The Fish We Catch

Species of Fish We May Catch on Our Charters

While there is a large variety of different species of fish to catch in Alaska and many of them are available in the Mat-Su Valley, we focus on just a few on our Alaska freshwater river fishing charters. These are the fish we are most likely to catch on our Alaska salmon fishing and trout fishing charters so we thought you might like to read a little more about them.

King Salmon (Chinook)

The Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is Alaska’s state fish and is one of the most important sport and commercial fish native to the Pacific coast of North America. It is the largest of all Pacific salmon, with weights of individual fish commonly exceeding 30 pounds. A 126-pound Chinook salmon taken in a fish trap near Petersburg, Alaska in 1949 is the largest on record. The largest sport-caught Chinook salmon was a 97-pound fish taken in the Kenai River in 1986. READ MORE

Silver Salmon (Coho)

Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch (Walbaum) also called silver salmon, are found in coastal waters of Alaska from Southeast to Point Hope on the Chukchi Sea and in the Yukon River to the Alaska-Yukon border. Coho are extremely adaptable and occur in nearly all accessible bodies of fresh water-from large transboundary watersheds to small tributaries. READ MORE

Chum Salmon (Dogs)

Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) have the widest distribution of any of the Pacific salmon. They range south to the Sacramento River in California and the island of Kyushu in the Sea of Japan. In the north they range east in the Arctic Ocean to the Mackenzie River in Canada and west to the Lena River in Siberia. Chum salmon are the most abundant commercially harvested salmon species in arctic, northwestern, and Interior Alaska, but are of relatively less importance in other areas of the state. There they are known locally as “dog salmon” and are a traditional source of dried fish for winter use. READ MORE

Sockeye Salmon

The sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), often referred to as “red” or “blueback” salmon, occurs in the North Pacific and Arctic oceans and associated freshwater systems. This species ranges south as far as the Klamath River in California and northern Hokkaido in Japan, to as far north as far as Bathurst Inlet in the Canadian Arctic and the Anadyr River in Siberia. Aboriginal people considered sockeye salmon to be an important food source and either ate them fresh or dried them for winter use. Today sockeye salmon support one of the most important commercial fisheries on the Pacific coast of North America, are increasingly sought after in recreational fisheries, and remain an important mainstay of many subsistence users. READ MORE

Pink Salmon (Humpy’s)

The pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) is also known as the “humpback” or “humpy” because of its very pronounced, laterally flattened hump which develops on the backs of adult males before spawning. It is called the “bread and butter” fish in many Alaskan coastal fishing communities because of its importance to commercial fisheries and thus to local economies. Pink salmon also contribute substantially to the catch of sport anglers and subsistence users in Alaska. It is native to Pacific and arctic coastal waters from northern California to the Mackenzie River, Canada, and to the west from the Lena River in Siberia to Korea. READ MORE

Rainbow Trout

The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), is one of the most respected and sought after of Alaska’s native game fishes. Serious anglers from the world over are drawn to Alaska to experience the thrill of challenging this hard fighting salmonid in the state’s wilderness waters. READ MORE

Dolly Varden

Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma Walbaum) are locally abundant in all coastal waters of Alaska. Two basic forms of Dolly Varden occur in Alaska waters. The southern form ranges from lower Southeast Alaska to the tip of the Aleutian Chain, and the northern form is distributed on the north slope drainages of the Aleutian Range northward along Alaska’s coast to the Canada border. Anadromous and freshwater resident varieties of both forms exist with lake, river, and dwarf populations being found among the freshwater residents. Little is known of the habits of Alaskan nonmigratory Dolly Varden. READ MORE

These articles are part of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Notebook Series