Alaska Salmon Fishing
There's a reason Alaska is famous for its salmon: millions of them run up Alaska's rivers every summer, exploding out of the water along the way. Whether your heart's set on one of the five Alaska salmon species (kings are largest, reds richest, and silvers best fighters) or you just want delicious wild salmon to take home, you can find one here, fishing solo or booking a half day or full day on a charter. These trips may include your tackle and gear and may even include help cleaning, packaging and shipping home your catches. If you’ve never fished before, Alaska is the place to try it!
$100-$200 for a half- or full-day boat charter, $250-$400 for a fly-in, per person. About $20 for a license.
Best Time to Go
May through August. The exact peak dates vary based on where you are, but the season’s basic lineup goes like this: king, silver, sockeye, pink and chum.
Where to Go
With so many salmon swimming in Alaska’s waters, lots of towns can claim that they’re the salmon capital—and all can be right, depending on when you’re there. You can choose between river or ocean fishing, and a variety of settings:
- Anchorage: While there are spots around town to go fishing on your own, if you want serious fishing, you’ll take a fly-in fishing trip from here. Fly-ins take you beyond the reach of roads and offer you the best chance of catching lots of fish. Professional guides lead you to the day's hot fishing holes.
- Kenai River: The Kenai has many appeals: It's one of the world's few rivers that support all five Pacific salmon species. The world's biggest salmon are caught here, too, including a record 97-pound king. The canyon- and forest-filled area has eagles, great hiking and scenery. And it's only a 2-hour drive from Anchorage to Cooper Landing, where most charters launch. The waters are turquoise and you have a great chance of seeing bald eagles—as well as plenty of other anglers.
- Seward: You’ll most likely do ocean charters here—big boats, and a full day. You’ll get great scenery, too: huge mountains and glaciers in the background; whales, porpoises, sea otters and other marine wildlife in the foreground. 2.5 hours from Anchorage.
- Homer: Year-round saltwater salmon fishing, and a funky, artists-meet-anglers town, too. You can fish on your own off the Spit, or with a charter out on Kachemak Bay, where you have a decent chance of seeing whales. Six and a half hours from Anchorage.
- Talkeetna: Like the Kenai, the silty, glacial rivers here offers all five species of salmon—the fish aren’t as big, but Department of Fish & Game statistics show that you’ll catch twice as many fish in the same amount of time. Two hours from Anchorage.
- Ketchikan: A prime spot for salmon in the Southeast. You have lakes, streams and the Ketchikan Creek to choose from—go solo, use charters, or stay in a fishing lodge. Ketchikan is a major stop on cruises and along the Alaska Marine Highway, or you can fly from Anchorage or Seattle.
- Sitka: The saltwater salmon here, just outside Sitka Sound, prove that halibut don’t always corner the market on girth: they often top 100 pounds. Memorial Day and the weekend after are when the town has its Salmon Fishing Derby. Freshwater fishing here also offers sockeye, coho, pink, steelhead trout, brook trout and grayling. This town on the Inside Passage is also famous for its Russian culture.
- Yakutat: This small town in the Southeast is known for its wealth of all five salmon species, as well as halibut, and all close to shore. This way off-the-beaten town—yet has daily jet service—is also great for hiking and even surfing.
What You Need
Really nothing… Most companies provide all the gear you need, and you can buy your license from them. Serious anglers usually bring their own gear. Whether you go solo or with a charter, you need a license. Get your license online or buy one at most outdoor gear stores, supermarkets, etc
|Tour||Details||Highlights||Downside||Why Choose It?|
|Fly-in Fishing from Anchorage|
|Kenai River Fishing|
|Susitna River Valley, Talkeetna, Chulitna & Susitna Rivers|
Cooper Landing View All
Fishing the Kenai Peninsula is pretty much the ultimate for fishermen the world over, and with Alaska River Adventures, even beginners do well. This area is famous for salmon (Kings, reds and silvers), rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden, which Alaska River Adventures can help you find in the amazing green of the Kenai River and other points along the Peninsula. Alaska River Adventure guides have been fishing these waters for years. They’re patient ...more
Where will you find Alaska’s best salmon fishing? The Kenai Peninsula is hard to beat. Alaska Wildland Adventures (AWA) has specialized in fishing the Upper Kenai River between Kenai and Skilak Lakes since 1977. Their professional guides are experts in fly-fishing, drift fishing, and back trolling, so you can fish from the boat, the bank, or both. Expect an exciting day of fishing for salmon (red, silver, or king depending on the season), as ...more
Homer View All
O’Fish’ial specializes in saltwater halibut and king salmon charter fishing experiences out of Homer, as well as Long Range trophy fish hunts. Owner Chad has spent countless hours with seasoned Alaskan fishermen who shared time-tested advice – and their fishing hotspots – with him. He combines this knowledge with a customer-service focus and passion for sharing all the excitement and adventure Alaska fishing has to offer.
Homer is the halibut capital of Alaska, and this longtime charter company offers a blue-chip way to get to the fish. They have high-quality boats, experienced captains, and enthusiastic crews — as well as an inside line on finding halibut, rock fish and silver salmon. But they also offer a variety of other ways to enjoy the waters off Kachemak Bay, from wildlife cruising to paddling a kayak or hiking in Kachemak Bay State Park.
Kenai / Soldotna View All
Don’t miss this opportunity to go fishing for Alaskan salmon in beautiful rivers. This easy, one-day trip departs from Anchorage; you’ll drive over mountain passes and along the Cook Inlet to the Great Alaska Adventure Lodge where you’ll have lunch. Then it’s out to the confluence of two rivers with the lodge’s expert guides, where you’ll cast your line for famous salmon — king, sockeye, silver, or pink, depending on the season. Or choose a one-day ...more
Where can you find the biggest salmon, on average, in the entire world? In the Kenai River. And The River Crew, based in Soldotna, can take you to some secret spots on the famous river to fish for salmon and trout — whether you’re an experienced angler or not.
