Best Time to Fish in Alaska – Your Fishing Guide 2020!

Going in Alaska will let you discover the bountiful rivers that cradle different variety of fish that you may enjoy catching. The exceptional fishing activity here is actually far unique from the other rivers of the world. But, you may basically enjoy going there if you really have to get a big one. So, the question lies behind the best time to fish in Alaska.

As we go along, we will share the best season for you to go there and do your fishing activity. Aside from that, we also have here a different time period of the day that may affect your fishing. Moreover, other factors that may have to consider when you plan to fish are also included here. So, if you have plans fishing in Alaska and don’t know when, well, check it out below!

Best Times of the Day to Go Fishing

Planning to go out for fishing and take a big catch on the best time of the day is actually a very challenging decision. Generally, you do not want to waste your time waiting to get a bite when the fish are not really active. Most likely, you really want to go out in the rivers of Alaska when you will catch a big one.

Actually, there are various factors that may affect the behavior of the target fish, especially in Alaska. Additionally, there are no hard or quick rules about the best times of the day to go fishing. Below are the contributing factors and the four-time periods that have a great impact over the best times of the day to catch fish.

TIME PERIOD 1: Early Morning

During the early morning that is right after dawn, the water temperatures are actually low. This is a good time to have a good catch in summer, late spring, or early fall as the temperatures in the daytime is higher. Moreover, it is also during this time of the day that people are not crowding on any bodies of water taking a swim and produce loud sounds near the water.

Additionally, the early morning has low light levels which are really beneficial in catching some species like bass and catfish. These species have the ability to have a good sight in low light surroundings. It is also during this time of the day that flying insects are very active especially during the summer. So, with this, you can generally have a catch of trout and bluegill.

But, this early morning fishing is not ideal during the winter due to the fact that the temperatures of both the water and air will be at their lowest level. Many fish are still inactive at this time and usually wait for the sun to warm the water for quite a bit.

best time to fish in Alaska

TIME PERIOD 2: Late Morning to Early Afternoon

Generally, it is very hard to have a good catch during the warmer parts of the year at the times within the late morning and early afternoon. This is due to the reason that most fish are looking down the deep water for colder temperature. Moreover, at this time, the rays of the sun are very strong which let the fish seek low temperatures.

Yet, during the windy and rainy seasons, the probability to catch fish during the day is very high. Basically, the amount of sunlight will reduce by the winds, rain, and clouds thus reducing the temperatures as well. If ever you will fish on the colder season of the year, you will be successful in doing so as the sun will warm up the cold water and make the fish move and feed on.

TIME PERIOD 3: Late Afternoon

Similar to the early morning, it is also during the late afternoon of summer, spring, and fall when fish are really productive. The sun is in low position within the sky which makes the water to cool off as it encourages the fish to be active. Moreover, dimmer lighting also supports the stimulation of bass and other predators.

Always keep in mind that the morning activity will basically reverse during the afternoon. Let’s take the temperature and the levels of light as examples. They will generally fall rather than to rise as they normally do during the morning. Aside from that, the shadows will also vary, in case the east bank is shaded during the morning, alternatively, the west bank will be the one shaded during the afternoon.

Moreover, the early portion of the afternoon may still make the fish active during the winter. However, the activity of the fish will calm down as soon as the sun starts to settle down.


Generally, the time between the sunset and midnight also makes the fish productive as well, especially when the weather is warm. Usually, you have to consider the absence of light once you plan your fishing activity. However, most gamefish such as the catfish, bass, and even the walleye, have aggressive feeding on the first half of the night.

Moreover, you can achieve a great topwater fishing activity during the moon-lit nights. As the night starts to progress, the fishing activity will also slow down. During this time, the temperatures will also drop progressively as well. Luckily, you can also catch some fish for some time during the night so there’s no bad in trying.

Additionally, less productivity of nighttime fishing will be affected by the cool weather. Actually, there are only a few fish that feed during the winter. Also, a few fish also opt to do the same activity during the middle of the night.

Best Time to Fish in Alaska

Generally, the freshwater and saltwater in Alaska is a home of over a dozen of various salmon and other fisheries. This basically means that it is the best time to fish in Alaska for trout, halibut, and salmon from the months of May to September.

May to June

  • The Early Run at the Kenai River

Basically, the best time to fish in Alaska for the king salmon is during the early days of May when there is a very clear vision and low level of the water within the Kenai River. The early run is actually smaller compared to the second run. This makes the competition over the water lesser, meaning, fewer anglers and boats are present within the fishery.

With this, the experience and fishing activity become productive and pleasant for you which make it the best time to fish in Alaska. Moreover, the low water level of the river during this time seems to make the fish go down to a few deep holes within the area. Such activity will take more group of fish into the river.

  • The Fishery at the Kasil of River

The Kasil of River is generally located down from Soldotna and traverse from Tustumena Lake up to Cook Inlet. Basically, the river cradles a remarkable amount of king salmon which becomes the favorite of all times. However, the problem with the Kasil of River is that it is very shallow and rocky. Perhaps, the adventure is actually peaceful with tons of fishing activities.

Generally, during this best time to fish in Alaska, many anglers successfully have a good catch. Anglers are usually allowed to use baits within the fishery and there are frequently multiple hook-ups to notice. Aside from the anglers, kids also enjoy this kind of fishing activity.   

Mid-June to July to Early August

  • The Fishery at the Kenai River

Actually, Alaska’s great-tasting salmon or the sockeye salmons or reds, as known by the locals, can be caught during the middle of June to July up to early August. This is basically the best time to fish in Alaska if you want to get home a box filled with what they called as the “meat and potatoes”. During the mid-June, the initial run of Russian River reds starts to dominate the Kenai River’s mainstream.

