Summer and fall offers excellent fishing in Juneau area streams and saltwater areas. Freshwater anglers can expect excellent fishing for a wide variety of species. Freshwater anglers may catch pink salmon, chum salmon, coho salmon, and Dolly Varden in a single stream! Ocean anglers can expect excellent fishing for coho, chum, and pink salmon, and halibut.
Salmon Fishing – Coho (silver), chum (dog), and pink (humpies) salmon arrive in Juneau area saltwaters during July. Saltwater catch rates for chum and pink salmon peak around the end of July and first of August. Coho salmon fishing is excellent during August and September. Some popular Saltwater angling spots are the Breadline, Pt. Salisbury, Pt. Bishop, the backside of Douglas Island, North and South Shelter Island, and Pt. Retreat.
Anglers can land salmon in saltwater by trolling or mooching herring, hoochies, flies, or plugs. Trolling involves actively pulling a herring through the water fast enough to provide a spin that gives the herring an injured look. Some anglers like a slow spin and some like it fast. Mooching is usually done from an anchored or a drifting boat and is an effective technique when fishing in medium to strong currents.
Many anglers consider late July through September to the best time to fish streams in the Juneau area. Pink and chum salmon fishing is excellent during the last of July and first of August. Some good fishing for pink and chum salmon include Cowee Creek, Echo Cove, Amalga Harbor, and McCauley Hatchery. Anglers in pursuit of coho salmon will find good fishing from the middle of September through October. Some popular spots for coho include Montana Creek, Lena Pt., Cowee Creek, Peterson Creek, Amalga Harbor, and McCauley Hatchery.
Freshwater anglers report success with spinners, pixies, spoons and flies. Generally small pixies with red yarn tied to the hook are effective for pink, chum, and coho salmon. Fly fishers will have good luck with red, orange, black, or chartreuse colored streamers and egg sucking leeches
Trout and Char Fishing- During the summer and fall, Dolly Varden follow salmon from saltwaters into freshwater. Dollies are often associated with spawning salmon and can be seen feeding on their spawn. Anglers are successful with egg imitation patterns such as the egg sucking leach or bead. Dolly Varden also actively feed on salmon carcasses and are thus lured to rod and reel with flesh flies. Anglers using terminal tackle can have success with small spinners and pixies.
Sea-run cutthroat trout can be found around mouths of streams and near-shore. The abundance of sea-run cutthroat trout is low, compared to sea run Dolly Varden; thus, bag and possession limits are more restrictive. Similar fishing techniques used for Dolly’s can be applied to sea-run cutthroat.
Some freshwater opportunities exist for trout and char that are isolated from saltwaters. On the Juneau road system, these systems include Peterson Creek and lake, Copley Lake, Salmon Creek Reservoir, Dredge Lakes, and Fish Creek above Eaglecrest Road. Dolly Varden and trout are caught in these systems.
Crab and Shrimp- Crabbing and opportunities to catch shrimp exist in the Juneau Area . Check with your local Fish and Game office to determine if personal use regulations apply.
ANCHORAGE AREA REGION 2
We've all heard the tales before: "The river was so loaded with fish they were bumping into my legs," or "This fish was so big it took two of us to carry it." And we have all been skeptical. After all, most fishermen are notorious storytellers.
That is why reports of great summer-time angling within an hour's float plane flight of Anchorage sounded too good to be true. Though Alaska is legendary for its outstanding wilderness fishing, many of the well-known lodges are far from Anchorage, require a two- or three-night stay, and can easily cost $200 to $300 a day per person plus charter air fare.
But if our two trips (one in June, one in August) are any indication, the one-day, fly-out fishing packages outlined here offer one of the quickest and easiest ways for you to get a crack at some of the greatest fishing the world has to offer. These air taxi services will completely outfit and drop you where they believe the fishing will be best within a 40-minute flight of Anchorage.
