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Fishing Prince William Sound in May!
Cordova, Valdez, Whittier


By mid- to late May, hatchery-stocked king salmon start to show up in Fleming Spit (Cordova), and in the marine waters near Whittier and Valdez. Whittier and Valdez have only recently been stocked with king salmon smolt (1999), so the runs there are fully established now. Look for these king runs to build through the month of May, and peak in mid-June. Anglers looking for fresh king salmon also often have success trolling for "feeder" kings. Don't forget your King Stamp! Red salmon also make their appearance by mid-May, especially in the Eyak River (Cordova) and Main Bay (western Sound).


When the weather cooperates, early to mid-May can see some nice halibut catches in the 20- 30-pound range throughout the Sound. Larger fish are usually found nearer the end of May. Weather permitting, larger boats often target halibut in the waters of the Hinchinbrook Entrance and Montague Straits. Nearer to home Passage Canal, Wells Passage, and Knowles Head are popular places to jig. Remember, it is illegal to fish for, or harvest, lingcod until July 1. All lingcod incidentally caught must be landed only by hand or with a landing net and released immediately. Fishing for rockfish is also good in May. From May 1-Sept. 15, the limits are 5 rockfish per day/ 10 in possession, of which no more than 2 per day/ 2 in possession may be non-pelagic rockfish. Anglers must retain the first two non-pelagic rockfish they catch.

Resident Fish

Opportunities in May for Dolly Varden should be good throughout Prince William lakes and streams, especially at ice-out. Try a dry fly at the water's edge, or casting a lure with some silver flash to imitate salmon fry and smolt. Sport Fish Division stocks rainbow trout catchables in Blueberry Lake and Ruth Pond near Valdez. Grayling catchables are stocked in Thompson Lake near Valdez. Fishing for cutthroat trout is closed from April 15- June 14 to protect spawning fish. The "Copper River Delta Special Management Area for Trout" has been established to protect unique stocks of trout east of the Copper River.


King, Tanner, and Dungeness crab fisheries are closed year-round. Fishing for shrimp opened April 15, and a free permit is required before going shrimping in Prince William Sound. Catches are highly variable depending on location fished. Clamming is generally good throughout the Sound. A free permit is required before razor clamming near Cordova.

Management and Research Programs

Starting in late May, the Division of Sport Fish will continue its port sampling program in the Valdez and Whittier harbors. The information you provide is used to manage the fisheries for the maximum benefit of increasing numbers of users. Contact Scott Meyer in Homer at 235-1742 for additional information.

Good luck and good fishing.

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