Sitka is Alaska’s fourth-largest city by population and the largest city in the United States by area. Originally founded in 1799 Sitka, formerly the capital of Russian America, later served as capital of Alaska until the seat of government was relocated north to Juneau in 1906. The town initially prospered from gold mining and fish canning, and has since maintained a reputation for outstanding fishing and tourism. St Michael’s Cathedral, originally built in 1848, has been a National Historic Landmark since 1962 and lends historical significance to Russian influence in North America. Sitka also enjoys notable influence in the arts, hosting Fine Arts Camp, an annual Jazz Festival, as well as a Summer Music Festival. Day trips and cruises, as well as flightseeing excursions, into Sitka National Historic Park, Tongass National Forest, and Saint Lazaria Nation Wildlife Refuge provide exciting forays into Native American history and glimpses of rarely seen animals among the local flora and fauna.
Transportation to and from Sitka can be somewhat challenging, due to its location on island and inherent weather conditions. Ferries and cruises along the Alaska Marine Highway System are the most popular and reliable options to reach Sitka. These are by no means quick trips, but they provide outstanding scenery to help you relax during the ride. Charter and bush service, along with jet and regional carrier Alaska Airlines from Seattle and Anchorage, use Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport; though weather patterns can play havoc with consistent arrival and departure times. Sitka, situated on Baranof Island, lies on the outer waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage, is worth the effort. Getting here is the only hitch, because “Alaska’s most beautiful seaside town” is as fun as it is beautiful!
Thankfully there is so much to do, in addition to fishing, in Sitka; the action can get so hot you’ll likely need a few breaks. Halibut larger than 100lbs are frequently caught here, as well as some of the biggest Salmon in the world. Other popular saltwater gamefish are abundant, including Dolly Varden, Rockfish, and every form of Salmon. Clear, unspoiled inland freshwater is home to Sockeye, Coho, and Pink Salmon, Steelhead Trout, Brook Trout, and Grayling. Over a dozen local charters provide easy access to great fishing rewards along with some incredible scenery.
East of the Pacific Ocean and framed by beautiful snow-capped mountains, Sitka is a peaceful seaside community with rich tradition and friendly people. Side trips by boat, kayak, or on foot bring you into dramatic wilderness, and face to face with sea otters, whales, puffins, and other sea birds. Fishing charters and trips take you into schools of bounty, even more rewarding when surrounded by such great tradition, natural beauty, and accompanied by such friendly people!