Donna Dewhurst


The dream of landing a trophy fish lures people from around the globe to Anchorage, where urban angling is just a stone’s throw from downtown and remote fly in fishing in the Alaska wilderness is an easy day trip.

Easy access to rivers, lakes and saltwater has earned Anchorage a spot on Field & Stream magazine’s list of America’s Best Fishing Cities. Here, anglers can pursue salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, arctic grayling and more right in the city. Monster halibut, trophy trout and all five species of Pacific salmon are within a day’s drive or fly-out fishing trip.

Salmon in the City

In Anchorage, it’s not unusual to see businesspeople step out of the office, throw on a pair of hip waders and head down to Ship Creek (a salmon stream right in downtown Anchorage!) to reel in an Alaska king or silver salmon - especially during the Slam'n Salm'n Derby in June. With divisions for visitors and kids, not to mention specially tagged fish, you don't need to reel in the big one to land great prizes.

Salmon viewing is plentiful along Ship Creek, but if you’re itching to put a line in the water, rent some gear and pick up your fishing license at a nearby sporting goods store.

Angling around Anchorage

From remote lakes in Chugach State Park to small neighborhood lakes in city parks, nearly 30 Anchorage lakes are stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The following lakes have road access and are favorite local fishing holes:

  • Campbell Point Lake: Located in Kincaid Park near an extensive trail system; fish for coho (silver) salmon, rainbow trout and arctic char.
  • Jewel Lake: A true gem offering grand views of the Chugach Mountains and many public amenities including a playground, beach area and picnic facilities; contains stocked coho (silver) salmon and rainbow trout.
  • Eklutna Lake: Largest lake in Chugach State Park located 25 miles north of Anchorage, known for its intense, emerald-blue waters; contains rainbow trout and Dolly Varden.

Campbell Creek Greenbelt, which flows from the Chugach Mountains to Cook Inlet, also offers public access points and fishing in some areas. Bird Creek and Twentymile River, about 25 miles south of Anchorage, provide excellent silver and good pink salmon fishing along the Seward Highway.

North and South of Anchorage

Anchorage is widely used by anglers as a base camp for fishing in Southcentral Alaska. The famous Kenai River is just a couple hours drive south of Anchorage. Halibut and other saltwater fishing are within a half-day's drive. Prince William Sound (Whittier) is just over an hour away; Resurrection Bay (Seward) is 2.5 hours; and Kachemak Bay (Homer) is 5 hours south. There are quick commuter flights to Kenai and Homer. Head north to the Deshka and Susitna rivers for salmon, or cast for grayling and rainbows in Mat-Su area lakes.

Alaska Fly-in Fishing Trips

Most air taxi operators and flightseeing companies also offer one-day fishing charters to remote Alaska areas during the traditional fishing season, as well as in winter for excellent ice fishing. Multi-day trips are also available.

Please check with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for fishing regulations, purchase Alaska fishing licenses and find current Alaska fishing reports.