Alaska Red Salmon Fishing and Sockeye Salmon Fishing

Advice on identifying and fishing for Alaska red salmon

Also see Alaska salmon fishing, Alaska king salmon fishing and fly fishing in Alaska   

Another Alaskan salmon that goes by two names, the red salmon or sockeye salmon is one of the most challenging and prized catches for fishermen.  Alaska red salmon fishing yields one of the more valuable fish species in Alaska as Alaska sockeye salmon is sought after for it's rich and tasty meat.  Anglers who partake in Alaska sockeye salmon fishing will be rewarded with a show of airborne jumps and sharp runs.   

Alaska red salmon fishing, Alaska sockeye salmon fishingRed Salmon are the best Alaskan salmon for eating.  The flesh from red salmon can be smoked, grilled, broiled, canned and even consumed raw if the fish is fresh caught from saltwater. 

Though they are plentiful in Alaska, red salmon are known to be shy, so catching sockeyes generally involves particular techniques and conditions.  Coho flies work well, but don't be timid in trying other patterns and colors.  Anglers should always keep a tight line and be sure that their hooks are especially sharp. 
Chemically sharpened hooks work well

How to Identify Species When Fishing for Alaska Red Salmon

Sockeye Salmon Regular Appearance, Alaska sockeye salmon pictureThe typical weight for sockeye salmon is about 6 pounds with larger fish reaching around 12 pounds or more.  Most fish are about 24 inches in length.  Red salmon have silver sides with white bellies and a metallic stripe of green or grayish blue on their backs. The species is further identified by 30 to 40 thin, finely spaced serrated rakers on the first gill arch.

Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Spawning Appearance, Alaska sockeye salmon pictureAs with other types of salmon, the red salmon changes in appearance for spawning. During this time, males are seen with striking red bodies, humps, hooked jaws and heads in a greenish black hue.  Females also have a change in appearance, though not as dramatic as in male sockeyes. 


Most Favorable Spots For Alaska Red Salmon Fishing

Southeast Red Salmon Fishing Spots

Sitka and Petersburg Area: Sitkoh, Red Lake systems; Mitchell, Salmon, Klag Bay Systems; Lake Eva, Virginia Creek, Petersburg, Thoms, Sarkar River Systems; Sweetwater, Anan Creeks, Stikine, Kah Sheets

Haines: Chilkat River Systems, Chilkoot

Ketchikan and Prince of Wales: Thorne, Ward Creeks; McDonald, Kegan, Naha River Systems; Hatchery, Hugh Smith Lake Systems, Yes Bay, Salmon Bay, Smuggler's

Yakutat: Kiklukh, East Alsek, Situk, Doame Rivers

Juneau: Taku, Auke Rivers

Locations for Red Salmon Fishing in the Southwest

Alaska Peninsula: Ugashik, Nelson Lagoon, Chignik, Meshik, Sandy, Bear River Systems, Egegik, Naknek

Bristol Bay: Lake Clark, Togiak, Lake Iliamna-Kvichak, Alagnak River Systems, Nushagak-Mulchatna, Wood, Togiak, Igushik

Red Salmon Fishing Spots in South Central

Kenai Peninsula: Kenai, Kasilof River, Moose River, Russian River

Copper River: Gulkana River System; Tonsina, Klutina, Tazlina Rivers

Eastern Prince William Sound and Copper River Delta: McKinley Lake, Alaganik Slough, Martin River, Bering River System, Eyak River, Clear Creek System

Kodiak: Saltery, Buskin, Karluk, Pasagshak, Uganik, Afognak, Fraser, Upper Station, Kaflia, Dog Salmon, Litnik, Red Rivers, Pauls, Portage, Malina Creeks, Olga Lake System

Cook Inlet: Lake Creek, Talkeetna River, Fish Creek, Jim Creek, Susitna River, Talachulitna River, Little Susitna River, Crescent River, Little Kamishak River, Big River Lakes

Western Prince William Sound: Coghill River, Eshamy Lake

Kachemak Bay: China Poot Lagoon

Places for Red Salmon Fishing in the Northwest

Kotzebue Sound: Kelly River;

Norton Sound: Snake, Sinuk