Alaska sportfishing professionals share input as fishing season kicks off

With king salmon closures this summer, it's important to make sure you're within regulations before going fishing.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 10:15 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The first salmon runs begin this weekend, and many anglers are excited to get out with their rod and reel for some fishing.

But with many emergency closures and restrictions to king salmon fisheries this summer, it’s important to check regulations before going out.

“Determine where you’re fishing and go to Fish and Game or go to a local office and find out what’s available during the timeframe that you’re going to be fishing,” Kenai River Sportfishing Association Executive Director Shannon Martin said.

Even with these closures, there is still plenty of opportunity for anglers to get their fishing fix this summer with sockeye salmon arriving in mid-July, and silver salmon at the end of July through August.

“The outlook is great. We don’t really have a lot of changes from the way the fisheries have been in the last decade,” fishing guide Mark Glassmaker said. “We really only fish kings on the Kasilof anymore and that’s in this early run and that peaks right now until about the 10th of June and then we largely transition into sockeye fisheries and those all look robust and healthy for this coming year so we’re looking forward to it,”

Besides salmon, there are still plenty more options for fishing if the runs turn out to be lackluster, such as pike fishing and rainbow trout fishing.

“So there’s always something to catch, whether you can keep them or not,” Northwoods Lodge operator Shan Johnson said. “A lot of people are just into the sport of fishing so it’s not important or imperative that they take fish home.”

Glassmaker also recommends that if you are looking to fish with a guide, it’s best to schedule early and have an open mind about location — that gives your guide more options for going to the best fishing sites.

“If you’re fishing on your own, there’s a lot of helpful resources out there. I mean, obviously the internet, social media posts, definitely the sonar counts from the Kenai are a good thing to watch,” Glassmaker said.

Area regulations can be checked on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s website or by asking your regional office.