Salmon Fishing in Ketchikan


Salmon fishing in Alaska gives first-time visitors an opportunity to learn there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to wild pacific salmon vs. Atlantic salmon or Atlantic farm-raised salmon which is typically bought in your local grocery stores and markets. Ketchikan salmon fishing charters allow our guides to go into great detail about the five different species of salmon inhabiting these nutrient rich waters and what differentiates each of them. Salmon fishing charters in Ketchikan run primarily during the summer months of May through September. This is prime season when the five species of wild pacific salmon return from the open ocean back to their home streams to take place in spawning future generations.

Salmon fishing charters in Ketchikan take place on the prime grounds to catch these wild Alaska salmon during their annual migration to the spawning grounds. The open ocean salmon reach their highest quality with omega fats and oils.

5 Types of salmon to catch on your Ketchikan, Alaska Fishing Charter

King Salmon Fishing

King Salmon are the largest of all wild Pacific salmon and are often referred to as “Chinook salmon” or simply “Kings” by locals. The record is 126 pounds caught by a commercial fish trap in 1949 and while these fish can reach sizes exceeding 30-50 pounds in recent times the most commonly caught size while salmon fishing in Ketchikan is 12-25 pounds. There are many techniques for catching King salmon in Ketchikan, including, trolling, mooching or jigging. With each tactic comes the rewarding battles these mighty fish provide. Often leaping from the water with aerial displays and ripping off line in bursts of energy. Revered not only the for its toughness in battle but also the King salmon holds the highest amount of Omega 3s of any wild Pacific salmon, making it one of the healthiest easting fish in the world. When booking your Alaska fishing adventure be sure to ask about your chance at catching King salmon, with the height of the run being May through mid July. 

Silver Salmon Fishing

Silver salmon or Coho Salmon symbolize a main staple of salmon for the Alaska sport fishing angler as well as sustaining commercial fisheries throughout the state. Referred by locals as simply “Silvers” this aggressive species of wild pacific salmon are the second largest only to the King salmon and make up for their size in numbers, ferocity, and eating quality. The record size for Silver salmon is 31 pounds with the average size caught salmon fishing in Ketchikan being 6-12 pounds. Trolling gear made up of flashers, squid skirts, herring and spoons are the most common ways to catch silver salmon during the summer months, with mooching a rigged herring also proving very effective. Once hooked, Silver salmon embody a fierce fighter with violent head shakes, aerial acrobatics and directional changing darting maneuvers, making it imperative to keep the line tight. The height of the Silver Salmon migration in Ketchikan runs July through September, so be sure to to ask your guider when booking your Alaska fishing adventure about the chance of catching silver salmon during your Ketchikan fishing charter. 

Chum Salmon Fishing

Chum salmon or “Dog” salmon as they attained the nickname for the history of native people maintaining their packs of dogs have a lower oil content and less desirable quality of meat when compared to other Pacific salmon. This in turn leads most of the meat to be smoked or dried and cured for consumption. The record Chum salmon weighed 35 pounds, with the average catch weighing 8-15 pounds while salmon fishing in Ketchikan. Chum salmon are seldomly targeted by sports fishing anglers but are often caught while trolling for the other species of salmon during July and August. While Chum salmon hold the inferior reputation for table fare they are an absolute blast to catch with an innate ability to never give up and pull as hard as any of the other salmon species. Book your salmon fishing charter to experience the thrill of a knockdown drag out battler of a salmon.

Sockeye Salmon Fishing

Sockeye salmon or “Red salmon” hold a special place in everyones minds for their highly rated eating quality and significantly bright orangish/red meat. The record catch for Sockeye salmon is 16 pounds with the average size ranging from 5-10 pounds. Not typically caught while salmon fishing in Ketchikan because of their unique diet we do catch them occasionally from July through September. With that being said Sockeye salmon are the most economically important species in Alaska with the Bristol Bay fishery maintaining the bulk of the catches. If targeting Sockeye specifically its best to fish them in streams and rivers when the fly rod anglers and light tackle fisherman have a chance to present lures accordingly. 

Pink Salmon Fishing

Pink salmon are often referred to as the “Humpy” because of the recognizable hump on returning spawning males as well as a hooked nose. Pink salmon are the most abundant of all salmon species in Alaska and can be caught from June through September. While salmon fishing in Ketchikan one can expect to catch “Pinks” while fishing for Silver salmon and King salmon with trolling gear, mooching, or jigging. The smallest species of the Pacific salmon lineup ranging from 3-6 pounds with some reaching 8-12 pounds, they make up for it in sheer numbers. Often times during the height of the pink salmon run you can’t keep lures in the water due to the vast number of feeding fish below. Book your Ketchikan Salmon fishing charter from mid June through September for your best chance to catch Pink salmon