What's the best time to fish?
For us there are 4 criteria:
- Best weather (historically driest): May through June (believe it or not)
- Silver salmon: July - September
- King salmon: May through June best (but still really good fishing through mid Aug… although sometimes there are so many darn silvers biting that it's hard to catch a king). Our catch rates are better than Sitka's (less competition) and 2 to 25 times better than anywhere else!
- Halibut, sablefish, rockfish and lingcod fishing is evenly great ALL season long! The best time might be when we have an opening.
We have the biggest halibut in all of Alaska... 3 times bigger than Sitka, Seward and Homer. Our king salmon catch rate is the very best in the state (ten times and a hundred times better than most other locations). One of the best things about fishing with the Highliner is that we can catch salmon, halibut, lingcod, and black rockfish everyday. Most places you only catch salmon on one day and halibut, lingcod and rockfish on another day. Also, we can keep 2 halibut per day. Many other places you can only keep one small halibut!
Usually, we fish for salmon until around lunch time and then fish for halibut in the afternoon. More than half of our fishermen limit out on king salmon and halibut on the same day. We target lingcod and rockfish if we haven’t caught them incidental to fishing for halibut and they are relatively easy to catch. Our guests averaged 120 pounds of fillets over the last five years, after 4 days of fishing!
2023 Daily and Annual Catch Limits
*Last updated on March 15, 2023
King (Chinook) Salmon
- Our daily bag limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length
- Annual limit is 3 king salmon beginning of season - June 30
- Annual limit is 2 king salmon July 1 - 15
- Annual limit is 1 king salmon July 16 - end of season
Silver (Coho) Salmon
- Our daily bag limit on silver salmon is 6 per day
- No size limit; no annual limit
Sablefish (Black Cod)
- Our daily bag limit on sablefish (black cod) is 4 per day; annual limit of 8
Area 2C (Southeast Alaska)
- One fish daily bag limit: Charter vessel anglers may catch and retain one halibut per day.
- Reverse slot limit: Retained halibut must be less than or equal to 40 inches or greater than or equal to 80 inches in length. This reverse slot limit allows anglers to keep halibut less than approximately 29 pounds and greater than 276 pounds, round weight.
- Monday closures: Charter vessel anglers may not catch and retain halibut (except GAF) on all Mondays beginning July 24, 2023 through the end of season.
Area 3A (Southcentral Alaska)
- Two fish daily bag limit; one fish of ANY size and one fish < 28".
- Wednesday closures: Charter vessel anglers may not catch and retain halibut (except GAF) on all Wednesdays for the entire season.
- Tuesday closure: Charter vessel anglers in Area 3A may not catch and retain halibut (except GAF) on nine Tuesdays in 2023: June 20, June 27, July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 8, August 15.
We have licenses to fish both areas and our guests have the choice to keep two halibut per day of any size in Area 3A or a bonus halibut (any size) in Area 2C using our Guided Angler Fish Permits!
- Our daily bag limit on lingcod is 1 per day
- Annual limit is 2; one of the 2 must be between 30-35" and the other has to be over 55"
- Demersal Shelf Rockfish - RETENTION OF DEMERSAL SHELF ROCKFISH IS PROHIBITED. These include: Canary, China, Copper, Quillback, Rosethorn, Tiger and Yelloweye.
- Slope Nonpelagic Rockfish - No size limit: 1 per day, 1 in possession. These include: 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
- Pelagic Rockfish - Our daily bag limit on pelagic rockfish is 5 per day with no annual limit. These include: Black, Blue, Dark, Dusky, Widow, and Yellowtail.
Please see the latest regulations from Alaska Department of Fish and Game and NOAA below for more information:
HIGHLINER LODGE FISHING TIMELINE
May and June: King Salmon and Halibut are abundant at this time (and continue to be so through September!) We have the driest and sunniest weather this time of year as well.
July 1: Dude Fishing starts
Early August: Cohos start to get big!
September: Coho numbers peak in late August to early September, but the fish just keep getting bigger!