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Salmon Fishing In Alaska: Everything You Need To Know For a Successful Salmon Fishing Trip

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Salmon Fishing In Alaska: Everything You Need To Know For a Successful Salmon Fishing Trip

A former guest posed with a beautiful wild, Alaskan salmon.

Fishing for salmon in Alaska is an unforgettable experience that should be on every angler's bucket list. The state’s rich waters are home to five different species of salmon, making it a haven for anglers looking for a challenge. Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or you’re just starting out, you’re guaranteed to have a blast salmon fishing in Alaska!

Alaska’s salmon population is one of the most robust on earth and it’s certainly the largest in North America. In fact, the vast majority of all wild-caught salmon in all of North America is caught in Alaska’s waters. Keeping that in mind, it’s no wonder that fishermen from around the world flock to Alaska every summer to get their own chance to reel in one of these spectacular fish.

And at Pybus Point Lodge, we’re here to help you have the Alaska salmon fishing experience that you’ve always dreamed of! Thanks to our phenomenal team of guides, fleet of custom-built boats, and our all-inclusive lodging, you can come and enjoy a guided salmon fishing trip in comfort and luxury. Every day of your vacation your experienced fishing guide can take you out to catch wild salmon, halibut, ling cod, and more before returning back to the lodge to enjoy a gourmet meal and unwind on our scenic hot tub deck!

To help get you ready for your big Alaska salmon fishing trip, we’ve made this handy blog post to teach you everything you need to know about pacific salmon! In this article we’ll teach you about everything from the gear and techniques used to catch salmon to all the interesting details of a salmon’s unique lifestyle! 

Types Of Salmon In Alaska

There are five species of salmon that can be found in Alaska's waters: King (Chinook), Silver (Coho), Pink (Humpy), Keta (Dog or Chum), and Red (Sockeye). Each species has its own unique characteristics, from size and coloration to taste and texture, making each species a unique experience to catch. Just remember that different species have different regulations. Before you fish it’s important to make sure that you’re up to date with the current size and bag limits!

King salmon are the largest of the five species, with some individuals weighing over 100 pounds. They are also the most sought after species due to their rich and buttery flavor, making them a popular choice among seafood lovers. Unfortunately, Kings are becoming fewer and further between in Alaska, and they generally have tighter restrictions than the other species. In order to legally catch one, you even need to purchase an add-on to your fishing license called a “King Salmon Stamp.”

A young fishermen with her huge King salmon!

Silver salmon are also a highly sought after species, known for their high-energy fighting style and delicious flavor. They are medium-sized fish, averaging 10-15 pounds, and are a popular choice for sports fishermen and anglers looking for a challenge.

An angler with her freshly caught silver (coho) salmon!

Pink salmon are the smallest of the five species, averaging 4-7 pounds, and are a great choice for families and beginners. They are also the most abundant species, making them a good option for those looking to fill their cooler with fish. Pink salmon are also excellent for anyone interested in smoking salmon.

A former guest with a beautiful pink salmon.

Keta salmon are a popular choice for those looking to add variety to their catch, as they are known for their distinctive appearance and flavor. They are medium-sized fish, averaging 8-12 pounds, and are a great option for anglers looking for a less-challenging fishing experience.

One of our guests posed with a keta salmon!

Sockeye salmon are prized for their rich and flavorful meat, making them a popular choice for both anglers and seafood lovers. They are medium-sized fish, averaging 6-8 pounds, and are a great option for anglers looking for a little bit of everything. This is the only species of salmon that we don’t specifically target at Pybus Point Lodge. While there is a chance you could catch one during your vacation, there aren’t too many of these fish in our neck of the woods. 

Salmon Season

The salmon season in Alaska typically runs from late May through late September, with the peak of the season occurring in July and August. That being said, each species of salmon has its own unique peak season with king salmon peaking in the early summer and coho peaking in the early fall. So before planning your Alaska salmon fishing trip, it’s important to ask yourself which species of salmon you want to target the most. 

In order to help you plan your Alaska fishing vacation, we made this helpful chart!

A helpful charting showing the best times of year to catch different species of fish.

Required Gear

A women dressed in waders and a raincoat with a spinner rod–all of which was provided by Pybus Point Lodge.

When fishing for salmon in Alaska, it's important to have the right gear. The basic gear you'll need includes a fishing rod and reel, fishing line, hooks, bait, a cooler, and rain gear. It's also a good idea to invest in a good quality pair of polarized sunglasses, as they will help you see the fish below the surface of the water.

