How to Have the Most Success Fishing Near Anchorage, Alaska

If you’re an avid angler, fishing near Anchorage, Alaska, is likely on your bucket list. The 49th state is famous for its wide variety of wild salmon, trout, halibut, and more. All you have to do is fill up your tackle box, book your stay, and enjoy the fishing trip of a lifetime! Find out what you need to know to catch brag-worthy fish before casting your line. Your friends and family won’t believe the stories when you return! No matter what lures you into an Alaskan adventure, remember to grab your free Vacation Guide for a complete outline of the best dining, recreation, events, and attractions in the Mat-Su Valley.

Your Ultimate Guide to Fishing Near Anchorage, Alaska

What Species Can I Find Here?

Fisherman with an Alaska Silver Salmon caught during Alaska salmon fishing trips

There’s a reason why fisherman come here searching for the ultimate Alaska salmon fishing trip. In Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, anglers have their pick of king, pink, chum, silver, and sockeye salmon. You can also find an abundance of rainbow and Dolly Varden trout here!

If you want a trophy catch, try your luck at reeling in a king salmon. These are the largest species and are sure to impress your friends back home. Silver salmon are known as the best fighters, so be careful when reeling them in to make sure they don’t snap your line.

Local tip: The best time to try your luck is in the summer months when the salmon make their way up rivers and streams. Primetime to catch salmon running nearby is usually July and August.

Where Are the Best Fishing Spots?

Lucille Lake, one of the best spots for fishing in Wasilla

Whether you’re heading out on your own or with a guide, there are plenty of great fishing spots to discover in Alaska. Anglers of all ages and experience levels are attracted to the state’s peaceful river valleys, secluded mountain lakes, and freshwater streams. Put your technique to the test at some of these popular locations.

  • Wasilla

Spending a day fishing in Wasilla, Alaska, is truly an angler’s paradise. The quality of fishing opportunities in the area makes it a remarkable destination in itself. Amidst the city’s museums, historic sites, and restaurants are shimmering bodies of water filled with a variety of fish.

Check out Lucille Lake for abundant rainbow trout and coho salmon. There’s a convenient public access point by the intersection of Susitna Ave and Parks Highway. Although it isn’t stocked, you can also try fishing at Wasilla Lake to the east. Keep in mind that a significant portion of this area is privately owned, so please be respectful of people’s property.

  • Eklutna Lake

If you’re visiting the Anchorage area, we highly recommend exploring Eklutna Lake in the heart of Chugach State Park. Whether you’re fishing, kayaking, or hiking, it’s an excellent destination for adventurers. Cast your line at Eklutna Lake for a chance to reel in some rainbow trout. If the fish aren’t biting or you need a break, go for a walk around the area and enjoy incredible mountain vistas. Or, hop in a boat and paddle out to a new fishing spot along the water. Just be careful as the water conditions here can go from calm to rough in a matter of minutes!

Local tip: For information and guidance on Eklutna Lake, look to the local experts at Lifetime Adventures. They can get you the gear you need and lead you on kayaking and hiking expeditions to experience this natural marvel.

  • Little Susitna River

Also known as the “Little Su,” this flowing river is a short drive from our inn. Start your day by the easily accessible public boat launch at the lower end of the river. Parking is $7 for the day, and there’s a convenient fish cleaning station nearby. The Little Susitna River can be extremely cold with powerful currents, so we recommend not wading into the water. Cast your line from the riverbank, and you’re sure to find success. Keep an eye out for a variety of waterfowl here, too.

  • Deshka River

The Deshka River begins just south of Denali and is one of Southcentral Alaska’s finest salmon and trout rivers. King, silver, and pink salmon have all been caught here, as have rainbow trout and northern pike. We recommend fishing the mouth of the river in the early season and gradually moving upstream as the fish migrate. The ideal time for catching kings starts in mid-May and goes through the summer.

  • Willow Creek

We highly recommend Willow Creek if you’re looking for the perfect spot to go Alaska fly fishing. It’s home to some of the largest rainbow trout in the area. The river sees healthy runs of silver salmon, which don’t mind chasing a fly. Parts of Willow Creek can have murky waters, so be sure to choose your optimal lure and equipment appropriately.

