rockfish.
  • All vessels must have at least one functional deepwater release mechanism on board and readily available for use when sport fishing activities are taking place. Persons sport fishing in marine waters when releasing rockfish (pelagic or nonpelagic), must use a deepwater release mechanism to return the fish to the depth it was hooked or to a depth of at least 100 feet.

Pelagic rockfish:

  • Bag limit of 5 and possession limit of 10 (residents and nonresidents), no size limits and no annual limit.

All Southeast Alaska vessels are now required to carry and use a rockfish release device when sport fishing in marine waters. 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.


Shellfish are available year round and can make a great addition to the traditional holiday meals.

Dungeness and Tanner crab are open to the sport fishery throughout the winter, just be sure your shellfish pots are equipped with properly sized escape rings, bouy markings, and a biodegradable release (cotton twine) Pages 33-36 of the 2019 Southeast Alaska Regulation Summary describe shellfish bag and possession limits, size limits, and detailed photos of how to distinguish between a male and female crab.

Shrimp are also available year round in the Petersburg/Wrangell area. In addition to your sport fishing license anglers fishing for shrimp will need to pick up a free shrimp permit to record their harvest. Permits are available online at


Halibut catch rates typically decline as winter approaches but anglers may continue to find opportunity for halibut. Anglers are reminded that sport fishing for halibut is closed during the month of January.