Ketchikan: The Salmon Capital of the World

 
Across the lower forty-eight, there are many big cities that are famous for pieces of their culture and unique traditions. From Mardi Gras in New Orleans to Spring Break in Miami, there are lots of exciting activities to partake in throughout the continental United States. During these big events, cities experience extreme crowding thanks to the visitors that flock to the areas to celebrate. In Ketchikan, Alaska, there is a very different type of crowding that happens each year that many people head to the area to enjoy, and this crowding doesn’t involve wading through hordes of tourists.

A school of young salmon.


The crowding that takes place in Ketchikan each year is a crowding of incredible salmon. For those looking for a once in a lifetime experience, a trip to Ketchikan, Alaska during the annual salmon run is the best vacation opportunity there is. The salmon themselves have an internal clock that brings them in droves to Ketchikan every single year at the same time, giving an incredible show to onlookers. 

From mid-July to mid-September, five different types of salmon work themselves to near exhaustion trying to fight their way up stream at Ketchikan Creek Falls. As these magnificent fish crowd together, swimming and jumping in the same direction, they seem to form a solid wall between the open air and the water with their bodies. This incredible scene cannot be described, it must be seen to be believed. 

The five different types of salmon that flock to the Ketchikan area are Chum Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, King Salmon, Silver Salmon, and Pink Salmon. These different salmon all work toward the same goal of making it upstream to spawn and carry on their legacy. Watching these fish fight and climb to calmer waters is like watching the survival of the fittest in action. 

These salmon face more challenges than just the rough waters ahead. Most people who take to the streams during this time are fisherman looking for their biggest catch yet. Hooking a giant King Salmon or any other type of salmon, for that matter, is a thrilling experience that will also provide an incredibly tasty meal. 

Since the waters are teeming with salmon, nature’s fisherman head to the waters, as well.

View of the boat harbor and marina in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Those hoping to see one of Alaska’s native bears or eagles are much more likely to see them where the fish are thick in the water. These animals expertly pick out the salmon as they jump near the surface of the water, giving onlookers and incredible show.

The salmon capital of the world, Ketchikan, Alaska, is a terrific place for outdoor lovers, fishermen, and those who just want to check Alaska off their bucket list, to travel. For guests hoping to catch a glimpse of the massive amounts of salmon attempting to spawn or those who are looking to make a meal of these salmon, a trip to Ketchikan will be an unforgettable and awe-inspiring journey. Traveling to the Last Frontier has never been as exciting as it is during the annual salmon run.

Alaska Fishing Tips

The spring season is the best time to go fishing, and there is no other place like Alaska. During peak season, for sure there are a lot of people crowding in fishing spots and you would not want to tangle lines with other tourists. You want to have that real experience. You’re lucky if locals tell where you can find the hidden gems. But if not then you can always figure out where to find them. Here are some of the most useful tips for successful fishing:

 

alaska fresh water fishing

Know More About the Location

Prior to heading to Alaska, you need to gather as much as information as possible. Make sure to do a lot of online research of the best areas to fish and where the specific species you are wanting to catch will be.

To avoid the crowd, you may want to try fly-fishing in lakes. In fact, even those lakes near cities can be the best places where you can experience successful fishing. If you are looking for salmon, rainbow trout or other species, you can find what you need for the most part on this site.

Type of Fish

The kind of fish that you want to catch would actually vary and would depend on the timing and the location. If you are looking for the best fish species, you can usually google it so you can have hints as to when and where to find them. If you are going for King Salmon then you can expect huge crowd going after such species. But if you want to avoid the crowd then you might as well try Northern Pike. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has informational pdf files so you can select the type of fish and check it out. They have complete facts for every breed and where you can find them.

Timing

For successful fishing, timing is everything. That is why it is important when and where to fish. For instance, the southeastern part is great for freshwater as well as saltwater fishing. If you go for winter ice fishing then you get to have many rainbow trout. Before you go on a fishing activity, you can check out some information pertaining to on late or off-season fishing.

Permits

One of the mistakes that most people do is fishing without permit. Not only is it illegal but it can also ruin your fishing experience. So, just before you head out to any fishing spot, you need to use certain permits as provided by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Securing the necessary permits does not have to be that tedious since you also purchase your license on the Internet. In addition to having the permits and licenses, you also need to know about the rules and regulations.

