Best Place to Fish Salmon in Alaska – 9 Amazing Spots

Due to the million counts of watersheds in Alaska, it is generally daunting to find the right spot to achieve your fishing needs. Basically, the choice for the best place to fish salmon in Alaska highly depends on the amount of time that you have and the distance that you’re willing to go through. Honestly, salmon fishing in Alaska is definitely incomparable due to the excellent scenery while you fight with the biggest fish you have ever seen.

In case you plan to have a salmon fishing trip, Alaska is the best place to go. But, if you still don’t know where specifically in Alaska you will do the fishing, well, you landed on the right track. We have here nine of the best fishing spots in Alaska that offer a bountiful amount of different salmon species together with the beautiful scenic panorama. So, before you throw up those baits, let’s have a look below!

Different Salmon Species

Generally, the waters of Alaska cradle abundant fish variety. One of these is the salmon which also have different species. This is actually one of the things that make salmon fishing an exciting adventure. So, before we dive into the best place to fish salmon in Alaska, let’s have some few words regarding these regular invaders of the waters of Alaska.

King Salmon

The King salmon or also known as the Chinook is one of the great catch in Alaskan waters. It is actually better if you catch a bigger one. Generally, the king salmon are very popular within the locals as they name one place within the west side of Naknek Lake after this salmon species.

Considered as hard-fighting fish, the king salmon has an average weight of about 20 to 30 pounds. Moreover, you can also easily find some with a weight of 50 pounds or greater than that. You can generally fish the kings for the period of June to late July.

Chum Salmon

Among the different species of salmon, the Chum salmon are the ones always been ignored. However, you will be amazed once you have a catch of this salmon species. Generally, the average weight of the chum salmon is about 10 pounds but, you can also catch some weighing 15 pounds. You can basically have an excellent fishing experience for chum salmon in Alaska during the time period of late June to end of August.

Silver Salmon

The Silver salmon or the Coho should be the catch of your choice if you opt for some that have fast actions within the water. They are generally relentless and usually the best fighters within the group of salmon. Moreover, prepare yourself as you go catching after this salmon species as they are the strongest among them. Try to catch them from the month of July to September and you’ll never go wrong in catching a big one.

best place to fish salmon in Alaska

Pink Salmon

Generally, the Pink Salmon or the Humpback is the smallest among the group. On average, they basically weigh about 5 pounds but still, you can even easily find bigger ones. Moreover, if you want to catch the Pinkies, consider catching them on even-numbered years. Remember, that the life cycle of the Pink salmon lasts for two years which means you cannot catch them yearly.

However, once this salmon species come back on the waters of Alaska, they invade the water in abundant amount. Basically, once they’re back, you can actually grab around 50 or more fish in just one catch especially if you know the best place to fish salmon in Alaska. It is typically good to catch the Pinkies from late July until the end of August.

Sockeye Salmon

The Sockeye salmon is actually the most popular one if you opt to eat for fillets. Aside from being the great-tasting salmon of all, this salmon species is also the biggest in numbers. They generally come out of the waters through million counts. Basically, fishing after the Sockeye is one of the big things. You can generally meet them from mid-June up to late July.

9 of the Best Place to Fish Salmon in Alaska

Having all the five types of wild salmon, it is no doubt that Alaska has numbers of watersheds that can offer bountiful salmon species. Aside from the abundant number of salmon that it has, Alaska can also boast for the hard-to-beat sceneries. Moreover, some of these are the best spots to go salmon fishing.

Here are some of the pristine Alaskan waters that will give you a good catch of different salmon species. Check them out below and discover how they become the best place to fish salmon in Alaska.

1. Kenai River

Speaking of the best fisheries within Alaska, you will actually dive on the Kenai River. Aside from being the best place to fish salmon in Alaska, it is also a place of plenty of scenic panoramas. The aquatic blue waters and incredible snow-capped mountains on the background will make your line casting feel like being on a fairytale story. And, once you successfully catch a big salmon, it really feels like magic.

Going back in history, Les Anderson caught the biggest king salmon at this river which weighed 97 pounds and 4 ounces making it on the world record on May 17, 1985. With just spin and glo with salmon eggs, Anderson successfully caught the monster king. Using the fishing set up that Anderson used before; anglers are still catching more than 50 pounds of king salmon today.

It is generally located within the south-central of Alaska which is about 3 and a half-hour drive from Anchorage. Due to its near proximity to the anchorage and have good accessibility to the road, the Kenai River is a famous fishing site in Alaska. It has a length of about 82-miles and divided into three sections – upper, middle, and lower.

best place to fish salmon in Alaska
Salmon species to catch

Generally, within the upper portion of the river, you will see the majority of the trout. Meanwhile, the silver, sockeye, and king salmon are very common within the lower and middle part of the river. Moreover, thanks to the vast population of the king salmon and the sockeye because they make the Kenai River the best place to fish salmon in Alaska. However, all the five different species of salmon can be seen here.

