Alaska Fish Species: What to Catch and When to Catch It

Whenever or wherever you go for your fishing trip, Alaska fish species will always provide unique fishing opportunities. In this article, we’ll guide you through some of the Alaska fish species to be found in your fishing adventure, and when to find them.

The 5 Types of Pacific Salmon

The most amazing thing about the biodiversity of Alaska fish species is the fact that you can fish all 5 species of Pacific salmon. The saltwater bodies in Alaska carry that abundance of fish that supports both commercial and sporting fish enterprises all over this great northern state. Let’s do a quick rundown of these species as well as info on when and where you can find them.

Sockeye Salmon

One of the smaller types of salmon, also known as “red salmon” in Alaska because of how its head turns green and its body turns red when in freshwater. Sockeye run June-July and are the fewest in number. They can be tricky to catch because they generally don’t take a lure. Snagging is a common way to catch these beautiful fish. This species is high in Omega-3s, has a strong flavor, and is a good choice for grilling.

King Salmon

One of the most popular and most challenging catches in Alaska, and also one of the most rewarding. King Salmon is one of those Alaska fish species that make the trip worth it! The Alaska King salmon can grow as large as almost a hundred pounds (once in a lifetime catches!), and most you’ll find in Alaska will be between 20 to 50 pounds. These are most prevalent from June to early July. A king stamp is required to fish for these fish. They have firm meat and are good for grilling.

Silver Salmon

What makes silver salmon also known as Coho, stand out among other fish species in Alaska is how much they struggle when they bite, and how hard they can strike that hook. They can even throw themselves upwards while trying to get rid of your hook. They are available mostly from July through September. Their firm meat has a milder flavor than King or Sockeye and is considered the very best for grilling.

Chum Salmon

Chum salmon are very common in Alaskan waters, and with a lot of fishing spots on local rivers where they are abundant. They are found for the most part in July, with most of the general salmon population. Chum Salmon are found in deeper water and are a good choice for smoking.

Pink Salmon

Pink Salmon are the most common and abundant of all salmon species. They are found throughout the entire season, most prevalent between June to mid-August. Their softer meat lends itself to stews, salmon cakes, and the grill.

Halibut Fishing in Alaska

Halibut is always in supply year-round, being at their most strong and hungry during the summer months of June through September. These large fish provide a good battle even for more experienced fishermen, though, so get ready!

Common Catches

The following are fish that are also prevalent in Alaskan waters, and you should know about them, so that you’re not surprised whenever you see them.

Pacific Cod

Pacific cod is often seen as a common and a not-so-treasured catch, given its tendency to bite aggressively and to travel in large schools. There are plenty of recipes with Pacific cod, and you’ll find them in all seasons. It is becoming more popular and is the fish you usually find in a fish sandwich at a fast-food restaurant. They can be used as bait for halibut.

Rockfish

Rockfish is a catch-all term that refers to several different species of fish. Black, red, yellow eye to name a few. These, like the pacific cod, are also found in large schools and are abundant throughout the entire season, and unlike the cod, can be found at almost any depth. It is important to be able to identify which species since some are illegal to catch and others have small limits.

If you are curious about the fish that can be caught around Alaskan waters, why not come catch some and see them for yourself? You can book a fishing trip to Alaska now and see what types of Alaska Fish Species await.

Weekly Report Ending January 22, 2021

Busy week interviewing. The staffing lists are filling up and our guests will appreciate all the great staff they will encounter this year. We are super excited about this coming season. The next step for Mark and Kristina will be to put the final touches on the food menus; that will occupy another couple of weeks. We will try and write about some of the new food options as we finalize the items.

Mark did get all of the foundation concrete and steel ordered for the new powerhouse and drying room floor. He is not looking forward to pouring 30 yards of concrete from 80 pounds bags by hand.
Fortunately, he has some good helpers.

We have been receiving some of our fishing supplies at the office this week. One of the items that we are adding is rubber nets (easy to untangle hooks from). Not being able to able to touch and feel at a trade show made ordering difficult but from the picture, you can see that they will be big enough to handle a big sucker fish! The handles are in a separate box. Don’t worry, we will attach them before you arrive.