Alaska has a rich source and a diverse species. Depending on your preference, you can select among a wide range of fishes you want to get.

Taking Better Fishing Photos

This may seem like such a silly thing to think about or read about, but in all reality what do you have once the fishing trip is over and you’ve released your catch back into the water or dropped it into the cooler? Your “Big Catch” photo is what you have. That is your proof, your bragging rights right there, so why not make the photo perfect? We say that you should take the perfect fishing photo for memories sake and of course the bragging rights.

Not only does it give you your bragging rights, but the main point of a photo is to be able to relive those memories and moments. The photo is supposed to remind you of the fight and all the strength you put into catching that fish. A photo can almost set your brain off to feel all those feelings again, and relive the moment! So of course you would want the best picture possible.

 

Briggs 1

So let’s gets to it. Here are some tips to help you take the best fishing photos:

Fill The Frame

When taking a fishing photo, you should try to fill the frame with the angler and the fish. Encourage the angler to smile as well. If there is a beautiful backdrop, use it! The only exception to not fill the frame with the angler and fish would be if the background is captivating, at that point still try to fill most of the frame with the angler and his fish all while getting the backdrop in.

Sun To Back

When you’re photographing the angler and his catch you want to be sure the sun in at your back, this way the anglers face and their fish will be lit up well. This can be tricky since you also do not want to get your shadow in the photo, so be sure to angle yourself to where your shadow will not affect the photo.

Backdrop

Say you do not have a very scenic and beautiful backdrop, or you want to use a different one. Try to find a backdrop that use contrasting colors and textures. If you absolutely cannot find a decent backdrop, it will be even more important to fill the frame with the angler and the fish.

Keep It Alive

If you are catching and releasing, be sure the angler is keeping the catch in the water until they begin taking the photos. Not only will this keep the fish alive, but the fish will look a lot better right out of the water, colors more vibrant and lively, rather than dull and dry looking. If you are trying to take a lot of photos, then make sure you take about 5 photos then put the fish back in the water, then take it out again to take more.

Capture It All

One thing that really makes those memories come back is seeing the whole process over again. Not only is the catch important to photograph, but capturing the whole process is just as important. Make sure once the angler hooks a fish that you start clicking! Hero shots equal more bragging rights!

Hopefully these tips will help you capture those memories perfectly on your next fishing trip!

Alaska Fishing Regions

When it comes to fishing there is no other state that can compete with Alaska. Alaska is home to over 20 species of fish including the Silver King Salmon, Halibut, and Steelhead Trout.  The available fish can be found in the ocean, lakes, rivers, and streams that form a virtual network of fishing opportunities throughout the state.

Alaska is defined by its five regions with their own unique landscape, environment, and natural features. [Read more…]

Alaska Freshwater Fishing Ban on Felt Soled Waders in 2012

Alaska appears to be the first state to adopt a statewide ban of felt-soled waders in fishing streams. The state Board of Fisheries adopted the ban during the board’s spring meeting and it will take effect in January 2012.
The story of the ban—meant to stop invasive diseases, snails and other tiny yucky things—took off like wildfire through the network of wired outdoorsy types on the Internet.
The state was congratulated by, among others, Trout Unlimited and the Montana-based Whirling Disease Foundation. (It’s a disease spread by a microscopic parasite. It kills juvenile salmon and trout. Older fish can survive, but have been seen swimming “in an uncontrolled whirling motion” according to one Montana-based education site about the disease.)
Felt-soled waders are known to spread whirling disease and other stuff that makes fish sick. But the Department of Fish and Game stayed neutral on the ban, without saying why, in a staff report to the board. That might be because biologists suspect any fishing gear could be carrying a bunch of stuff that hurts fish. Here’s an excerpt from the report: “Although felt-soled shoes have been identified as one of the vectors for introducing invasive species, all equipment used in infested waters is a potential vector…”
In other words: If it’s been wet, it could have tiny fish-killing cooties.
The report also notes that protecting Alaska waters from invasive species “cannot be accomplished completely” just by banning a shoe.
The Board’s decision also delays a regional ban in Southeast Alaska, where fishermen would have had to comply by 2011 under a previous Board decision. The ban only applies to people fishing in freshwater bodies and the board only regulates fishing. Department of Fish and Game managers have said they would adopt policies preventing field biologists from wearing felt-soled waders, too, according to the board support office at Fish and Game.

