Ketchikan Alaska salmon fishing is second to none and Ketchikan is known as the “salmon capitol of the world”. The Spring Chinook (king salmon) start showing up in May followed by the summer Coho, Chum, Pinks and then a fall run of Coho giving us about 4-1/2 months of solid salmon fishing. So what month is the best? It just depends on what you want to catch. Following is a list of dates and what you can expect to catch in Ketchikan.
Late May through early June – King salmon are starting to migrate into the inside waters around Ketchikan to feed on bait fish and eventually spawn. Halibut are also migrating in to feed on schools of cod, crab, shrimp, octopus, squid, herring and anything else they can get there mouths around. Expect to catch king salmon, halibut, cod and rockfish.
Mid-Late June – This is the peak of the local spawning king salmon run and the start of the summer silver and chum salmon runs. More halibut will continue to migrate in as well. Expect to catch kings, silvers, chums, halibut, cod and rockfish.
July – King salmon are still available but the spawning run typically begins to taper off. However, migrating Chinook headed for other rivers may feed through our waters at any time enhancing your catch. The summer silvers and chum should be in strong and there will be a few pinks showing up as well. Expect to catch kings, silvers, chums, pinks, halibut, cod and rockfish.
August – The local spawning run of kings are typically gone by now but we still catch feeders or black mouths (non-spawning kings) and migrating kings bound for Canadian waters. The feeder kings will be found hanging around schools of herring. The silvers are really running strong and getting bigger. Chums are tapering off and the pink salmon run is peaking. Expect to catch large silvers, chums, pinks, halibut, cod and rockfish.
September – Ketchikan and more particularly West Behm Canal (in front of our lodge) is famous for its huge fall coho run, these silvers will get up to 20 lbs and are caught less than 5 minutes from our dock. The fall run starts in late August and goes through early October. Most of the other salmon are pretty much in the rivers by now. A few halibut may still be around but most of them are migrating out to the western spawning grounds by now. Expect to catch lots of huge coho and a few halibut in early September.