As any fan of good fish knows, some of the best there is can be had in the waters of Alaska. And while the freedom and convenience of popping into a supermarket can satisfy a craving, a fisherman is known to prefer the freedom of open water—nothing beats the taste of fish you’ve caught yourself in the wild, or the satisfaction and pride that comes along with a bountiful catch.
The great thing about fishing excursions in Alaska is that they allow for so many pleasures: the natural beauty of lakes and rivers, the skill and sportsmanship of the search for fish, and the satisfaction of a belly full of Alaskan halibut or salmon.
But that’s where you may need to make some choices, after you answer this very important question: should I go after the salmon, or the halibut?
Fortunately, “Salmon or halibut?” is not the unanswerable question it may seem to be. You’ll just need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.
You’re up for a challenge
Catching a halibut might be the biggest challenge you’ll find when you’re fishing in Alaska—they average 20 to 50 pounds, although maybe you’ll be a lucky and a land a 200-pounder—and it might demand the highest level of skill. But you might just have better odds of running into some salmon, and while some of them don’t pose much of a challenge, others, like the fighting red salmon and the acrobatic silver salmon, make up in difficulty what they might lack in size.
You want to impress your friends
Again, a halibut would look phenomenal mounted on your wall, but there are more varieties of salmon you might run into, and some of them won’t exactly embarrass you in front of your family, friends and rival fishermen. A 60-pound king salmon isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and it’s the biggest salmon out there, which also means lots of meat.
You’re just really, really hungry
If you can snag a halibut, you’ll be in for some fine tasting fish. You’ll also run the risk of going hungry if that’s all you’re after. Thankfully, many of the salmon varieties in Alaska combine great taste, quality and quantity of meat and general availability in a way that makes salmon fishing your best bet if you’re looking to get some memorable meals out of your trip.
Red salmon combines delicious, rich meat with a fighting spirit, so you’ll be able to enjoy the challenge after you’ve won. Silver salmon are also widely available, if you’re able to catch them, and their meat is also good. And don’t forget about that mighty king salmon, which weighs 20 to 30 pounds on average and will give you quite the feast.
In the end, while they combine impressiveness with good eating, you might not want to hook all your hopes to the halibut. The variety of salmon you’ll find on fishing excursions in Alaska is sufficient to satisfy any of your ambitions and desires, no matter your skill level.