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

$200+ for a half-day, $300+ or full-day boat charter, $700+ 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 from Cooper Landing, Kenai, or Soldotna: 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. 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


TourDetailsHighlightsDownsideWhy Choose It?
Fly-in Fishing from Anchorage
  • 35 min flight from Anchorage
  • Full day
  • $700+
  • 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
  • Half to Full day
  • $200+
  • 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 to Talkeetna, or 40-min flight
  • 1/2 to full day
  • $200+
  • May - September
  • World's 2nd largest run of migrating fish
  • Sight eagle, bear, moose
  • Short detour on the road to Denali National Park
  • Denali flightseeing and other activities from town
  • 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

Seward View All

Season: May 11 - Sept 2 $325+ 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

Season: Apr 29 to Sep 10 $355+ 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.

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Copper Center View All

Salmon • Half-Day & Full-Day Options
Season: June 1 - August 10 $350 Full Day Charter 8 hrs

The Cop­per Riv­er Val­ley offers some of the best king salmon fish­ing in all of Alas­ka. In fact, each salmon up here aver­ages a whop­ping 40 pounds! Don’t miss your chance to fish these waters for salmon and oth­er species on a float trip with AK Fish Charters.

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $300+ 4 hrs to Multi-Day

Expe­ri­ence a full- or half-day sport-fish­ing trip the way it was meant to be: with a relax­ing vis­it to an uncrowd­ed fish­ing hole. Depend­ing on the sea­son, you can try for kings, sock­eye, trout, or Arc­tic grayling, as you angle with fish­ing guides who know the ins and outs of these cold, glacial drainages.

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Cooper Landing View All

$205+ 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: June 6 - Sept 30 $325 Day Trip or $2375+ 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

Season: Late April through October $195+ 4-8 hrs

Angle for Alaska’s most icon­ic fish: salmon (king, sock­eye, sil­ver) and trout on a half, three-quar­ters, or full day fish­ing char­ter from Coop­er Land­ing, just 2 hours south of Anchor­age on the Kenai Penin­su­la. Led by expert guides, you’ll fish with all top-qual­i­ty gear pro­vid­ed and can even ship your catch home with you as a sou­venir. Own­er David Lisi works with elite guides and will hand­pick the one that will be the best fit for your group.  ...more

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Kenai / Soldotna View All

Season: Mid-May through mid-to-late September $225+ Half-Day to Multi-Day

Feel the thrill of world-class salmon and trout fish­ing on Alaska’s Kenai Penin­su­la with expe­ri­enced, pas­sion­ate guides. You’ll get out on the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, just hours from Anchor­age, with a team that knows where the fish will be run­ning each day. Spend a day, or make it a mul­ti-day trip with a cus­tom pack­age that includes lodg­ing on the river.

$200+ 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.

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Homer View All

Season: Mid April to September $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. 

Season: Year Round $310+ ¾ & Full-day

Go fish! Cast your line for icon­ic Alaskan salmon and hal­ibut — as well as oth­er species — as you explore the shim­mer­ing waters around Homer with the pas­sion­ate fish­ing pros of Mav­er­ick Char­ters. The stun­ning area is one that many trav­el­ers don’t get to explore, and all ages can enjoy this unfor­get­table out­ing — no expe­ri­ence necessary!

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Talkeetna View All

Season: Year Round $235+ per person 4 hrs - Multi-day

Join Dave Fish Alas­ka on a pri­vate fish­ing excur­sion in Tal­keet­na. Choose from a vari­ety of trans­porta­tion options and fish for Alaska’s icon­ic species with the help of our expe­ri­enced guides. No expe­ri­ence is nec­es­sary, all lev­els are welcome.

Season: May through October $225+ 4-5 hrs

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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Anchorage View All

Fly-in salmon fishing trips from Anchorage
Season: Shack: May–August. Guided Trips: 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 $725 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 - Sept $745+ 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.

Season: May - September $785+ fly-in fishing day trip, $1,479+ 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: May 1 - Sept 30 $900 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: Jun 01 to Sep 07 $750 full day fishing, $1430+ 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

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Kodiak View All

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Ketchikan View All

Season: May - Sept $350+ per person 4 - 8 hrs

From cruise ship excur­sions to all-day fish­ing trips, Ketchikan’s Finest Fish­ing Char­ters pro­vides top-notch equip­ment and a cus­tomized approach to make your trip an adven­ture to remem­ber. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and be ready for a fish­ing expe­ri­ence like no other!

Season: May 14 - Sept 16 $250+ 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!

Season: May - September $299+ Day Trips 5+ 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!

Season: May–September $390+ per person Half & Full Day

Ketchikan — the salmon fish­ing cap­i­tal of the world — was made for fish­ing. And Salmon Falls Resort has made it easy to expe­ri­ence this icon­ic Alaskan activ­i­ty with a full or half-day of unfor­get­table angling. Whether you’re stop­ping for the day in Ketchikan on a cruise ship or already in town and look­ing for a great one-day out­ing, this is for you.

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