Alaska is thought to be by many as a seasonal fishing destination. And if you’re looking for fresh, wild caught salmon, then you would be right, but truth be told is that Alaska has an incredible fishery that lasts year round. Take it from me, a Florida native and avid angler that spent seven years in the land of the midnight sun. Talk about one extreme to the other! In that timeframe I learned that the salmon fishing is hot and heavy and over way too quickly. To continue my fishing passion, I was forced to look elsewhere for that tug. I found out quickly that the fishing doesn’t have to stop, at all.
The salmon season begins in May when the king salmon begin to move upstream and lasts until October with the silver salmon run. The fishing does fluctuate during these times so finding other species to pursue will help break the monotony of salmon fishing. During the summer when I wasn’t filing the stringer with sockeye salmon, I would turn to the salt. Being a Florida boy, the saltwater felt more like home than anywhere else in Alaska.
I was fortunate enough to live on the Kenai Peninsula where both freshwater rivers and saltwater bays and inlets surrounded and carved up the land. This time of year the halibut would move in closer to shore to feed before heading off into deeper water during the winter. Small watercraft or even fishing from shore could yield some really nice halibut. My vessel of choice was my kayak, which many people thought I was crazy since halibut have been known to reach 400 pounds or so. Lingcod, rockfish and cod could also be had when fishing the salty sea.
Once the salmon season begins winding down and the wintery weather start moving in, I turned my focus to the rivers and lakes. Late October is excellent steelhead fishing and one of my more favorite species to target. They’re large, powerful and leap out of the water; one of the more fun fish to catch. Walking small streams searching for rainbow trout and dolly varden is also fun late fall activity.
Once winter settles in and the lakes begin to freeze over, I turned my attention to ice fishing. Lake trout, northern pike, rainbow trout and much more can be found swimming beneath the ice. By drilling several 6-10 inch holes around a body of water, you can cover different depths of the lake. Jigging or soaking bait can yield great results. If you’ve never tried your hand at ice fishing, I highly recommend it. Just be sure to dress appropriately!
As you can see, fishing in Alaska doesn’t have to take a break once the salmon stop running. Get out, explore and fish year round in the last frontier.