Before fishing for trout, all Alaskan anglers must purchase an Alaska fishing license issued and validated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife. The license can be purchased online (see resources) or from most hunting supply, fishing and sporting goods stores across the state. As of September 2009, an annual license for residents costs $24 while non-residents pay $145. If you do not fish for trout regularly, you may save money by purchasing a license that is valid for a shorter period of time, such as a three-day or 14-day license.
Trout are available in most of Alaska's thousands of rivers, lakes, ponds and man-made reservoirs. However, some areas have higher levels of trout populations than others due to seasonal changes such as food supplies or water quality. Save yourself time by reviewing your regional fishing report, issued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife (see resources). The report can tell you which estuaries in your region have high levels of fish so you don't waste time fishing in areas with few trout. Reports are available for all southeast, south-central and interior fishing regions, including Juneau, Bristol Bay and the Tanana Drainage region.
Trout Fishing Times
Alaskan trout bite most frequently from dawn until mid-morning, and again at dusk but to a lesser extent. During the summer, when anglers descend upon Alaskan waters in the greatest numbers, daylight hours can extend around the clock. However, the trout will still bite according to their internal clocks, so anglers should aim to fish at both dusk and dawn for the greatest success.
Trout bite most when there is no wind, creating a smooth and calm water surface. Typically, anglers will also have better success on clear days because this enables the trout to see your lure better. For anglers, the weather can impact the clothing that they wear. If you are fishing during the spring, fall and winter, dress appropriately for cold temperatures. The temperature can drop to an average of -30 degrees F in the winter and reach similarly cold temperatures in the spring and fall. Layers of warm clothing and gloves are typically necessary.
Areas like Yakutat, Ketchikan and Anchorage all have popular trout fishing spots. In general, Alaska's trout are most abundant in areas where the ground drops off quickly. Fishing near shoals can thereby increase your chances of landing a catch. However, Alaska's trout may migrate to other sections of the lake or reservoir, depending on the weather and local climate. On hot, clear days, the trout are more prone to be in open, deep water. In the spring, trout are typically close to the surface. After the ice thaws, the trout start swimming at deeper depths until they migrate to the bottom in the heat of summer. Plan your line weights appropriately and consider using a depth finder to help you pinpoint the current depth of the spot in which you are in.