It’s also important to prepare for any type of weather. Even though you might think of Alaska as being a cold and stormy place, the weather can actually vary from the high 70’s to the low 40’s throughout the summer time–sometimes with dramatic weather changes happening throughout the day. In Alaska it’s common for the day to begin chilly and rainy, and for the sun to pop out and warm things up by the early afternoon. So when salmon fishing in Alaska, it’s important to always prepare for any weather. 

Lucky for you, Pybus Point Lodge will provide you with everything you need for a successful Alaska salmon fishing trip. All of our custom-built fishing boats are fully equipped with high quality rods, reels, and tackle and our guests are free to take full advantage of our arsenal of freshwater fishing equipment. 

Additionally, after arriving at our lodge you’ll be outfitted head to toe in high quality rain gear. Everything from water proof jackets and bibs to non-slip rain boots will be provided to you after arriving at our all-inclusive resort.

Two of our former guests dressed head to toe in complimentary rain gear.

Where Do Salmon Live?

Well the answer to that question depends on what type of salmon you’re talking about. In addition to all the different types of Pacific salmon, there’s another species called Atlantic salmon. Atlantic salmon have a huge territory spanning as far north as Russia and as far south as Spain with the bulk of Atlantic salmon fishing occurring in northern Europe, Canada, and New England. 

Just like Atlantic salmon, pacific salmon also concentrate in the northern hemisphere, with a range spanning all the way from northern Alaska to southern California. That being said, the bulk of the population lives up north near Alaska where the water is cool. 

Fun Fact! Depending on who you ask, there are actually anywhere between 6 and 12 different species of Pacific salmon! In addition to the five species found in Alaska, there’s also a sixth species known as masu (cherry) found in Asia. Then things start to get complicated when you factor in trout. You see, as genetic testing has gotten more sophisticated scientists have realized that there are multiple species of trout that are more closely related to salmon than they are to other trout. Nowadays, most scientists consider species like steelhead (rainbow) and cutthroat trout to be pacific salmon.

Lifecycle of a Salmon

A salmon underwater.

Regardless of species, all salmon are anadromous, meaning that throughout their life they migrate in large groups from one area to another. You see, salmon are born in freshwater sources like rivers, tributaries, and estuaries that eventually connect to the ocean. Salmon can begin their lives anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred miles upriver, away from the ocean. 

In order to hide their eggs from predators, female salmon typically lay and bury their eggs in gravely river beds where they can be discovered and fertilized by a male salmon. After that, the young salmon can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before they burst out of their eggs and try to make it on their own. 

After hatching, the juvenile, or “fry” salmon, hangout in their gravel nests feeding on insects, invertebrates, and plankton as they mature. Depending on the species of salmon, the fry will remain in freshwater for anywhere between a couple of hours to a couple of months.

Regardless of how much time the fry spend in freshwater, they all eventually make their way downriver to the ocean. At this stage in their young lives, the salmon experience a process called “smoltification” where their whole bodies restructure themselves to prepare for life in saltwater. And you thought human puberty was bad! During smoltification, the salmon lose their more dynamic coloring and become a more uniform silver color. Their bodies change from that of a juvenile into a larger and more buoyant shape that’s better suited to ocean life. And of course, their entire breathing system restructures so that the young salmon are ready to extract oxygen from saltwater. They also make sure to get to smell all around their nesting area and their home stream. According to Scientific American, salmon will store these smells in their memory and use them later in life when they return to their home to spawn.

Once the salmon finally make it into the ocean, they spend anywhere from one to six years feeding and maturing. If you’re a saltwater fisherman, this is your time to strike! Salmon can be found anywhere from the very top of the water column to depths of a few hundred feet. Just remember that salmon like cold water and will probably swim deeper throughout the day as temperatures rise. While in saltwater, pacific salmon swim up and down the water column, feasting on a diet of shrimp, squid, eels, and smaller fish. When fishing for salmon, anglers tend to have the best luck with setups that mimic the behavior of a small swimming fish, but more on that later.

After spending some time eating everything they can get their mouths on, it’s time for the salmon to make some babies! While it’s not completely understood how exactly it works, salmon somehow manage to find their way back to the same area they hatched in when it comes time to spawn for themselves. Most likely salmon are able to navigate by sensing the earth’s magnetic field in combination with a few other factors.

Once they make it to the mouth of their home stream, salmon navigate off of smell. Remember how we said they store the scent of their nest area for later? Well, it appears that salmon are able to recall that scent and use it to guide them all the way back to the site of their birth nest. 

