Here you'll find one of the most accessible wildlife viewing areas in Alaska. The marsh is a rest area for migratory birds including trumpeter swans, rednecked grebes, golden eyes, and pintails. Also watch for beavers, moose and bald eagles. You may even spot salmon spawning in the deeper water.
See saltwater holding pens full of fish fry (young ones) waiting to be released into the ocean. In June and July, the water boils with swirling fish, eagles perch in almost every tree, and commercial purse-seiner fishermen capture surface fish by encircling them in long nets.
In the town that boasts of being the Alaskan salmon capital of the world, here's where you can see the salmon in action—hundreds of thousands come through every summer. This spot, right next the library and at the end of Creek Street, offers a prime view of the crowds of salmon on their way to spawn.
Salmon work hard to make their annual appearance at the Eagle River Nature Center's salmon viewing deck, leaping the abandoned beaver dam, among other obstacles. Over the years, this viewing deck has supported hundreds of photographers capturing moose, bears, eagles, and unparalleled views.
Fish Creek is remote, yet road-accessible from the small town of Hyder, which means some human traffic, but not thick crowds. A 3-mile drive or hike from town provides access to an elevated walkway beside the creek that is over ¼-mile long. What makes this area unique is the chance to see brown and black bears in close proximity as they prowl the shallows for spawning salmon.
Mid May through early October
If you want to marvel at the sight of thousands of fish schooling in gigantic tanks, take the self-guided tour inside the state fish hatchery on the banks of Ship Creek east of downtown. The museum-quality observation deck offers intimate views of a complex operation that produces up to six million sport fish each year.
Steep Creek is a Forest Service fish viewing site, with runs of sockeye and coho salmon that start in mid-July and continue into October. The site is very easy to visit. It is adjacent to the Mendenhall glacier visitors' center about 10 miles from downtown Juneau. There are no permits, fees or restrictions for the visitation. There's a 1/3 mile loop trail, part of which More...
Learn how the fish are raised from small alevin to fry and beyond to smolt size before being released into surrounding lakes and bays. Depending on the fish cycle, there may or may not be fish to view, so please call ahead. If there are no fish to be seen, you're welcome to look at a small photo gallery and learn about the fish production cycle, and understand why More...
This remote site is accessible by boat or floatplane. Chalmers River is located about 3/4 mile north of a Forest Service public cabin on the northwest side of Montague Island in Prince William Sound. Spawning Pink and Chum salmon can be seen in the intertidal areas and a short distance upstream. Best salmon viewing times are late July through August with peak times in More...
Thousands of pink salmon converge on Indian Creek each July and August, just about filling this shallow, easy-flowing stream south of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm from bank-to-bank. This amazing natural spectacle occurs in one of the easiest places to view spawning salmon in the region: No steep banks, crystal clear water and fish so close they could almost be touched.
Slikok Creek passes under Kalifonsky Rd. and fish can be seen spawning near the culvert on both sides of the road. This is a critical habitat area and you are asked not to wander along the banks of this very sensitive stream. All viewing can be done next to the road. Best salmon viewing months are June and early-July.
The Indian River is a beautiful, clear stream that’s home to spawning salmon each summer. On the lower reaches of the river, by the intertidal zone and lower floodplain, pink and chum salmon spawn from mid-July through September.
Farther up the river, you’ll find coho and chinook salmon, Dolly Varden, char, and steelhead trout.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game operate the Crooked Creek hatchery, adult salmon may be viewed moving up the stream and fishway into the hatchery raceways; king salmon in late June and early July and coho salmon in late August and September. Each salmon is identified and counted as it swims through the chute using an underwater video camera.
This wildlife sweet spot is worth a visit. The Russian Lakes Trail begins off the access road to the Russian River Campground in Cooper Landing, at milepost 52 of the Sterling Highway. Get off-the-beaten path, hike two miles to the falls and enjoy the immediate reward of spectacular salmon viewing.
For glimpses of the big Chinook salmon right inside the city’s industrial heart, check out the hatchery-seeded run at Ship Creek between late May into June. Hatchery-seeded coho salmon begin running through the same waters in late July through August.
This salmon viewing opportunity is located at Mile 4 of the Portage Highway. Look for a paved lot on south side of road and a Salmon Viewing sign. The viewing platform is handicap accessible and overlooks Williwaw Creek. Spawning sockeye, chum, and coho salmon arrive in late-July and remain throughout early fall with the best viewing in mid to late-August. In addition to salmon, you More...
Great sockeye salmon observation site, especially in late July and early August. At other times of year it offers a moderate walk up to Ptarmigan Lake that’s great for families and features lots of bird life.
This salmon viewing location includes an all-acccessible viewing platform overlooking the creek as well as viewing opportunties along Ptarmigan Creek trail. Sockeye salmon will be in the creek from late July to early October with the best viewing in mid-August. Vehicle parking is in the day use area inside Ptarmigan Creek Campground.
This bear viewing spot is a bit unusual because it attracts only black bears. A short 26-mile floatplane or boat ride from Ketchikan brings you to a dock where you'll then walk 1.5 miles to the viewing platform. You'll see up to 10 black bears feasting on fish near the fish ladder.
This bear viewing spot is a bit unusual because it attracts only black bears. A short 26-mile floatplane or boat ride from…
Grouse Creek runs adjacent to the Seward Highway. To access this creek, exit onto the paved pullout at mile 8.3. There's a Chugach National Forest sign here too that marks the spot. From late- July to mid-September, you will be able to view sockeye salmon with the best chance of seeing fish in mid-August.
The Indian river is home to a number of fish: Summer Pink, chum, coho, chinook salmon, along with Dolly Varden, char, and steelhead trout. This arched bridge is the place to see them. Be sure to stop by on your way through Alaska's oldest designated National Park.
