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Ketchikan Salmon and Halibut Run Timing

Halibut can be found year round with the right guide! Usually, the salmon season is underway in May. Because we are %100 local we have the boat and gear ready earlier than the guides that come up from down south. It is not uncommon to be one of the first boats out on the water ironing out the bugs and getting in some practice trolling. King salmon are present year-round in the Ketchikan area though the “rod hours” it takes to catch a keeper king are numerous. In fact, one person is able to fish 2 rods from November through December and often into April, whereas in the summer, fishers can only fish one rod for kings.

Early season king salmon fishing is like big game hunting. When you are least prepared and not paying attention, is inevitably when the big one will strike. Often if you are not “on it” and keeping a sharp eye on the gear, you lose the chance at landing the fish of your dreams. By June more fish are returning to the rivers in which they are born, and by July it is often hard to keep at least one of the five species of salmon off your hooks. In mid to late August the silvers are usually showing up in large numbers, and those are the fish I usually fill my freezer with.

Even in late October, catching coho (silver salmon) is still on the agenda for most fisherman. July, August, and September are great for jigging up bottom fish like halibut, ling cod, rock cod, and other species.

Locals Tips

  • If your focused on kings, get here before the 4th of July.

  • For kings AND silvers target July 4th through Mid-August.

  • If you want the very best silver fishing, halibut, and ling cod, come after August 15.

  • If quantity is your priority, pinks are the most numerous. The pinks start in July and remain consistent through the end of September.

  • If you are after a monster halibut, be sure to book a FULL day charter. Halibut size is directly correlated with distance from town. If you book a full day charter, we can be sure we are going to untapped waters, and the likelihood of hooking a barn door-sized halibut goes up.

  • Consider a full day combo charter. The only certainty in Southeast Alaska is uncertainty. Weather and fishing conditions are constantly changing. The best way to ensure a successful trip is to maximize time on the water and flexibility with conditions. If the salmon are not “on” try a halibut hole. If halibut are scarce, drop some trolling lines.


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