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The Great Alaskan Outdoors Series: Fishing

When most people think of Alaska, they think of unspoiled wilderness far from the comforts of civilization. While this is a serious drawback for many people, it is what makes Alaska a paradise for fishing enthusiasts.

Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, offers the best of both worlds: all the comforts of civilization and proximity to some of the best fishing spots in all of Alaska. People serious about fishing should familiarize themselves with all the city has to offer, from popular fishing spots to unknown gems, from guided trips to fishing stores.

Lakes and Streams of the Anchorage Area

The Kenai River in the Upper Kenai Peninsula offers a fishing experience that can only be described as beyond compare. It is one of the very few rivers in the world that is home to all five species of Pacific salmon.


A record-setting 97-pound King salmon was pulled out of this river, and fishing is also good for Dolly Varden char and steel head trout.

Where the Kenai empties into the sea visitors can easily gather razor clams, a local delicacy. The river itself is a jewel-like emerald-blue, and the forests that it runs through is home to majestic eagles.

The Matanuska and Susitna region just to the north of Anchorage is an elaborate network of streams, ponds, lakes, and rivers that drain into Cook Inlet. the area is known for good runs of King and Coho salmon, rainbow trout, whitefish, Dolly Varden char, northern pike and Arctic grayling.

Eklutna Lake, just 25 miles north of the city, is famous for its jewel-like waters, rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden char. Campbell Point Lake offers good fishing for Coho salmon, Arctic char, and rainbow trout.

Jewel Lake is the perfect fishing spot for fishers with families. In addition to plentiful rainbow trout and Coho salmon, it offers picnic areas, playgrounds, and beaches.

Fishing Inside the City

Surprisingly, there are also excellent fishing spots inside the city itself. Die-hard fishing enthusiasts do not need to have a free day or weekend, as long as they can get away for an hour or two they can find fishing equal to many wild locations.

Ship Creek runs right through downtown Anchorage, and is kept well stocked with King and Silver salmon. Locals advise going to the pedestrian bridge to get a bird’s eye view of where the fish are located. Campbell Creek offers excellent silver fishing in late summer.

Saltwater Fishing

There is no saltwater fishing allowed in the Port of Anchorage. Instead, people looking for saltwater fishing go to nearby Cook Inlet, which is well known for its giant halibut, as well as salmon.

Fishing off the coast of the town of Seward is easy, and most anglers return home from trips there with all the halibut and salmon that they could want. Shark fishing is even possible here, for those looking for something a little more challenging than the usual fishing trip.

Ice Fishing

When it gets cold in Anchorage, it gets very cold. This does not stop the fishing, of course, as the Anchorage, area offers many opportunities for ice fishing. Any of the area lakes will offer a satisfactory ice-fishing trip.

Salmon are particularly active during the winter, and can be caught with single eggs, small lures, and shrimp. Small Arctic char lurking under the ice respond well to bait, large Arctic char need bright lures jiggling near the bottom of the lake.

Run Times

The smelt run is the earliest, starting in April in the Twenty Mile River. The various salmon runs start in May and continue into October. Silvers show up in late summer.

Licenses and Supplies

Fishing licenses can be purchased at most places that sell fishing supplies, such as Mountain View Sports Center, Fred Meyer’s, Wal-Mart, Carr’s and many locally owned fishing and sports stores.

They can also be purchased online, on the website of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. People who have hired a guide or chartered trip can usually get a license from the guide or charter company.


The following is a list of websites that any Anchorage-area fishing enthusiast should know:

Alaska Department of Fish and Game License Sales

Outdoors Directory: Anchorage Fishing

Alaska Fishing Spots

Anglers new to the Anchorage area could really benefit from hiring a fishing guide or chartering a large trip. This will allow them to see the best local fishing areas up close, learn how to fish them, and then find them again later. There is enough to explore both in and around the city to keep even the most active anglers busy for a lifetime.

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