Ketchikan Fishing

Given that the city of Ketchikan is often referred to as the Salmon Capital of the World, it comes as little surprise that Ketchikan fishing is one of the main attractions for visitors here.

In truth, Ketchikan is more of a township than a city—with a population of just more than 7,000 people, it only ranks as the fifth-largest urban area in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough alone. However, thanks to the waters around it, and the available fishing charters in Ketchikan, this is a city that punches above its weight in travel terms. A great number of tourists arrive here every year, either on their own accord or on a cruise line. The reason? Ketchikan fishing is second to none.

Thanks to the high number of tourists who visit, Ketchikan is well equipped to deal with travelers' needs. There are many great guesthouses here, most of which are low-key, family-run places that provide welcoming hospitality and knowledgeable insight into the area. There are also a number of companies that run fishing charters in Ketchikan, which means it’s incredibly easy to arrange a sportfishing trip once here.

These companies offer a range of trips, from day-long charters to lengthier excursions. Should you book one of these lengthier stints, you’ll find the company will sort out accommodation, with your fishing charter stopping off at arranged lodges every night so that you can get warm by the fire, eat some amazingly fresh fish, and get a good’s night sleep in preparation for the next day’s fishing.

Thanks to schools of migrating salmon in the waters near Ketchikan, making a big catch is more than likely even for first-time anglers. It is important you go with an informed local guide, however, as they will be able to give you the inside track on how to make that all important, photo-opportunity catch. They’ll also be there to help you haul in the fish should you get a catch: Ketchikan fishing often means battling with massive salmon—the help of an extra pair of hands can be vital in sealing the deal!

If you don’t fancy the prospect of reeling in gigantic salmon, fishing charters in Ketchikan also offer the chance to fish for halibut, which is a smaller, slightly more docile catch.

April to September is considered the best season for Ketchikan fishing. Not only is this when the waters are busiest with fish (aside from all five species of salmon and halibut, you’ll also come across rockfish, trout and grayling), it’s also when the weather is at its best. Alaska remains relatively chilly all year round, but during the summer season you’ll encounter days when the sun is out and there’s not a cloud in the sky.

The peak fishing season also coincides with the cruise season, with companies such as Holland America Line stopping off for a day or a night at Ketchikan in order to allow cruisers to indulge in the great fishing, rugged scenery, and attractions such as Totem Bight State Park and Saxman Village that the town boasts.

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