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very, very carefully
Posted by B_M on Apr 27 2006
Tim,
   I think it's doable, but you obviously need to be cautious.  I would only go if the forecast called for an extended period of calm winds (less than 10 knots usually means still air in the Sound) and calm seas (they usually say two feet or less, but again this means flat calm in most cases).  Furthermore, I would make sure you have someone who knows the area very well to go along with you the first time.  Once you have the near side of the Sound figured out it can be a wonderful place to play for a day or a weekend, even in a smaller boat.  You need to know where some protected bays are, though, and also what to look for in terms of weather and what direction the winds and waves tend to build from.  Due to the various mountains, fjords, etc., the wind can come from surprising directions and really catch a new guy off guard.  Best to play it very, very safe the first few times you try.

As for halibut, you don't have to go very far to try, but you may have to go a long ways to get into consistently productive waters.  Prince William Sound is very unlike Cook Inlet in that it is incredibly deep.  Water over 1,000ft. deep is the norm in the Sound, so finding water shallow enough to fish is often the issue.  There are little places here and there close in, but it takes a fair amount of exploring to find a consistent spot.  Not to say that you can't luck into a halibut or two close in, but the best spots are farther out.  There are some great areas around Montague Island that are shallow, large in area, and easy to find - but that's probably too far to consider in a 16' boat.  You can, however, find really good trolling/mooching for silvers close in once mid-July rolls around.

As for bears, it's obviously better to go further, as this gets you away from the competition.  That being said, there are still plenty of bears close in.  You may have to get out and hike, though, as the ones near the beaches close to Whittier can get awfully skittish once the lead starts flying in May.

Good luck...it's an amazing place!

-Brian

Previous: Thanks tccak71 Apr 27 2006

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