Alaska Outdoor Digest

The source for important, timely news on hunting, fishing and the outdoors in Alaska.

What’s ahead this week fishing What’s ahead this week fishing
With a lot of pent up demand for the first fishing of the season, there’s a lot interest in when the fishing will get... What’s ahead this week fishing

Ship Creek kings have been few and far between, but this bright hen fell to a spinner May 22. Bait Shack photo.

Anglers in Saturday’s Big Lake northern pike tournament caught a bunch of the big predators, but report there are many more moving into the shallows to spawn. Jason Perrego photo.

With a lot of pent up demand for the first fishing of the season, there’s a lot interest in when the fishing will get good.

And it is still May, so for the most part we’re seeing the traditional pre-season or early season trend—the fish are still trickling in and where you find them.  Hit the right tide and a surge of early fish and you’re in business.  But there are still gaps in these trickles, which should turn into a stronger push of fish with higher tides the rest of this week.

The good news is the first advance guard king salmon are being caught in most of the popular Southcentral fisheries.

The Kasilof has been consistently producing bright hatchery kings for Ninilchik Charters guides, Deziree Valdez ( said. The Kasilof will remain a popular alternative to the Kenai, with more reliable runs and the new size restrictions on the Kenai.

The first Kenai kings have shown up as well.  Remember the limit is one king under 36 inches per day from Skilak Lake downriver.

The traditional stream fishing on the Kenai Peninsula opened with some bright kings caught in the Anchor.  That river is open again at midnight Friday.  Deep Creek and Ninilchik Creek also open at midnight Friday for the weekend.  This is one of the most accessible early king runs and there’s a premium at staking out a popular hole early, to be ready for that first cast at the crack of midnight.

Check the stream and Cook Inlet annual limits carefully.

Downtown Anchorage’s popular Ship Creek king fishery enjoyed an early surge of bright kings last week, then fizzled with small tides.  There have been more anglers than kings, although our personal visits produced at least a couple of hookups most days.  Best to plan on putting in lots of time, or wait until early June for the main push of fish.

In the Southeast, Yakutat’s popular Situk steelhead fishery is winding down, after a good season, as the big sea run rainbows return to saltwater.  But Yakutat Lodge ( is reporting that the first sockeye of the season are showing up in the river.

Saltwater anglers have been fighting weather more than fish, with brutal seasons keeping Seward charters close to home.  When they’ve gotten a break in weather, the Saltwater Safari team has been finding good 50- to 70-pound halibut (

Same story seems to be the case in Homer and Whittier—get to the fish and fishing is solid.

The saltwater king fishermen until recently had been hammering the feeder kings, but that’s slowed down a bit from Homer to Deep Creek.  This could be the lull before the spawners begin to cruise the beach on the way into their spawning rivers.

There are also some very nice halibut cruising close to the beach from Homer to Whiskey Gulch.  Kayak legend Rudy Tsukada picked up several to 40 pounds last weekend as a sidenote to a king trip.   A number of anglers reported picking up chicken and medium sized halibut while trolling for kings.

Valley trout fishermen continue to find rainbows and Dollies keying on the salmon fry migrating downstream.   The anglers who fished the northern pike tournament on Big Lake last weekend found plenty of big spawners in shallow water, and fishing for that toothy invasive species should continue to improve as water warms.  Trout Unlimited and ADF&G encourage anglers to catch and kill as many of the predators as possible, since they are a threat to salmon and trout populations.

Nasty weather the rest of this week should help runs and we should be seeing stronger runs everywhere by or soon after Memorial Day.

And if you get out there and have success, share your story and photos (okay to keep your spot secret) to our Facebook page at,


Lee Leschper