Alaska Saltwater Fishing: Top 9 Saltwater Fish to Catch in Alaska
Saltwater fishing along Alaska's Inside Passage—due west of Ketchikan, Alaska, just off the Alaska Peninsula—is a phenomenal experience! Join our experienced, U.S. Coast Guard licensed captains from early spring through late fall for a thrilling saltwater fishing excursion. Tangle with the fighting Chinook, more popularly known as the King Salmon, as well as four other salmon species. Or experience the thrill of hauling in one of Alaska's monster Halibut that often range well over 100 pounds. These and several other species of saltwater fish make for an exceptional sport fishing experience.
Alaska Saltwater Fishing Species
- King Salmon Fishing (Chinook Salmon)
- Silver Salmon Fishing (Coho Salmon)
- Pink Salmon Fishing (Humpies)
- Chum Salmon Fishing (Dog Salmon)
- Sockeye Salmon Fishing (Red Salmon)
- Alaska Halibut Fishing
- Rockfish Fishing
- Lingcod Fishing
- Dungeness Crab
Whether you're an amateur fisherman or seasoned saltwater angler, saltwater fishing in Alaska is the adventure of a lifetime. Our oceanfront lodge offers all-inclusive, luxury fishing opportunities for anyone who wants to discover first-hand why Alaskan saltwater fishing is an unparalleled experience!
What is the Best Place for Saltwater Fishing?
Alaska's Boardwalk Lodge is home to trophy-class, saltwater fishing located throughout the deep fjords and emerald-green waters of Southeast Alaska's Inside Passage.
Millions of years ago, gigantic glaciers shaped the 500 miles of Pacific Ocean known as the Inside Passage. Today, Alaska’s Inside Passage is a famous fishing spot for both recreational saltwater fishing and freshwater fishing. In particular, this area has some of the best saltwater fishing opportunities in the world.
There's a reason that Ketchikan is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World." The Inside Passage is made up of hundreds of islands, protected passages, federal waters, bays and inlets, both saltwater and fresh water. These state waters are teeming with big game fish and other aquatic life.
First-Rate Saltwater Fishing with Alaska’s Boardwalk Lodge
Our saltwater fishing boats are 28-foot ocean cruisers specially designed for your comfort and safety. Each fishing charter boat is equipped with a heated cabin, flushing private toilet, and all required tackle and fishing accessories. Our saltwater captains are not only highly knowledgeable about local fishing areas and techniques, they’re also U.S. Coast Guard licensed, certified in First Aid and CPR, ensuring you have the safest boating experience possible.
In addition to our fleet of ocean cruisers and experienced captains, Alaska's Boardwalk Lodge provides you with top-of-the-line saltwater fishing gear, including saltwater fishing rods, tackle and live bait. These include Lamiglas® and G.Loomis® rods paired with Shimano® or Penn® reels. Our staff also does all the fish processing—cleaning, cutting, vacuum packing, freezing, and boxing your saltwater fish for convenient transport home. Smoking your salmon is available at an additional cost.
Everyone from expert anglers to the occasional outdoorsman will be thrilled to see enormous Humpback whales surfacing, dolphins diving, and otters playing in the surf of these pristine waters.
Alaska Saltwater Fishing Species
King Salmon Fishing (Chinook Salmon)
Commonly called Kings, Chinook salmon are Alaska's state fish. They are the largest and scarcest type of Pacific salmon. The largest Alaska King Salmon ever caught weighed in at 126 pounds, though Kings usually range from 25-50 pounds—now that’s what we call a big fish!
Chinooks are especially known for their power and endurance. Perhaps the most favored sport fishing method for Kings is trolling with rigged herring, though spoons and flashers are also attractive to lure one in.
King fishing is most productive in these waters in June and July. Compared to other salmon species, Chinook salmon have a high fat content, strong flavor, and thick, smooth texture.
Silver Salmon Fishing (Coho Salmon)
Silver Salmon, or Alaska Coho Salmon, are hard fighters, and can provide intense action. The Coho average 12-15 pounds, but can be found weighing in at more than 20 pounds.
These salmon are most plentiful from late July through September. Coho Salmon have a moderate fat content and mild taste.
