If you have an Alaskan Cruise planned, seize the opportunity and try some Alaskan fly fishing! If you are coming to Southeast Alaska for work or play, there are multiple options in the different ports of call that will put you on fish. Alaska’s Panhandle has something to fish for from May through the end of September and the streams and beaches are uncrowded and pristine.
Whether you are looking for a fully guided trip or a DIY adventure, here are your options in each town. To help with what to use, there are seasonal recommendations at the end of this article that list out the best flies and beads to use during the time you will be here. Please note that when traveling to Alaska to fly fish make sure you leave felt soled boots at home. Felt is illegal in Alaska and you don't want to get a hefty fine on your vacation.
*Please note that this article is to help you find outfitters and provide contact information to get you in touch with the correct people. We are not directly affiliated with these outfitters and guides. When booking a trip please call the outfitters directly as we are unable to answer specific questions regarding their operations.*
Ketchikan offers some great fishing opportunities for trout and salmon. For the DIY angler, there is great fishing available via the road system. Just a short drive south of town (approx 8 miles) lies the Ward Creek system. Ward Creek flows from Ward Lake and there are numerous access points along the creek starting at the lake and ending in Ward Cove. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, there are opportunities to fish for salmon, trout and Dolly Varden. This system is easily accessible either by rental car or taxi cab.
If a guided trip is of interest, Ketchikan has a variety of options. These include road system walk & wade trips as well as all-inclusive fly out trips to Misty Fjords and other parts of the Tongass National Forest. The Hook Up Guide Service offers everything from gear rentals to fly out trips. For more info on the trips they offer check out The Hook Up Guide Service, shoot an email to email@example.com or call them at 907-247-1305.
Sitka has some decent DIY access to roadside streams and estuaries. Depending on the season, there are opportunities to fish for salmon, trout, and Dolly Varden. Occasionally, rockfish can even be found off of the rocks in the salt. May and June will see most anglers fishing for trout and Dollies in the estuaries of Starrigavan Creek, Indian River and Sawmill Creek. Most streams along the road system are closed to salmon fishing. Fly fishing for salmon takes place along the beaches and estuaries of these same streams from July-September. During this time, angler’s seeking trout should look to fish egg patterns and beads behind spawning salmon in the streams that are open to fishing. It is a good idea to check the local regulations before venturing out freshwater fishing.
There are several guide services to choose from in Sitka. The two most notable are Classic Casting Adventures and Sitka Alaska Outfitters. Classic Casting Adventures offers both half and full day boat out trips and full day fly outs. This is an all-inclusive trip so gear and waders are provided. Sitka Alaska Outfitters offer a roadside fishing trip in addition to the boat and fly out trips. Gear is also included. To check out these guide services visit Classic Casting Adventures, Sitka Alaska Outfitters and Sitka Fish.
Juneau offers a wealth of DIY roadside fishing usually starting in May and running through mid to late September. Some of these fisheries are very easy to access while others will require renting a car for a day. Juneau doesn’t offer any freshwater roadside guiding, but fishing via DIY is quite straight forward and the fishing areas are easily accessed via rental car or taxi cab. There are no fly-fishing gear rentals in Juneau so anglers will need to bring their own rod, reel and waders.
Car rentals are available right at the cruise ship dock. Avis, Budget and Enterprise all have rentals available near the terminal known as the AJ Dock. Once you have your rental, cruise on out to Alaska Fly Fishing Goods and we’ll help you come up with a plan for the day and get you the flies you need.
Another Juneau option that does not involve a rental car is fishing Sheep Creek. It is a very productive inter tidal creek that has Dolly Varden, chum salmon, a few pink salmon and big run of silver salmon. It is only 5 miles from the cruise ship docks and is an easy taxi ride away.
For a guided trip in Juneau checkout Bear Creek Outfitters. They offer all-inclusive fly out trips in both half day and full day options. Bear Creek’s trips offer the opportunity for fish for salmon, trout or Dolly Varden, all depending on the season. If you are on a cruise, booking your trip before you leave home is a good way to make sure you have a seat reserved. For more info check out www.juneauflyfishing.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 907-723-2683.