There are around thousands of silver, kings, and pink salmons swarming the river during the months of May until October. On the other hand, the sockeye’s population reaches to million, during these months period as well. Yet, they say that the last two weeks of July is the most promising time to have a great catch of king salmon within the Kenai River.

2. Kasilof River

Another best place to fish salmon in Alaska is the Kasilof River due to its hidden secrets within the Kenai Peninsula at the town of Kasilof. The Tustumena Lake generally fills this river lot of glacier in addition to the scenic view, the quietness of the place, and rod bending kings. This simply means that salmon fishing within this river does not require any motor as it is a drift-only river. With this, you can actually experience the real Alaskan wilderness adventure.

However, the king salmon that penetrate the Kasilof River is a little bit smaller compared to the average Chinook situated on the Kenai River. During the king salmon in July within the Kasilof River, you can basically catch up kings weighing around 30 to 50 pounds. Yet, you can also have a catch of the sockeye, silver, and pink salmon here at the Kasilof River depending on the month.

The kings usually open the fishing season in this river during its early run in late spring and the summer run within the months of July and August. And, normally, you can see abundant kings weighing 20 to 40 pounds during the late run.

On the other hand, the sockeye salmon basically join the fray after in June and until the middle month of July. The late bloomers award goes to the silver salmon as they may come in the mid-August. They are generally smaller compared to those salmon in Kenai River but catching salmon here at the Kasilof is full of fun due to the use of live bait which is not allowed in Kenai.

3. Nushagak River

The Nushagak River is the best place to fish salmon in Alaska where you can have great days full of the kings weighing 25 pounds. If you will go here to fish during its best time fishing from June to last week of July you can also experience a great Alaskan wilderness adventure. Why? It is because you cannot find any roads and go to the river is accessible through a floatplane or boat.

Actually, it is through a floatplane coming from the anchorage to Dillingham in which you can have the most accessible way to the river. Generally, the lodges within this place are only temporary structures which are typically made of tents or yurts. Although the Nushagak River does not have any luxurious things to boast for, it may actually have the excellent quality king salmon fishing experience.

Aside from the Chinook, you can also have a good catch of the biggest sockeye salmon and Coho. Yet, fishing for different salmon species and some trout may generally depend on the time of your fishing trip.

4. Brooks River

If you want to have some kind of adventure, go for this harder-to-reach spot in Alaska, the Brooks River. It basically sits within the center of Katmai National and Preserves. Although hard to reach, the Brooks River is the best place to fish salmon in Alaska. You can generally get there through a floatplane or charters but, charters may take lots of your time travelling there.

The river has crystal clear waters which normally embrace numbers of salmon wherein the Coho and the sockeye dominate the top spots. It is actually in early July in which the summer run of sockeye is at its peak. However, based on the time of the year, you can experience the real action of the salmon fighter.

Additionally, there are lots of good things about the Brooks River. One of them is the numbers of fishing lodges that reside there conveniently.    

5. Kodiak Island

Actually, salmon fishing in this spot may generally become a treasure hunting experience because of the Kodiak Brown Bears. This is basically considered as the main competitors of the salmon within this place. Yet, Kodiak Island is the best place to fish salmon in Alaska due to its awesome fishing adventures.

best place to fish salmon in Alaska

The place is generally remote but getting there is not a problem as there are numbers of commercial flights available. In addition to that, good roads are present within the island which makes the bodies of water very accessible. Generally, there are four different salmon species running through this island.

In the start of June, you can see kings with an average of 20 pounds until the middle of July. Eventually, the sockeye takes place and will be there until the first week of August which will then be followed immediately by the Pinkies. And, from the middle of August all down to last week of September, prepare to have a great catch of the silver salmon.

6. Bristol Bay

Bristol Bay is generally the so-called “America’s Fish Basket” due to its watershed of streams, rivers, and wetlands. It cradles a diverse population of fauna and great numbers of salmon run making it the Salmon Capital of the World. Moreover, Bristol Bay is the best place to fish salmon in Alaska as it contains the commercial salmon fisheries.

Aside from that, it is also a good host for sport fishing because it has the two major waterways namely the Naknek River and the Kvichak River. This river is also proud of the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge has 4.7 million acres of wilderness. Additionally, it is also where the Katmai National Park is located wherein you can see 18 volcanoes and a thousand counts of brown bears.

