Hooked Up by Adam Johnson
Alaska is best known for its world-renowned fishing. With a variety of trophy freshwater and saltwater species of fish, the Kenai Peninsula provides for one of the most incredible fishing trips of a lifetime. Many people visit Alaska in the summer and fall just for this reason. Alaska has more than 40% of the nations surface water including over 12,000 rivers, 3 million lakes greater than 5 acres and numerous creeks and ponds.
Just minutes away from most downtown Anchorage hotels is Ship Creek. Located on the edge of downtown Anchorage, this stream features a run of King salmon and Coho salmon. This is one of the worlds only urban king salmon fisheries. The fishing season begins in mid-late May for King salmon and Coho salmon season starting in late July-August. Even if you didn’t plan on fishing during your trip to Alaska, you can rent fishing gear from a few different businesses in downtown Anchorage including 6th Avenue Outfitters and the Bait Shack which is located directly on Ship Creek. Every year Ship Creek hosts the Slam’n Salm’n derby which goes from June 8th through the 15th for the 2019 season. Part of the proceeds of this event supports the homeless and low-income individuals.
Alaska is also known famously for the Kenai Peninsula, which is the home of the world famous Kenai River from which the world record rod and reel King salmon was caught on May 17th, 1985 caught by Les Anderson weighing an incredible 97 pounds, 4 ounces. The Kenai River features multiples runs of King Salmon and Sockeye Salmon throughout the season. The Kenai fishing season starts in late May and goes until as late as December for those who are brave enough to dare the start of the winter season in Alaska. The Kenai River is also famous for its incredible fly fishing for trophy rainbow trout and Dolly Varden. Every fall many fishermen come to the Kenai River for their chance to catch a 30-inch Rainbow Trout, which is not uncommon.
One of the main tributaries located on the Upper Kenai River in Cooper Landing is the famous Russian River. Many locals and out of state residents come every year for the incredible Sockeye Salmon fishery which opens around the second week of June for the first run and late July-September for the second run. This is also the best place to see some of the area’s other famous residents. Brown bears and black bears migrate to the Russian River every year for the salmon runs, as well. Please read the signs that Alaska Fish & Game post in the parking areas and campgrounds regarding visitors to not leave your fish or your personal items unattended. For the start of the salmon season, an easy meal for a bear is just that. Local sporting goods stores also sell bear mace. Bear mace will deter an animal without killing it so everybody can enjoy the wildlife Alaska has to offer.
The Kenai Peninsula also offers some of the most spectacular saltwater fishing for Halibut, Ling Cod and Rockfish. About an hour south of Anchorage, down the Turnagain Arm, is the city of Whittier. After you travel through a 2.5-mile tunnel through a mountain you come across the town of Whittier. From here you are able to charter a boat to go out and catch these species in the Prince William Sound. This makes for an incredible day trip from Anchorage if you are short on time. In the spring and the fall be sure to keep your eyes peeled during high tide for the Beluga Whales in which venture in and out with the high tides following the salmon runs and baitfish traveling up the rivers.
Traveling even further down the Kenai Peninsula, passing Kenai Lake, which is the headwaters of the Kenai River, will take you to the city of Seward. Seward is a fjord, which is located on Resurrection Bay. Travelling out to your fishing destination will offer you many different things Alaska has to offer such as puffin, otters, whales and glaciers. At the very end of the road on the Kenai Peninsula, is Homer, Alaska. Home of the world record lingcod. Homer, in which the boat basin that charter companies depart from is located on a sand spit extending into Kachemak Bay. Nicknamed “Halibut fishing capital of the world.” and also “The End of the road.” Homer provides for some of the best halibut and ling cod fishing in the world.
Whether your love is fishing freshwater or saltwater, Alaska provides many different amazing fishing opportunities for people of all skill levels