If a float plane-based fishing trip is not your cup of tea, SEAK Outfitters offers boat-based fishing trips for salmon that they can tailor to each individual group. Because this is a boat-based trip space is limited, especially for fly anglers. This is a great option for two buddies to have a killer day close to town! Email email@example.com or call 907-723-9204 for more information.
Unfortunately, Skagway offers little in the way of freshwater fishing. For the adventurous soul wanting to take a hike above town, the Dewey Lakes offer good DIY fishing for small resident Brook Trout.
For a guided trip you’ll need to make an easy commute over to the nearby town of Haines. Fly Guides of Haines offers guided walk & wade half day and full day excursions. Their trips include rods, waders, flies and tackle. To get to Haines from Skagway, there is a shuttle ferry that runs multiple times a day. The trip takes approximately 45 minutes, and your guide will meet you at the ferry.
Good fishing for Dolly Varden in Haines starts in late April and continues throughout the summer and into the fall. Large number of sockeye and pink salmon start to return in late June and peak in mid to late July. Silver salmon start running in late August and really pick up in September and October.
In addition to the vehicle-based trips, Fly Guides offers a fly out trip via a Cessna 180 equipped with Tundra Tires. This trip will take you to areas hardly ever seen or fished by anglers. For more information call (907) 209 0816 or visit Fly Guides - Haines, AK
Hoonah/Icy Strait Point
Hoonah is a relative newcomer to the cruise ship scene and is quickly gaining popularity as a destination for its beauty and authentic nature. Located on the northern end of Chichagof Island, Hoonah has access to some good beach fishing for Dolly Varden in May and June and then pink salmon along with Dolly Varden in July and August. Silvers arrive in September to round out the season.
For the angler looking to be guided, check out Game Creek Guides. Game Creek Guides takes anglers to nearby streams and estuaries to fish for coastal cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden as well as pink, chum, and silver salmon when in season. This is a great way to fish some of the best streams in Southeast Alaska without having to worry about bears! Game Creek Guides offers trips for anglers coming up on a cruise and for the non cruiser alike. Contact Lucas Clark (907) 321-9145 or go to www.gamecreekguides.net
Hoonah does have some really good stream fishing for the adventurous DIY anglers. Vehicles and boat rentals are available through Icy Strait Lodge. Two words of caution for DIY anglers. A sizable portion of the land in proximity to Hoonah is private native land and should not be trespassed on. Check with Huna Totem Corporation for details. Chichagof Island is also home to a sizable population of coastal brown bears and caution should be used when fishing the streams.
If visiting S.E. Alaska is part of your summer plans or routine, fly-fishing is a great way to experience a little bit of what our fine state has to offer. In fact, if you wanted you could easily plan a fly-fishing outing in each port you visit! Southeast Alaska is full of great fishing and the streams are uncrowded, to the point that you may have them all to yourself. Are you interested in DIY fishing? Listed below are three PRO tips that will help you get the most of your precious time off of the boat.
- If at all possible, bring your own rod & reel and waders. Having your own gear means you will be on the water quickly and get every possible minute of fishing in. We are not aware of any places that will rent gear to DIY anglers, they just provide gear to their clients.
- Buy your fishing license ahead of time so you don’t spend valuable fishing time driving around looking for a license. Once again, more time fishing and less time wasted. If you intend to try fishing for king salmon, make sure you purchase a king stamp for an additional cost. The king salmon fishery is more controlled than other fisheries and often has special regulations and requirements. Here is the Alaska Department of Fish & Games license page.
- Order your flies and leaders, rods and reels, or any other gear ahead of time and have them shipped to your home before your trip. It will save you time once you reach your destination and our shop, Alaska Fly Fishing Goods in Juneau is the only full-service fly-fishing shop in S.E. Alaska.
Listed below are three separate gear lists depending on the season you will be fishing. In each list you will find flies, beads (if applicable), leaders, split shot and other specific items for your day on the water. These lists are exclusive to what you will fish with here and don't include gear you would always have while fishing (i.e., fishing pack, pliers, nippers, waders, rod/reel, etc.)