Sitka, in southeast Alaska, offers anglers the opportunity to catch steelhead, salmon, trout and halibut. Sitka is a well-known destination for offshore sport fishing but the area is also rich with inland streams. The best way to fish for Sitka steelhead is under the supervision of a professional guide, who can provide an extra measure of safety. The steelhead runs in Sitka require you to chase fish as the numbers are low but the potential for large fish is high.
Seasons and Weather
The steelhead in the Sitka area typically begin traveling in the streams during April. April and early May are good months to focus on the lower sections of the rivers while late May and June are better for fishing the middle and upper sections of the river systems. The summer steelhead are running during the best weather of the year, but pack rain gear and expect to experience everything from mild rain to torrential downpours. There are calm, sunny days throughout the summer but the moisture-rich area is more prone to rain.
The most common method of chasing steelhead in the Sitka area is by flying a bush plane to remote freshwater streams. Almost every stream will have a steelhead and salmon run and anglers have the opportunity to find complete solitude on the numerous rivers. Traveling by plane is common in Alaska and it will place you on sections of river that may not have been fished before. Fly-fishermen can target steelhead by drifting a yarn egg or a bead that imitates a salmon egg. The egg imitation can either be pegged on the line with a toothpick or held on the line by a nail knot. The egg will slip out of the mouth once the hook is set and the hook will be set on the jaw of the fish. Fly-fishermen can also swing wet flies and retrieve streamers through the flat water above or below a pool when fishing for Sitka steelhead. Conventional anglers can also fish a bead or salmon egg below a bobber or float. The egg can also be bumped along the bottom of the river when rigged with split shot. Conventional anglers will also use a spinning reel and rod to cast brightly colored spoons and spinners. Pink, white and chartreuse are good choices to entice traveling steelhead.
Alaska requires anglers to carry a fishing license. Your guide must also be licensed and carry either a Western Waters of Alaska license or a OUPV Coast Guard license. You can keep one wild steelhead each day and have two wild steelhead in your possession. You can only keep two wild steelhead each year and there is a 36-inch maximum size limit on each fish.
Sitka has a variety of guides available. Most of the guide services have fly-out fishing options and some guides are part of an all-inclusive lodge system. Many of the lodges in southeast Alaska are on a productive fishery and have a complete wilderness setting. The all-inclusive lodges are more expensive, and budget-oriented anglers should consider flying out of Sitka each day.
Article Written By Zach Lazzari
Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Colorado-mountain-adventure.com. Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.