Fishing in Alaska will leave you an indelible memory or, more likely, many memories. The biggest problem with fishing Alaska is choice – there are too many excellent fishing locations and not enough hours in the day. There is extraordinary coastal fishing, but do not overlook the thousands of exquisite Alaskan rivers and millions of lakes that provide year round fishing.
Alaska is hands down the best salmon fishing America can offer. Alaska has a variety of salmon, including King, pink, red, and chum. Though for most the image of standing knee-deep in water while they shoot past you against a mountainous landscape is more than enough, Alaska also has some of the best saltwater salmon fishing. Trolling along for salmon, especially silver salmon in Alaskan waters during summer, can be an equally exhilarating experience that may become the highlight of your trip.
The most popular is the King salmon. If you visit Alaska, you must fish for these gorgeous creatures. Deep Creek and Anchor River are some amazing spawning grounds. Remember, King salmon fishermen need an extra stamp on their license.
Trout fishing is ever popular, and comes in at a close second to Alaska’s salmon fishing. Rainbow and steelhead have a longer run then salmon, which can only spawn once before dying, so if you want longevity plan for trout. Trout provide excellent freshwater and saltwater fly fishing in Alaska. The Kenai River is a favorite, along with the Swanson River, and Watson Lake.
Steelheads can grow to huge sizes and they are some of the state’s best fighters – A steelhead will make its presence on your line known! They can be found in the Gulf of Alaska and around the Alaskan peninsula. No wonder sport fishing is a multi-billion dollar economy in Alaska!
Alaska is also home to the bright spotted Dolly Varden trout. They can be found around Kodiak Island, in the Mackenzie River, or Wulik River. The aforementioned Wulik River is the proud record holder of Dolly Varden Trout which weighed in at over twenty-seven pounds.
The Kenai River is popular in Alaska. The Kenai River is home to Dolly Varden, steelhead, cutthroat trout, pink and chum salmon. For trophy sized salmon it is difficult to go wrong during the red or King salmon runs.
If you do visit Alaska, you will want to fish for halibut as well. A native of these cold waters, halibut can grow to be hundreds of pounds. For summer halibut stay a little more inland in Bristol Bay, but in the winter head far out into open waters. Unalaska Bay took the state halibut record with a fish weighing over four-hundred and fifty pounds.
A lesser known sport fish of Alaska, the ling cod, is worth putting a day aside for. These lengthy fish can appear near shore and out in the open ocean. Monty Island was honored with the state ling cod record that surpassed eighty pounds. You can also try Elfin Cove for sizable ling cod.
With an abundance of rivers it is no surprise that Alaska is a premiere fly fishing destination, too. Trout and salmon are the primary fly fishing targets, although grayling make excellent fly fishing targets as well.
If you can afford to hire someone to take you into the wilderness you may create the memory of a lifetime fly fishing where no man has before. Alaska presents a unique opportunity to travel via helicopter into vast uninhabited areas where few fishermen go. If planning to head into a more rugged environment it is best to charter a boat led by an experienced person to guide you and ensure your safety (from the landscape and wildlife). With the state’s year round monitoring you can go online to find the most up to date information, regulations, and hot spots.
You can buy a fishing license at vendors throughout the state, in Alaska’s Fish and Game offices, by mail, or online. If you are sixteen or older you will need a license. Residents and non-residents may apply for annual licenses. Non-residents have the option of one, three, seven, and fourteen day licenses. Resident seniors, non-resident military, and low income residents may be eligible for low cost licenses. Residents are defined as persons who have been domiciled in Alaska for twelve months and claim residency nowhere else.
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.