Pink Salmon Fishing (Humpies)
These are the smallest and most abundant salmon in area waters. Pinks have a two-year life cycle and average three to five pounds.
Upon entering freshwater streams, pinks develop a dorsal hump, thus their nickname "Humpy."
Saltwater Pink Salmon fishing is best during late July and August. Humpies have low fat content and a mild taste.
Chum Salmon Fishing (Dog Salmon)
Often called Dog Salmon, Chums are famous for their strength and large teeth, which develop most prominently in males upon entering freshwater. These salmon average 15 pounds with an occasional lunker topping 25 pounds.
Chum Salmon fishing is readily available mid-July through August. Out of all the salmon breeds, Chum Salmon has the lowest fat content and most subtle flavor.
Sockeye Salmon Fishing (Red Salmon)
Also called Red Salmon, Sockeyes are the most difficult salmon to catch in area waters. They are one of the smaller salmon species, weighing between four and 15 pounds.
While highly regarded for their fighting skill, saltwater Sockeye sport fishing is limited due to conservation regulations.
Sockeye Salmon have a high fat content, though not as high as King Salmon, and a rich flavor. Its vibrant red flesh is due to the high levels of antioxidants.
Alaska Halibut Fishing
Alaska Halibut are by far the most popular bottomfish inhabiting our waters along Alaska's Inside Passage.
The pacific halibut is a toothy flatfish that is normally caught on or near the ocean floor. As with the majority of bottomfish, drifting or anchoring with bait are among the most preferred means of enticing these monsters, which can take hours to reel in after you hook one.
Halibut can live more than 20 years, and the average catch weighs in around 40 pounds. The largest pacific halibut ever caught while sport fishing tipped the scales at 495 pounds.
Local halibut weighting more than 300 pounds have been caught, and good opportunities for hauling in huge halibut exist all summer.
Halibut is a mild, white fish with a gentle flavor that pairs wonderfully with strong spices, like basil or lemon. Baking, grilling, deep-frying, poaching, and steaming are all popular methods of cooking Halibut.
Rockfish is a term used to describe more 10 species of light-fleshed bottomfish, including the yellow-eye rockfish (similar to the Atlantic Red Snapper) and Black Sea Bass.
Most rockfish weigh between one and six pounds, with the yellow-eye being the largest, averaging six pounds. Rockfish are long-lived, and depending on the species, may reach ages of 30-100 years.
Good rockfish fishing occurs during the warm summer months. Rockfish has a mild flavor that can be described as sweet and nutty. It has low fat content, which contributes to its light, flaky texture.
Like Halibut and rockfish, Lingcod are usually found on or near the bottom, most often over rocky reefs in areas with strong currents. These fish are extremely aggressive predators, often growing to more than 50 pounds in weight and four feet in length.
These feisty fish usually range from 10-40 pounds, and are abundant throughout Southeast Alaska's fishing season.
Lingcod tastes like a cross between halibut and bass. It is mild with a slightly sweet flavor.
Our area is also home to Dungeness Crabs. Crabbing is available at Boardwalk. It can be done as part of the routine fishing day.
Boardwalk guides will be pleased to take you to crabbing areas during regular fishing hours. However, be aware that Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulations require guests to prepare their own crab pots and physically set and pull them.
When is the Best Time to Go Saltwater Fishing?
The best time of year to go saltwater fishing in Alaska is generally the summer months—mid-May, June, July, and August.
Because the best time of day to go saltwater fishing is in the early morning, Boardwalk Lodge visitors will enjoy a world-class breakfast before setting out at dawn with an expert angler as part of a typical Alaska Trip Itinerary.
Book Your Alaska Saltwater Fishing Adventure Today!
Saltwater fishing along Alaska's Inside Passage can't be beat. From the mighty King Salmon to the gargantuan Alaskan Halibut, there are nine main saltwater species of game fish that guarantee your Alaska fishing trip will be one to remember.
At the Boardwalk Lodge, we provide everything you need to enjoy a first-rate, luxury saltwater fishing expedition, including high-end saltwater fishing gear, experienced guides, fishing charters, and fine dining. Just bring yourself and your Alaska fishing license!
If you can't wait to climb aboard one of our vessels and join us out at sea, don't wait! Book your all-inclusive fishing trip at Boardwalk Lodge today! We'll see you out on the water!