Lynda has been busy working on reservations. She has been working on truing up the reservations for this year and she noted that the 2022 season is already starting to fill quickly. We are thankful that so many of you are planning ahead. Lynda has also been looking at ways for people to do payment plans rather than get nagging emails from us when payments are due. Our hope is that we have more conversations about fishing and less about money when our guests call! Fishing calls are always more fun.

Weekly Report Ending January 15, 2021

Interviews have occupied most of the week for Mark and Kristina. We are excited about those that are returning. It is going to be a particularly difficult decision to select the best candidates for the season. We think we have enough good applicants to fill the open positions twice over or more. We expect to have the hiring done by the end of the month. We are thankful that we have been blessed with so many choices; we have high expectations of a fabulous season.

Lynda continues to help guests get into their preferred weeks. She sent out the invoicing last week. We have been having internal discussions about how to move people to automatic payment plans. We think this will help our guests and not require so much “bugging”. We love to talk with people but it is always more fun to talk about fishing than money.

Last week Lynda took a call from a guest from last year. It was memorable because the guest indicated that he had come fishing with us as a once-in-a-lifetime trip with his brother. They decided that was incorrect. They had such a good time; they really want to come back again! We love hearing those types of calls.

Lisa has also had a busy week. After getting all of the tax work done for the year, she found time to meet with the embroiderer and drop off this year’s new clothing for the trading post. She has also been working on getting large bottles of soap, shampoo, and conditioner for the showers. Our plan is to convert to the larger bottles as we finish using up the smaller ones this season.

Weekly Report Ending January 8, 2021

We are back in the office after the holidays more often now. Much of our work is portable so it made it easier to take some time off but still get things done as needed.

Kristina and Mark are working diligently with the hiring processes. We have several returning staff that have committed to the season and we begin interviewing new candidates next week. We are making adjustments trying to identify and remove any bottlenecks in our guest experience.


Lisa has wrapped up the end-of-year financial things and has us in top shape for this coming year. She also helped us attend our tackle buying show remotely. We don’t think we really like the remote format. It is hard to handle things with our hands via the internet. To compensate we have had to talk directly with manufacturers over the phone and try and describe the need and their solutions verbally. Both the vendors and the buyers are looking forward to in-person shows in 2022.


Lynda is starting the next round of invoicing. As people’s plans change, the invoicing activity creates some movement in the available space. She has already been able to reduce some of the waitlists. She does enjoy it when each of your calls in to visit.

Weekly Report Ending January 1st, 2021

Happy New Year! This last week has been filled with typical end of year activities. Lisa has been busy wrapping up financial details and preparing for the next year. She also found that under the current travel- to-Alaska protocol, people still need to have a PCR test 72 hours before departure.

There is a couple of changes to how to report the test. We know that it will change by the time the season kicks in so we are not troubling people with details until we are much closer. Overall, it should not be near as challenging as last season.

Lynda continues to find space for people at the lodge as guests’ plans change. We continue to have record bookings for the next season. The return of so many of you in 2021 has impacted when we bring in staff and supplies. The adjustments will allow us to train better and to improve our customer experience starting day one of the summer.

Mark has been chipping away at some of the long-term projects. He has been making adjustments to the hiring documentation, operational documentation, and a more formalized training plan for seasonal
staff. He and Kristina continue to work on the menu for next summer and trying out new products and items.

What are Alaska Fishing Lodges Like?

The Alaskan wilderness is beautiful. It’s known as the “Last Frontier” for many reasons, one of which is that the best fishing in the US can be found here. Your Alaskan fishing lodge will serve as your home base throughout your vacation so we would like to give you a quick description of what a lodge will look like, what purpose it serves, and what amenities it should have.

Fishing lodges can vary wildly from simple cabins to full-fledged resort facilities. This makes the general makeup of an average Alaska fishing lodge something difficult to determine on the whole, but there’s three main things that make a lodge what it is, and we’ll go through each one with you.

Alaska Fishing Lodge Locations

First and foremost the location of the lodge can make or break your trip. If you’re looking to get away from civilization, then take that into consideration. Here at Doc Warner’s we’re far enough away to help you disconnect, yet close enough to have access to health services if needed.

