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Alaska fishing: the Anchorage area

Anchorage areaSpecies

For a metropolitan area, the Anchorage bowl offers a surprising amount of good fishing.  Even fishing in Ship Creek downtown can provide surprising catches of salmon.  Anglers are found all along the Campbell Creek green belt in late summer as the silvers enter the watershed.

Streams and lakes in the area and nearby hold king (king) salmon, silver (coho) salmon, and pink salmon; rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, pike, grayling, smelt and whitefish.  There is no saltwater fishing from the port of Anchorage.  Ice fishing is popular on lakes in the area during the cold months.

Anchorage is an initial destination for tens of thousands of anglers each summer, of course, as it has the state's busiest airport.

Jumping off from Anchorage

From Anchorage most anglers are jumping off to other parts of the state.  Within reasonable driving distance from Anchorage are:

  • Seward with offshore fishing for salmon and halibut, as well as rockfish and even shark.
  • Kenai with both offshore, river and lake fishing for halibut, salmon, and trout
  • Homer with offshore fishing for salmon and halibut
  • Matanuska/Susitna with stream fishing for salmon and trout


Anchorage sits on a peninsula formed by Knik and Turnagain arms.  These "arms" are narrow silt-clogged and somewhat dangerous waterways extending into the mountainous country east of Cook Inlet.  The peninsula on which Anchorage sits is relatively narrow, but it is mostly flat.  A number of lovely, clean rivers flow out of the mountains into Cook Inlet, and it is up these that salmon ascend each summer.  There are also a number of fine fishing lakes in the area; just under 30 of which are stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with landlocked salmon, Arctic char, and Arctic grayling.

Run Timing

The earliest open water fishing takes place beginning in late April on the Twentymile River southeast of Anchorage proper where hundreds of anglers dip for smelt (hooligan). Salmon begin showing up in May.  Some salmon continue to be available into October.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game's run timing chart provides more specific information.


Anchorage is served by many, many daily flights from around the earth.  Anchorage can also be easily accessed by the North American road system and the Alaska Railroad from Seward and Fairbanks.  A number of cruise lines terminate near Anchorage, and tens of thousands of these visitors come through Anchorage for the final part of their trip, many interested in fishing.

Click for Anchorage, Alaska Forecast


Anchorage area weather is milder than much of the rest of the state because of its proximity to the large water mass of Cook Inlet.  Summers are cooler and winters warmer than in the Interior.  Rainfall is higher here than the dry Interior, but not as high as Southeast Alaska.

Current fishing report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (updated regularly during the summer months)

Anchorage Fishing Report

Representative Alaska fishing forum threads about Anchorage 

Anchorage ice fishing

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Area Descriptions for Southcentral Alaska

Anchorage fishing
Cordova fishing
Homer fishing

Kenai fishing
Kodiak fishing
Matanuska/Susitna/West Cook Inlet fishing
Prince William Sound fishing
Seward fishing
Upper Copper / Upper Susitna area fishing
Valdez fishing

Whittier Fishing

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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