Planning an Alaskan fishing expedition is one of those monumental treasures in life if you’re an avid angler. From picking the dates to planning the flights, to finally touching down in America’s 49th state and claiming your spot on the fishing boat, every moment is exciting… but there’s no more exciting moment than when you feel a tug on your line. It’s indescribable.
If you’re a seasoned fisherman, you know there’s no guarantee of a bite, however, which can mean some trepidation when you hit the water. What happens if the runs are slow that day? Are you using the right bait? What should you be doing to attract Alaskan salmon to your lure? These questions and more can cloud your mind and detract from your experience.
It’s important to prepare yourself prior to heading out, to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chances at reeling in a keeper and staying calm inside your own head. Take a look at a few handy tips that you can rely on when it comes to catching some of Alaska’s most popular salmon varieties:
- King Salmon: This is the grand daddy of catches—reeling in a King Salmon is going to make you the envy of all of your fishing friends. King Salmon are very plentiful, however you’re not going to land one without a fight; they are incredibly hard to fish. If you want to raise your chances of landing a King, you’re going to want to fish the deeper runs from a boat—casting from shore won’t cut it. When it comes to flies, make sure you’re using brightly colored options; the same goes for spinning and casting as well. Cap everything off with a chunk of salmon roe and you’re set for King Salmon fishing!
- Red Salmon: Red Salmon are by far going to be the most abundant variety of Alaskan salmon and thankfully, are also the easiest variety to lure in and land. These fish tend to keep closer to shorelines and swim shallower, which means you can generally lay your line low and expect to pick up a passing Red Salmon. The trick is snagging your hook just right so that you’re able to get a steady hold—generally an Octopus hook will get the job done. Finally, Red Salmon are light biters, which means you’re going to want a decent amount of weight, but not so much that you don’t feel when you’ve got one hooked!
- Pink/Silver Salmon: Also plentiful, but a bit on the harder side to snag, Pink/Silver Salmon are fished in generally the same way as King Salmon, with one exception: instead of fishing deep, fish the shallow waters. These salmon are also notoriously light biters, so you’ll want to pay close attention to every movement of your line to make sure you’re able to hook one right away. Again, salmon roe will help in this situation.
If you’re prepping for an Alaskan fishing expedition—even if you’re an advanced angler—it’s always a good idea to research what you’re fishing and what the best techniques are for making sure you snag a catch. Check out the tips above and don’t be afraid to ask your guide about practices and tips that have worked well for others before you!