Alaska Freshwater Fishing - Alaska's Boardwalk Lodge

Alaska Freshwater Fishing

Best Freshwater Fishing

SteelheadApr thru mid-May
CutthroatApr thru Sept
Silver Salmonlate-July thru Sept
Pink Salmonmid-July thru Aug
Sockeye Salmonmid-Jun thru Jul
Chum Salmonlate-July thru Aug
Dolly VardenApr thru Sept
Table indicates typical seasonal runs

Freshwater fishing is a revered pastime for many, offering both unparalleled relaxation and the thrill of the catch. Among the many locations globally that beckon anglers, Prince of Wales Island in Alaska stands out as a pristine haven. This remote island, while known to some for its breathtaking landscapes, is also a treasure trove for freshwater fish enthusiasts. From trout to salmon, the island's lakes and rivers offer diverse fishing opportunities. Whether you're a seasoned angler with a preference for fly fishing or a beginner eager for some freshwater fishing tips, this Alaskan gem promises a memorable fishing trip.

On your Alaska freshwater fishing trip, you’ll find:

Alaska Freshwater Fish Species

Alaska's freshwater ecosystems boast a rich variety of fish species, from the elusive trout to the iconic salmon. Anglers venturing into Alaskan waters are often rewarded with the thrill of catching multiple game fish, making it a dream destination for freshwater fishing enthusiasts.


Alaska's freshwater fishing is especially renowned for its prolific trout populations. The prime months for targeting species like the vibrant rainbow trout and the elusive cutthroat trout typically range from June to September. During these months, anglers flock to Alaska's rivers and lakes, as the chances of landing a trophy trout amidst the state's scenic vistas are at their peak.

Steelhead Fishing

Steelhead trout fishing in Alaska offers an experience that is unparalleled in both challenge and reward. Imagine standing on the shores of Prince of Wales Island, line cast into the shimmering water, and feeling that unmistakable tug of a wild Steelhead — Alaska's own sea-run Rainbow Trout. These aren't your everyday hatchery fish. The Steelhead that inhabit the waters surrounding Southeast Alaska are trophy-class lunkers, typically measuring an impressive 29-37 inches in length. These are powerful, fierce fighters that will have your fishing rod pulsing and straining to meet the water.

Alaska's Boardwalk Lodge accommodates hearty Steelheaders looking to land some of these rare, trophy Steelies during peak Steelhead fishing from April 1 through May 10. For spin casting, we recommend a 7-8 foot medium rod with a medium weight reel. As for the bait, egg imitators have proven effective, as have #2-3 Mepps Aglia lures, with fluorescent red or gold being especially enticing colors for these magnificent game fish.

Cutthroat Trout and Dolly Varden Char Fishing

Dolly Varden and Cutthroat Trout are plentiful in nearby lakes and streams, providing year-round excitement. While the typical size for most Cutthroat and Dolly Varden ranges between 10-21 inches, what they might lack in size, they more than make up for in spirit. These tenacious trout and char are known for their relentless fight, often leaving anglers exhilarated with non-stop action. It's not uncommon to find oneself in a rhythm of catching and releasing these spirited fish until sheer exhaustion sets in.

If you're planning an Alaskan fishing trip targeting these freshwater species, equipment will play a crucial role. The recommended gear for a successful day includes a light action rod paired with a compatible reel. As for baits and lures, an assortment of spinners (size 0-3) has proven effective, as have jigs and spoons—especially those weighing around 1/8 oz. Equipped with the right gear and a sense of adventure, fishing for Dolly Varden and Cutthroat Trout in Alaska promises an unforgettable experience.


Non-stop battles heat up in July with Coho and Sockeye Salmon runs, followed by a sea of Pink and Chum Salmon in August. The vast majority of these fish have never seen an artificial lure, much less taken one. Both skilled and novice fisherman will need to brace themselves for the thrill of a lifetime when these trophy Salmon hit. The fight is non-stop and the sheer rod-bending action is exhilarating!

Silver Salmon Fishing

Alaska's rich fishing waters are synonymous with the majestic salmon, and among them, the Silvers, or Coho salmon, stand out as a favorite for anglers worldwide. Known for their tenacity, these hard fighters offer intense action, making every catch an unforgettable experience. The average weight for a Coho usually falls between 12-15 pounds. However, it's not uncommon to find these impressive salmon weighing in at over 20 pounds, especially during their peak season. If you're planning a trip to the Alaskan waters, the best time to target these beauties is from late July through September, when they are most abundant.

When setting out to chase Silvers in Southeast Alaska, having the right gear is pivotal. A heavy action rod coupled with a sturdy reel is the preferred choice to withstand the Coho's robust fight. As for lures, the #3 and #4 Blue Fox Vibrax spinners in shades of silver, orange, and green have proven to be particularly effective. Additionally, the 1/4 and 1/2 oz. Blue Fox Pixie spoons in orange and green, along with various Mepps spinners in sizes 3 and 4, are also highly recommended. With the right equipment and the breathtaking backdrop of Alaskan waters, chasing after Coho salmon promises both thrill and scenic beauty.

