Millions of salmon make their way up Alaska’s waterways each year making the rivers and seas famous for catching the delicious salmon that you can stock your freezer with. It’s a fun family activity for the summer or even late spring months. Tours and guides will lead you to the best spots for guaranteeing that you’ll catch a few salmon. And, you’ll have a chance to take in the stunning wildlife that Alaska has to offer. You’ll just have to know a few things first about planning your trip to make the most out of your salmon fishing experience in Alaska.

Each Month Has A Major Species

Fishing season in Alaska is from May through September for the Salmon industry. Depending on the type of salmon that you’re after, you might want to consider visiting during a particular month to ensure that you get the best catch.


Halibut are ideal to fish through the fishing season in Alaska. Yet, beginning in May you can head back home with a freezer-full of these ‘chicken-fish’ that range from 20-50 lbs.


King Salmon peaks between June 5th-15 around the Kenai Peninsula. After the 15th, you’ll see the first run of the Sockeye Salmon. This will also make it a great time of year for bear viewing.


You might not have heard of the pink ‘humpback’ salmon, but you should if you’re a first time fly-fishers. These pink fish hit the rivers by the hundreds beginning in the last week in July.


Some of the finest silver salmons can be caught around August. You can catch them in either fresh or saltwater ranging from 6-20 pounds.


If you’re after the Rainbow Trout, then September is one of the best months to catch these fish. They’ll also be larger than earlier in the seasons as they’ve been eating and eating to boost a 24’ girth. If you head north to North to Denali you might even have a chance to see the Aurora Borealis.

Each City Offers Something Different

Kenai River is where the world’s biggest king salmon was caught at a record-breaking 97-pounds! This turquoise river is also one of the few places in the world where you can fish all five Pacific salmon species. Two hours from Anchorage is Seward where you’ll have two mountains as your backdrop and a chance to charter a boat for a full day of fishing. Travel six hours from Anchorage to Homer and you’ll be able to enjoy year-round saltwater salmon fishing. Charter a boat from Homer to Kachemark Bay and you’ll also have a chance to see Alaskan wildlife such as whales and moose. For those who want to travel off the beaten path, Yakutat is a small town where tourists can only fish all five salmon species and enjoy the Alaska weather by surfing along the shore.

You Don’t Need to Bring Your Own Gear

Ask what you’ll need to bring when packing for your Alaska trip and the answer is most likely nothing. Most places provide you with everything that you’ll need to fish including a fishing license. If you chose not to buy from the tour company, you can always buy a license online or at the local supermarket once you’re there. The most important thing to pack are adequate outdoor clothing. Good raingear, comfortable waterproof boots, durable pants, and plenty of shirts and fleeces for layering. Depending on the time of year that you decide to go, you’ll also want to pack extras such as polarized sunglasses, mosquito repellent, and wool socks. Of course, you’ll want to double check with the place that you’re staying at beforehand just to be sure.

You Can Fish in Either the Sea or Rivers for Wild Salmon

The general definition of salmon is that it’s a marine and freshwater “fish with reddish or pinkish flesh that is often caught for sport or food and lives most of its life in the ocean but swims up rivers or streams as an adult to deposit or fertilize eggs”


Saltwater fishing can produce some of the largest salmon fish that you’ll see in your life. In fact, you head into the Arctic Ocean at the right time; you’ll notice many boats pulling in King Salmon weighing an average of thirty pounds. If you travel with a guide that knows the best spots for fishing, you can also catch the fish from a range of techniques such as slow-drifting bait, jigging, and fly-fishing.


Rent a car and you’ll find that many of the best fishing spots for Alaskan freshwater salmon can be reached from the main highways. Of course, local guides can take you off the beaten path to remote lakes, streams, and rivers. Fresh water fishing also allows you to catch all five species including king, silver, pink, red, and chum. Plus, you’ll have stunning backdrops of the Alaskan wilderness as you enjoy being a part of the salmon industry. 

Alaska Salmon Is the King When It Comes to Fishing

There is an abundance of options when it comes to salmon fishing in Alaska. There are numerous places to visit that all offer a vast selection of salmon to choose from. There is also a wide window from spring to autumn when you can visit the state for a prime fishing experience. First-timers don’t have to worry about much. If you plan your trip right, you’re bound to catch several fish to take back home. You might even be in luck to catch a massive 50 lb. fish to feed your entire family for a couple of months.

Feature image via Eye on the Artic

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This