You don't have to leave Anchorage to land a famous Alaska salmon or trout. And you also don’t need a charter. Your chances aren't quite as good as when hiring a guide and boat, but fishing around Anchorage is cheap and convenient.
Fish in the Anchorage Bowl run in wild creeks and well-stocked lakes. It takes little gear to get up and running. So if there's no time for a fly-in fishing trip, do like the locals and make the urban landscape your fishing hole. Here are top spots for gearing up and fishing:
- World's only urban king salmon fishery
- Need only 2 hours
- Best for king salmon
- Silvers, pinks, & rainbows can also be caught
Alaska's most productive king salmon sportfishery is located right in downtown Anchorage. During the summertime derbies, specially tagged fish bring in $100-$10,000. The "Ship Creek Combo" rental package at 6th Avenue Outfitters (907-276-0233) gets you a rod and reel for about $5/day. Rent boots or waders (about $10/day) to navigate the silty banks, buy some fishing line, and you're ready to go.
Directions: From downtown, you can walk to Ship Creek, or park near 1st Ave.
- Over two dozen stocked lakes
- Close to hotels
- Trout, salmon, char
With over a twenty stocked lakes, fly-fishing in Anchorage is always just a quick drive from your hotel. Try Little Campbell Lake in Kincaid Park for rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, and arctic char. Sand Lake in South Anchorage boasts pan-sized trout, salmon, and the voracious northern pike. Other good bets are Jewel Lake and Eklutna Lake where you can pursue rainbow trout, dolly varden, and silver salmon.
For a full-day rainbow trout adventure and sweeping views of the Turnagain Arm, hike the McHugh Creek trail seven miles to Rabbit Lake.
- For Little Campbell LakeLittle Campbell Lake, head south on New Seward Hwy to Dimond Exit. Head west on Dimond (3.2 mi) to Jewel Lake Rd. Turn right on Jewel Lake, left on Raspberry Rd (after 1.3 mi), and right on gravel road at Kincaid Park entrance (after 1.9 mi). Another 0.5 miles to lake and parking area.
- For Sand LakeSand Lake, follow Campbell directions to Jewel Lake. Turn left on Caravelle Drive (1.1 mi).Another 0.1 miles to foot trail and street parking.
- For the McHugh Creek trailheadMcHugh Creek trailhead, head south on the Seward Highway to mile 111.
- For Jewel LakeJewel Lake, get off the New Seward Highway and head west about 3.5 miles. The lake will be on your right.
- For Eklutna LakeEklutna Lake, drive 20 miles north out of Anchorage and exit onto Eklutna Village Rd. Follow the signs for about 7 miles to the lake.
- Easily accessible
- Forest & solitude
- Rainbow trout
- Silver & pink salmon
This fish-filled creek rushes out from Far North Bicentennial Park and through the center of town. Cast for rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, or silver salmon-all within walking distance of your car. Throw on a pair of hip-waders and head up the creek or angle from the shoreline trail.
Directions: Park at one of the lots on Campbell Airstrip Rd. to access the creek from Far North Bicentennial Park, or head west on 76th off of Old Seward to King St., and park at Taku-Campbell LakeTaku-Campbell Lake.
- 20 minutes south of downtown
- Pink and silver salmon
- Scenic drive
Just 20 minutes south of town along the magnificent Turnagain Arm, Bird Creek hosts pink and silver salmon galore. When the runs are in, come prepared for "combat fishing" where a hundred anglers bump and nudge their way to the best spots. Drop by at 10 or 11 on a summer night for a quintessential Alaska experience: you'll be shocked to see crowds of locals casting for a late night dinner, including young kids.
Directions: south on the Seward Highway to the bridge at Mile 103.
If you're shopping for fishing gear, head to Mountain View Sports Center (907-563-8600). They carry the high-quality fly rods and reels, a complete selection of fly-tying materials, and a full line of spinning and casting gear. Their experienced, knowledgeable staff will get you geared up and ready to fish. Pick up that essential Alaska fishing license, and your king salmon tags too. If you would prefer to rent, you can pick up quality gear from Alaska Tackle Rental downtown.
Directions: Head south from downtown on C Street, turn left on 36th Ave, then right on the Old Seward Highway. Mountain View Sports is at 3838 Old Seward, between Telephone and Communications Avenues.
You’ll also need a license
You can order one online, or buy one at places like Mountain View Sports, or even in many supermarkets. One day costs about $20.