Vacations and trips are meant to take us to other places, expose our bodies and minds to alternate vistas and experiences; bring us respite, relaxation, or adventure in environments much different from where ordinary lives lead. It doesn’t get more extraordinary than Alaska! Alaska, the 49th state – almost last, but in no way least of the United States – will celebrate its 50th anniversary of statehood in 2009; even more incentive to visit this unique and wonderful land. Few places in the world rival Alaska for sheer physical and environmental splendor, and much of its reputation as “an outdoorsman’s dream” is due to incredible sport fishing.
As a rule, Alaskan weather is cold and rainy throughout most of the year, reaching annual average lows near -80F, and highs approaching 100F, with extremes usually occurring in the interior. Because Alaska is so big, fluctuations in each region – due to coastal and geographic influences – can be quite drastic. In southeastern Alaska milder winter temperatures average above freezing in the daytime, and lead to higher levels of precipitation, especially around the rain forest near Ketchikan. Proximity to the seacoast means south central Alaska enjoys milder weather, much less rain and clearer days, with more snow. The weather in western Alaska is affected by the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, receiving averages between less than 10 and 100 inches of precipitation, from one side of the Seward Peninsula to the other. The most popular recreational fishing may be found in Ketchikan and Sitka in the south east, and among the south central region, in Valdez, Seward, Homer, and Kenai.
Alaska has 6,640 miles of coastline and 33,094 miles of shoreline, including islands. More than 200,000 anglers from around the world come to Alaska each year to take from these pristine waters peace, wonder, relaxation, and a lot of fish. With over 3,000 rivers and three million lakes, you don’t need to travel far from anywhere in Alaska to find a good fishing spot. Generally speaking, peak fishing season ranges from late spring through the end of fall for the most popular sportfish: Halibut, Saltwater and Kenai River King Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Silver and Pink Salmon. Others like Cod, Snapper, Rockfish, Arctic Char, Northern Pike, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling bite throughout the year; but weather conditions may have something to say about when and where you can find them. Many capable captains, guides, and regional charters can take you to the action with minimal effort or cost. Alaska’s wilderness and geography also make for different, interesting methods and techniques. You may experience various thrills by fly fishing, river floating, wilderness lodge fishing, saltwater charters, fly-in and fly-out fishing. The rewards of fishing Alaskan waters are endless and oftentimes quite emotional, especially considering the full extent and scope of your journey.
Alaska’s southeast peninsula has the most temperate climate, as well as the most accessible popular fishing regions: Ketchikan and Sitka, both a short trip from Juneau, are easily accessible for cruise ship passengers and short flights from the American or Canadian mainland. West into Alaska, along the south central coast, are the towns of Valdez, Seward, and Homer, all with diverse cultures and ample fishing resources. Further north along the coast, and north, is Kenai, home to the largest King Salmon in the world. A trip to any of these fishing towns will pay off in rewarding fishing and exposure to rare and beautiful natural wilderness. Local captains and charters available throughout these areas can provide you with quick, comfortable service to some of the best fishing in the world.