Alaska, The Land of The Midnight Sun offers 33,904 miles of shoreline according to Fly Alaska, not including its streams, rivers, and lakes. This makes it the perfect destination for a fishing vacation. Not only will you be spoilt for choice when it comes to fishing spots. The ocean is abundant in halibut, all 5 species of salmon, lingcod, rockfish, and sharks while the interior lakes are famous for rainbows, Dolly Varden, Arctic grayling, Arctic char, northern pike and burbots. Fishing in Alaska can be done all year long; however, different fish are popular during different seasons. Fishing aside, the food, the people, their culture, and the scenery in Alaska make it a top tourist destination. Here are 5 reasons why you absolutely need to visit Alaska.
The Fishing Culture In Ketchikan
Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island that is home to a glacier-carved wilderness, snow-capped mountains, salmon spawning streams, and waterfalls. It is a popular cruise stop destination thanks to its scenery and wildlife which covers bald eagles, brown and black bears, and even wolves. The fishing is in a serene environment, with snow-capped mountains and forests as backdrops. The fishing culture in the city is raw, authentic and rich. In the 1930s, the citizens of Ketchikan ran a salmon canning operation. Eighty-nine years later, 30 percent of the town’s population still works in the fishing industry. It is in Ketchikan, the Salmon Capitol of The World, that you will find some of the best anglers Alaska has to offer. Anglers who have perfected the art and skills passed down to them from their ancestors. Fishing is a celebrated heritage in the town. So much so, that every May to June, the town hosts the famous King Salmon Derby, a fishing competition with quite an array of prizes. Every first week of August, the town also congregates for the Blueberry Arts Festival and partake in boat races followed by art exhibitions, dance and many family activities. If you plan to take your next trip here, peak fishing seasons fall around May to September.
Saltwater Fishing in Homer
Homer is located on Kachemak Bay on the Kenai Peninsula. It is famous for its hiking trails, spruce forests, wildflower meadows, Gull island bird sanctuary, and ocean views. Homer Spit is a focal point featuring art galleries, beaches, shops and seafood restaurants all on a single strip of land. The town hosts the waterfront community of Halibut Cove popular for their architecture, artistry, and fishing. Homer is the world’s most popular halibut fishing hub but its waters are abundant in cod, Dolly Varden, salmon and rockfish as well. Unlike most fishing towns, Homer features both summer and winter ice fishing. Even more exciting is the authentic saltwater fishing experience it provides with salmon that average 20 pounds or more.
Whale Watching At Seward and Icy Strait Point
Fishing while watching whales is just one of the biggest thrills both Seward and Icy Strait Point have to offer. The former is a port city located in Southern Alaska that serves as a gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park. From it, glaciers flow into the coastal fjords creating a perfect habitat for porpoises and whales. The latter is a tourist destination located on Chichagof Island. Thanks to its proximity to Point Adolphus, Icy Strait Point hosts both humpback and occasionally orcas whales. Point Adolphus is home to the largest whale population during summer making it the peak time to go fishing in Icy Strait Point. As for Seward, the ideal time to fish and watch whales is in March and May when the great whale migration happens. Both places offer wildlife, scenic views, challenging hiking trails and other outdoor adventures.
The Rich Local History of Kenai
Kenai, a coastal city in Alaska is rich with Alaskan history. It is where the first major oil strike happened in 1957. This discovery is what fueled growth in the town. It is to date, a center for oil production and exploration. It features a Russian Orthodox church built in 1890 with blue onion domes in honor of Virgin Mary Mother of Jesus. Another historic building is the St. Nicholas Memorial Chapel built in 1906. Kenai aside from being a historic site is also famous for its wildlife. The nearby Kenai River is the most famous salmon stream in the world. Locals hold a 3-day music festival dubbed Salmon Fest, every August at the Peninsula’s Fairgrounds.
Wildlife in Juneau
Juneau is a remote town located at the base of the 3,819 foot Mt. Robert. It is only accessible via airplane and boat and is a popular cruise ship stop. Wildlife viewing in Juneau is what makes the town such a popular tourist destination. For starters, the Juneau Raptor Center nests hundreds of local bird species. The hiking trails 1,800 feet up Mt. Robert give a perfect view of both black and brown bears, and bald eagles. The town also features a ladder at the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery from which tourists can view sea lions and seals. The best time to visit Juneau is between May and September, which is also the peak viewing season for wildlife. Town members celebrate the Alaska Folk Festival, the Juneau Jazz, and Classical Music Festival in April and May respectively. These two events are among Alaska’s major feasts and festivals. It is when they celebrate their logging and mining heritage. During the months of August and September, the salmon run in Juneau-area streams, making it an opportune fishing season.
It is the variety of fish in Alaskan waters, the people of Alaska, and the Alaskan culture that make it a perfect vacation destination.