Talkeetna, Alaska, a small community two and one-half hours north of Anchorage sits on the banks of the Talkeetna River. The Chulitna and Susitna Rivers are within minutes of Talkeetna. The name Talkeetna roughly translates as "Where Three Rivers Converge" from the Denaina Athabascan. Anglers coming to Talkeetna can fish for rainbow trout, arctic graying, burbot and salmon. Denali National Park is four hours north of Talkeetna.
Visitors can fish for rainbow trout and two different species of salmon on the Talkeetna River. Both silver and king salmon runs take place on the river each year. The silver run takes place in mid June. King runs are typically in early July, and mid to late August. Visitors can access the river at the end of Main Street in downtown Talkeetna. There is a footbridge that crosses the river, giving sandbar and mid-river access. Fly-fishermen can go for rainbow trout. Visiting fishermen should be aware of the fish weirs and nets used by local commercial fishermen. Grizzly bears are frequently seen patrolling the shore and water during the salmon runs. The Mepps Aglia Spinner is a recommended lure choice for kings during the run.
The Talkeetna Lakes are off Christiansen Lake Road and are stocked with trout, burbot and graying. Trails circumnavigate the lakes (known locally as X, Y and Z Lakes.) Numerous beaches, and small bays are easily accessible by foot. Anglers can share the lakes with the many mated pairs of loons that call the lakes home each summer. There are frequent moose sightings around the lakes. Using a baited hook with sinkers to jig for burbot is recommended at the lakes. Fly-fishermen can check in at the many guide and fishing supply shops in Talkeetna to see what the trout are currently hitting on. Visitors should be aware of their surroundings as grizzly bears are frequently spotted on the trails and around the lakes. Anglers should bring bear spray with them and be educated on its proper use.
North of Talkeetna, juts past the Glen Parks Highway and Talkeetna Spur Road turn off is Montana Creek. Silver and king salmon runs take place on the creek each year. The silver run is typically in early July and lasts about two to three weeks. King salmon begin their run in early August and the run lasts about three weeks. Visitors can fish within a few hundred feet of the Glen Parks Highway. Both fly-fishing and lure fishing can be done at the creek, although fly fishing is typically reserved for dolly varden and arctic grayling. Moose are frequently spotted in the area. Towards the end of the northern summer, trumpeter swans can be seen in the waters near Montana Creek.
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.