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What Fish Species Are Available in the Waters of Alaska

Updated on October 10, 2014
Fishing in Alaska
Fishing in Alaska

Most of us know more about the missions to mars than the beauty of Alaska. We know a little of its political climate thanks to governor Palin’s vice presidential bid. We get the occasional news blurb about a bear or moose gone wild in an Alaskan city. We have learned through documentaries and films of the plight of the humpback whale, Emperor Penguins and Seal pups.

Yet, there is another Alaska, an untouched pristine frontier, and a portion of this country that has yet to be sullied by the march of the civilization band. Where a man can still stand on the shores of a crystal clear lake or take a boat out into its middle under a clear blue canopy cast his line and can engage with the combatant of his choice.

Alaska has over 300 million lakes, 3 thousand rivers, and countless streams. It is surrounded on all sides by 3 bodies of salt water, the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean. These waters provide the fisherman with numerous choices. You can choose whether to fish from the bank or a boat. You can even have your choice of catch and all these are provided for you by one of Alaska’s guided tour companies. I mention this because preserving the natural landscape and clean waters are of great importance. This is the last frontier in America and The Natural Forestry Service and the Alaskan people are trying to keep it that way for the future anglers to enjoy.

Here is a list of some of the most popular species in the Alaskan waters and following the description you will find at least one website that can get you on the inland waters.

Alaska
Alaska

The King Chinook Salmon

Can be found in the Yukon River in the Alaskan panhandle. They are fish that spend the greater portion of their life span in the Salt waters of that area. They make their spawning run into the freshwater between May and July. This fish is one of nature’s quick-change artists as it changes color for each habitat it encounters. In fresh water near the end of their life span the are red or brown and the males transform to a very dangerous looking creature with curved backs and hooked noses. In the first half of their life spans they are in Salt water and the color range blue-green on the backs of the fish that fade gradually from that to silver to white on the bellies of these magnificent fish.

King Chinook Salmon
King Chinook Salmon

The Arctic Char

A freshwater/saltwater anadromous fish just like the salmon. Anadromous means that a fish spends time in both types of waters. These beauties can be found in the lakes and rivers on the northern slopes of Brooks Range. Again it too will change its colors to fit the environment, type of food and even the season. The color is a deep olive in salt water that gets lighter as it travels downward. In fresh water they go red to gold.

The Arctic Char
The Arctic Char

The Rainbow Trout

The fish is found in the waters of the main Alaskan Peninsula but there is also a push by The Alaska Department of Fish and Game to stock them in other waters. The extensive program is aimed at stocking the south central lakes and streams. The fish born in the wild are to be found in the Copper and Kuskokwim rivers and tributaries. A Rainbow Trout looks a lot like the salmon. It is however much smaller and has the tell tale red and pink stripes along its sides. You can expect to get a great catch from May to October. If you like a fish that will give you a fight this is the trip for you.

The Rainbow Trout
The Rainbow Trout

Alaska Fly Fishing - Rainbow Trout

Inside Fishing: Spinning for Rainbow Trout

The Arctic Grayling

This is considered the darling of the sports fisherman. It has an oversized dorsal fin and can be found in just about all of the fresh water lakes and rivers on the Alaskan peninsula. There is one exception the Aleutian Island. The season for Grayling fishing begins in June and ends in October. This is one strange fish, most fish return to the same spawning site as adults, this baby will spawn in any waters that have an abundant food supply. The best way to catch them would be in clear water and can be fished all year.

The Arctic Grayling
The Arctic Grayling

Lake Trout

These are the largest freshwater fish in Alaska. Although similar to other trout species it is distinguished by its forked tail. You can fish for them all year. Though the peak season in the Yukon freshwater lakes is spring and fall.

Sheefish

This fish is silver on top that runs into dark green on the sides. It is a member of the white fish strain. These can be found on south slope drainages of the western Brooks Range. The season runs from July thru October. They get big, really big up to 20 pounds. There have been reports of some as big as 40 pounds.

Sheefish
Sheefish

Other Fish Species in Alaska

There are more fish in Alaskan waters than you can shake a stick at. Halibut abound, as does the Steelhead Trout. Sockeye and Coho salmon are rich in the fresh water lakes, as is the Dolly Varden another species of the Arctic Char. It is a great way to spend time with friends fishing the waters of the beautiful Alaskan wilderness and with luck you will bring home enough fish to share with the friend that had to work.

Alaska River Fishing
Alaska River Fishing
Fly Fishing in Alaska
Fly Fishing in Alaska
Kenai Alaska
Kenai Alaska

© 2011 Mirjan Stojanovic

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