5 Tips to Prepare for Your Alaska Fishing Trip

Whether you’re a lifetime angler with the trophies to prove it, or a first-timer hoping to experience the thrill of the catch, the best way to ensure a great experience is to be prepared.

Nothing is worse than being on the open water and realizing you’ve forgotten something, or you’re shivering in the cold, or you feel the burn of sun cooking your skin. When you’re fishing you want to focus on the fish. Feisty Salmon or Halibut beasts; they each require your full attention to catch. And that’s the experience of it all!

Use these tips as a checklist to make sure you’re fishing expedition is all it can be and more!

Decide What Kind of Fish You’re After

Ketchikan, Alaska is the Salmon Capital of the World, but that doesn’t mean you are limited to catching Salmon alone. There are 5 species of Salmon swimming the saltwater of our area, but there are also 30 other types of fish cutting a path through the waterways of Ketchikan.

The most common swimmers you can expect to see – and catch – are:

* King Salmon (also known as Chinook)
* Pink Salmon
* Silver Salmon
* Chum Salmon (also known as Keta)
* Pacific Halibut
* Yelloweye Rockfish
* Ling Cod

The Salmon are fighters but usually stay under 10 pounds. The Halibut, on the other hand, are monsters often weighing in over 100 pounds.

Do your research (check out http://www.alaska.org/advice/salmon-or-halibut) and decide what type of fish you want to catch. Are you catching it for food or for fun? Knowing that answer might help you decide. Once you know, your charter Captain will be able to take you directly to the waters where these fish abound.

Here’s a quick glance chart to show you when different types of fish are most active, which also might help you decide. (graphic courtesy of Alaska.gov.)








  1. Get Your Fishing LicenseIf you’re fishing, you need a license. Period. So save yourself some time and trouble and make sure you have on in hand prior to leaving on your trip. They are easy to get online and print at home. Do it now [link to: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/Store/Customers/Create] before you forget! They are inexpensive and a detail that can’t be missed. If you plan to fish for Salmon, it’s highly recommended that you include the purchase of a King Salmon stamp. You never know when you’ll run into one and you certainly don’t want to have to let him pass you by!
  2. Dress for Fickle WeatherIt is daylight in Alaska during fishing season for 20 hours a day – but Ketchikan also gets 13 feet of rain each year – so you need to be ready for just about anything. The layered clothing approach works best. Wear several lightweight layers that have some water resistance that you can peel off when you need to, but will keep you warm and dry as well. Waterproof gloves will help tremendously, especially if you’re prone to cold hands.Don’t forget about footwear. A good pair of hiking boots, with some waterproofing treatment on them, will keep you nice and dry. Of course wear what you’re comfortable in, but know that your shoes will get wet; and cold feet can really put a damper on your fun.
  3. Sunscreen is Your FriendFacing 20 hours of sun each day, even if it’s overcast, will wreak havoc on unprotected skin. Make sure you bring sunscreen and apply it often. It’s not “cool” to go without, and you definitely aren’t going to look cool later when you have raccoon eyes from where your sunglasses were protecting your eyes, but you had no sunscreen to protect your face!And speaking of sunglasses – bring ‘em! You need your eyes as much as your hands to find and reel in those big boys. “The sun got in my eyes” is not a valid excuse to take home to your friends when you don’t catch any fish!
  4. Bring Your CameraKnowing your friends won’t believe anything you say about your fishing trip without proof, it’s imperative you have a camera along! Snap pictures of the catch. Capture shots of the boat and your shipmates. And with an eye for marine life, you might even be able to freeze in time the moment you saw dolphins playing nearby, or seals sunning on rocks, or even whales in the distance (which is where we like them!).Bring along a zip-seal plastic bag for protecting your camera. It’s also a good place to keep your fishing license nice and dry.

Easy tips, right? And yet so many people get caught up in the excitement of booking their trip, they often forget stuff like this. Oh, and when you book with us, we’ll have all the equipment you need like poles, lines, tackle, etc. You just make sure you’re comfortable and we’ll do the rest – except hooking the fish and relling ‘em in. That battle is all your own!

Want to learn more about The Alaska Catch fishing charters? Get in touch with Captain Mike today!

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