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How, Where and When to Catch Fish in Alaska

The following chart is a general guideline for determining whether a species is present in each of the main regions of Alaska. The best bait or lure information is a generality describing what method works best for that species. A lure that is hot one year may not be near as effective the next. It is wise to consult a guide, outfitter or lodge in your specific area if you plan to bring your own tackle. Most lures, spoons and plugs can be found in sporting goods stores in the Lower 48. Most guides and lodges offering complete fishing packages supply all the tackle, bait and hip boots (if necessary) for their clients.

Although the chart may indicate that the Time of Abundance is All Year, many species have specific Seasons and Bag Limits established by the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game. Regulation booklets are printed individually for five specific regions in the state. Those regions are:

  • Southeast - Panhandle
  • Southcentral - Cook Inlet: Kenai, Susitna
  • Westward - Prince William Sound
  • Interior, Arctic, Yukon, Kuskokwim, Tanana
  • Kodiak, Southwest, Bristol Bay

Fish Species
Best Bait or Lure
Maximum Size
Time of Abundance
Arctic Char Spoon, Eggs 20 lbs. Absent June/August June/Sept. July/Sept. Absent
Arctic Grayling Flies 5 lbs. July/Sept. May/Sept. May/Sept. May/Oct. Absent
Burbot Bait 30 lbs. Absent All Year All Year All Year Absent
Chum Salmon Spoon 15 lbs. July/Sept. July/August July/August July/Sept. July
Cutthroat Trout Bait, Spin, Flies 7 lbs. May-Sept. June-Sept. Absent Absent Absent
Dolly Varden Bait, Spin, Flies 15 lbs. May-Oct. All Year All Year Absent May-Oct.
Brook Trout Eggs, Spin 5 lbs. May-Sept. Absent Absent Absent Absent
Halibut Octopus, Herring, Jigs 500 lbs. All Year All Year All Year Absent May-Sept.
King Salmon Herring, Spin, Flies, Eggs 100 lbs. April-July May-July May-July July-August June-July
Kokanee Spin, Eggs 2 lbs. May-Sept. All Year All Year Absent Absent
Lake Trout Spoon, Plug, Eggs 45 lbs. Absent All Year All Year All Year Absent
Ling Cod Herring, Jigs 80 lbs. All Year All Year All Year Absent All Year
Northern Pike Spoon, Spin, Plugs 30 lbs. Absent All Year All Year All Year Absent
Pink Salmon Spoon, Spin, Flies 8 lbs. July-August July-August July-August Absent July-August
Rainbow Trout Flies, Lures, Bait 20 lbs. May-Sept. All Year All Year All Year All Year
Red Salmon Coho Flies 10 lbs. July-August June-July June-July Absent June-July
Rockfish Herring, Spin 20 lbs. Absent All Year May-Sept. Absent All Year
Sheefish Spoon, Flies 50 lbs. Absent Absent May-Sept. July-Oct. Absent
Silver Salmon Herring, Spoon, Spin, Eggs 25 lbs. July-Sept. July-Sept. July-Sept. All Year landlocked Sept.-Nov.
Steelhead Trout Spoon, Eggs, Flies 45 lbs. Oct.-June May-June Aug.-Oct. May-June Aug.-Oct. Absent April-May Sept.-Nov.
Whitefish Flies, Eggs 10 lbs. Absent All Year All Year All Year Absent

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