Trifecta Months for Alaskan Fishing
Dr. John Woods 06.22.19
Summer is the time of year to go fishing in Alaska. The best months are usually July, August, and September. The weather is better and bugs are fewer. The two big fish most anglers go for in Alaska are the salmon and the halibut. How best to do it?
Based on five fishing trips to Alaska, my brother and I have picked up a few pointers. We have found the most simple and least expensive way (relatively speaking) is to fly into Anchorage a couple days early, stay in a motel and enjoy the city. If you can spend a Saturday in town there is an excellent city market downtown with local crafts, food and entertainment.
We have always stayed at the Long House Hotel on Wisconsin Street. This is actually a converted Navy dormitory, but plenty adequate. City bus service runs right by and they have airport shuttle service. When we’re ready to fish, we rent a car and drive south to Seward. We prefer this area to Homer, although the fishing is about the same. Do a search for motels and bed & breakfasts in the area. There are plenty of choices, but book early.
To find a fishing charter, drive downtown to the main business street area. There is a huge hardware store there with a complete charter booking service. The docks are right across the street with plenty of parking. Most halibut charters are “6-Pack boats” or six anglers and a crew of two. If you want river salmon on the Kenai or Kasilof Rivers, you can book those, too, but the drive to the rivers — which is enjoyable — takes a couple hours.
Halibut fishing is done in deep water. Boats leave Seward Harbor early to go nearly 60 miles out of the bay. Water can be 100+ feet deep. Downriggers are used to catch halibut, which are bottom-dwellers. The limit has long been two fish per person per day. These fish can go from 40 pounds to more than a hundred. The smaller ones eat better. The charter will process and bag your catch back at the dock. Most motels have freezers for your catch.
River float fishing for salmon is a great trip. A guide plus two anglers per boat float the swift glacier waters while the bait drifts behind the boat. The scenery alone is worth the trip. Salmon runs vary by year, so check the regs before you go. Some of it is catch and release.
If you have never gone fishing to Alaska, it is a bucket list must-do. Get online and sign up for tourist information and make some calls. You’ll book the trip of a lifetime.