Each year, large groups of salmon return to their birthplaces to spawn just before they die. The fish can travel thousands of miles upstream during this journey. Their travels create spectacular scenes where you can watch the fish swim up waterfalls. It’s also a great chance for you to catch salmon as they migrate to their homes in Alaska.

Alaska’s Salmon Season

Although Alaska’s salmon fishing season can vary from year to year, the first salmon run usually takes place between late May and the end of June. A second run usually occurs in July.

You’ll need to get a fishing license before you can capture these magnificent creatures. You can purchase a fishing license that lets you fish king salmon through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. There are several hunting and fishing licenses, so make sure you specify that you plan to fish for salmon.

Popular Places for Alaska’s Salmon Runs

Salmon runs happen in many of Alaska’s rivers. However, Kenai River and Kasilof River have become two of the most popular places to fish for king salmon.

Kenai River is noted for having some of the state’s largest king salmon. In fact, the world’s largest king salmon, which weighed over 97 pounds, was caught in this river. Just because one fisherman caught a giant fish doesn’t mean they’re all that large, though. On average, Kenai River’s king salmon weigh between 35 and 40 pounds.

In Kasilof River, king salmon average between 12 and 25 pounds during the first run. The second run attracts larger fish that weigh between 25 and 40 pounds. Despite the smaller sizes, many people choose to fish the Kasilof because it has more fish. It’s also a shallower, quieter river that sets the scene for a relaxing vacation.

Where to Stay When You’re Not Fishing

By land, the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers are about 160 miles south of Anchorage, Alaska. Luckily, there are several small airports near the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, including Kenai Municipal Airport, Kasilof Airport, Soldotna Airport, and Bangerter Field.

You can charter a flight to these area airports with the help of Mountain Aviation. Book a comfortable charter plane to add flexibility and make your trip even more enjoyable.

You’ll have plenty of hotels to choose from once you reach your destination. Kenai, which is the more popular river for fishing, has at least half a dozen hotels. If you plan to fish the Kasilof, you’ll need to stay in one of several hotels off Sterling Highway. Some of them are on the river, but others are just a short drive away.

How to Get the Most out of Your Fishing Trip

It’s a good idea to hire a fishing charter while visiting Alaska. Even though the rivers are teeming with salmon, you may need a guide to show you the best fishing spots. Plus, a charter can supply you with a boat and any fishing equipment you may need.

When you’re not fishing, enjoy the area’s restaurants and breweries and enjoy all that Alaska has to offer.

Image via Flickr by GoToVan