Alaska Fisheries State Board is slated to make Alaska the first state to  ban  felt-soled waders in fishing streams statewide. During the boards spring meeting it was decided to initiate the ban starting in January 2012.

Microorganisms and other contaminates are spread by Felt-soled waders and in the right circumstances makes fish sick. While it is suspected that any fishing gear that is transported wet or reintroduced into a various bodies of water could potentially contaminate untainted streams  felt-soled shoes have been identified as one of the vectors for introducing invasive species. [Read more…]

Ketchikan Alaska Fishing Report For 2010

Greetings from Ketchikan Alaska where the air is clean, the water clear, and everyday is one more day in fishing heaven!

Several annual reports have come in and are the bearers of great news for any of you anglers out there who have longed for the chance to catch the “Big One” or “Big Ones!”. Due to the economy there has never been a greater time to travel to Ketchikan for that once in a lifetime adventure. [Read more…]

Magical Trip!

Our trip to Silverking this year was nothing short of magic!!! My brother and lifelong friend and I new from the first ten minutes on the water that the trip was going to be something special–we trolled 50 feet and caught our first husky silver. Bob caught it and couldn’t believe it happened so fast and with such savagery. We landed the fish and within another 50 feet were slammed again by a mean wart hog silver that put on a aerobatic display that drops Alaska fever all over your body. All that went until we were “rescued ” by the PT crew (remember) and were late for supper. The next five days cannot be equaled again ever but we will try again next year. The photo attached says tons about our trip. We look mean but we were just tired from fishing 13 hours straight. More later .

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for the trip of a lifetime. These two guys both mean the world to me and to get to fish in that place at that time was truely magic.

Thaddeus

Young At Heart

Frank Murdock wasn’t the only 90 year-old to find some great fishing at Clover Pass Resort this summer. Tom Makizuru (left) landed this catch before lunch with fishing partner Ron Matsuzaki (right) during the second week of September. Both of these guys fish with a group from Honolulu that has been making an annual trip to Clover Pass for more than 20 years.

Thank You!

90 Years Young! Frank Murdock, Salt Lake City, Utah

Hello Tonja,
Finally! Finally, all the little chores are done . . . chores that heaped up after we returned from a thoroughly enjoyable Silver salmon week-long trip to your Clover Pass Resort!
You, Tonja, gave us good service while we went fishing for the Big Ones. Your cooks, Susan & Al, were exquisite in providing me, especially, with my vegetarian meals; Katie, your nice office lady, was helpful in every way.
Both of us would like to thank all of you for a wonderful vacation!
Best regards to all of you – and don’t work too hard.
Frank & Brigitte – Salt Lake City, UT

NOTE: Frank turned 90 this year! He fished his first trip to Clover Pass Resort back in the mid-1970s and has been back numerous times since. See you next year, Frank!

Share your Clover Pass Experience!

Mike Stettler – Logan, UT

Another successful silver salmon run cemented Clover Pass Resort as the place to be in September when fall coho runs make their way through Behm Canal and right past Clover Pass Resort on their way back to spawning streams in Southern Southeast Alaska. Local fisheries biologists predict large amounts of fish are still on their way, meaning that coho fishing will likely continue to be good after the doors have shut on our 2009 season.

This year continued the positive trend we have seen in recent years where early coho runs that begin in July continue to build as the summer progresses, never really letting up before the large runs find their way to our waters in late August/early September. July and August coho tend to me smaller (around 5-7 lbs) than the September fish which usually average 10-11 lbs. However, September provides opportunities for big coho as well, particularly later in the month as more males make their ways towards the rivers to fertilize eggs left by the females. Not uncommon are coho ranging in the high teens, with some truly beautiful fish breaking the 20 lb mark almost every year!

Fishing for silvers is an absolute blast, which is why Clover Pass Resort’s busiest time of the year is September. Not only do our guests look forward to enjoying the phenomenal fishing, they also look forward to their annual trip as an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends, some of whom they only see during this special annual outing! The smiles on their faces and the fish in their boxes tells me that they were able to accomplish both!

Russell Thomas
General Manager