Names of Fish in Alaska

Names of Fish in Alaska
Anglers flock to Alaska every year to test their skill against the large, strong, native species of fish that are abundant in lakes and rivers and off the shores in the Pacific Ocean. Fishing charter companies have sprung up to answer the demand from novice anglers who want to learn how to fish the waterways in Alaska, while seasoned veterans often caravan through Canada with their boats in tow. Knowing about the different types of fish and where to find them is the first step towards a successful Alaskan fishing expedition.

Arctic Char

Arctic char are best distinguished by their dark brown and olive-colored bodies with lightly colored spots around their backs. While arctic char can be found in either saltwater or freshwater throughout North America, they are found only in freshwater lakes in Alaska. They are known to inhabit lakes in the Brooks Range, Kigluaik Mountains, the Alaska Peninsula and the Interior Alaska. Arctic char over 10 lbs. are common in Alaska, and they reach sexual maturity at around 7 years of age.

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye salmon, often referred to as blueback or red salmon, reside in the waters along the coast from Alaska down to California. They are regarded as having the most flavorful meat out of all the salmon species and are prized among anglers. It is common to find sockeye that are over 2 feet in length, and they can weigh up to 15 lbs. Sockeye begin their life in fresh water; after three years they swim to the ocean, where they spend up to four years. Finally, the salmon head back to their spawning location, where they give birth and die weeks later. While living in the ocean, sockeye have a blue and silver color; they change to a bright red color when they re-enter the river.

Copper Rockfish

A unique-looking fish with pronounced spines along its back, the copper rockfish lives along the Pacific Ocean coastline of North America. Easily found in the Gulf of Alaska, these fish live anywhere between depths as shallow as the shoreline or as deep as 600 feet. They are brown and orange with white accents. They can reach weights up to 26 lbs. and have been known to live up to 50 years. Copper rockfish are predatory and will feed on other fish, crab, octopi and even other rockfish.

Northern Pike

An aggressive, predatory fish, northern pike reside in bodies of fresh water throughout North America and are especially prominent in Alaska. They are long fish with a protruding snout; they are speckled brown, grey and white and lurk in the weeds along the bottom of the water. Northern pike spawn during the early summer and become more aggressive when they finish, around mid-June. Anglers commonly catch 8- to 20-year-old pike that can weigh up to 20 lbs. They are known to inhabit the Chatanika River near Fairbanks, Manley Hot Springs, lower Dall Creek, lower Hess Creek and lower Beaver Creek.

Article Written By Jacob Hendriks

Jacob Hendriks' work has appeared in "The Western Front," "The Planet Magazine" and He graduated from Western Washington University with a major in international business management and a minor in Community Health. Hendriks' passion for sports nutrition and fitness, combined with experience as a personal trainer, has led him to pursue health-oriented journalism.

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