Even if you don't catch fish, the single-engine float plane ride low over the grassy meadows (on a clear day you'll see Mount McKinley 125 miles north of Anchorage), the likelihood of spotting moose from the air, and the chance to spend a day in the bush make the trip a worthwhile addition to your Alaskan visit.
The fishing can vary. On our trip last June for king salmon, we caught only one fish (the limit)--a whopping 47-pounder on light spinning tackle. This was at a known hot spot with about 75 other anglers already fishing that stretch of river. The best drifts were crowded--almost elbow to elbow. A wilderness lodge, offering food service, guides, and boat rental, was nearby. Still, only a few anglers went home empty-handed, and most fish caught were in the 20- to 25-pound range.
The early August trip for sockeye salmon was much less crowded and more productive, with about 15 fish landed and released. The only problem was that the small stream was so thick with migrating humpback (pink) and sockeye that spinning tackle snagged many of the fish. After switching to a fly rod, we caught two hard-fighting sockeye in the 10-pound range.The deep red fish with its greenish, hook-jawed heads made the trip worthwhile.
Typical one-day program. The pilot flies you out in the morning (usually between 7 and 9), then picks you up at a prearranged time. All planes take off from Lake Hood, near the international airport. There you'll be outfitted with waders, a fishing rod and tackle. You can buy a license at sporting goods stores in Alaska or at the air service office itself.
The best fishing is often north and west of Anchorage, although destinations can change daily depending on the previous day's results and reports from other locations. The pilot will likely circle the area, show you the best spots to fish, and give a few pointers on technique, but then you're on your own. There may be a wilderness lodge or related services nearby, or you may be the only person for miles.
You can arrange for a guide (novice anglers should consider this) at some locations, but this costs at least $100 more. Guides and outfitters emphasize that there is no guarantee you will catch fish.
The spinning gear provided by most outfits is adequate, but it's a good idea to bring along your favorite rod and reel (especially fly tackle) and some lures or flies. A small day pack, rain jacket, sunglasses, and mosquito repellent are musts. I recommend a good book that keeps the angling juices flowing as you prepare for your trip.
Now into July, the fishing is best for king (chinook) salmon, with silver (coho) salmon picking up from July into November. Sockeye salmon run June into August; humpback and chum salmon are good in July and August. Grayling and trout run all summer long, but fishing for trout peaks in late spring and early fall.
FAIRBANKS AREA REGION 3
Fairbanks anglers have it easy, with the Chena flowing through town on its way to the Tanana River. Known for its grayling and king salmon, the Chena has a reputation for spotty fishing, but it's doing better than ever these days. Additional species like chum salmon, northern pike, sheefish and even rainbow trout and arctic char are found in its tributary lakes and streams. The best water to fish and float is the upper river (accessed via Chena Hot Springs Road) where you'll find "absolutely classic arctic grayling dry-fly stream conditions. With a number of well-marked, easy-access points from Chena Hot Springs Road, which parallels much of the river, you can float or wade this wonderful river. A good bet for Grayling and Rainbows is Pile Driver Slough, located just outside of Fairbanks. Check out "THE HIGHWAY ANGLER" for access points. The slough is crystal clear and offers slow flowing water, perfect for the dry fly. The Grayling here can reach twenty inches in length. The big Grayling will take a dry but a large streamer attracts the monsters even better as they attempt to conserve energy by selecting the most nutritional food for energy expended to get it. My favorite fly for Pile Driver Slough has to be the “CHOCOLATE MOOSE”. The crystal clear water allows for some great sight fishing opportunities. Locate the cruising Arctic Grayling and make a cast in its direction. No need for a precise cast as these fish are looking for food and are good at finding it. I have found that a twitch or even an all out strip which skims the fly across the surface. Watch out as a fish you were not aware of might come from nowhere to attack your fly. These are just a couple of choices in and around the Fairbanks area so get out there and land some Grayling, Rainbows, Pike, Chums, and King Salmon (Chinook). Have fun in the great frontier.