Alaska is a trout fishing paradise. Species include rainbow, cutthroat, lake and steelhead; they live in lakes, rivers, bays and streams. Troll, fly fish or stand on the banks of a stream; you'll likely catch more trout than you can eat. Take a day trip, go or a guided tour; whatever method you choose, you'll be satisfied with the results as long as you know where to go.
Rules and Regulations
Alaska's fishing regulations are complicated and strictly enforced. Anyone over 16 years old must have a fishing license; you must have it in your possession at all times while fishing. You may not sell or buy sport-caught fish, but you may take the fish out of the state. Alaska allows only single lines with no more than two hooks or flies. If you catch a fish with the hook other than in the mouth, you must release the fish. Fly-fishing rules require no more than one unweighted, single-hook fly without beads.
Fishing with Bears
Bears abound in Alaska, and they love to eat trout. Here are some guidelines to ensure your safety and help prevent a confrontation with them. Keep your eyes open for bears. Look for signs, such as footprints and droppings. Make noise and go with one another person or a group. Once you catch a fish, clean it immediately and let the blood run into the water; then put it into an ice chest. If you don't have a cooler, don't clean the fish, but do bleed it. Put your catch on a stringer or in a cloth that you can store in a spot that is shady. Throw the entrails into cleaning stations, an airtight container or into water that is deep and moves fast. If you see a bear and it approaches you, move away after you cut your line if there is a trout on it.
Types of Trout and Where to Catch Them
The Bristol Bay watershed has excellent rainbow trout fishing, as do the Kvichak, Wood, Mulchatna, Nushagak rivers and streams off the Koktuli River. Clark and Iliamna Lakes have legendary rainbows.
The best time to catch sea-run cutthroat trout is in the fall in Prince William Sound, coastal rivers and streams. Resident cutthroat live in lakes, rivers, bog ponds and headwater tributaries.
You'll find steelhead in August, September, October and early winter months in streams and rivers such as the ones on Kodiak Island and on the Kenai Peninsula. Catch and release of steelhead is a common practice so they can continue to spawn.