Whichever the case for any specific one, all Alaska fish lodges share something in common: beautiful vistas. The 49th state has natural beauty in abundance, and you can go to lodges that take you near glaciers, snow-capped mountains, forests, rivers, waterfalls or all of them. Whenever and wherever you’re fishing in Alaska, be prepared to feel goosebumps with all the beauty around you.

Accomodations in The Last Frontier

You can count on comfort and safety while going to most Alaska fishing lodges. There are various options for accommodations in a fishing lodge, from shared dorms to small cabins, to luxurious rooms. As they are, most lodges have much more than just the basic amenities for you. You can stay in separate private cabins within a lodge’s grounds, or a spacious dormitory with common areas.

Not only will you be able to keep warm and keep clean with comfortable living quarters, there’s also much more that has to do with the task of fishing itself. For Alaska fishing lodges that pride themselves on their name, as ours does, you’ve got meeting spaces, gardens, a fire pit, and dining facilities to sit down together and share stories. And speaking of sharing stories…

Meeting Amazing People

Most of what makes an Alaska fishing lodge is the people who work and stay there. These people love two things: Alaska itself, and fishing in Alaska. Having these two things in common means you’ll be in the perfect place to share your passion for angling and having a great time with people who appreciate a good catch. There’s always good conversation to be had at a fishing lodge, and there’s always something to learn while spending some time with fellow anglers.

If you enjoy fishing in Alaska and are looking for a lodge to have a great fishing experience, you’re more than welcome in our Alaska fishing community at Doc Warner’s Alaska Adventures! Visit our website and check our availability!

What do Alaska Salmon Fishing Boats Need for a Trip?

If you’re planning to go on an Alaska salmon fishing boat it’s important to get on the right track and have it filled with the right tools. Everything you bring with you must ensure 3 things in this order: safety first, good fishing second, and lastly comfort. With that in mind, here’s 5 things you might want to consider when fishing from a boat in Alaska..

5 Things You Need To Consider to have the best Boat for Southeast Alaska

  1. Fishing Equipment

If you’ve ever fished before you’re aware of the basics: poles, reels, lines, bait, and a bait knife so that you can get into angling. However, Alaskan river boats such as they are, require some more specialized gear packed in

To catch the type of game you’ll find in Alaskan fishing trips, you’ll need: 

  • hooks, 
  • fish bats
  • a halibut setup
  • pliers, 
  • weights, 
  • mooching rigs for salmon, 
  • a shark hook
  • and dip nets. 

Most lodges you’ll visit will have these provided for you, our fishing lodge at Doc Warner’s surely will. 

  1. Downriggers

A proper Alaska salmon fishing boat isn’t complete with one of these. Downriggers are simple, yet important devices to have in your boat. They keep your lure at a constant depth, and it can be adjusted and released for when there’s a bite. 

These are especially useful when fishing for salmon, since they are located at different depths at different times of the year.

  1. Coast Guard Equipment

This is related to the first point, regarding safety. As you well know, there’s coast guard required safety equipment to have in your boat at all times, in all places. This includes, of course, life jackets, which are not required to be worn by adults at all times, but it is strongly recommended. Aside from this, you need to also carry a fire extinguisher, lights, a visual distress signal, and a sound-producing device for rescue situations, among other things. These three items are especially important in case of emergency situations where rescue is necessary. And speaking of rescue…

  1. Marine Radios

Marine communications have been an essential part of boating since people have ventured out to the waters of the world. Nowadays, cellphones or radios are a required equipment for all who boat no matter the purpose. 

Even though we’re on an age with cell phone and satellite communications available everywhere, keeping an old-school radio that serves as a to shore can truly make a difference when the best of current communications equipment fails. This is especially true in the remote places of the very beautiful, yet very insular Alaska. The team at Doc Warner’s will make sure your boats are equipped with a UHF radio for constant contact with the lodge and other boats.

  1. GPS and Fish Finders

Current technology makes it possible for sonar and GPS devices to allow you to locate fish quickly and easily. With a combination of geolocation and sonar technologies, easy to use interfaces and the right instructions, you will save a lot of time trying to figure out where fish schools are located. More time to fish, less time to guess, more fun all around!

Hopefully, after reading this blog you’re ready for your next adventure in Alaska. If you’re looking for a lodge with the right boats to go fishing, Doc Warner’s offers the necessary Alaska salmon fishing boats all packed up with the supplies needed as well as a sturdy construction and the best environments for you to explore and go fish!

