The King Salmon (or Chinook Salmon) is one of Alaska's most sought after species because of its size and relative scarcity. They average 10-50lbs but have been known to reach 130lbs or more. See our list of some of the best places across the state to reel one in:
King Salmon Fishing Spots
This spot in Sterling — at milepost 82.3 at the Isaak Walton Campground — is where the Moose River meets the Kenai River, and the two rivers’ differing paces are drastic. The Moose River is very slow and wide, with almost no current — so much so that it feels more like a lake. The Kenai River, on the other hand, flows fairly swiftly in comparison, and the confluence can play strange tricks on your tackle.
Soldotna Park, in downtown Soldotna, offers all Kenai River species — but most people are here for the sockeye. That means it can get crowded during peak sockeye season, but it’s also a good place to learn how to fish for sockeye. The combination of easy accessibility, hard-packed gravel and a shallow grade make the fishing enjoyable.
This unique fishery, about 25 miles north of Anchorage, is comprised of a small, artificial eddy of water that comes down from a power plant and connects to the main stem, Knik River. The glacial-fed water looks murky and blue-gray, and there’s very little current. While you won’t find much solitude here, you can usually find a spot to set up a lawn chair for some lazy fishing. There’s abundant parking, too, as well as restrooms.
This spot, just north of Sterling, is primarily a boat launch, but it also offers excellent sockeye fishing. It’s located at the end of Bing’s Landing Road: There’s a parking lot, but when the fishing is hot, you can expect to park alongside the road, up to half a mile away from the boat launch site. (Another reason you might park on the road: The lot near the boat launch has a fee.)
This confluence is one of the most popular fisheries in South Central Alaska. Located about 60 miles north of Anchorage on the Parks Highway, it offers excellent fishing for four of the major salmon species: kings, silvers, chums and pinks. It also features big rainbows (up to 30 inches) and Dolly Varden, as well as Arctic Grayling. You’ll also find, in small numbers, burbot and whitefish.
Located down Beaver Loop Road, just outside of Kenai, Cunningham Park is a great, easy-access location for sockeye and silver salmon. The shoreline here is a mix of gravel and mud, with the mud being more prevalent below the tidal zone. That said, this spot is very tidal dependent, so you’ll have to continually adjust your bait setup as the water rises or falls.
This spot is particularly good for anyone who’s mobility impaired, since you access the river by a flat, metal boardwalk — and the actual fishing area is also from the boardwalk. This makes Moose Meadows one of a very few places where anglers can fish for sockeye without having to be in the water — you can do excellent even from a wheel chair.
Alaska’s most productive king salmon sportfishery is located right in downtown Anchorage! Fish for salmon at Ship Creek even if you have only two hours. During the summertime derbies, specially tagged fish bring in $100-$10,000. Buy your tickets ($7 – 35) from the Derby Cabin next to Comfort Inn at Ship Creek and warm up your muscles-in 2002, a 41-pounder took grand prize! Want to fish Ship Creek? 6th Avenue Outfitters (907−276−0233) sells… ...more
The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (aka The Fishing Hole) is a popular park with both locals and visitors. The lagoon is stocked with fry that grow up to provide sport fishing. The fishing hole has a handicapped accessible platform and ramp. King salmon return mid-May to early July followed by an early run of silvers mid-July to early August and a late run early August to mid-September.
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.
When silver salmon are running up Montana Creek by the thousands, fishermen are running up the Parks Highway by the hundreds to go “combat fishing.” They stand elbow to elbow along the creek, casting their lines and catching everything from fish to coat sleeves. Up and down the creek, you can hear people holler “Fish on!”