Alaska is an incredible place to visit and experiencing it as an angler is even better. We picked our top 5 favorite destinations to go fishing below.
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Alaska has 6,640 miles of coastline. That’s more than the rest of the United States put together. And when you include the thousands of islands that break off from the continent and dot the sea, Alaska’s estimated tidal shoreline is 47,300 miles. That’s a lot of places you can fish, and doesn’t even include rivers, lakes, and streams!
Alaska is an angler’s paradise. If you’re planning your first fishing trip up north, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are five places you can’t go wrong when it comes to fishing in Alaska, depending on what you’re looking for.
For saltwater fishing, go to Homer
If you want to wrestle a trophy fish to the boards of your boat, Alaska’s open water is where to do it. You can catch many fish with a chartered saltwater fishing trip, including all types of salmon but also rockfish, Dolly Vardens, and halibut, one of the tastiest monsters in the sea.
We recommend saltwater fishing off the coast of Homer, Alaska. Homer might be the world’s most popular destination for halibut fishing. Most catches weigh in at 20-30 pounds, but weighing in with triple digits is very common. True saltwater fishing means spending 45 minutes landing a 150-pound halibut, an experience that is not uncommon if you spend enough time fishing in the ocean near Homer!
For salmon fishing, go to Bristol Bay
Bristol Bay has some of the biggest salmon in the world. You can target every species of salmon here at different times throughout the summer. June and July are best for the king (Chinook) salmon, red sockeye salmon, and chum salmon. Later in the season, the silver Coho salmon and pink humpback salmon are in plenty.
Bristol Bay is part of the Bering Sea, which is bordered in the west by Russia and the Kamchatka Peninsula; in the south by the Aleutian Islands, and in the east by Alaska. The low water level and frequent sand bars make the bay unsafe for many large, commercial fishing vessels, which means these waters don’t get overfished. More for you!
For remote fishing, go to Kodiak Island Archipelago
The Kodiak Island Archipelago is 177 miles long, with the large island of Kodiak as the centerpiece. Kodiak Island offers many fishing experiences, but the opportunities for remote fishing here are some of the most rewarding in all of Alaska. If you take a float plane or charter boat you can access streams and bays in many of the smaller islands.
Remote fishing means you’ll be able to access some of the choicest salmon and halibut runs with less competition in a more serene environment. You can stay overnight at one of the several remote lodges, camp out, or try to secure a state park cabin. Just make sure you watch out for bears!
For fishing culture, go to Ketchikan
Ketchikan Alaska is nicknamed the “Salmon Capitol of the World.” The whole city lives and breathes the sea and its bounty. The city was a salmon canning sensation in the 1930s. And 30% of the permanent Ketchikan population is employed in the fishing industry today. If you want to learn about fishing from some of the best anglers in the world, you’ll find them here, and you’ll have your pick of charter vessels and outfitters.
For trout fishing, go to Kvichak River
The Kvichak River runs through southwestern Alaska, right between the Katmai National Park and Preserve and Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. Kvichak is a stunning, lush river that begins as a deep channel, becomes a braided delta where trout love to congregate, and also ends in a deep channel. The rainbow trout here are true trophy material, a benchmark that’s set at 30 inches in Alaska. Fly fisherman will have a field day on the Kvichak, particularly between August and October when the trout are hungriest.
Want more advice on where to fish in Alaska? Check out our blog posts on the 6 Best Kayak Fishing Spots in Alaska and Our 10 Favorite Fishing Rivers in Alaska!