 Visit our site to learn more about the amazing offers we have lined up for you.

Weekly Report Ending December 26, 2020

This week there was not much going on in the office. Lisa is out spending time with her new family.

Mark made it into the office to go through packages. The filters for all of the various equipment showed up and needed to be reconciled. Other than that, he has spent some time working on the interview and hiring processes. On Wednesday, his son, Mark Jr., got married to Daisy so that has made his time vary distracted.

Lynda has been playing shuffle with people as some add and drop this last week. The phones have been relatively quiet. On Thursday, the Christmas text went out. We hope that all of you have had some nice times with your families this week.

Next week are generally out of the office until after the first. We don’t know if there will be much of a weekly report for that week. We want to wish you all a happy new year and many fishing adventures this coming summer.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Doc’s!
The Doc Warner’s Crew

How Easy is it to Get An Alaska Non-Resident Sport Fishing License?

If you’re going fishing in Alaska, you might want to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork and licensing for your trip to go on without a hitch when preparing a fishing trip. When coming in from out of state, you might be wondering how the process works for getting a non-resident sport fishing license in Alaska.

What are Alaska state fishing licenses for?

Fishing licenses have existed for a long time as part of common fishing regulations as a way to raise funds for the conservation of waterways and fishing habitats. Money earned from the purchase of fishing licenses is designated to the cleaning of trash from water reservoirs, supplementing species at fishing ponds, and funding conservation efforts that allow for the beautiful fishing places of Alaska to remain beautiful and stocked with fish to catch.

Where to find an out of state Alaska fishing license

For the State of Alaska, both residents over the age of 18 and non-residents over 16 need a sport fishing license, but you might be wondering, how does one get around to acquiring it?

Well, it’s not really too different from getting one from any other state, with the advantage of having the process available online for purchase in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website. You can visit here for more on the process of getting your out of state license online.

Another option is to find an Alaska fish permit in sporting goods stores and Fish and Game offices in Alaska. If you find yourself in the Last Frontier without a license, there’s no reason to panic! You can simply visit any sporting goods stores and even some grocery stores where you can buy such licenses.

As for Alaska’s big catch, king salmon, you may want to get what is known as a King Salmon stamp. This stamp is the special permit that allows you to fish for king salmon during its seasonal fishing period. Easy enough to find the same way you can find your Alaska non-resident sport fishing license.

While making reservations at an Alaska fishing lodge, the lodges themselves can offer licensing and have them all setup for your personal use. With Doc Warner’s, for example, you can be assured we’ll set up your alaska non resident sport fishing license and have it ready for you by the time you come up to fish with us.

If you want to focus on just getting up here and having the best experience possible, Doc Warner’s Alaska Adventures has you covered! We’ll take care of all of the logistics for you.  Visit our website to learn more.

Weekly Report Ending December 17, 2020

Another week and things have begun to slow down for the holidays now. We had our Staff luncheon and Christmas present exchange this week. We are fortunate that we all work together and as such, our chance of being exposed to COVID is very minimal. We decided to do a progressive lunch with the main course in one place and a dessert in another. It was sad to see the restaurants so empty this time of year.

Other highlights this week: Lynda continues to wring the truth out of the groups. Every time she gets some space, it results in a cascade of shifting of people, waitlists, and phone calls. She has been amazing to work with what magic she can to get people in. We love our guests and want to be able to help all of them.

Lisa has continued to filter through the Christmas cards that came back because people moved. I think as of this writing she is down to one last one to send back out. She is also begun investigating some digital document storage in order to try and make our office more portable. Having two offices about 2,000 miles apart has always been a challenge with records. The pandemic has created more opportunities to be portable.

Mark and Kristina continue to poke on many fronts. We have heard back from a majority of last year’s staff on their availability. They have also addressed some bottlenecks in the workflow. The new food menu continues to work its way through as well. They have also identified some staff training needs and are working to more formalize the material that is presented.

Mark also completed the project to update the content of our room book for the lodge. The update has been slowly progressing for just over two years now. We treat the main document as our “bible” for things guests need to know to be successful at Doc’s. He and Lynda will complete the formatting task and we should have new materials available for next season online, in rooms, and on the boats.