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It's no secret that the waters around Sitka Alaska are home to some giant lingcod. Part of what I like best about the first few weeks of the season is the abundance of huge lings, and how easy they are to fish for and hook into. Because lingcod season opens May 16 (only catch and release before that), they have been left alone all winter. That leads to these fish really stacking up on rock piles and reefs on the outer coast of Southeast Alaska.

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The 2019 season is off to a great start! We've been going strong since May 15, and so far the fishing and weather have been excellent. Daily limits of Alaskan king salmon and halibut have been the norm, with a lot of lingcod, rockfish, and sablefish in the mix as well. We've been finding the kings in good numbers in the shallows near Vitskari rocks, and in the 100 to 200 foot depths off Cape Edgecumbe. The halibut fishing has been strong in the traditional spots in Sitka Sound, and well as off the Cape. We'll be running through mid-September, and the forecast for silver salmon for the second half of this summer is strong. The 2019 season is shaping up to be an ideal time to visit our Alaskan fishing lodge in here in Sitka!

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Trolling for King Salmon in Southeast Alaska in May and June often requires a different approach from later summer. Although you'll often use the same terminal tackle: flashers with hoochies, choked herring, or spoons; you'll often troll significantly deeper than you would when targeting kings in late July or August.

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It's hard for me to believe, but next month we'll be attending the Fred Hall Fishing Tackle and Boat show in Long Beach, CA for the 28th year in a row! We always have a great time visiting with friends and clients in the So Cal area, and spreading the word about the fantastic fishing in Sitka, Alaska. And of course, getting out of chilly Alaska in late winter to warm up in the sun is always appreciated!

The show itself is amazing. It's the largest fishing and boat show that we've ever seen, and has everything you can imagine that's associated with fishing, boating, sportsman travel. If you live in Southern CA, we'd love to see you and chat about Alaska fishing and everything related to Sitka at the show. We'll have brochures, fliers about our Show Special, videos and hats on hand. I'll also be getting up early one morning to be a guest on the Let's Talk Hook-up radio show, which is broadcast from the Hyatt adjacent to the show. I love getting the audience and call-in questions about fishing in Alaska, especially in the Sitka area. Hope to see you at the Show!

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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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KINGFISHER CHARTERS,

104 Berry Knoll,

Sitka, Alaska 99835

Phone. 907-747-6136

Email. kingfish@ptialaska.net

MAILING ADDRESS

PO Box 1781

Sitka AK 99835