When this first run slowly trims down, the next batch of the sockeye penetrates the Kenai River during the mid-July. Generally, there is an estimated amount of 600,000 to 1,000,000 reds that enter the river for a period of four weeks. For most anglers, this is generally the best time to fish in Alaska because they will definitely have a successful catch for this one run. Yet, there are bag limits for this run. It only allows three bags of reds in one day which should have a weight of 8 pounds each.

Mid-June to September

  • The Fishery at the Kenai River

Aside from the king salmon, the Kenai River also has numbers of rainbow trout. Starting June 11, the upper part of Kenai opens and there is generally great numbers of catch. Moreover, the trout fishery will able to reach as much as 2000 rainbow trout in every mile, which means that this is also the best time to fish in Alaska.

Moreover, fishing here throughout summer is basically good. Yet, the moment salmon start to spawn during late August. Aside from this, the rainbows and dollies swim to feed over the bountiful numbers of loose salmon eggs. With this, you can really have fun catching rainbows and dollies.  


  • The Late Run at the Kenai River

This is actually the best time to fish in Alaska for the second run of Kenai king salmon. Basically, this is the time which is the most famous fishing time among anglers. But, expect to have more competitions this time as there are lots of anglers and boats come for fishing, though, the numbers of fish tend to double up this time.

Again, the baits are allowed within this fishery for this time around. So, you may observe here different fishing methods like artificial lures, back-trolled, lace with sardine or drifted. The starting period of this run begins on the last week of June and progresses until the end of July. Within the middle of July, the amount of king salmon tends to increase to more than a thousand per single day.

July and August

  • Combination Pick at Seward

At Seward, Alaska you will definitely experience a whole day of multiple species to catch. From silver salmon, rockfish to lingcod, you will generally have the best time to fish in Alaska with this fishing paradise all throughout these months. Yet, you may experience boat limits here as well as bag limits.

Basically, per single bag, you will take 3 pieces of silver salmon with 1 lingcod and 4 pieces of rockfish. Moreover, this multiple species fishing in Steward, Alaska is very much popular within the locals. And, aside from the various species that you will have to meet here, you can also see the incredible panorama of the wildlife. So, don’t forget to bring your camera to also have good shots.

August to September

  • The Fishery at the Kenai River

Another favorite salmon dish of many anglers is the silver salmon or the Coho. This type of salmon is hefty in which some of it exceeds 20 pounds of their weight. Among the light and on the medium tackle, the silvers are really hard fighters. They are aggressive and can strike lures and take on bait hooks as well.

Generally, having them in the river within the months of August through September is the best time to fish in Alaska. This time is also enjoyable as there are few numbers of tourists. So, fishing around this time in Alaska may let you enjoy the activity.

best time to fish in Alaska

May thru September

  • The Fishery at Cook Inlet

Halibut fishing in Alaska is also another fishing activity to watch out for. The said fish species range from 10 pounds to almost 400. With this, you will be in doubt on what fish you will go to take in line. Within May and some part of June, you will have a chance of trolling close the shore to take some king salmon. The remainder of the day will be intended for halibut fishing making it the best time to fish in Alaska.

Additional Factors to Consider while Fishing

Generally, the most crucial thing in order to identify the best time to fish in Alaska and even in other places is the temperatures and the season. Yet, here are some of the other factors that you still have to take into account when you want to fish.


Basically, focus on the tides most likely during your surf fishing activity over the saltwater. Some anglers have a great catch during incoming tides. Yet, for others, it is more comfortable to engage in fishing when the tides are outgoing.

Generally, the majority would agree that the most productive one is during slack tides or there is actually no water movement. Since there are two high and two low tides every day, you can identify here the ideal tide when is the best time to fish in Alaska.


Moreover, the weather conditions may also change the best time to fish in Alaska as it will generally affect most of the fish activity. Usually, light rain can cool down the water and disturb the water surface. This is a good day to catch fish especially during the mid-day and middle summer. On the other hand, you may find it almost impossible to have a good catch, especially at late fall up to early spring. This applies true even at the middle time of the day.

Safety and Other Creatures

Actually, you may try to find out how the time of the day will affect your fishing activity. Doing this will basically keep you on a safe and comfortable state during fishing. And, most likely, anglers who seem to be more comfortable will have to catch much fish and, at the same time, enjoy the activity.

In case you want to fish in the mid-day of spring or fall, you will probably like to use more sunscreen and hat for protection from harmful rays of the sun. In addition to that, it is also essential to do this protection during your fishing activity in summer. But, the best time to fish at this season is in the morning or afternoon when there are weaker sun rays.

Moreover, it is also good to take into account those bugs that are very active in the late afternoon. So, to be safe, make sure to apply a sufficient amount of bug spray. Aside from that, wearing long sleeves and pants may help in protecting you from bug bites.

Meanwhile, night fishing has completely different scenarios and challenges. Still, you may need to apply repellent because mosquitoes and bugs are present especially at nighttime. However, your main issue here would be the light source in replacement of the sun.

For this reason, a flashlight or lantern would basically do the job. Additionally, you would also consider bringing a headlamp or strap that can hold the flashlight placed on your head. Generally, it will help you to observe the activities that you are doing while setting your hands free.

Final Thought

Generally, the best time to fish in Alaska involves various season. It usually starts on May up through September. Also, during this time period, you will have to get a great catch of different fish species ranging from salmon, halibut, to lingcod. Tons of numbers of each species are also present within different rivers in Alaska which makes your fishing experience a great one. So, plan your activity, prepare your fishing gear and have a great catch.