Alaska is one of the last remaining, states where you can walk in the woods, and may not find your way out. It is a giant, mostly uninhabited state. Alaska is a wonder of nature at its finest, with 6,600 miles of coastline for saltwater fishing and some of the best freshwater fishing in the world.
With 12,000 rivers, an uncountable number of streams, and over three million lakes (you read that right—three million) make Alaska a natural wonder. It’s often touted as the last frontier, and its immensity is only rivaled by its beauty.
If you’re planning a fishing trip to Alaska, no one would blame you for not knowing where to start. It’s easily the biggest state in the country with a population of only 736,990. There are cities with higher populations than that. When it comes to the best Alaska fishing, this state is an angler’s paradise.
Guide to Fishing in Alaska
What Part of Alaska has the Best Fishing
Whether you love a quiet afternoon on a calm lake or the smell of the sea as the waves crash in, Alaska has some of the best fishing spots in the country, whether you prefer saltwater or fresh. This makes an accurate answer very difficult, as there are so many you could fill volumes trying to write it all down.
Most anglers with experience in Alaska will tell you to go for the Steelhead Trout, otherwise known as Rainbow Trout. That might seem counterintuitive since Alaska is known for its salmon. But if you go to Alaska and don’t bother fishing for Rainbow Trout, you haven’t truly been to Alaska.
Some of the best Rainbow Trout fishing is found in the Kenai river, from the summer into the fall season. Not only are they fun to fight, but they also grow up to 27” in the Kenai, where trophy steelhead are frequently caught.
If flyfishing is your thing, Alaska has something for you too. Cutthroat Trout are famous in Alaska, and anglers should grab their flyfishing gear and head to Prince of Wales Island, Ketchikan, or Prince William Sound.
Ice fishing is an obvious draw for anglers in Alaska and it’s best at Birch Lake and Quartz Lakes. You’ll have to head towards the center of the state to reach either.
If you’re going for Alaska’s main draw, Chinook Salmon, be prepared for a battle as Chinook can easily reach 100lbs, and they are the largest salmon in the world. Pacific Halibut are found anywhere along Alaska’s coast, but Dutch Harbor and Juneau are the best spots.
Prince William Sound, Ketchikan, and Homer offer some of the best Rockfish fishing in the entire world. There are over thirty species, and they’re nearly as famous as the Chinook Salmon and Halibut.
Best Month to Fish
If you travel to Alaska right in the middle of July, you’ll have a chance to sink your hook into halibut, red salmon, king salmon, silver salmon, pink salmon, and chum salmon. The window is tiny, but everything seems to come together in the middle of the month.
If your primary focus is salmon, the best month to go is in September. You won’t have a shot at every salmon because specific salmon peak every month from May to September. But September is the best month overall for salmon fishing.
Types of fish in Alaska
When you fish in Alaska, everything seems bigger because it is. Saltwater aficionados go after halibut, chinook salmon, rockfish, dolly vardens, cod, and sockeye salmon.
For freshwater anglers, cod (fresh and brackish), salmon, pike, trout, herring, and whitefish. Many of the tributaries and bays in Alaska will host fish that swim in fresh and saltwater, in much the same way bull sharks migrate inland and up the rivers to mate.
Another thing about Alaska is the association of its fish with the size of the state. It seems like everything is bigger in Alaska. Take halibut, for instance. Halibut belong to the flounder family, but a single halibut could easily throw shade over 30 flounder.
The “final frontier” should be nearly prehistoric in size and the large creatures that inhabit it.
Most Popular Fish to Catch
Halibut and Chinook Salmon easily walk away with the prize for the most popular fish to catch in Alaska. Halibut is a bit of a surprise if you don’t know anything about Alaska because it’s not a species of Salmon.
Although they are the most popular, one fish is considered the dream trophy to catch, and that’s the Alaskan Leopard Rainbow Trout. With a name like that, it’s easy to see why. It’s Alaska’s prize sportfish, and anglers can throw their hat in the ring between June and October every year.
Alaska Leopard Rainbow Trout live in almost all of Alaska’s rivers, so there is no specific, popular spot to go if you want to reel in this prized fish.
Alaska is an enormous state and the fishing opportunities there are incredible. Even in the winter months, facing sub-freezing weather, you will find anglers huddled in fish houses on frozen lakes.
The salty coast never freezes, of course, and if you want to brave the cold, wet winds that blow in from the Pacific, you can catch fish all year round. Alaska is an incredible place to behold, and if it’s your first time there, you may find your eyes drinking in everything except your fishing rod.
If you’re ready to catch huge fish and some of the most popular salmon in the world, Alaska should be one of the top destinations on your bucket list.
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