Once they’ve returned home, the process starts all over again. The females will dig a small nest in the gravel and lay their own clutch of eggs while the males search the river bed looking for eggs to fertilize.

After reproducing both males and females die in the same freshwater streams they were born in, and as their bodies begin to break down, they play an important part in keeping the local ecosystem healthy and strong. For a brown bear, a river full of dead salmon is an all you can eat buffet of their favorite food. And in the river, the decomposing salmon bodies bring all sorts of essential nutrients to the little critters that live on the river bed. 

Fun Fact! As pink salmon get ready to spawn, they turn green and grow a big ugly hump on their backs! That’s why they have the nickname of “humpy” salmon.

A young angler holding up a "humpy" pink salmon that is nearing the end of its lifecycle.

How To Catch Salmon

There are two main ways to catch salmon in Alaska: saltwater and freshwater fishing.


A man holding up a big salmon that he caught while trolling.

Saltwater salmon fishing typically takes place in the ocean, where anglers use a variety of techniques to catch their quarry. Some popular techniques include casting, mooching, and trolling. Casting involves casting a line from the shore or a boat and reeling it in while mooching involves suspending bait at a set depth and waiting for a salmon to take the bait. Trolling is when you pull a line behind a boat at a slow speed to attract a salmon’s attention.

At Pybus Point Lodge, we mainly focus on trolling. In our humble experience, trolling is the most surefire way to hook a salmon of your own.

How To Troll For Salmon

One of Pybus Point Lodge's custom-built fishing boats.

The process involves pulling a fishing line behind a moving boat, with lures or baits designed to mimic the movement of a fish swimming along near the ocean’s surface. Because you’re constantly moving, trolling is a great way to cover a lot of water and find where the salmon are biting. Once you find that sweet spot–oh boy! Your captain will make sure that the boat stays on top of those suckers while you keep reelin’ ‘em in!

To troll for salmon, your captain will set you up with a rod that’s specifically designed for trolling, with all the proper gear hooked up–hooks, flashers to attract the salmons’ attention, and a special kind of weight. 

These weights are attached by a separate line to a device called a “downrigger.” A downrigger is a simple tool used to make sure that your hook is actually sinking low enough to attract a salmon’s attention–about 15 to 20 feet below the surface. After you have your downrigger weight attached to your main fishing line, you’ll set your rod in the holder attached to the downrigger with your reel set to release line. 

After that, you’ll just set your downrigger to your desired depth, and the downrigger will let out the proper amount of line. All the while, the weight will pull your salmon fishing rig down with it. After that, all you’ve got to do is wait. As your boat slowly moves forward, it will pull your rig down below in a way that mimics the swim style of a small bait fish. And to a hungry salmon, your hook will look like it’s next meal.

When that salmon strikes, quickly reel in the line to set the hook and start reeling in your catch. With the right gear and technique, trolling can be a productive and exciting way to catch salmon in Alaska.


A fly fisherman at a stream near Pybus Point Lodge.

Freshwater salmon fishing takes place in the rivers and streams of Alaska, where salmon come to spawn. There are several popular techniques that anglers use to catch salmon in freshwater, including casting, spinning, and fly fishing. 

Casting is a straightforward technique that involves casting a line into the river and reeling it in slowly. This technique is great for beginners and is easy to pick up.

Spinning is a similar technique that involves using a spinning rod and reel, with a variety of lures to attract salmon. This technique can be a bit more challenging than casting, but it is a great option for anglers looking for a little more excitement.

Fly fishing is a more advanced technique that requires a specialized rod, reel, and line. Anglers use hand-tied flies to imitate various insects and baitfish, with the goal of tricking salmon into biting. Fly fishing is a challenging and rewarding technique that is best suited for experienced anglers.

Regardless of the technique you choose, freshwater fishing for salmon in Alaska is a unique and exciting experience that is not to be missed. Whether you're a seasoned angler or just starting out, you're sure to have a memorable time fishing for salmon in Alaska's pristine rivers and streams.

Just be aware that when the salmon hit the rivers they are there to spawn and then die. This means that when the salmon are in the river, their lifetime is short and their meat starts to get soft. Although they can be fun to catch, we generally don't keep any of the salmon that we catch in the river so the fish still has the chance to spawn.  For us, it’s all about catch and release.

Salmon Fishing Trips At Pybus Point Lodge


A group of anglers out on a guided salmon fishing trip!

The waters around Pybus Point Lodge are home to some of the finest salmon fishing in all of Alaska. Thanks to our spectacular location in Alaska’s famous Inside Passage, you can enjoy guided salmon fishing trips where you can catch four out of the five species of pacific salmon in both salt and freshwater! 


