Alaska is famous for it’s fishing. Southeast Alaska has countless streams and lakes teeming with fish. There are many species of fish available in a variety of water. Many of the drainages in the Ketchikan area have one or more lakes in the system. Besides the fantastic food supply and rearing habitat for the fish, these lakes provide floatplane access for the fishermen.
Other rivers and streams are accessible only from saltwater, requiring floatplane or boat travel to the mouth of the stream. In some cases the streams are navigable by jet boat, zodiac or canoe. In others, foot travel is the only way to reach those special fishing holes. With an arsenal of boats, and floatplanes at our disposal, Primo Expeditions offers a variety of freshwater fishing adventures.
Spring steelhead fishing actually starts in late winter with “holdover fish”. These are fall-run steelhead that winter over, primarily, in drainages with lakes. As the snow and ice melt these fish become active and move upstream to the spawning grounds. As the water temperature rises these fish will more readily take the fly or lure. Local fishermen pursue these fish from February through April.
By late April the spring run steelhead begin to enter the streams. The peak run occurs in May and lasts until mid-June. For the greatest number of bright fish, it’s best to target early to mid-May. In addition to the plentiful wild steelhead, there are resident rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden and the occasional grayling to spice up the pot. These fish hold in a variety of water offering the angler a diversity of presentation opportunities. Fording these streams is common, as is hiking the well-beaten bear trails along the banks. The streams in this region are truly wild, surrounded by old growth forest and the snow-capped peaks which feed them.
SUMMER TROUT & SALMON FISHING
With rising water temperatures in the month of June, the hatches start to come off, providing the flyfisherman with excellent dry fly action. Resident trout and sea-run Dollies are plentiful anticipating the salmon run and the tremendous food supply when the spawning starts. By late June the salmon have started to enter the streams. The run continues into the fall with peak runs occurring from July through September depending on species. All the species are available during the month of July, making it a fantastic time experience the fishing trip of a lifetime.
TYPES OF TRIPS
One of my favorite trips is to fly into a remote lake and set up a base camp near the inlet stream. I take a zodiac with a small outboard motor, which allows access to lake fishing as well as the stream. Having a camp on the edge of the stream provides the opportunity to hit the “early morning bite” in addition to long days on the river. An alternative to tent camping is to travel by boat, the MOZA II. We anchor near the mouth of the stream and take the jet boat or zodiac as far up river as possible. Many times we’ll have all the fishing we want within the navigable range. In some cases we’ll park the jet boat and hike farther upstream. We return to the MOZA II each night to dine on crab and fresh fish. The MOZA II gives us the option of fishing several different drainages on an extended (5 – 7 Day) trip. Yet another option, is fly out daily from Ketchikan to a different location each day. There are countless streams and lakes in the Ketchikan area. Consequently there are many unique settings for the angler/adventurer. Flying out on a daily basis gives the angler or angling party the luxury of returning to a warm shower and a soft bed each night, but of course comes with a higher price tag.