Alaska Salmon Fishing Overview

The Alaska king salmon or chinook salmon is Alaska’s state fish. The largest sport-caught chinook salmon was a 97 lb 4 oz fish taken in the Kenai River in 1986 by Lester Anderson of Soldotna, AK. It is the largest of all the Alaska salmon, with weights of individual fish commonly exceeding 30 pounds. In prime waters, such as the Kenai River, it is not uncommon for anglers to pull in fish of 50 – 60 lbs. it is arguably the most important sport fish native to the waters of Alaska. Trolling with rigged herring is the most popular method of ocean angling, while lures and salmon eggs are used by anglers in the freshwater streams. The sport fishing harvest of Alaska king salmon is over 76,000 annually.

Generally speaking, because of their size, fishing for kings is usually limited to boat fishing. Their runs occur in the deepest parts of the rivers which are usually not accessible to bank fishermen in the larger rivers. This doesn’t mean that it cannot happen, but for the first time angler on a budget, fishing for kings is probably not the best use of your valuable and limited time while in Alaska.

Alaska is such a vast land and there are literally thousands of miles of streams and rivers to fish and it would be impossible to cover them all. For that reason, I focus on the Anchorage area and Kenai Peninsula and surrounding watersheds. Alaska salmon fishing is like none other. Everything grows big in Alaska including the mountains, the vegetables and the fish. There are many reasons why the adventurous migrate north to do Alaska fishing, if only once in a lifetime. They go fishing in Alaska because of the abundance of huge sized fish, for the scenery, the solitude and to feel born again.

A typical day starts with breakfast at 7 a.m. with a make-your-own-lunch deli. Then you’re out fishing as late as you want. When you come in for dinner around 7:30 p.m., your fish is cleaned and frozen.

Even for a novice, Alaska salmon fishing proves phenomenal. It’s common for a visitor to catch 250 fish in an afternoon. After a one-week visit, guests can expect to send home as much as 130 lbs of filleted, vacuum-packed fish. It doesn’t get any better than this. Angling in Alaska and Salmon fishing can be incredible. Salmon runs are strong along our coasts, and there really are some giant halibut in Alaska waters. King salmon over 50 pounds are not at all uncommon. Grayling, rainbow trout and northern pike are easy to catch in many inland streamsAnd you can fish amid some of the most incredible scenery on the continent.

But, before you haul into Alaska salmon Fishing, there are always rules to doing things, yes, I said rules. And without a doubt, the Alaska fishing regulations are more challenging and more numerous than any other place I’ve fished. Don’t let that statement scare you away though. Perhaps that is because Alaska is so vast and there are so many species to fish for. Regardless, many of the Alaska fishing regulations vary by region and since we’re only really focusing on one region, you only need to focus on a small subset of those regulations. Sport Fishing regulations are available in five different booklets, each covering a different area of the state. These booklets are available widely in the state.

Chris Hanson is an expert in Alaska Fishing Guides. He turned his passion for fishing into career, he is willing to guide you create memories out of his good experience and knowledge. For more information, check out