Salmon fishing in Alaska

Alaska offers some of North America’s greatest fishing opportunities. Unfortunately, most of the state is so remote that the greatest fishing holes are hard to get to. But if you’re willing to make the trip, here are some of the best fly-in fishing spots to choose from.

Alagnak River

The Alagnak River is a designated Wild and Scenic River that originated in Katmai National Park. It’s easily the most popular fishing destination in the Bristol Bay region and offers a variety of fish to catch. Many of the lodges along the river focus on the confluence of king salmon, but there are also over one million red salmon residing in the Alagnak. The River features pike, rainbow trout, and sockeye hidden below the Class II rapids. The tree-lined banks of the river also hide plenty of terrific hiking routes for when you’re ready to put down the pole and explore.

Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge

Kodiak Island is Alaska’s largest island and home to one of the state’s great fishing destinations—the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. Primarily known for its abundant bear population, roughly 3,500 of them, it’s also an excellent source of salmon. King salmon and red salmon swim through the rivers here by the thousands. Getting around the refuge is difficult and dangerous, with few rounds and plenty of spots that are only accessible by plane. If you’re not a salmon fisherman, it’s also worth the trip to try to catch some of the more elusive fish like the rockfish, cod, and trout.

fishing in Alaska

Anvik River

The Anvik River is a 140-mile tributary of the Yukon River located in one of Alaska’s most remote regions. As such, there’s only one official lodge location along its entire banks. Getting there requires a private charter out of either Anchorage or Nome, which isn’t exactly cheap. You’ll land in the remote village of Anvik, which is still 75 miles away from the lodge. The ensuing boat ride is strikingly beautiful and serene. If you can afford the trip, the river boasts five species of Pacific salmon alongside Dolly Varden, arctic grayling, northern pike, and arctic char.

Iniakuk Lake

Few places are as far off the grid as Iniakuk Lake. The fly-in destination is 200 miles north of Fairbanks and 60 miles above the Arctic Circle. It rests alongside the Gates of the Arctic National Park and currently boasts only one true lodge. The lake and surrounding waterways are frozen over most of the year, but come summer it offers prime opportunities to reel in some Northern pike, arctic grayling and lake trout. If you prefer, the lodge offers fly-out trips to the sea to help you catch a little arctic char. When you’ve finished fishing you can take a tour of the park, or fly over the Brooks Range to catch a glimpse of the caribou and bears.

fishing in Alaska

Kvichak River

The Kvichak River is a large river in southwestern Alaska that flows for 50 miles from Lake Ilianma to Kvichak Bay. Flights into the largest fishing spots of the Kvichak take only 30 minutes, so it’s a great option for anyone trying to avoid a long time in the air. The river is famous for producing trophy rainbow trout, many of which are over 30 inches long. You’ll also find all five species of Pacific salmon, along with arctic grayling and char. Like most places in Alaska, the best time for fishing here is the heart of summer where the air is warm and the nights are long.