Alaska Fishing by Season

June Fishing in Bristol Bay:

The month of June holds epic opportunities to fish for the most legendary Alaska fish, the king salmon (Chinook). The fishing is just as incredible for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Dolly Varden, Arctic grayling, lake trout, and Northern pike. Our rivers open to fishing on June 8th. During this first week we target rainbow trout in a number of streams. On the Naknek and the Kvichak we have chances at large rainbows before they head upstream to spend most of the summer in Naknek Lake and Lake Iliamna.  On the Naknek, these fish feed on groups of out-migrating salmon smolt as Arctic terns swoop and chirp from above.

During this season opening in June, we also fish a number of smaller creeks, where hungry trout aggressively chase streamers and mouse patterns. Then by mid-June, many of the large trout have left the big rivers to enter the lake systems. At this time we begin to target the first arriving king salmon on the Nushagak River.

July Alaska Fishing Opportunities:

The month of July brings many highlights of legendary Alaska fishing trips. Target king salmon, sockeye salmon and chum salmon as well as incredible rainbow trout, Arctic char, Dolly Varden, Arctic grayling, lake trout, and Northern pike. We target king salmon in July on our home river, the Naknek, as well as on the Alagnak and Nushagak.

The Alagnak River is a short flight from the lodge. The Lodge at 58 North has boats stashed here in a central location where anglers can enjoy fishing for fresh king and chum salmon that arrive on each tide.  We target king salmon primarily by trolling spinners and plugs, as well as by fly fishing. The chum salmon run on the Alagnak is one of the largest in the area. Where we fish on the lower Alagnak is full of sandy bars where chum stage by the thousands. We target these fish with 8-weight fly rods while wade fishing. They aggressively hit streamers and they’ll even come to the surface to eat a waking fly.

The Nushagak River, nicknamed The Nush, holds the largest run of Alaska’s wild king salmon. We host daily fly outs to the river with our expert guides and quality boats and gear. We fish this river when the run is at its peak each season to maximize the experience for guests.

Not Just Salmon Fishing

Even though many think of July as a month focused on salmon fishing, the Bristol Bay region has some incredible small stream fishing for trout, grayling and char then too.  This is often by employing more traditional trout fishing methods. We’ll fish nymphs, dry flies, streamers, and even mice! We fly into Katmai National Park and Becharof Wildlife Refuge in float planes to remote streams often finding the solitude and trout fishing dreams are made of!

Our home river, the Naknek, has out-migrating salmon smolt leaving the lake system upstream, and a modest population of large rainbow trout ready to feed.  Casting into these bait balls reminds us of saltwater experiences—birds diving and predator fish hunting from below.  Cast your smolt pattern into the bait balls and hope for a rainbow to smash it!

Alaska fishing

August in Alaska

By early August, most small streams will have seen their first sockeye salmon spawn of the year. Trout, Arctic char and grayling will be there to eat the thousands of eggs in the system. We fish a number of small to mid-sized streams this time of year. Some are walk and wade. On others we use a jet boat. And for a few of them, we fly out with one of our small rafts and float for the day. In mid-August, our Alaska fishing trips draw us to the Kvichak River, where we await the first trophy trout of the season. Our operation keeps two boats on the Kvichak for anglers to fly to daily, if they so choose. 

August is also a great time for brown bear viewing, as concentrations of brown bears hunt for the best fishing places among the spawning salmon. Silver salmon fishing also begins in August. We fish for these salmon on the Naknek, Alagnak, Nushagak and a few other locations we won’t name on the internet. Silver salmon love to eat flies, spinners and jigs, and they are very hard fighters.  

September Fishing

September is a time of transition for Alaska fishing in Bristol Bay and conditions can change on a daily basis. Some of the smaller streams that had been fishing well the month before are starting to slow as salmon spawning numbers decrease. The good news is the Naknek will start to see the largest rainbow trout in Alaska make their appearance. We will also be fishing on the Kvichak for large rainbow trout and some other mid-sized rivers for rainbow trout and char. These fish will have been feeding on salmon eggs for the last month and will be incredibly healthy.

If you are looking for a trophy rainbow trout on your Alaska fishing trips, September could be the month for you. Trout from 24- to 30 inches are very likely on the Naknek and Kvichak Rivers. September is also when we start to encounter some incredibly beautiful and incredibly large lake-run Arctic char. To locate these fish, we fly to a few destinations within Becharof National Wildlife Refuge. 

Silver salmon fishing will be available until the early or middle of the month on the Naknek and possibly a few other fly-out destinations. 

Alaska fishing

October Alaska Fishing Trips:

We are thankful to have one of the longest seasons in our area, but it comes to an end in October. Alaska fishing trips in the waters of Bristol Bay in October is not for the faint of heart. It can be windy, rainy, cold and miserable, but the fish are huge, and angler pressure begins to wane at some of the more popular destinations, like the Brooks River. The weather isn’t always bad though, and we often have sunny conditions, with cold mornings and warm afternoons. As long as you dress accordingly, we feel confident the fish will make you forget your hands are a little cold.

We fish a handful of locations in October, as most of the small stream fishing has slowed down by now. Waters like the Kulik, Kvichak, Naknek, Brooks and Ugashik rivers are on our weekly schedule. There are others we fish in October as well. On the Naknek and Kvichak, we spend our time swinging flies with single hand and spey rods for trophy rainbow trout. In each of these destinations, anglers have a legitimate shot at a fish of a lifetime. The other streams will still have spawning sockeye, and therefore hungry fish feasting on eggs. As the egg numbers begin to thin out, we switch from egg patterns to flesh flies and other streamers. And just like September, October is when we see the huge lake-run Arctic char on our Alaska fishing trips.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!