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Ketchikan, Alaska vs. Kenai Peninsula for Salmon Fishing

If you enjoy fishing, like us, you probably already know that Alaska has some of the best salmon fishing opportunities in the world. But with its long coastline, how do you know where to go? Two of the top spots to check out are Ketchikan and the Kenai Peninsula. Although they’re about 1,000 miles apart, the two places both offer some of the best fishing in Alaska. You can’t go wrong visiting either one to catch some of the state’s best salmon. If you’re ambitious and have time, check out both.

Fishing in Ketchikan Ketchikan is called the “Salmon Capital of the World.” Visit us between May through September, and you’ll see why. While salmon are most active during these months, the height of salmon fishing season arrives in June. The second half of the month, in particular, is ideal for catching prize-winning salmon. King salmon are the most prevalent species during June, but you’ll find pink salmon and silver salmon, too.

If you prefer a more structured fishing adventure, consider doing a one-day or multi-day fishing excursion. Depending on how much time you want to spend on the water, you’ll find excursions ranging from six hours to multi-day excursions. Some chartered fishing boats offer group expeditions, while others allow you to book a private tour. As you’re planning your trip, search online for fishing excursions, as they vary widely in amenities. With some, all your fishing equipment and supplies are included. In other cases, you’ll need to bring your own. Be sure to find out ahead of time how much experience your guide has, as going with an inexperienced guide can end in disappointment!

Fishing in the Kenai Peninsula While Ketchikan might be called the “Salmon Capital of the World,” the Kenai Peninsula is nicknamed “Alaska’s Playground.” With its stunning natural scenery and pristine, fish-filled waters, you won’t regret making a trip up there for quality fishing. The best time to visit the Kenai is between May and September. As with Ketchikan, June is the best month to fish for large king salmon. Other notable species that you can cast for are coho, pink, and sockeye salmon. In the northern part of the peninsula, you’ll have the opportunity to fish in the Kenai River, which is stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In addition to salmon, some freshwater species that you’ll find in the river include Arctic char, lake trout, and steelhead trout. Collectively, the state stocks nearly 30 rivers with fish. Depending on your preference, you can take a motorized Kenai Peninsula salmon charter or travel at a more leisurely pace by canoe or other non-motorized boats.

Since fishing is such a popular activity in the Kenai Peninsula, you’ll have no problem finding a Kenai Peninsula salmon charter. Most charters run during the summer months (June-September), but you’ll find some that start in April and run into late October, too. Since there is a high demand for fishing expeditions, you’ll find charters designed to accommodate a variety of needs. Some expeditions last for just a half-day, while others are day-long or overnight adventures. You can either choose to fish with an experienced guide, which is recommended if you’re a novice fisherman, or if you’ve never fished in the Kenai Peninsula before, or you can rent a boat and venture out on your own. It Doesn’t Matter What Kind Of Fish You Want To Catch If you enjoy fishing for pink, sockeye, king, or coho salmon, you’ll enjoy a trip to Ketchikan or the Kenai Peninsula for the best fishing in Alaska. The best time to go is during the start of summer as the fish are most active and full-grown. In fact, there are many contests held in June for prize-winning salmon. But even if you’re not fishing for competition, you can still enjoy the company of other fishermen and marvel at Alaska’s spectacular coastal scenery.


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