Favorite Fishing Holes in Alaska

Fishing in Alaska can be  challenging as in where to go and when.

Alaska has more than 3 million lakes, 3,000 rivers and more coastline than the entire lower 48 states. That’s a lot of space to fish, and sports anglers catch about 3 million fish each year, Here are a few places to go try your luck catching rather than just fishing.

In Southeast Alaska, Ketchikan  is the southernmost city to start from. Steelhead fishing starts in April (usually) and continuing with Silvers through September  with Dollies, Cutthroats, Halibut and other kinds of Salmon. There are numerous lodges and fishing charters in the area.

In Southcentral  Alaska, just 80 airmiles  northwest of Anchorage flows a tributary of the glacial Yentna and Lake Creek. King Salmon get most of the attention at Lake Creek when the run peaks in late June. Silvers arrive in August and offers excellent rainbow fishing all the way into October. Chelatna Lake is in the area too and offers good fishing also.

Another Southcentral destination is the Kenai river.  If you like combat fishing then this is where you want to be  when the King salmon start to run.  You get two cracks at these big guys. Mid May usually is the first run with the bigger Kings running  later and ending in  July. Sockeye run mid June through mid August and catching these 10 to 12 pound fish on a flyrod can be a lot of fun. Coho or silver salmon can be caught from mid June to the end of September. Pink salmon run about the same time as silvers but not as good eating. Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden are best fished mid June through September. The Kenai is very easy to get to and always has a lot of fishers.

Karluk River on Kodiak Island has a King salmon run in decline but large Char and Silvers still run in September and Steelhead  run  peaks in October and November so you can get some late fishing in there.

Southwest Alaska has the Nushagak River near Dilligham Alaska and is easy to fish once you are in Dillingham and around Bristol Bay area. The period from late June through early July is prime time for the King salmon run. You will have to contact a charter or guide as some of the river runs through private native land and permission is required to fish that part. King salmon is still king in the area but other salmon and rainbows can be caught also.

That should give you a good choice of fishing spots all over Alaska, now just go get em.

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3 thoughts on “Favorite Fishing Holes in Alaska”

  1. If anyone is planning to visit one of these fishing spots and would like information on guides,charters, or lodging let me know and I’ll get you in touch with any of them.

  2. Thanks for this very informative post on the fishing possibilities in Alaska, Al.
    These posts always get me excited about my next fishing trip.
    Sometimes we are inundated with too many choices.
    Where is the best place to start, from all this fishing territory?
    I didn’t realize that there were so many lakes and rivers in Alaska.
    Three million lakes and 3000 thousand rivers would take many lifetimes to fish, but it sure would be a lot of fun to start knocking them off a bucket list.
    Are you a lake, river or saltwater fisherman?
    To be more precise, Which body of water would you chose if you could only fish one?
    Do you remember catching your first fish?
    Looking forward to your next post, Al!
    Will definitely mention it to my river buddies.
    THANKS, Paul

    1. Thanks for the interest Paul. I live in Southeast Alaska now (lived in Southcentral  for 5 years) and we are surrounded by saltwater here so that is where most of my fishing takes place, although we have a freshwater lake and a few streams with cutthroats and rainbows right in my buddies backyard that we fish when we’re to lazy to launch the boat to fish saltwater. Even though I live in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island has bigger King Salmon than does the Juneau area. Halibut fishing is big all over but Homer, AK claims the record catches. Maybe because that is their targeted fish. Sitka, Ketchikan and PW Island target Salmon, (kings early, silvers Aug & Sept) and there are a lot of Lodges and cabin rentals all with charter fishing available. Flying to Anchorage and branching out from there would give you the most options as from there you can go saltwater or freshwater. I have never fished the Kenai River and have been told it is pure combat fishing there. It is so easy for people to drive from Anchorage and surrounding area and when the salmon are running, they are there in droves and you’re fishing elbow to elbow. Not for me. They even have a dipnet fishery there. No pole and hook and line but just wade in with a dipnet and scoop them up. You are probably coming for trophy fish while we locals fish for food. I have given you a number of options so I guess it’s up to you how much you want to spend, how much time to have, have bare bones or luxury in mind or what’s your pleasure. All in all, I think you can find whatever you’re looking for. I can’t remember my first fish, hell I can’t even remember my last fish but I do remember my biggest fish was an 83 inch long 313 LB Halibut. One year a local hard ware store/fishing store had a biggest King Salmon fishing contest and I won it twice with a 35lb King each time. I thought the fishing hole I was in only had 35 pounders in it. That was a long time ago too. I’ve been here since 1974. Hope this helps Paul, if I can be of any more help PM me and I’ll get back with you.


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