Alaska Fishing

Alaska fishing is known worldwide for cold weather, spectacular wildlife, and great fishing. The wildness of the land is an advantage for fishermen, because there is no shortage anywhere in this huge state of places to catch fish.  According to Alaska department of fish and game, the state has over 3000 rivers, 3 million lakes, and 6640 miles of coastline.

Alaska also boasts some of the largest fish that can be caught, from 100 pound king salmon to halibut that are close to 50lbs.  Here is a guide to Alaska Fish and Game’s fishing regions, and the perks of each:

Southeast Alaska Fishing

Alaska fishing
A big trout looking for his dinner

Year-round Alaska fishing is available for all five salmon species,
wild rainbow trout, and saltwater fish like lingcod, halibut, and rockfish.  Rivers are full of steelhead, salmon, trout, and dolly varden char.  Full guide services, lodges, and fly-out services are common.  Rain is also common, so water-wicking clothing layers, good rain gear, and good insect repellent are all musts.

  • Yakutat: A great remote area with few people but a good road system for roadside park-and-fish river locations.
  • Haines/Skagway: One of the drier locations, this northern panhandle region has great saltwater and stream salmon fishing.
  • Juneau: The capital city is a great tourism area if you are bringing non-fishers. There is great fishing in this region, and great transport from here to the other Southeast areas as well.
  • Sitka: This area is known for saltwater fishing, boasting over 250 registered charter boats, though river fishing is still abundant.
  • Petersburg/Wrangell: This area is between Petersburg and Ketchikan and is known to be more remote.
  • Ketchikan: This area boasts a great tourist town and a large network of forested streams.
  • Prince of Wales Island: This long barrier island is across the inside passage from Ketchikan and is full of great fishing lakes

Southcentral Alaska Fishing

Alaska Fishing
Angler working the river

This area is not only a large sport fishing area, it is home to one of the world’s largest commercial fishing industries.  It is also one of the logistically easiest regions of the state to reach, via Anchorage airport.  Saltwater Alaska fishing includes lingcod, salmon, rockfish and halibut, and streams offer cutthroat, rainbow and lake trout, steelhead, salmon, dolly varden, and many species of salmon.

  • Anchorage: The airport in the state’s largest city makes it the easiest place to fly into, or to catch a day of fishing here before taking a bush plane somewhere more remote.
  • Bristol Bay Area: The world’s largest salmon and herring saltwater fisheries happen here. It is also home to some of the world’s most productive fishing rivers.
  • Northern Cook Inlet: This area has great streams and lakes, and is one of the few northern pike areas.
  • Seward/North Gulf Coast: Resurrection bay has one of the world’s largest coho populations.
  • Kenai River/ Upper Kenai: This area has four species of salmon to fish in both fresh and salt water, and some great landlocked lakes with many species.
  • Kodiak /Aleutians: This island chain is known for remote rivers, commercial fisheries, huge seas and huge bears.
  • Prince William Sound: Remote marine and freshwater opportunities abound, and there are great fly-in lodges.
  • Lower Cook Inlet: This area is great for both fishing and razor clamming.

Interior Fishing

The interior of the state is wilder and less populated.   Much of the interior is more remote, has few roads, and interior Alaska fishing is often done with fly-in guided trips.  It has an almost endless supply of fish-stocked rivers and lakes.

  • Tanana Drainage:       A watershed of the Yukon river, this region has high elevation lakes and spring-fed rivers.
  • Upper Copper/ Upper Susitna: This is the home of a world famous salmon fishery and a host of other species.
  • Kuskokwim: This drainage from the Alaska range to the Bering has no roads, and is fly-in.
  • North Slope:       These rivers are the home of the Beaufort Sea subspecies of Dolly Varden.
  • Northwest: This region North of the Yukon river is hard to access, wild, and remote, but has spectacular fishing.

It is hard to go wrong when it comes to Alaska fishing.  The only thing harder might be trying to fish every location in Alaska.