Deep-sea fishing in Alaska is an exciting, exhausting, and exhilarating trip. Alaska is one of the most stunning places to go during the summer to cool off and enjoy nature’s sheer beauty. From the ocean to the mountains and glaciers, Alaska is filled with unique plants and wildlife, and the Pacific Ocean has many fish to offer from its depths.
There are three species of salmon to fish for in Alaska: pink salmon, silver salmon, and king salmon. You can fish for all three species—but at specific times during the season. May to June is king salmon season; June to July you can get pink salmon; July to the beginning of September is a good time for silver salmon; and the end of August through September is when king salmon come back in season. Salmon usually weigh 5 to 25 pounds. Halibut is available during all those months and can grow to weigh 400 pounds, but a more common catch is between 50 and 200 pounds. Other common catches include yelloweye rockfish (like red snapper), sculpin, sea bass, and lingcod—these varieties are always available.
Planning Your Trip
To get that rustic, wilderness atmosphere, stay in a log-cabin lodge. Many lodges offer package deals that include your meals,
your boat and captain, and even a fish-filet-and-freezer-pack service. An option for those on a budget is to find your own lodging at an inn, cottage, or motel (often cheaper than a lodge) and to charter a boat and captain through a boating company.
Be sure to arrange to get a fishing license once you arrive and read up on or ask someone about the fishing regulations. No matter the cost, you won’t be sorry you came when you pull that 150-pound halibut into the boat.
It’s a good idea to get fishing gear that will protect you and your clothes from the elements and flapping fish—water-repellant pants, jackets, and gloves should suffice. For those not accustomed to the movements of the ocean, it’s wise to bring pills to ease motionsickness. Plan ahead and take them both the night before and the morning of your fishing expedition.
Plan how you are going to get from place to place. There are a myriad of ways to travel including by bus, boat, and even little hopper planes. Find out which will get you to your fishing destination the best and cheapest way.
Some of the best places to deep-sea fish in Alaska are
Seward, Sitka, and Glacier Bay. All of these places have different benefits.
At Seward you can stay at an inn or motel right near the dock where you charter your boat. It is a wonderful spot
to go kayaking or hiking and to enjoy the beauty of Alaska
Sitka is a great place to take an ocean tour on a boat. Don’t be surprised if you encounter whales, sea lions, eagles, bears, and other wildlife. You can also visit Sitka National Historic Park/Totem Park, which is gorgeous to walk through and has totems along the path. In the visitor center there are some totems that are 100 years old, and along the path there are more newly carved totems that represent the history of the people in that area.
While in Glacier Bay, you can take a boat tour of the bay and see the majestic glaciers that surround it. There are good places to pick berries in that area, or you can go on a walk in Glacier Bay National Park and see moose, birds, and bears. The gorgeous Alaskan scenery and wildlife is free; seeing its wonders could be the highlight of your trip. There are several mountains and trails you can hike in all of these places—just make sure you know what paths are safe and watch out for bears!
While staying in Alaska, make sure to eat as much fish as possible. If you stay at a lodge, you’ll likely be eating fresh fish just plucked from the ocean. However, the enjoyment of great seafood doesn’t have to end when your trip does.
Coming home from an Alaskan fishing trip is a
seafood lover’s dream. If you get the fish filleted, vacuum-packed, frozen, and stored in a cooler, you can bring home many varieties of fish to feast on alone or share with friends and family.
Alaskan deep-sea fishing is a vacation you won’t soon forget. In the summer the sun sets after midnight and rises before you wake up in the early morning to gear up for fishing. In the evening, you come back to your hotel or lodge exhausted and ready to eat dinner and sleep—but also eager to get back out on the ocean the next day. The trip is majestic, wonderful, and unforgettable.
— Sarah Owen