The Crooked Creek Information Center and salmon viewing platform are located on the outskirts of Valdez at Mile 0.5 of the Richardson Highway. Pink and chum salmon return to this clear water stream each summer to spawn with peak numbers seen in mid-August. Occasionally, black or brown bear can be observed feasting on the returning fish.
Visible outside the windows of the Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau, this state wildlife refuge is the result of the 1964 earthquake. Literally overnight, the land dropped by 6 to 20 feet; hay fields and pastureland became salt flats and marshland. Once home to cows and grains, the land is now prime habitat for moose, birds, and fish. Some 20,000 acres are protected in the More...
May - Sept
The hatchery raises just over 130 million chum, king and coho salmon annually and is designed to allow visitors see the outside operations of an active hatchery. You'll learn about what it takes to raise salmon, the importance of the Alaska hatchery system, and the near shore marine environment that salmon share with other marine life.
Around milepost 24 on Glacier Highway, take a left onto Almaga Harbor Road to enter Ernest Gruening State Park, named after a territorial governor and one of the state’s first senators. In his summer home here, he wrote his 1953 manifesto, “The State of Alaska,” which articulated why Alaska should be a state. (Statehood became official in January, 1959). From the boat More...
The Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery stocks arctic char, arctic grayling, rainbow trout, chinook (king) salmon, and coho (silver) salmon in the Fairbanks region. All told, the fish produced by the Hatchery provide fishing opportunities for 137 landlocked lakes located within the Fairbanks, Nenana, Delta and Glennallen regions.
From the gravel pullout on the west side of the highway, an easy 1/4 mile walk to the Sockeye salmon viewing platform awaits (not fully accessible). Salmon are in the creek from mid-July to early August with the best viewing in late July.
Stop at Long Lake, at mile 45.2, to see a popular spot for sockeye salmon to spawn. Every year, 18,000 sockeye salmon swim up the Chitina and Copper Rivers to spawn in Long Lake. This is a very unique run, salmon begin entering the lake as late as September and spawn until April.
Stop at Long Lake, at mile 45.2, to see a popular spot for sockeye salmon to spawn. Every year, 18,000 sockeye…
King salmon enter Deep Creek during late May and early June and continue to spawn into early July. Watch for their dark red bodies in the riffles and deeper holes. A very limited fishing season is provided during the early summer for kings and steelheads.
The Pilgrim River crossing brings you close to groves of cottonwood that are abundant in this section of the valley. The presence of warmer soils associated with ground water springs contributes to the growth of deciduous trees. A lower under story of tall, dense willow and alder attracts birds that are similar to those found at Pilgrim Hot Springs and often associated with boreal habitats.
King salmon enter during late-May and early-June and there are always some fish spawning in areas near the highway during early-July. Wear polarized glasses if you have them and watch for dark red kings in the riffles and deeper holes. A very limited fishing season is available on these streams during the early summer for both salmon and steelhead.
From this bridge on Kodiak's Chiniak Highway it's possible to see spawning salmon in August and September. There’s also potential to see brown bears here during the late summer as they feast on salmon, especially around dawn or dusk. The road on the south side of the bridge leads to Bell’s Flats.
As you drive toward Soldotna you will see the Kenai River on your left. This river has thousands of salmon spawning in it each year. Mostly sockeye or red salmon but also coho or silver salmon, chinook or king salmon and pink or humpy salmon. After these salmon die, they float downstream and are deposited along the riverbank where they decompose and More...
Harrison Lagoon is on the west side of Port Wells in Prince William Sound and is accessible by boat. The stream enters on the north side of Harrison Lagoon with pink and chum salmon in it. Best viewing times are late July though late August with best viewing in mid-August. A nearby Forest Service public use cabin is available for reservations.More...
The road parallels a somewhat narrow creek valley, making it easy to see water and shorebirds associated with flowing water as well as the wide variety of songbirds, such as thrushes, warblers, and sparrows that hang out in dense shrubs clustered at creek’s edge. Arctic grayling, and sometimes pink salmon, are found here.
There is parking at the trailhead for passenger vehicles and one or two campers. The trail is half a mile long and takes you through a mature birch forest that is carpeted with devil's club and watermelon berry plants. It's an easy walking, ideal for small children, and ends at a small camping area on a slight bluff that overlooks Bishop's Beach and Bishop Creek. There is More...
Heading north, an access road on your right leads to a lakeside campground that is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. It has a sandy beach, picnic tables, barbeque pits, a trash bin, and a restroom that is open during snow-free months. There is no running water.
If you want to see salmon, eagles and black bear in their natural habitat, the view along Gunnuk Creek cannot be surpassed. Silver Spike Bridge over the creek is a good viewing point, or you can make your way to the nearby bear viewing platform at the old Gunnuk Creek Hatchery. Some call Gunnuk Creek “eagle highway” for the large number of eagles here when the fish are running.
This park is the confluence of the Kenai and Moose Rivers. Take a break at this recreation site named for the English author Izaak Walton who wrote The Compleat Angler. Look for the informational sign to learn about the Moose River Archaeological Site. You will also find a hosted campground and boat launch. There's excellent fly-fishing in this area.
Thousands of sockeye salmon migrate up Hidden Creek each year in late July and early August. With salmon come bears to feed on them. As you drive through this area, you may be able to spot bears at the Skilak Road crossing of the creek near the Hidden Lake Campground turnoff.
Walk out to the boardwalks along the Kenai River, learn about riverine habitat and the salmon lifecycle, and witness the timeless dance of hunter and hunted, of fish and fisher. One year-round resident here will impress you with their winter survival skills.