A freshwater fishermen holding up a pink salmon.

Interested in freshwater salmon fishing? Our full-time freshwater guide is happy to take you deep into the Tongass National Forest to some of our favorite local streams where you can catch both salmon and trout. Not only is the fishing great, but this is an excellent way to explore the remote and rugged terrain around the lodge. 

At any point during your vacation, our freshwater guide can take you to fish a few of our local rivers and help you catch salmon and trout. Not only is the fishing great, but it’s also an excellent way to explore the remote and rugged terrain around the lodge.  If you’re interested in freshwater fishing just let us know! There are multiple freshwater salmon fishing locations near the lodge that are easily accessible via boat. 

And when it comes to gear, it’s all included. We’ve got fly rods, spinner rods, waders, flies, hooks, and everything else you need to hook a salmon

Fish For Salmon, Halibut, And More!

A group of guests with their freshly caught halibut.

And don’t worry, we don’t just fish for salmon. No Alaskan fishing trip would be complete without catching some of Alaska’s other incredible native species like halibut, rockfish, and ling cod. Unlike other fishing charters, we let our guests target as many species as they want in a day. Most of our guests prefer to target halibut and rockfish each morning and target salmon or ling cod in the afternoon. If you want to see a list of all the fish we target at Pybus Point Lodge, click here!

Full Time Guide

Two of our amazing fishing guides.

Come fish with us and we’ll pair you up with a full-time guide who is an expert at fishing the unique region of southeast Alaska. We work very hard to find the best guides in the industry–people who know their craft and who love sharing their passion with the people around them. After your vacation is booked, we’ll ask you to fill out a questionnaire to find out what exactly you’re looking for during your time with us. We’ll make sure to match you with the captain that is best suited to help you achieve your goals

More Than Just A Fishing Lodge

A few of our guests up close to a massive iceberg!

At Pybus Point Lodge, we don’t just take people out on guided fishing trips. There is much that makes Alaska the world renowned travel destination that it is. Gorgeous glaciers, exciting wildlife, world-class kayaking, and so much more. That’s why Pybus Point Lodge isn’t simply a fishing lodge, we’re a luxury adventure resort!

Throughout your vacation you’re free to take full advantage of our full-time adventure guide! You see, Pybus Point Lodge is located on the remote Admiralty Island in southeast Alaska. Admiralty Island is a huge 1,600 square miles of lush rainforest, scenic rivers, and brown bears. In fact, there are more brown bears on Admiralty Island than there are in the lower 48 states combined!

A brown bear in the back of Pybus Bay.

Needless to say, Pybus Point Lodge is primely located for a vacation full of unique adventures. So whether you want to see the majestic Sawyer glaciers, fly in a seaplane to the relaxing Baranof warm springs, or hike through brown bear country to a secluded waterfall, our adventure guide is always here to help you out! 

A group of kayakers on a foggy Alaskan morning.

Book Your Alaska Salmon Fishing Trip Today!

The gorgeous Pybus Point Lodge.

If you’re planning an Alaska salmon fishing trip, and you’d like to experience all of the other incredible things that make Alaska such an extraordinary place, Pybus Point Lodge is the place for you. 

Our experienced guides will take you to the best fishing spots, and provide you with all the gear and knowledge you need to catch your own wild Alaskan salmon. Add that to our comfortable lodging options, delicious meals, and exciting excursions, it’s no wonder why our guests have given us a five star rating on both google and trip advisor

Don't wait, book your Alaska salmon fishing trip today and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

Alaska Packing List PDF


Download, share, or print out our PDF Packaging list to make sure you bring all the gear you need for your Alaska vacation!


Take A Walk On the Wild Side: Hiking Tours At Pybus Point Lodge

Southeast Alaska is truly one of the most stunning geographical regions in the entire United States. Just about everywhere you look you’ll find a view that could easily be featured in National Geographic. When you factor in a

Bald Eagles of Admiralty Island Alaska: A Majestic Bird of Prey at Pybus Point Lodge

One of the most exciting animals that you can observe during your vacation is the majestic bald eagle, and Admiralty Island happens to boast one of the highest bald eagle densities on planet earth. If you want to see one of t




Discover why people like you can’t stop talking about Pybus Point Lodge. More than 30 years ago, the lodge opened as a simple fishing camp, drawing a devoted following in spite of basic accommodations. With new owners and experienced captains and crew, our corner of Alaska has become an unbeatable fishing and eco-tourism resort.

Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery. I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.


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