7. Homer

Homer is basically the Halibut Fishing Capital of the World. But it is also the best place to fish salmon in Alaska as there are tons of salmon situated either on the deep water or on the river. Actually, there is a premier fishing contest within the state which is conducted every year in March. This is known as the Winter King Salmon Tournament which gave around tens of thousands of dollars to anglers who won.

8. Ketchikan

Within the Alaska’s Inside Passage, you can locate a town that has a valuable fishing history. This town is known as the Ketchikan which is generally a fish camp for Tligit natives during summer. Ketchikan is also a Salmon Capital of the World in which many anglers make this town as their home, and some make their livings here as fishing guides.

9. Ship Creek

Contrary to the remote, wild Alaska picturesque, Ship Creek sits conveniently within the downtown Anchorage. Due to this, it becomes an easy, affordable, and best place to fish salmon in Alaska compared to other fishing spots. The thing that makes it a productive fishing spot is the muddy and sedge flats that it has along with the ocean-fed waters. You can also have a view of some shorebirds here like the sandpipers, godwits, and the plovers.

How to Fish on the Best Place for Salmon in Alaska

Now that you know where you can get a good catch of salmon, it is also essential to plan for your fishing trip in Alaska. Along with it, you must also consider the proper way of fishing on the best place to fish salmon in Alaska. Here is a guide on how to fish for salmon on the different great Alaskan fishing spots.

Step #1:

Prepare your fishing trip in Alaska between May up to August. Remember, these are the seasons in which the spawning and migration are dominant.

Step #2:

Make a plan on the type of fishing that you want. You can try fly-fishing, spin casting, or ocean fishing. However, keep in mind that this may vary based on the fishing equipment that you have. Aside from that, check if your target salmon species are in season on the time of your trip.

Step #3:

Get the required fishing license. Make sure of the license that you will be getting as it may vary based on the locality where you want to fish salmon. It is actually better if you apply for the license just before the start of the season so that the process may speed up if necessary.

Generally, the fishing license can be obtained for a period of one to two weeks time. Luckily, the application is widely available over the web through the Department of Fish and Game official website. Take note that king salmon fishing needs a specific permit that can be secured from the authorized sellers, like the sporting goods stores.

Step #4:

This time, basically identify where you want to fish with in Alaska. In this place, you can generally find around 30,000 miles of coastline having thousands of freshwater lakes. These watersheds usually offer great fishing opportunities. Moreover, the spot where you want to perform salmon fishing may also affect the type of fishing that you can do. One good example of this is the fly-fishing which is highly applicable in various lakes and rivers within the inland places.

Step #5:

If you want, you can get in touch with a guide service. Generally, these are widely available in Alaska and most of them offer an affordable range of services which may include the transportation and fishing guides. Near some fishing spots, you can see various fishing lodges which are perfect to consider for your stay. Aside from that, they also provide guides on your trip, meals and accommodations.

Step #6:

Basically, gather all the equipment that you will need for your fishing within the best place to fish salmon in Alaska. It is actually practical to bring some supplies from your home. But it is convenient to rent some equipment in the area. The most common thing that you need is actually a durable fishing gear and tackle that has various bait.

Generally, the type of baits specifically varies on the type of fishing that you will be doing. Another thing that you might not forget during your fishing trip is to pack some warm clothing, rain gear, and water-resistant boots. Bear in mind that even in the summer season, it may be cold and rainy in Alaska.

Step #7:

It is better to ask your fishing guide regarding their policy on transporting the fish home. Generally, rules regarding this depend from the season. Moreover, you can also ask the airlines about their guidelines on freezing, packing of fish, and shipping.

Step #8:

Finally, know the maximum limit of salmon fishing within any place in Alaska. Again, this matter may also vary on the month. If you want a detailed and updated reference regarding the salmon fishing limit, you can try to visit the website of the Alaska Game and Fishing.

Final Thoughts

Among the best place to fish salmon in Alaska, the Kenai River, Kasilof River, and the Nushagak River are among the topmost places on the list. However, all the other fishing spots are also worth visiting to have a great catch of salmon to take home. Generally, each of them offers a distinct salmon fishing experience that would be very unforgettable. Aside from that, each fishing spots have a world-class fishing activity that also provides astounding scenery and wildlife.  

Moreover, these fishing spots in Alaska cradle bountiful amounts of various salmon species fresh to every plate. However, salmon fishing in Alaska doesn’t only need familiarity with the amazing fishing spots. It also needs to have an established plan on where you will be fishing, when, and how you will do it. Considering your budget and your own preference you can generally come up with a great fishing plan in any amazing spots in Alaska.