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Alaska fishing: the great interior


Anglers enjoy a great variety of fish and outdoor opportunities in the interior of Alaska. This enormous area of Alaska offers all five species of Pacific salmon in its rivers as well as some of the most sought after fish in the Arctic in its many, many lakes and streams. Northern pike are abundant in the rivers and lakes and some of largest sheefish in the world can be caught in this vast region. There are plenty of opportunities to fish for trophy Arctic char, lake trout, Dolly Varden, and grayling. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game operates an active stocking program for rainbows and land-locked salmon in lakes accessible by road. Interior rivers also provide excellent habitat for burbot, sometimes referred to as Alaska lobster.

Area Sponsor

Pat and Bill O’Halloran, owners of North Country River Charters in Fairbanks welcome avid sportsmen from all over the world to experience the myriad of fishing opportunities found In the Great Interior. Fabulous fishing can be found in the Interior with the added benefit of enjoying true wilderness and no crowds. Outdoors enthusiasts will appreciate the fact that you can escape the crowds and fish side by side with many species of Alaska big game instead of rubbing shoulders with another fisherman. North Country River Charters offers premium trips on the enormous Yukon River for what just may be the best fishing for giant northern pike in the world. Staying in a camp that includes a shower, wall tents with cots and pads, generator, dining tent, screened gazebo, and meals like Copper River sockeye, fried potatoes, salad, and apple pie and ice cream – well, roughing it has never been so nice! Throw in large numbers of 40 inch plus Northern Pike, and you have all the makings of an epic adventure. Give Pat and Bill a call at (907) 479-7116 for information on their trips or any other information on the area of Alaska they call home. [ADV]



Alaska’s heartland is dominated by the continent’s tallest peak, Mt. McKinley. Mountains or high rolling hills are never very far away, although river “flats” provide geographic diversity. The lowlands are covered with spruce forests, interspersed with birch and aspen. At higher altitudes, one finds wide expanses of tundra. The forests are wildlife rich in many areas, and the endless rivers and lakes provide good habitat to millions of fish. Many rivers flow through interior Alaska, from small mountain streams to the mighty Yukon River. Many are glacial fed, including one of the largest glacial rivers in the world, the Tanana, which flows hundreds of miles through the interior into the Yukon River. Interior Alaska is the land of temperature extremes with temps to dipping to -60oF (-50oC) in the winter and into the 80’s (27oC) during the extremely long days of summer.


There are few highways in the great interior of Alaska. The Alaska Highway brings many travelers from the rest of North America, and connects communities along the Tanana drainage.  Our few roads, however, give anglers plenty of access to reasonable or even great fishing, especially to lakes stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Most of this vast land can only be accessed by plane, boat or by foot. Nearly every village has a good all weather airport served daily by small commercial air carriers. Many villages have companies based locally offering hunting and fishing outdoor adventures. Villages on the larger rivers receive most supplies and fuel by barges during the summer months.

Click for Fairbanks International, Alaska ForecastWeather

Interior Alaska has the greatest extremes of temperature in the state.  Winters are cold and dark; summers light all night with warm temperatures the norm.  Early spring can be cold, but often days warm to above freezing with brilliant sunshine, blue skies and dazzling snow -- perfect for ice fishing!  Summers are the wettest time of the year, but even so, there are many long, warm days. 

Best times to fish

Summer is short in the interior and the fishing is non-stop during the endless sunshine and warm days. Salmon enter the Yukon River in early June and migrate nearly 1,500 miles (2,400 km) up the river to beyond Whitehorse, in Canada’s Yukon Territory. They enter the many tributaries to spawn along the way, with most fishing taking place in June and July for king salmon, and then in August and September for silver salmon. The Yukon system has a good run of chum salmon all summer and fall. Most other species are readily available all summer in both lakes and streams. Mid to late summer seems to be the peak for the fabulous sheefish, especially in the Kobuk River, where they can grow to 60 pounds. Lake trout and Arctic char provide hot action soon after ice-out in May and early June.

Winter does not mean fishing stops in the interior. Ice fishing enthusiasts enjoy good fishing for burbot through the river ice and many local lakes sport small cities of ice fishing shanties for trout and land-locked salmon. The interior is a land of extremes and provides great fishing!

Interior Sponsors

Afognak Wilderness Lodge

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directory listings

Destination Information Resources

The Fairbanks Convention and Visitor's Bureau


Alaska Wildlife (including fish) Notebook Series

Current fishing report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Interior, northern and western Alaska

Magazine articles about Interior Alaska fishing

Representative Alaska fishing forum threads about Interior Alaska

Tanana River fishing
Nenana burbot fishing
Interior/Denali Trout

Alaska Outdoors Forums threads on Interior Alaska

These links point to messages containing these keywords on the Alaska Outdoors Forums. There are tens of thousands of messages stored in the forum, and you will find many clues to additional information here.

Fairbanks Fishing
Fishing the Tanana River
Interior Burbot
Lamprey Fishing
Alaska Highway Fishing
Interior Pike Fishing

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Area Descriptions for Arctic, Yukon & Kuskokwim Alaska

Interior Alaska

Area Descriptions for other regions of the state

Arctic, Yukon and Kuskokwim

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Boating areas, Southeast Alaska fishing areas, southcentral Alaska fishing areas 

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Alaska fishing books.Alaska boating books

A Cruising Guide to Prince William Sound,  Exploring Alaska’s Kenai Fjords,  The Kenai Canoe Trails, Guide to Sea Kayaking in Southeast Alaska,  Paddling the Yukon and its Tributaries

Alaska fishing books

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Alaska hunting books

The Complete Guide to Float Hunting AlaskaSheep Hunting in Alaska, Love, Thunder & Bull2 in Alaska , The Alaska Atlas & Gazetteer, Manual for Successful Hunters, Quest for Dall Sheep, Hunting in Alaska

Alaska travel books

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Winter in Alaska books

Ski Spot Run,  Skijor With Your Dog, The ABCs of Avalanche Safety, Alaska Backcountry Skiing: Valdez & Thompson Pass


Fishing lodges and guides, saltwater charters, air taxis, transporters, tackle, and more.  Hundreds of listings throughout Alaska.

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