How to Catch Alaska Salmon

How to Catch Alaska Salmon
Salmon fishing and visiting Alaska go hand in hand. You can catch massive King salmon, weighing 30 pounds and up, or haul in your limit of silver (coho), Chinook, sockeye and pink salmon. Live bait is deadly throughout the year, while dry flies provide tremendous sport and excitement.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rod and reel
  • 15- to 20-pound line, heavier when fishing for king salmon
  • Hooks and tackle
  • Bait
  • Dry flies
  • Fly fishing rod and reel
  • Alaska fishing license and salmon permit
Step 1
Plan your trip during the season for the species of salmon you are after. King salmon fishing gets underway in the middle of May, continuing into July. The season for silver sockeye and pink salmon starts in mid-July and runs through September. Check the regulations before you go, because the rules can change each year.
Step 2
Hire a salmon guide for your fishing trip. This recommendation comes from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and it's not designed just to boost the state's fishing economy. The department has conducted studies that show even seasoned salmon anglers catch more fish faster with a guide to show them the way than visiting anglers who fish Alaskan waters alone.
Step 3
Use pink flies and wet streamers (underwater flies) tied to 3/0-4/0 hooks for catching the big kings. The king salmon will be found in 5 to 10 feet of water in late spring, moving to deeper water in summer.
Step 4
Cast or troll red and white spoons downstream and retrieve the lure against the current to catch pink salmon. These are found in greater numbers in Alaska rivers than all other species of salmon.
Step 5
Fish for sockeye salmon along the riverbanks with salmon eggs baited on streamers. Sockeye cling to the shoreline in shallow water.
Step 6
Use live herring or baitfish chunks to catch chinook and coho. Bait live herring below the spinal cord so they can swim freely with the current. Rigging a float to hold the line at a predetermined depth will help you catch more of these schooling fish.

Article Written By James Clark

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.

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