Known as the state with the best locations to fish for salmon, Alaska’s cold waters can be an angler’s dream. With ample places to go fishing for the five types of Pacific salmon – king, pink, chum, sockeye and silver – the state is also known for its crab, trout and other shellfish and finfish. Anglers and other fishing enthusiasts can hone their skills in urban or wilderness fishing places, and combine hiking, hunting and other outdoor recreation with a fishing excursion.
In addition to recreational good places to fish in Alaska, the state has locations reserved for subsistence and personal-use fishing that supports the traditional way of life in AK. Continue reading to learn more about the different fishing places in Alaska and the types of fish you might expect to catch at each location.
When it comes to where to fish in Alaska, the Sitka Management Area of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) is a prime southeastern spot, because it includes saltwater and freshwater recreational fishing opportunities, and is relatively close to Juneau. The outer coast of the Sitka area is one of the best locations to fish, because the landscape features islands, reefs and protected bays that host a wide variety of marine life. These spots are where to go fishing for halibut, lingcod, rockfish, king crab, Dungeness crab, shrimp and clams. Lakes are also good places to fish in Sitka, as they support brook trout, Arctic grayling, Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout. Sitka is home of the Sitka Salmon Derby over Memorial Day weekend and the following weekend, where fishing enthusiasts come to catch king salmon trophies.
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South of Anchorage, Alaska’s best locations to fish include the ample saltwater and freshwater opportunities on the Central and Lower Kenai Peninsula. Wading and riverbank anglers favor Ninilchik River fishing places for their narrow width and manageable current full of king and silver salmon, Dolly Varden and a variety of trout. The peninsula is a good place to fish for king and silver salmon and halibut from Anchor Point and Whiskey Gulch. The Ninilchik and Deep Creek areas have multiple campsites, boat launches and day-use parking.
If you are wondering where to fish for the biggest king salmon – up to 98 pounds – plan a trip to the Kenai River. This river in the northern part of the Kenai Peninsula is so legendary as one of the best locations to fish for huge salmon that it has its own special, higher standards for trophy weights. The Kenai River can quickly become one of your favorite places to go fishing, but be warned that summers can get crowded along its lengths. One of Alaska’s top fishing places, the lure of large king, red and silver salmon draws fishing enthusiasts from around the world each summer.
Bristol Bay enjoys its reputation as the world’s richest fishing place for native Pacific salmon. It is also known as one of the best locations to fish in Alaska because of its well-appointed cabins and resorts that provide a true luxury fishing expedition. The Bristol Bay area contains some of the most fertile salmon, rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden waters in the world. Its Naknek River system is one of the state’s popular fishing places – not only because of its rich stock of native fish, but because it is a prime bear-viewing destination. Naknek bear sighting areas are easily accessible by float plane or boat.
The Yukon River area is one of Alaska’s best locations to fish, because of its sparse population and abundance of native fish that can prove difficult to catch elsewhere in the state. The largest river in AK, the Yukon and its tributaries provide good places to fish for subsistence and personal use by the native populations residing along its banks. Sport anglers know the Yukon River as one of the best fishing places to enjoy a unique wilderness fishing experience with the opportunity to catch virtually all of Alaska’s freshwater and migratory fish species. The Yukon is where to fish for all five species of Pacific salmon, and fish that are more difficult to find in other Alaska locations, such as:
- Large northern pike
- Inconnu (sheefish)
- Lake trout
The Yukon River and other fishing places in the northern territory of Alaska are generally accessible only by water or air travel, but the Dalton Highway provides road access to the Yukon.
One of Alaska’s great fishing places is renowned for being among the top-four largest fishing ports in the United States when measuring by the volume of seafood caught. Known as a prime spot to go fishing, Kodiak Island’s economy has been based on the fishing industry for over 200 years, and is home to hundreds of fishing fleets and dozens of fishing charters. Fishers flock to Kodiak Island, because:
- It is one of the best locations to fish for all five Pacific salmon species, halibut, pollock, sea bass, cod, king crab and other shellfish.
- It includes several subsistence fishing places that require a subsistence permit to access.
- Thanks to temperate water currents from Japan, it maintains a mild year-round temperature that is not normally expected in Alaska.