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The Sitka area is home to a prolific fishery for many species of bottomfish. While salmon and halibut are the most famous target species in Alaska, and certainly plentiful near Sitka, the other bottom dwelling fish deserve attention. From the thrill of hooking into a monster ling (see the last blog post), to the joy of eating incredibly delicious sablefish, nearly all of the bottom fish around Sitka are worth spending time to target.

Black rockfish are a near shore species that can be fun and easy to target on light tackle. When you're in a school of these voracious pelagic rockfish, hook-ups occur as fast as you can get your jig back in the water. They're fun to catch, delicious to eat (especially in fish tacos), and make a nice addition to a day's catch.

Yelloweye rockfish are delicious, and you can often catch your limit incidentally while targeting halibut or lingcod. Lingcod are super fun to catch, and make delicious fish and chips when shallow fried in Panko bread crumbs and served with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

Sablefish, or black cod, are a deep dwelling species (1200-1600') known for their delicious flesh. Known in Japan as butter fish, they are the only species we catch that are as rich in Omega-3 oil as king salmon. They are particularly tasty when marinated in teriyaki sauce then grilled. At these depths, fishing for sablefish is somewhat weather dependent, but you'll often have a day or two on a typical trip that are calm enough to target them.

Sitka's bottomfish are a fun-to-catch, delicious addition to any fishing vacation up you'll make to this area. Be sure to ask your captain about taking time to target these less famous species on your next trip!

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Fishing for huge lingcod in the Sitka Alaska area can be incredibly enjoyable and productive. To target lings, we drift over rocky bottom, preferably a reef or high spot offshore. The depth can be as shallow as 100 feet or as deep as 400 feet. I prefer a lead head jig in the 12-16 ounce range with a scampi rubber tail (no bait necessary for these toothy monsters!).

Send the jig to the bottom, raise and lower the rod around 2 feet per raise, and be ready! The strike is normally not subtle, but you do need to set the hook and keep constant tension on the line to avoid the ling spitting the hook as it shakes its head. In my experience, the strike and first few seconds hooked up is when the fish has the best chance of spitting the hook. If you've kept strong pressure on the line through the initial hook set, you're not likely to lose the ling. At this point, the fish realizes it's hooked and is likely to make a strong run. Hold on, enjoy and prepare for battle!

Once you've battled the monster to the surface, your captain can grab him under the gills to hoist out of the water. Even if the ling is too large for the size limit, it's easy to hold him for the photo before releasing him back to the cold Alaskan waters. The lingcod population around Sitka is very healthy, and they get really big, so you have an excellent chance of hooking into a trophy size ling if you spend an hour or two targeting them.

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This summer fishing season has been outstanding so far here in Sitka! Our guests have been catching limits of kings and halibut most days, with lots of rockfish and a few lingcod in the mix. The silvers have also started showing up in good numbers recently, so it should be a good silver run mid through late summer.

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A nice Sitka Alaska king salmon

The fishing this early September has been nothing less than spectacular! Limits of big silvers and even kings has been the daily norm. Halibut, lings, and rockfish have been strong as well.

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More than half way through the season, it’s safe to say this is an epic salmon season! May and June saw incredible king fishing, and this has held up into mid-season. The silvers started showing in late June, and have been running strong ever since. Limits on both kings and silvers daily (along with halibut) has been the norm for our boats since early July.

The fishing for halibut, lings, and rockfish has also been strong, as usual.

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More than half way through the 2014 season, it’s safe to call this one of the best salmon seasons ever. The king salmon pre-season abundance index was literally the highest in history, and the actual abundance we’re seeing on the water bears this out. May and June saw incredible king fishing, and this has held up into mid-season. The silvers started showing in late June, and have been running strong ever since. Limits on both kings and silvers daily (along with halibut) has been the norm for our boats since early July.

The fishing for halibut, lings, and rockfish has also been strong, as usual.

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Our fishing season started May 15, and the fishing and weather have been great so far. The king salmon abundance index for this season is literally the highest ever, and the king fishing has been outstanding. Kingfisher guests have been enjoying the higher-than-usual king limits of 2 per day, 6 per year, and catching limits virtually every day. The halibut fishing has also been very strong, with lots of perfect eaters in the 30-40 pound range, and a few barn doors over 100 pounds. One lucky angler landed a lingcod in the trophy category of over 55 inches, which equates to a 69 pound ling! The black and yelloweye rockfish have been hitting well also. We’re excited for the rest of this season, it’s shaping up to be a great one!

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A nice Sitka king salmon taken 5/16/14.

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Our season will kick off May 15, however, Sitka is buzzing with herring roe seiners looking for that big set in a few openings that could be just 15 minutes long. If you’re lucky, that one big set is what makes your entire season. The largest I’ve heard of, about two years ago a seiner wrapped up a set with an approximate value around $1,000,000. Yep you read correctly, everything went right for this one, shallow water which held the weight of this massive set, yet the tenders were able to get in and pump out the herring. With huge schools of herring hitting the banks of Sitka, humpback whales can be seen from the shores, and of course king salmon want to get in on the action. Owner, Seth Bone and his brother Heath, have alre...

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KINGFISHER CHARTERS,

104 Berry Knoll,

Sitka, Alaska 99835

Phone. 907-747-6136

Email. kingfish@ptialaska.net

MAILING ADDRESS

PO Box 1781

Sitka AK 99835