Pink Salmon Fishing

Often overshadowed by their larger counterparts, Pink salmon are the smallest salmon found in the region's waters, but they're also the most abundant. Their size averages around 3-5 pounds, and they follow a two-year life cycle. A fascinating aspect of Pink salmon is their transformation upon entering freshwater streams. They develop a noticeable dorsal hump, which has earned them the endearing nickname "Humpy." Those looking to immerse themselves in the thrill of saltwater humpy fishing will find July and August to be the most rewarding months.

When it comes to the best gear for this adventure, spin casting is the way to go. A light action rod paired with a matching reel is recommended for the best Pink salmon fishing experience. As for lures, anglers have found success with #3 and #4 Blue Fox Vibrax spinners in shades of silver, orange, and green. The 1/4 and 1/2 oz. Blue Fox Pixie spoons, primarily in orange and green, are also favorites. And, of course, various Mepps spinners in sizes 3 and 4 round out the recommended gear.

Chum Salmon Fishing

Chum salmon, commonly referred to as Dog salmon, offer a unique angling experience. These fish are best known for their striking strength and the large teeth they develop, which are especially prominent in males once they venture into freshwater. The best time for anglers to target these hardy fish is from mid-July through August. With an average weight hovering around 15 pounds, Chum salmon are an impressive catch. However, the thrill intensifies when an angler hooks the occasional lunker that can exceed 25 pounds, turning the fishing adventure into an unforgettable memory.

Those preparing to chase these mighty salmon know that using the right gear is essential. Much like their Coho salmon counterparts, Chum salmon fishing requires heavy action rods and reels to withstand their forceful fight. In terms of lures, the #3 and #4 Blue Fox Vibrax spinners in shades of silver, orange, and green come highly recommended. The 1/4 and 1/2 oz. Blue Fox Pixie spoons, particularly in orange and green, also prove effective, as do various Mepps spinners in sizes 3 and 4. Equipped with this arsenal and set against the breathtaking Alaskan backdrop, Chum Salmon fishing is bound to be an exhilarating experience.

Sockeye Salmon Fishing

While Alaska is renowned for its diverse salmon populations, it holds a special place for one species in particular: the Sockeye salmon, affectionately known as the Red salmon. These elusive creatures are often touted as the most challenging salmon to catch in the region's waters, making them quite the prize among avid anglers.

One might be surprised to learn that the best lure for these wary fish is a simple, bare red hook. This isn't just a fisherman's tale—when they do decide to take the bait, Red salmon are celebrated for their fighting prowess, making every catch a hard-won trophy. Their vigorous and explosive runs demand the use of heavy action gear, ensuring that the angler is well-prepared for the ensuing battle.

Freshwater Fishing at Alaska’s Boardwalk Lodge

Freshwater fishing — both spin casting and fly fishing — at Alaska's Boardwalk Lodge is world-class in nearby rivers, lakes and streams, with easy access to 23 select waterways on breathtaking Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. Many of these neighboring waters are only fished when Boardwalk Lodge guests venture out, allowing you to cast and catch in solitude. The Island's largest river, The Thorne, is just up the road from the lodge property on Thorne Bay. Freshwater fishing trips are easily accessed on the Island with our fleet of Suburbans. While this makes fly-out trips completely unnecessary, we do make fly-outs available for an additional cost.

Use of the lodge's premium Lamiglas® fishing rods, Shimano® reels, Orvis® waders and wading boots, and wet weather gear is included in your lodge package. We supply you with a wide range of equipment to fit the conditions and to meet your needs. All you have to do is bring yourself and your fishing license!

And, after a day of intense casting and reeling, there's no better way to unwind than hopping aboard one of Boardwalk's 26- or 27-foot heated cabin cruisers. These vessels provide daily saltwater fishing excursions, allowing anglers to experience a different side of Alaskan fishing.

Alaska Freshwater Fishing is an Adventure for Everyone

Alaska's freshwater fishing is more than just an angler's dream; it's an immersive experience that captures the essence of the wild, untamed beauty of nature. From the elusive Sockeye salmon to the tenacious Chum, each catch tells a story of ancient migratory routes, pristine waters, and ecosystems that have remained largely unchanged for millennia. But beyond the thrill of the catch, Alaska's vast landscapes, from its shimmering lakes to its meandering rivers, offer a tranquil escape for those seeking solitude and a deeper connection with the environment.

Whether you're a seasoned angler or a novice taking to the waters for the first time, the magic of Alaska's freshwater fishing will leave an indelible mark on your soul, beckoning you to return time and time again.