Alaska Trout Fishing

Tips for identifying and fly fishing trout in Alaska

Also see Alaska rainbow trout fishing   

Alaska trout fishing, Alaska fly fishing troutThe waters of Alaska's remote wilderness often produce spectacular game fish.  Among these are the four types of Alaskan trout

Fishing for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, steelhead trout and lake trout can all be done in Alaska.  The most popular species for Alaska trout fishing are rainbow trout and steelhead trout.  These two species of fish are the second and third largest trout in Alaska.  Between steelhead and rainbows, these species provide the best of Alaska fly trout fishing.

For trout fishing, there are two main seasons that vary slightly by species.  For the most part though, Alaska trout fishing lasts for nearly 10 months of the year.  The rainbow trout season spans from late April into June and then from August through early October.  Steelhead season goes from late April through June and then from late September until November.  Trout behave differently for spring and fall runs, so anglers have the opportunity to experience diverse conditions for Alaska trout fishing depending on when they fish. 

Alaska Trout Fishing Tip - Understanding The Trout Life Cycle

The life cycle of rainbow trout and steelhead trout have some similarities but generally follow different paths.  One common trait is that unlike salmon, trout do not die after spawning.  In fact, many of the fish that spawn each year are repeat spawners.  Another similarity of rainbows and steelhead is that as they develop, they will feed on nearly any food source available.  The varied trout diet includes shrimp, crustaceans, leeches, snails, smaller fish (like juvenile salmon), insects and roe.  These opportunistic fish will even dine on small rodents and dead salmon on occasion.

Steelhead trout are born in freshwater and stay there for around 3 years before migrating into the ocean.  While in the sea, steelhead grow larger as they mature into adults.  Steelhead may travel hundreds of miles from the home stream during their ocean journey.  After 2 or 3 years in the ocean, steelhead return to freshwater for spawning.  Fish that have finished spawning return to the ocean to recharge and hopefully return to spawn again during another season. 

Beginning life much the way that steelhead does, rainbow trout are born in freshwater.  Young fish remain in sheltered lake shores and stream margins for 2 to 3 years.  Rainbows then move into larger streams and lakes.  After 2 to 4 years, rainbows reach maturity and return to streams for spawning.  At the end of spawning, fish move back into larger bodies of water and may return to spawn next season.

Practicing Catch And Release For Alaska Trout Fishing

Alaska remains as one of the few places with wild native trout populations.  While the number of trout runs in Alaska are very low compared to salmon runs, trout species can be bolstered by an increase in habitat conservation and catch and release fishing. 

Even when catch and release is practiced, unfortunately, about 16% of released fish die.  But with delicate handling and care, catch and release fish can have better odds for survival.  When practicing catch and release, anglers should be careful to land fish as quickly as possible to reduce the trout's struggle time.  Fishermen should also release fish back into the water with care, keeping fish in the water after catching and letting them go as soon as possible.  Sticking to the catch and release method will ensure plentiful trout for future anglers to enjoy.