More Ideas for the Best Fishing Near Anchorage:

  • Montana Creek
  • Deshka Landing
  • Knik River
  • Kenai River
  • Nancy Lake Recreation
  • Bird Creek
  • Twentymile River
  • Ship Creek
  • Campbell Creek

If you need to fuel up before continuing on your fishing excursion, check out some of these excellent local restaurants! Or, we can prepare a lunch box to-go so you can stay put at your new favorite fishing spot.

Are There Experienced Guides Available?

Man enjoying one of the best Alaska fishing packages

If you are visiting from outside the area, you’re going to need a professional to show you around. Luckily, we compiled a list of the most trusted companies in the industry. Even if you’re an expert in fishing techniques, these guides are experts on the local geography. They can lead you to the optimal spots to snag the most fish and offer some of the best Alaska fishing packages. Luck only goes so far — make sure you give yourself every advantage possible to catch a photo-worthy creature to brag about. Consider some of these Alaska fishing guides and charters near Anchorage.

  • Fishtale River Guides

Our most recommended company, Fishtale River Guides, conducts salmon fishing charters around Wasilla and Anchorage. You’re sure to catch a variety of local species on the Little Susitna and Deshka rivers with help from fishing expert Andy Couch.

Reserve a fishing package and they’ll set you up with quality reels, rods, tackle, and free fish filleting. From gear to guidance, Fishtale River Guides provides everything you need. We highly suggest Andy’s services to ensure you have the most enjoyable experience possible. You can even take guided ice fishing trips in the winter!

  • Fisherman’s Choice Charters

Some of the best fishing trips in Alaska are available at Fisherman’s Choice Charters, which was featured on ESPN 2! This award-winning company targets salmon and trout in Southcentral Alaska. A licensed guide takes you on a custom jet boat into the backcountry where you can see some incredible scenery along the Little Susitna, Deshka, and Talkeetna Rivers. There are videos on the website offering a glimpse into what you can expect with their services!

  • The Bait Shack

You don’t have to travel far to find exceptional fishing opportunities! Consider The Bait Shack in downtown Anchorage. After serving in the U.S. Army and receiving the Purple Heart, Dustin Slinker set up shop as one of the most trusted fishing guides in Alaska. Today, he offers guided fishing tours along Ship Creek. This area is Alaska’s most productive king salmon sport fishery, so even novice anglers can catch one in minutes! The Bait Shack offers rods, waders, bait, and tackle. They’re also an authorized vendor for State of Alaska fishing licenses.

  • iFishAlaska Guide Service

Another great option near Anchorage is iFishAlaska Guide Service. Owner Pat Donelson has been salmon fishing in this area for over 30 years and loves sharing his experience with guests! iFishAlaska has multiple salmon fishing tours to choose from, offering specialized options for king salmon, silver salmon, and fly fishing. Morning charters are their most common, but if you’re not an early riser, they offer trips in the afternoon as well.

  • Millers Riverboat Service

Millers Riverboat Service in Wasilla has been serving Alaska’s fishermen since 1978. Their experience and know-how make for excellent times on the water. Expert guides provide half-day and multi-day charters on the Deshka River, the Little Susitna River, and various tributaries of the Big Susitna drainage. Top-quality rods and reels are included in your trip, as well as free fish cleaning. Try their fly fishing tours for something a little different!

  • Phantom Tri-River Charters

While you’re in the area, consider a day trip to Talkeetna. Phantom Charters can take you to the ideal hotspots there. They’re a family-owned company that brings insider knowledge to your adventure. Plus, the boats are heated and covered to prevent unexpected weather from ruining your experience. You can also get all your gear from rods and reels to tackle, hip boots, and bait. Phantom Charters offers five and eight-hour trips on the Big Susitna, Talkeetna, and Chulitna rivers. That’s over 100 miles for you to explore! Don’t worry if you forgot to make reservations; their guides are happy to accept walk-in appointments.

  • Aurora Charters

From Anchorage, you can reach Aurora Charters in Seward via a two-hour drive through Chugach State Park and National Forest. It’s a great place to go if you’d like to fish for salmon or other native species. As long as you’re up for a full-day charter, you can try your luck with halibut, rockfish, and lingcod. (Half-day trips are available, but focus on salmon fishing.) Your guide also fillets the fish for you and can arrange to have your prize catches shipped home.

Local tip: Embark on one of Aurora’s wildlife viewing tours in Kenai Fjords National Park for a chance to see puffins, humpback whales, orcas, and more!

