The 2014 fishing season in Ketchikan, Alaska proved another great summer for anglers seeking salmon and halibut!
The King (Chinook) salmon fishing started out slow in May and early June but by mid June fishing started to pick up and we saw a lot of nice kings through the whole month of July with peak catches recorded in late June – early July. Our biggest king of the season was 40 lbs and we had quite a few in the 30 lb range with the average size being about 20 lbs. 2014 was the best king salmon fishing I’ve seen in Ketchikan for several years.
The best chinook action was on a chrome Superior #5 spoon with a 7/0 siwash hook or a whole green label herring with a slow roll behind a red hotspot flasher with a mirror finish.
The Coho (Silver) salmon started showing up in late June which is normal for our area as we have an excellent summer run and a fall run in Ketchikan. While the 2014 summer coho run was not as good as 2013, which was the best we’ve seen in 29 years, it was solid from July through August with fish in the 7-12 lb range. The Fall run (late August through September) was every bit as good as 2013 if not better in our area plus the fish were bigger. After a full day of fishing, most of our unguided anglers were limiting out on coho at six per person and in mid September we had one self-guided group of four limit out with 24 coho by 10:30 am – not bad for a bunch of hung over guys from Waldport Oregon.
Our biggest fall coho were around 18 lbs and averaged about 12-13 lbs by September. Summary: The summer coho run from July through mid August was average and the fall run from late August through September was excellent. I had my best coho action on cut plug herring with a tight fast spin, green spatter back hoochies behind a hot spot and my go to rig – the #5 chrome superior spoon. My grandfather fished that spoon in Ketchikan religiously and repeatedly told me that was the only thing I ever needed to use. On most days he was right but of course first you have to find hungry fish.
Halibut fishing started out hot in June with nice fish in the 15–50 lb range available within 45 minutes from our dock. By mid July the big migrating fish were in (red bellies) and our self-guided guys were hauling in some hogs with many fish between 60–120 lbs. The largest halibut brought in was 180 lbs by some east coast Canadians that frequent our lodge and have truly mastered halibut fishing in Ketchikan over the last three years. If you’re a self-guided angler and really want to catch halibut I suggest you book a trip of at least five nights and preferably six or seven, because weather is a huge factor in getting to productive halibut grounds and holding anchor. If you only have a few days to fish you might get blown off the grounds and never get a halibut hook in the water.
We saw a lot of big halibut in 2014. Fishing remained average through August but we had to hunt them down a few times as they moved around. By late August the halibut bite was spotty and you had to fish the tides and in September there numbers dwindled as they sometimes do in the protected inside waters where we fish.
2014 proved to be another great summer in Ketchikan. The weather cooperated most days. It was a little windy in June but we always got to the fish. The weather became better throughout the summer with temperatures in the mid 60’s and light winds. The fishing was also pretty darn good with solid catches all summer and just the right amount of Pink salmon to provide excellent halibut bate and keep you busy between coho bites without overrunning your lines.
What does the 2015 forecast look like? Book a trip and find out!