How Do I Plan a Fishing Trip to Alaska?

How Do I Plan a Fishing Trip to Alaska?
A trip to Alaska for salt or fresh water fishing for many is the fishing trip of a lifetime. Due to the vastness of Alaska and the myriad of fishing regions and zones, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip here. With a bit of planning and knowledge, the process can go from overwhelming to simply part of the adventure. Take the time to research and plan your trip so you can enjoy the diverse fishing that Alaska offers.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Calendar
  • Alaska fishing rules and license book (available at the ADF&G website)
  • Rain gear
  • Rubber boots
  • Hats and Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Alaska fishing license
  • Optional:
  • Fishing rods and reel with traveling cases
  • Tackle
Step 1
Determine what species of fish you want to concentrate on during your fishing trip to Alaska. If you're looking for salmon fishing, pick saltwater or freshwater and the species of salmon, such as king, silver, sockeye or pink. Cross reference this information with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's rules and regulations for season opening dates, and where the primary species is located.
Step 2
Contact local charter operations for the locale you choose and ask about fishing for your chosen species (salmon being used only as an example, as you can choose halibut or other fish). Ask the operators and charter captains what's included with their charter fees.

Ask if they include the use of the specialized fishing rods and reels, bait, tackle, fish cleaning or filleting service, and if they make arrangements to smoke or ship your catch. Ask the charter captains if they arrange Alaska fishing licenses for clients or if you need to acquire one on your own.
Step 3
Ask the charter operators if they have lodges or fish camps for multi-day trips. Ask what is included with the lodges or if meals are included. If the fishing lodge is at a remote fly-in location, do they include the air charter fee to get to the lodge or is it an extra cost.
Step 4
Book your charter and lodge as soon as possible. The summer fishing season is busy, and many charters and lodges book up almost a year in advance. Ask the charter captains or lodge owners what the cancellation policy is should your plans change due to unforeseen circumstances.
Step 5
Make a list of the gear you wish to bring, and cross reference this with what's included with your charter- or lodge-based stay. If the charter provides fishing gear use, determine if it's worth the effort and extra airline fees to bring your own or use the charter's.
Step 6
Look up average temperatures and weather patterns for the area you pick and the time of year you'll be visiting. Make your clothing list and pack accordingly. If you're saltwater fishing, check to see how old your rain gear is and if it is Gore-tex. Older Gore-tex parkas and rain jackets do not function in saltwater. If in doubt, ask your charter captain and guides what they recommend for good rain gear.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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