Southcentral Alaska offers the widest variety of saltwater
fishing and inland fishing in the state. The Bristol Bay area is famous for
exceptional rainbow trout. Lake trout grow large in some lakes in the region.
Arctic char and Dolly Varden are found in many of the waters of the region. Salmon
runs are spectacular in some areas, and include king or Chinook salmon, sockeye or red
salmon, chum salmon, coho or silver salmon, and pink salmon. Halibut are seasonally
abundant in Gulf of Alaska, Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound waters, as are various
species of bottom fish. Grayling and burbot are found in some streams, and lake
trout and pike are commonly found in southcentral lakes.
The landforms in this part of Alaska are the most varied in
the the state. From the jagged Gulf of Alaska coastline, the land rises to the
Alaska Range, and Mt. McKinley, the continent's highest peak.
The Gulf Coast is generally mountainous,
and is indented by massive Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet and the
huge flows of the mighty Copper River.
The well-known Kodiak Island and its
archipelago are part of this region. This is the
largest group of islands in the region, and the other major archipelago in the
state (the Alexander Archipelago, which comprises southeast Alaska is the
Inland, the land is hilly or mountainous
with a few relatively flat areas like the Nelchina Basin. The
country is incised by major rivers,
including the Copper, Matanuska, Susitna, Kvichak, and Mulchatna. The Susitna River
valley, sculpted by ancient glaciers, is one of the few with a broad floodplain.
The coastal areas are wet with thousands of small
streams, many of which bear salmon and other fish. Inland, the
coastal mountains intercept the moisture, leading to dryer conditions.
The inland areas have many lakes, the work of ancient glaciations that
covered much of the state.
Alaskans living in the Interior sometimes this part of the state "the banana belt" -- a little wry humor, and
understandable when comparing winters up north with this relatively moderate
climate. Summers here tend toward cool and moist, depending on the location.
Rainfall is more here than in the dry Interior, but substantially less overall than the
wet panhandle. Summer temperatures range from the 50's to the 80's, with coastal
temperatures being cooler than more inland locations.