The Best Time to Fish for Salmon in Ketchikan
To get the best out of your time with us we want you to come prepared, especially if this is your first time fishing for salmon in Ketchikan. So, read on to learn some Alaska salmon fishing tips and what to expect from your salmon fishing adventure.
Ketchikan is a small Alaskan town with approximately 7,700 permanent residents. We are known as the “Salmon Fishing Capital of the World.”
Obviously, you will want to make the most of your Ketchikan salmon fishing trip, so you will need to time your trip to coincide with when the fish are biting. Luckily for you, this is not too hard to do.
King salmon will run thickest through the last two weeks of June right through to the first week of July.
Fishing for Coho provides a relatively large window of opportunity. Coho start running in August and go right through until October. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself hauling in a beautiful 20 pounder, which is sure to earn you some bragging rights back home.
August is also the best time to catch Pink and Sockeye Salmon. These fish are on the smaller size compared to other salmon species, but don’t expect to land one without a decent fight.
Interesting Salmon Facts
Salmon are a species of fish known as anadromous, which means they are born in fresh water, live out their lives in salt water, and return to fresh water to spawn.
Before traveling upstream to the spawning grounds, salmon need to readjust their bodies to fresh water, so they will spend some time at the mouth of streams where fresh water meets salt water. Naturally, this little quirk of nature creates lots of opportunities for the sport fisher to catch some salmon.
Salmon have a 300-degree field of vision, which means they can see all around them except directly behind. Such a massive advantage in peripheral vision no doubt adds to the challenge of catching such crafty prey.
Humans love a bit of salmon, but so do bears, who instinctively know when to head to the streams to catch their fill every year. Salmon are vital to the bears’ survival because, without salmon, bears would be unable to build up a sufficient amount of fat stores for the cold, sparse winter months.
Salmon diets change as they mature; young salmon feast on plankton, while mature salmon subsist on a diet of insects, small fish, and small invertebrates.
For the most part, Alaskan salmon spawn only once in their lifetime before dying. Males usually expire right after spawning, while females tend to die as soon as they have laid their eggs.
Salmon spend most of their adult life in open waters preparing for the trip back to their birthplace. The journey is grueling and physically exhausting. The trip upstream provides little to no opportunity for feeding, and a salmon’s “genetic programming” has turned off most processes that maintain the body. By the time the salmon have reached the spawning grounds they are physically spent, and their bodies rapidly fall apart once spawning is complete.
How to Catch Alaska Salmon
To catch Alaska salmon, you will need flies that are large and brightly colored, a rod and reel, good strong line (20 lbs. strength if you’re going for the bigger species such as King), hooks, tackle, and bait (live works best).
When you first feel a bite don’t be tempted into jerking the line. Allow enough time for the fish to fully engulf the bait before using a gentle tug to set the hook.
Use a rod holder. Salmon fishing often requires patience and timing. Be sure to move the bait up and down periodically, so you spread the scent and make the bait more attractive to the fish.
After you throw your line, don’t let the hook rush to the bottom. Letting the line out gradually while pausing briefly every 50 feet or so will prevent tangling.