There is some sort of magic about the early fishing season in Alaska. From the excitement of organizing all your tackle and fishing rods, going to the tackle stores and buying more gear that you don’t necessarily need and the anxiety of when you are going to catch your first fish of the season, it is definitely a magical time of the year. There are a few ways you can increase your odds of catching that first fish of the season and start your fishing year off the right way.
The first and easiest way to know where to catch that first fish is to read all the fishing reports, not just from one source but also from many different sources the Internet provides. You can check the ADF&G website for their catch record reports and how different areas are doing. Keep in mind that they report what people report to them and what the game wardens and biologists report. There are a few other options, such as the Alaska Outdoor Forums. This forum is a place where you can ask questions such as how to fish a certain area or personal reports that people post. It is broken down in a few different sections such as freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing and lake fishing. It also offers other information such as boating, hunting, hiking, etc.
Another way to increase your odds of catching fish is to have the correct type of gear. I see so many people that are new to fishing on the river using very off-the-wall things and then wonder why everybody is catching fish but them. Pay attention to how others are fishing, especially the ones that are catching fish when nobody else is. This can sometimes be different from area to area. The best fishermen put in a lot of time understanding how certain things are a factor, including the color of their lures. Lures can be affected by things like the weather, time of day, water clarity, temperature as well as a few other variables. Other factors come into play, as well, such as the type of species you are fishing for. Different colors of lures and baits certainly work better for different species of fish. Other aspects of having the right gear includes having a good pair of polarized sunglasses. They will cut the glare off the water, which allows you to see fish in clearer water. It can also help you not mess up a netting job when trying to net a fish.
Also a big factor in catching fish is the tides. Salmon travel into the streams during incoming tides and high tides. A lot of the freshwater salmon fisheries in Alaska are tide fisheries. Take, for instance, Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage. The water level is too low during low tide for the salmon to travel up it, so incoming tide is the best time to fish to catch those traveling fish coming in with the high tide. The same can be said for bank fishing even in the saltwater. The kings and sockeye in Seward come in close to shore when the tides raise with the tides.
Sometimes the difference between catching fish or not comes down to paying attention to the resources nobody thinks about. Take for example, salmon fishing on Ship Creek. Ship Creek has a fish hatchery upstream that the salmon are traveling up to. Between the mouth of the stream and the hatchery there is a water spillway with a fish ladder on the side of it. All the salmon have to travel through the fish ladder to get to the hatchery. After a high tide is a good time to go look at that fish ladder and see if there are any salmon moving through it.
Checking with Local retailers who supply fishing gear and supplies is an excellent source of information as well. They deal with fishermen on a daily basis. Their business depends on people catching fish on a particular stream. If you want to fish Ship Creek you can add the Bait Shack on Facebook, which is located directly on Ship Creek. Dustin Slinker, owner of the Bait Shack, is always doing live video feeds showing how the fishing is going and what people are catching fish with. He supplies everything you need to fish on Ship Creek and is an excellent source of advice. This type of thing is the same for any area you are fishing. If you want to trout fish in Cooper Landing, then check with the local fly shops. Kenai Cache and Troutfitters are very knowledgeable and carry all the tackle and flies you will need to catch fish there. Make sure to check with the local tackle shops to where you are wanting to fish always.
Cheers to an amazing fishing season for you all!