Photo Credit: The River Crew

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!

Price Range

$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

Compare

TourDetailsHighlightsDownsideWhy Choose It?
Fly-in Fishing from Anchorage
  • 35 min flight from Anchorage
  • Full day
  • $359 - $399
  • Mid-May through August
  • Fewer fellow anglers, more fish
  • Go wherever the fish are biting
  • Extend trip in a cabin or all-inclusive lodge
  • Most expensive option
  • Surrounded by wilderness
  • Fewer people, more fish
Kenai River Fishing
  • 2.5 hr drive from Anchorage
  • Full day
  • $275
  • May - September
  • World's biggest salmon
  • Kenai Peninsula is Alaska's outdoor playground
  • Turquoise waters
  • Sight eagle, bear, moose
  • Popular river, although guides avoid "combat-fishing" areas
  • Longer travel time
  • Fish for trophy salmon
  • Enjoy other outdoor activities on the Kenai Peninsula
Susitna River Valley, Talkeetna, Chulitna & Susitna Rivers
  • 2.5 hr drive from Anchorage or 3 hr train, or 40-min flight
  • 1/2 to full day
  • $135 - $185
  • May - September
  • World's 2nd largest run of migrating fish
  • Sight eagle, bear, moose
  • Short detour on the road to Denali National Park
  • Denali (McKinley) flightseeing and other activities from town
  • Most affordable
  • Smaller salmon vs. Kenai
  • Note as remote as fly-in
  • Affordable guided fishing
  • Monster runs
  • One the way to Denali
  • Views of Denali from Town
  • Multiple transportation options

Cooper Landing View All

Season: May 15 to Oct 31 $175+ 4 - 9 hrs

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

Season: Jun 06 to Sep 30 $315 Day Trip or $1945+ all-inclusive packages Full Day to Multi Day

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

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Homer View All

Season: Year Round $300+ 6 hrs+

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.

$195+ 3/4 to Full Day Excursions

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. 

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Kenai / Soldotna View All

$295+ per person Half-Day to Full-Day

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

Season: Jun 01 to Oct 20 3-8 hours

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.

$200 half day | $275+ full day Half - Full Day

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. 

Season: Jun 01 to Sep 15 $1795+ Multi-Day Packages

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

Season: Year Round $157+ Lodging, $1297+ All-Inclusive Fishing Packages

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

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Anchorage View All

Fly-in salmon fishing trips from Anchorage
Season: May 01 to Sep 30 $600 8 - 10 hrs

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

Season: May 01 to Sep 30 $600+ 8 hrs

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.

Season: Year Round $575 full day fishing, $1200+ all-inclusive multi-day packages 8 hrs - Multi-Days

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

$550+ fly-in fishing day trip, $1,248+ overnight all-inclusive 1 - 6+ Nights

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.

Season: Year Round $100

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.

Season: May 01 to Sep 30 $645+ all-inclusive packages One day or 3-night

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.

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Seward View All

Season: Apr 28 to Sep 03 $295+ Full Day

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.

Season: May 09 to Sep 06 $199+ per person Full-Day

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

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Talkeetna View All

$190+ 5 - 8 hours

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.

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Kodiak View All

Season: Apr 01 to Dec 31 $160+ 1+ hrs

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.

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Ketchikan View All

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $200+ per person 4-8 hrs

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!

$200+ Fishing, $100 Wildlife Viewing 2 hours - Full Day

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.

$249+ Day Trips 6+ hrs

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!

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