Everyone thinks that fishing in Alaska is mostly about tracking down the Kings in the height of the summer season. But this Kenai-based fishing charter operator has the experience to lead anglers to the best fish — and without the crowds — well outside the prime season. Visitors can choose from half to fully day charters for Salmon or full day charters for Halibut, Trout or combination trips.
Alaskan adventures and great lodging await at the Great Alaskan Adventure Lodge. This all-inclusive experience lets you drive or fly in to the property, which sits on 25 acres at the confluence of two rivers. An old homestead with cabins and luxury tent options, the lodge makes for a comfortable stay. You’ll also find an array of adventures — everything from great fishing to glacier cruising. The owners have been perfecting their itineraries for ...more
The logo for the Soldotna B&B Lodge says it all: a guest who’s lounging in bed — while also fishing. This family-run fishing lodge directly on the Kenai River offers a relaxing place to soak up the sights and sounds of nature, while also delivering a front-row opportunity to do some of Alaska’s most famous, exciting fishing. All stays carry a two-night minimum, but most guests stay longer (an average of 5 – 7 days), which is easy to do given the ...more
Anchorage View All
Take a fly-in salmon or trout-fishing trip out of Anchorage with Regal Air to enjoy world-class fishing in pristine, remote rivers. Regal Air teams up with wilderness lodges and guiding services and can set you up with anything from lunch to gear. They’ll even teach you how to cast. You’ll get the ultimate Alaska flying experience, taking off and landing in a float plane, and soaring over big, braided glacier river valleys and endless forests. ...more
You don’t need to be an expert or a Hollywood star to enjoy fly-out fishing in the wilds of Alaska. Trail Ridge Air offers guided, non-guided and custom trips, getting you into creeks and lakes where you can catch not only fish, but also a great Alaskan fish tale of your very own.
The Northwoods Lodge is a remote lodge where visitors can find themselves in a 45 minute flight from Anchorage. The lodge specializes in guided fishing, and guests can enjoy 8 to 10 hours of fishing a day if they choose. Guides help you spin or fly fish for trophy king salmon, silver and sockeye salmon, or resident rainbow trout, arctic grayling and northern pike
Exploring Alaska’s backcountry lakes, forests and rivers is a phenomenal experience. Wilderness Place Lodge — tucked away on a remote river northwest of Anchorage — offers excellent access to nearly any freshwater fish you came to Alaska for, along with a unique eco-travel experience that comes with a high level of service, a variety of non-fishing activities and the mellow freedom to create an Alaskan experience that suits your own taste.
Go fishing right in Anchorage – whether you have only have a few hours or a full day. Rent a gear package and fish on your own. Or, hire one of our local guides to take you on a guided tour to land your dream catch. You can also buy bait and fishing licenses.
Since 1963, Rust’s has been safely carrying anglers far away from the crowds. Experienced guides lead you to world-class fishing for kings, silvers, grayling, and trout in some of Alaska’s most beautiful and remote wilderness — and they’ll clean and package your catch for the trip back to Anchorage. On the way, enjoy a window-seat view and pilot narration.
Seward View All
Profish-n-sea Charters, out of Seward, offers salmon and halibut fishing with friendly, experienced Alaskan guides. Trips last a full day; you’ll motor 2 to 2.5 hours from Seward to the Gulf of Alaska, Montague Island, and other outer-coast hotspots. Profish-n-Sea knows the three keys to catching fish: boats, knowledge, and gear. That’s why the boats are always clean, the gear sharp, and the crew friendly, helpful, and fun.
When in Seward, head out on the water with Alaska Northern Outfitters on their comfortable 46-foot catamaran – the Sea Quest — for an epic day of fishing for halibut, salmon, lingcod, and rockfish. It’s the only charter vessel in Seward with an upper viewing deck. This lets you sightsee or have lunch on the upper deck while watching the action below. . Inside you’ll find a large and heated interior, indoor seating for everyone, tables, and ...more
Talkeetna View All
Fish more of the hot spots with Phantom Charters, a family company run by folks who live to fish and bring a lifetime of insider knowledge to your trip. Using special, shallow-running boats to get into hard-to-reach waters, they’ll take you to best river fishing around Talkeetna. Wander the bank and cast for Silvers, Chums, Pinks, and Sockeyes, or troll from behind the boat as well as shore fish for the Big Kings.
Kodiak View All
From Kodiak Island to the Katmai coast, Kingfisher Aviation will customize each trip, making for an intensely personal experience. Their most popular excursion includes a flight to a bear-viewing hotspot, where you can see 8 to 10 bears swiping at salmon swimming upstream. Kingfisher also offers shorter scenic flightseeing tours without the bear-viewing stop.
Ketchikan View All
Ketchikan is known as the “salmon capital of the world,” and this uniquely personal tour is your chance to angle for these iconic Alaskan fish — as well as huge halibut. You’ll board an intimate fishing boat — complete with top-quality fishing and rain gear, as well as heaters, snacks, and beverages — close to the Ketchikan cruise terminal. And, since this is a private charter, it will be only your group on board!
You’ll find out why Ketchikan is famous for salmon with Captain Jared of Rainy Day Charters. Leave the cruise ship crowds behind for an authentic Alaskan experience, surrounded by water, wilderness and wildlife. It’s a perfect excursion for a half-day in port, even better if you have more time to fill your entire box with fish.
Baranof Fishing Excursions offers classic Alaska fishing experiences from their private marina in downtown Ketchikan. They provide everything you need from rubber boots to expert guides, for an extraordinary fishing adventure!