Ketchikan Fishing Report: King Salmon Edition

By on June 16, 2019

It’s all about King salmon in Knudson Cove… or Chinook salmon at Chinook Shores Lodge. Really, whatever you want to call them… Kings or Chinooks… they’re biting!

Ketchikan salmon catch rates typically increase the last two weeks of June, 2019 is no exception. King salmon catch rates in the Mountain Point area and the Herring Bay terminal area have been increasing, as have they have in areas north of town — specifically Survey Point and the nearby waters Clover Pass and Knudson Cove (photo below). 

Chinook Salmon Fishing Hot Spots
Satellite Imagery courtesy of DigitalGlobe. Fishing spots courtesy of Chinook Shores Lodge.

Spring Chinook salmon like to swim right in front of Chinook Shores Lodge (hence the namesake). We can often see bait balls and salmon on the fish finders in our boats parked at the dock. Starting each May, we watch anglers troll in one big wide circle starting from the mouth of the marina, along the shoreline in front of our home, then north toward Southeast Exposure and the lodge. From there boats keep trolling northbound toward Potter Point, then east to the rock marker (or red day beacon as the Coast Guard likes to call them), and finally south to the outer edge of the marina. Finish loop. Start new loop. Finish loop. Repeat loop… you get the gist.

Chinook King Salmon

Photo (above) Jeff proudly displays the fish he hooked up for Nadra to reel in — just 10 minutes trolling distance from the Chinook Shores Lodge dock.

34 Pound King Salmon

At 6:30am while sipping coffee from their kitchen which overlooks Knudson Cove Marina, Jeff told Nadra, “All I want to do for Father’s Day is go king salmon fishing!” They jumped into their 30′ charter boat passionately named the F/V Afishinado and …

…The Reel Story: Jeff dropped lines in the water and trolled for about ten minutes when both his and Nadra’s rods dipped down suddenly, indicating a salmon strike: It was Fish(es) ON! Jeff and Nadra reeled in two nice ones in about 20 minutes and immediately returned to the weigh-in station at the lodge. Photo (right) Nadra poses with her 34-Pound King.

Double hook ups with King salmon are not all that common. It’s extremely exciting when it happens.

Pro Tips: Catching Chinook

In most cases, you can catch King salmon (aka the mighty and elusive Chinook) by trolling at about two knots dragging herring. Kings can swim about 12 miles per hour — they’ll have no trouble keeping up.

It is illegal to use live bait in Alaska, so we use frozen herring that have been prepped in a salty brine. Dragging a full herring, or cut plug herring with flashers and hoochies works just fine. They will also hit on silver spoons, and THIS YEAR they seem to really go after Brad’s Super Bait. You can find out what Super Bait style and color is working best at Nadra’s Tackle & Teez.

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