Kenai River_Best Fishing in Alaska
photo via AnnetteWho/Flickr

In terms of North American destinations, Alaska is often one of the most popular. It’s huge, isolated, and about as untainted as nature gets. Also, Alaska has some of the best fishing in the entire world! This is an angler’s paradise for so many reasons.

If you’re looking for the best places to catch salmon in Alaska, we’ve got you covered. We also have great information on how and where to catch northern pike and grayling in Alaska — keep reading!

Below, you will find a plethora of resources to help you prepare for your Alaska fishing journey.

Notable Alaska Fishing State Records

Alaska is home to some of the best salmon fishing you will find anywhere in the world. While this isn’t the state for popular game fish like bass or walleye, you can certainly bank on Alaska having excellent opportunities for the fish it does produce.

Some of the most notable Alaska state fishing records include:

Dolly Varden: 27 lbs, 6 oz (Wulik River, 2002)

Coho Salmon: 26 lbs (Camano Point, 1976)

Cutthroat Trout: 8 lbs 6 oz (Wilson Lake, 1977)

Grayling: 4 lbs, 13 oz (Ugashik Narrows, 1981)

Lake Trout: 47 lbs (Clarence Lake, 1970)

Northern Pike: 38 lbs, 8 oz (Innoko River, 1991)

Steelhead Trout: 42 lbs 3 oz (Bell Island, 1970)

The chances of landing an impressive catch while fishing in Alaska is very high. That said, catching an Alaska state fishing record is slim. Of the fish listed above, only the Dolly Varden state record was caught after the year 2000. Alaska’s salmon, trout, and northern pike records we all caught before 1999. In fact, as of this writing, the Alaska rockfish state record (2001) and lingcod state record (2002) are the only others landed this century.

You can find a list of every Alaska state fishing record, updated several times throughout the year.



Where Can you Fish in Alaska?


Alaska Lake Fishing

Alaska has over three millions lakes! The vast majority of these are unnamed. Approximately 3,200 of these carry official names with several hundred being stocked and monitored by the Alaska DFG.

According to the Alaska Department of Game and Fish, there are fourteen designated areas throughout the state with both stocked and wild waters. These areas are:

Anchorage: Anchorage is notable for being the capital city of Alaska. The Anchorage area is also home to 31 stocked water, including Hillberg Lake, Mirror Lake, Spring Lake, Waldon Lake, and Alder Pond. The area also contains four wild waters (Campbell Lake, Eklutna Lake, Dishno Pond, and Symphony Lake).


Delta:
The Delta area contains forty stocked waters, including Bolio Lake, Chet Lake, Monte Lake, Weasel Lake, Doc Lake, and Mark Lake. Delta is also home to twelve wild water, including Artillery Lake, Luke Lake, Stryker Lake and No Mercy Lake.


Fairbanks: Fairbanks is another of Alaska’s most notable cities. The area is also home to a great deal of fishing. Fairbanks fishing includes forty-four stocked waters, such as Monterey Lake, Lost Lake, Manchu Lake, Londgren Pond, and Bathing Beauty Pond. Fairbanks’ two wild waters are Chena Hot Springs Road 42.8 and Horseshoe Lake.


Glennallen: Twenty-five stocked waters are located in the Glenallen area, including Arizona Lake, Crater Lake, Pippin Lake, Dick Lake, Buffalo Lake, and Junction Lake. Glennallen also contains nine wild waters, including Crosswind Lake, Sevenmile Lake, and Lake Louise.


Haines-Skagway: The Haines-Skagway area contains only one wild water — Taiya Inlet. Taiya Inlet is only stocked with chinook salmon and, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, it was last stocked in June 2015.


Juneau-Glacier Bay: Another fairly sparse region, the Juneau-Glacier Bay area is home to just two stocked waters — Crystal Lake and Twin Lakes. Five wild waters are found in the area, however, including Moose Lake, Dredge Lake, and Norton Lake.


