Alaskan King Salmon Fishing

Tips on fishing for and catching Alaskan king salmon a.k.a. chinook salmon

Also see Alaska salmon fishing and fly fishing in Alaska

The King of Salmon is one of the most sought after Alaskan fish. 

alaskan king salmon fishing, alaska king salmon fishingThe king salmon, also known as the chinook salmon, outclasses all other salmon in size and strength and that makes Alaskan king salmon fishing some of the most thrilling fishing in the world. 

The largest of Pacific salmon, its sheer size makes this fish a big draw for sport fishermen. 

Alaskan king salmon are mostly prized for their flavorful meat and their size (record catches go well over 100 pounds) but any angler who catches one will soon discover the strength of the king salmon.  Struggling with one of Alaska's great kings is an experience not to be missed.

Fishing for Alaskan king salmon will yield the most successful results if done during certain hours.  The best times for fishing are generally between 9:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. and between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.  Due to the great strength of chinook salmon, anglers should use a medium-action, back-bounce or spinning heavyweight casting rod and a heavy tournament quality reel.  A variety of brightly colored spoons, spinners, flies and drift bobbers is recommended when fishing for king salmon in freshwater.

With rich and tasty deep red flesh, king salmon make a fine meal.  These fish can be enjoyed whether smoked, grilled, or canned.

Identifying Alaskan King Salmon While FishingKing Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Alaska King Salmon

Of all Pacific salmon species, chinook salmon are the largest.  The average weight for king salmon is around 18 pounds, but it is common to find kings that are 30 pounds or more and there are record breaking fish that have weighed in at over 100 pounds.  Chinook typically measure 30 inches or more in length. 

King salmon have silver sides, white bellies, a dark blue coloring on their backs and crossed markings on the upper part of their sides and fins.  The tail is forked and broad with spotted lobes.  Perhaps the most significant characteristic for identifying king salmon is the appearance of black gums on the lower jaw.  Chinook Salmon Spawnin, King Salmon Spawning, Alaska King Salmon Spawning

Spawning kings change in color to be brownish-red, brown or copper, often with dark purple or black markings.  Chinook males are further transformed with more dramatic coloration, hooked jaws and ridged backs. 


Best Locations For Alaskan King Salmon Fishing

South Central King Salmon Fishing Spots

Kenai:  Kachemak Bay, Ninilchik, Kasilof, Anchor, Deep Creeks, Moose, Kenai Rivers, Lower Cook Inlet

Lower Cook Inlet:  Chakachatna, McArthur River Systems

Upper Cook Inlet:  Chuitna, Lewis, Ivan, Theodore Rivers, Little Susitna

Wrangell Mountains:  Tonsina, Klutina, Gulkana, Taslina River Systems

Chugach: Passage Canal, Orca Inlet, Resurrection Bay, Valdez Arm

Kodiak: Chiniak Bay, Red Rivers, Karluk

Susitna:  Willow, Sheep, Montana, Little Willow, Lake, Alexander Creeks, Talkeetna, Talachulitna Rivers

Places in the Interior for King Salmon Fishing

Tanana: Chena, Salcha, Chatankika Rivers

Locations for King Salmon Fishing in the Southeast

Petersburg:  Wrangell Narrows, Duncan Canal, Frederick Sound

Haines:  Chilkoot, Chilkat Inlets

Klawock, Prince of Wales:  Gulf of Esquibel, Bucareli Bay

Juneau:  Stephens Passage, Lynn Canal, Chatham Straits, Cross Sound, Favorite, Saginaw Channels

Skagway: Taiya Inlet

Wrangell: Stikine, Sumner Straits, Eastern Passage, Zimovia

Yakutat:  Akwe, Situk Rivers, Yakutat Bay

Ketchikan: Gravina Island, Behm Canal, Clarence Strait

Northwest King Salmon Fishing Spots

Norton Sound: Unalakleet, Inglutalik, Tubutulik, Shaktoolik Rivers

Places in the Southwest for King Salmon Fishing

Alaska Peninsula:  King Salmon, Nelson Lagoon, Meshnik, Sand, Chignik Rivers

Lower Yukon: Anvik, Andreafsky Rivers

Bristol Bay:  Wood, Togiak, Alagnak, Naknek

Kuskokwim:  Aniak, Goodnews, Arolik, Holitna River Systems