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Timing Salmon Fishing Trips in Alaska

Now is not the best time for salmon fishing trips in Alaska, but it is the beginning of a new year and the perfect time to start planning. The time to plan an epic fishing adventure is not after the seasons expire—it is right now, before the best times begin. Avoid disappointment and make solid plans by starting with this overview on the best times to fish in Alaska.

General fishing seasons

There is always something to catch any time of year in Alaska. However, particular seasons and weather conditions will make the trip more fruitful at some times than others. The peak time for fishing is May through September, with some species being available for fishing in November. For first time anglers, the early summer months are most recommended due to the ease of the catch during that time. Specific species are available during the following months:

  • Halibut: May through September
  • King salmon: Mid-May through the end of July
  • Silver salmon: July through September
  • Red salmon: Mid-June through mid-August
  • Pink and chum salmon: Mid-July through mid-August

In addition to these popular species, Arctic grayling, Dolly Varden, and rainbow trout are also ready to catch from interior streams and lakes. Northern pike and Arctic char are available from roadside streams. It all depends on the type of adventure you want and if you have any preferences beyond just catching fish.

Where to fish

Another consideration when timing your trip is whether you prefer river or ocean fishing. Those seeking a great sea adventure need to check the optimal times for halibut and shark. For rivers, salmon are the most commonly sought species. With salmon, the issue is further complicated by the type; if you are looking for the prized king salmon, you have a narrow window from May to July. Decide to pursue king salmon during your Thanksgiving holiday and you will be disappointed.

Rivers also offer particular timing. The Copper River welcomes spawning salmon in May, and it is also claimed that these fish are the best quality due to the strong rapids of that river. If you are looking at a June or July trip, the Kenai River experiences its salmon runs during those months, with July being the peak time. You may also experience good luck if you wait until August.

Even if you decide to wait until summer, there are still many elements to plan. Transportation, lodging and guide services all fill up quickly and need to be planned well ahead of time. It can be challenging to get around the hardy wilderness of Alaska, so you need to know how you will arrive on site and return to your lodge or hotel room. It is too busy with too many wilderness conditions to risk winging it.

If you anticipate salmon fishing trips in Alaska this year but want some help in planning, Phantom Tri-River Charters is your expert. Contact us through the online form or call to book a reservation.