Kenai Peninsula: Savvy anglers often equate the Kenai River with some of the best fishing in the country — more on that later. In terms of stocked waters, however, the Kenai Peninsula area holds thirty-one. Aurora Lake, Centennial Lake, Halibut Cove, Vagt Lake, Thetis Lake, and Upper Summit Lake can be found here. Kenai Peninsula also holds eleven wild waters such as Afonasi Lake, Quintin Lake, and Miracle Lake.


Ketchikan: Much like Hanes-Skagway, Kechikan is home to just one wild water — Herring Cove. Again, only chinook salmon are present in Herring Cove with the last stocking taking place in May 2013.


Kodiak Island: Kodiak Island contains twenty stocked water, including Monashka Creek, East Twin Lake, Abercrombie Lake, Cicely Lake and Aurel Lake. Kodiak Island area’s nine wild waters include Barry Lagoon, Jack Lake, and Margaret Lake.


Mat-Su: The Mat-Su area of Alaska is absolutely loaded with fishing spots. It also has some of the coolest-named waters around! Some of the Mat-Su area’s eighty-four stocked waters are South Friend Lake, Little Lonely Lake, Homestead Lake, Bear Paw Lake, Golden Lake, Coyote Lake, and Goober Lake. Mat-Su also contains forty-five wild water, including Wolverine Lake, Rainbow Lake, Deception Creek, Little Chicken Lake, Cottonwood Creek, and Big No Luck Lake.


Petersburg-Wrangell: Petersburg-Wrangler, however, only has two stocked waters — City Creek and Crystal Creek. Maintain the familiar trend, City Creek is stocked with chinook salmon only, most recently in May 2019. Crystal Creek, however, is home to both chinook salmon and coho salmon. Both were also stocked in May 2019. The Petersburg-Wrangell area has no wild waters on record.


Prince William Sound: Four stocked waters can be found in the Prince William Sound area: Blueberry Lake, Chenega Bay, Ruth Lake, and Thompson Lake. One wild water — Worthington Lake — can be found in the Prince William Sound area.


Resurrection Bay:
Another awesome name for a fishing area, Resurrection Bay holds just four stocked waters — First Lake, Lost Lake, Troop Lake, and Seward Lagoon.


Sitka: Last, but not least, is the Sitka fishing area. Sitka is home to just one wild water — Beaver Lake. Beaver Lake has been stocked with atlantic grayling just twice (in June 1996 and again in August 2001).


Alaska River Fishing

In addition to the hundreds of lakes, ponds and lagoons listed above, Alaska is home to over 12,000 rivers and thousands of other creeks and streams. Under 10,000 of these waters carry official names.

Some of the more notable rivers and creeks in Alaska include Kasilof River, Bird Creek, Chena River, Pasagshak River, and the aforementioned Kenai River.

Some of the best fishing in Alaska can be found on these waters.

Where is the Best Fishing in Alaska?

When looking for the best fishing in Alaska, with thousands of destinations to choose, how do you decide where to go?

Scour the internet or speak with experienced anglers or charter captains and you’ll get a variety of answers. Ultimately, in depends on what you want to fish for, when you want to fish for it, and how much you’re willing to spend.

Seeing as fishing in Alaska is often a destination activity, travelers want to get the biggest return on their investment. Chartered tours are incredibly popular throughout the state because Alaska is, at best, often inhospitable. While many of the most popular fishing spots in the state are accessible via the state’s highways, the guesswork can be crippling.

In short, here are some of the most popular fishing spots in Alaska:

Iliamna Lake: Located in the northern part of the Alaskan Peninsula (in eastern Alaska). Popular species include arctic graylings, pacific salmon and rainbow trout. Rainbow trout in particular on Iliamna Lake can be caught at trophy size.

Denali Highway: As the name suggests, this isn’t so much a body of water as it is a highway that spans numerous bodies. Popular spots include Glacier Lake, Clearwater Creek and Brushkana Creek. Anglers are known to land arctic graylings and lake trout in there waters.

Bristol Bay: Bristol Bay is home to the largest commercial sockeye salmon producing region in the world. The Bristol Bay Land Management Area encompasses 9 major river systems. The Togiak district is responsible for providing spawning for Alaska’s largest herring fishery.

Chena River

Kenai River

Becharof Lake

Aleknagik Lake

Kobuk River

Kasilof River

Lake Clark