  • Bob’s Trophy Charters

Did you know that Homer, Alaska, is the halibut fishing capital of the world? To see what makes fishing in Homer so special, sign up for a guided adventure with Bob’s Trophy Charters. Some visitors have landed halibut weighing between 100 and 300 pounds! Spend a few hours on the beautiful Kachemak Bay, Cook Inlet, or the Gulf of Alaska, and you’re sure to catch a big one. (While Homer is several hours from Anchorage, it’s well worth the trip to experience this tranquil fishing paradise!)

  • Jimmie Jack Fishing

Jimmie Jack Fishing is a popular, family-run charter company on the Kenai Peninsula. Guests can fish for halibut, salmon, rainbow trout, rockfish, and more on the Kenai River. King salmon average a whopping 40 pounds here! Experienced captains head out daily, and there are quite a few Alaska fishing packages available. They even offer complimentary fish processing for your initial haul.

Where Can I Find Everything I Need?

Man enjoying Alaska fly fishing

  • Fishing Licenses

Don’t forget to acquire an Alaska fishing license before you make that first cast! You can purchase one online or at any outdoor store. If you’re fishing with a guide, licenses are usually available from the outfitter. Just be sure to ask beforehand.

Local Tip: If you’re looking for a fun activity that’s slightly out of the ordinary, there are always plenty of options in Alaska. The unique daylight cycle here allows you to start fishing one evening, then continue past midnight to reset your daily catch limit. Just remember to get a two-day license and bring plenty of storage for your catches!

  • Gear

Once you receive your fishing license, it’s time to grab your gear. To pick up everything you need and get answers to all of your questions, we recommend the local experts at Three Rivers Fly and Tackle in Wasilla. (Follow their Facebook page for up-to-date fishing info and helpful tips!) You can also grab supplies from Walmart, Fred Meyer, or Sportsman’s Warehouse nearby. Rest assured that there are knowledgeable employees at each bait and tackle counter. They’re always willing to help a fellow fisherman!

What Should I Know Before Going?

Before your trip, be sure to explore the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website for information on state fishing regulations. Rules and regulations vary depending on the area, and it’s important to stay informed.

Many locals and visitors prefer to set up along river banks, especially during Alaska salmon fishing season. If you plan on following suit, there are a few tips to remember for safety and courtesy. Try to follow existing pathways, avoid stepping on wildflowers, plants, and crumbling banks, and dispose of any waste in an appropriate garbage can. When done correctly, fishing from the shore can be enjoyable! You’ll likely find groups of people gathered in slow-moving areas of productive salmon streams when the fish are running.

Safety Tips

It is essential to follow safety guidelines when navigating Alaska’s rivers and streams. Cold water temperatures can be an issue, even in the summer. Be on the lookout for signs of hypothermia if you have fallen in or have been wading in the water. Symptoms include feeling disoriented, light-headed, or numb.

Alaska is home to several magnificent animals, but they aren’t always friendly. Make sure you are bear-aware when fishing. After you reel in a catch, don’t leave it on a riverbank unattended. It’s always better to keep the fish with you or stored in a secure container to avoid attracting unwanted visitors. Bring bear spray with you on your excursion, even if you are with a guide. You’ll be incredibly thankful if one does show up! (At Alaska Garden Gate, we are happy to let you borrow a can of bear spray for your adventure.)

Local Tip: Did you know that moose are considered even more dangerous than bears? There are more of them, and they can be unpredictable. A moose will stand its ground when a bear might run away, creating dangerous situations on walking trails or river banks. Please do not attempt to get closer for pictures!

Where Is the Best Place to Stay in the Area?

View of bedroom with private bathroom at the inn

If you’re planning the ultimate fishing adventure in Alaska, there’s no better place to stay than Alaska Garden Gate. After a long day of reeling in salmon, it’s a fantastic feeling knowing you can return to the comfort of our rooms or cottages. Our location in Palmer, Alaska, is the epitome of tranquility with mountain views and comfortable accommodations. Best of all, we’re within reach of all the best fishing spots in the Mat-Su Valley and beyond!

For an economical option that doesn’t sacrifice comfort, consider a bedroom with private bathroom at the inn. These cozy rooms are perfect for solo travelers looking to get the most value out of their stay, or group adventurers seeking affordable options. Book directly on our website and get access to incredible pricing! Don’t settle for fishing in your local pond; visit Alaska for an unforgettable adventure.

Before you go, don’t forget to look at our free Vacation Guide to the Mat-Su Valley! You can find more thrilling outdoor adventures inside!