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Fishing in Ketchikan, Alaska in September

September continues with wave after wave of silver salmon, chum, and pinks making their way to their natal rivers and streams. September is also the time to stock up on halibut. Find a salmon stream with fish spawning in it, find some trophy halibut in shallow water. Alaska is home to over 3,000 rivers, 3 million lakes, and more coastline than anywhere else in the United States. Fishing in Alaska is an anglers paradise. Located in Southeast Alaska, Ketchikan is known for its unparalleled natural beauty and the wide range of fish. The population of 8,000 people take their fishing seriously but love to share it with others. Newcomers to Ketchikan might be anxious about their first time fishing trip, but a local guide can be your ticket to great fishing. Traveling in September, you’ll notice the season start to shift into fall. The climate is still mild though less predictable. As a local, we tend to use September to fish for silver salmon and halibut.

Why Fish In Ketchikan?

Ketchikan is widely-known as the Salmon Capital of the World. Fishermen from all over the world flock to this area to catch some of the most sought after fish including:

  • Pink Salmon (or pinks)

  • Pacific halibut

  • Silver salmon

  • King salmon

  • Lingcod

  • Yelloweye rockfish

  • Chum salmon

Depending on your goals, you can catch a variety of fish. Most people come to Ketchikan to fish for food, bragging rights, for a challenging experience, or to enjoy nature. The best time to fish and the most abundant run of silver salmon is in September. The early run averages about 8 pounds and can grow to 10 pounds by August. Pinks are the smallest of the Alaskan salmon, but when bright in the fall, they eat very well. Chum or (Keta) salmon are an important commercial fish and the second largest of the salmon species in the Pacific.

The many recreational fishing opportunities in Ketchikan

There are many recreational fishing opportunities in Ketchikan, but the best are in the secluded wilderness that’s accessible only by small plane or boat. If you’re planning on September fishing, it’s the prime time to catch pinks, silvers, and halibut. You’ll need to make sure you’re fully prepared and bring with you the following:

  • King salmon stamp and fishing license (both can be purchased aboard our charter boat)

  • Camera

  • Fishing equipment (AGF provides all the necessary rods, reels, and bait)

  • Sunscreen even when overcast

  • Layers and waterproof gear

In Ketchikan, the weather in September averages around a chilly 50 degrees. Waterproof rain gear are necessary as this region is one of the rainiest in America. It’s possible you will see stunning wildlife at this time while fishing in Alaska. In past trips, many saw seagulls, bald eagles, Sitka blacktail deer, black bears, humpback whales, harbor seals, orcas, sea lions, ravens, and kingfishers.

To maximize your results when fishing for Alaska salmon, make sure you have the proper equipment. Typically, this includes a rod and reel, bright and large flies, a strong line above 20 pounds, live herring for bait, and hooks and tackle. Many charter outfits, like Alaska Go Fish, LLC, provide all the necessary gear. You’ll want to confirm that before you book and pack. There are several services in Ketchikan that will process your fish for you if necessary. Some will also ship them to your home.

Best Time Of Day

The time of day: In September, the earlier, the better in the morning especially when fishing for salmon. This is the time when they are the most active and is considered their “rush hour.” It’s difficult not to catch a good-sized salmon at this time of the day. It’s important to note, they are powerful and can jump ten feet in the air and swim upstream, making them truly a sport to reel in. September is also the best time for fishing in Alaska as the summer tourist crowds begin to thin out.


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